Power 100 2013: 80 to 71

By PrintWeek Team, Thursday 22 August 2013

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PrintWeek's annual run-down of the industry's most influential individuals, here we look at numbers 80 through to 71.

Why A trained accountant, Premier managing director Graham Griffiths began his career in paper more than 40 years ago. "You could cut Graham in half and all you would find is paper," says one industry peer. That said, it’s been a fairly quiet year for Griffiths, although the group did open a new East Anglian branch last Autumn. The demise of Aldersons Print Group last year was a definite low point though, leaving Premier with more than £500,000 of bad debt. According to one colleague Griffiths has a dry sense of humour "even for an accountant". "You have to get a couple of drinks inside him to loosen him up, but he’s a good guy, with a good business," added the colleague.

Why Employees speak effusively about GI Solution’s managing director. One colleague says Robin Welch is "the best MD I have ever worked for". This is due to his ability to "challenge, motivate and inspire – he’s always ready to provide expert advice and support for his staff". This supportive approach has paid dividends for Welch over the past 12 months, with GI Solutions significantly growing its transactional output – it now accounts for 50% of the business – and boosting turnover to £37m with profits of £1.4m – not bad in a difficult market. Welch even found time to re-brand the company GI Solutions (it was previously known as GI Direct) on 1 August 2013 to reflect the new focus.

Why Martin Mayo took over as UK and Nordic cluster director last month. This followed the transfer of Kodak’s Personalized Imaging and Document Imaging business arms, which Mayo’s predecessor Phil Gibbons will lead, to the UK Kodak Pension Plan as part of Kodak’s emergence from Chapter 11. It’s easier to list the pre-press suppliers lifelong Birmingham City fan Mayo hasn’t worked for than those he has. But his appointment represents a departure for Kodak, whose past few UK directors have had accountancy backgrounds. "He’s a thoroughbred salesman, he’s worked his way up though the graphics business and knows every part of it, and virtually every customer. If you wanted to close a deal, he’s the man you would want with you," says one colleague.

Why Now one of the top players in the UK quality print market, Park Communications is certainly on the up. Playing a key role in branding, leading the sales team and in jointly deciding the company’s overall strategy with managing director Alison Branch, is chief executive Heath Mason. "He has very good customer skills; he’s good at listening and asks the right questions, the customers love him," says one colleague, adding: "He’s one of the best salespeople I’ve ever met." Almost, but not quite, rivaling his passion for the business is Mason’s love of sailing, playing tennis, going to the gym, and his motorbike.

Why "A lot of people complain about the state of the industry; Gary Peeling is one of the handful that actually makes it their job to do something about improving it," says one seconder of the Precision managing director’s third inclusion in the Power 100. It has been an extremely busy 12 months for the tank-top wearing print boss, which has centred on bedding in the UK’s first HP 10000 and the commercialisation of Precision’s homegrown workflow, Oneflow. However, while rumours that Peeling has cloned himself are blatantly untrue, when you consider the time he commits to the BPIF and HP-user co-operative Dscoop, where he’s a board member and EMEA chairman respectively, its easy to see how the scurrilous talk started.

Why JCDecaux’s director of production and creative services, Samantha Bird has enjoyed a very successful 12 months in the outdoor advertising sector. As well as launching localised messaging print service Print IQ, Samantha and her team spearheaded a PVC-free product initiative, a daring Hertz campaign reposting billboards every 24 hours, and an impressive location-specific Microsoft banner campaign at Paddington. On the supply front, she continues to work closely with 3M and Ritrama and has just formed an exclusive relationship with a bespoke international manufacturer. Described by colleagues as a "hard task master", Bird is known for pushing herself to the limits, having taken up snowboarding, judo and ice skating in the past year!

Why Tim Elliott may have ceded the role of managing director to his recently engaged son Matthew last autumn, taking on the more stately role of chairman, but he’s still very much the ‘face’ of EBB. Never afraid to speak his mind, he’s been "surprisingly restrained" as NAPM president. But his passion for print remains undented, "the industry couldn’t ask for a bigger advocate", says one fan. "EBB has got a sound business model. They may not want to be the biggest, but that doesn’t stop them trying to be the best," added one industry watcher. And now that Elliott has more time to focus on strategy, then perhaps growth will also be back on the agenda.

Why The sheetfed magazine market is rapidly becoming as tough as its web sibling, with prices being bandied about that some buyers describe as "simply crazy". "It’s a tough market, but Andrew has always focused on building sustainable relationships, and in some respects that has protected S&G," says one buyer. And relationships seem to be the cornerstone of the 101-year-old business’s success. Managing director Jones represents the fourth generation to head the family business, and family is something that’s as important to the entire S&G team as it is to Jones. "As a customer you’re very much part of the S&G family too," says one long-standing client. "And you never want to let down your family."

Why Where did it all go so right for Snelson? This July APS Group announced a three-year deal for one of the UK’s largest independent retailers, the 187-store Midlands Co-operative Society. Managing director Mark Snelson meanwhile has been busy helping his team secure a host of contract retentions and extensions, further expansion overseas and the launch of new services such as promotional items. Colleagues call him an "inspirational yet down-to-earth leader who works at a speed many find hard to keep up with". In his spare time, Snelson keeps no less busy renovating property, but APS Group is one house that’s well in order.

Why Haymarket’s head of UK production and procurement Gary Charlton’s admission into the Power 100 club is a just reward for his role in putting together arguably one of the largest UK publishing projects in recent years – namely the Olympic and Paralympic publications. The project involved a total of 4.5m copies across almost 60 publications, including daily programmes, that used 2,500 tonnes of paper. No mean feat by any standard. However, Charlton undertook this massive challenge with his usual cool head, although colleagues say that his legendary sweet tooth played an important role in helping him maintain the long hours required – and it could also explain why he recently lost a tooth.


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