PrintWeek's annual run-down of the industry's most influential individuals, here we look at numbers 70 through to 61.
Why You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs, as the saying goes. This was the year when Domino’s relationship with nascent egg-coding specialist TEN Media cracked, as TEN’s roll-out plans stalled and Domino wrote down the value of its original $50m (£32.4m) investment to just £3.2m, resulting in a loss for the group after a long run of record results. Managing director Nigel Bond was typically forthright and no-nonsense when it came to making a tough decision about what had initially looked like such a promising project. And, as he says: "This is a shame when so much in our core business is going so well," with strong sales of its inkjet label press.
Why Roger Birkin will never lose his passion for print and technology, reckons a colleague, who adds he is so forward thinking "he was heavily into digital before it became mainstream". Birkin is a true multiskiller: when he is not investing in new kit, which he is right now, he’s either got his hand on the tiller of his boat or is pottering in the garden – our mole tells us he is a brilliant horticulturist. He is never far, however, from the helm at IDG, a £20m business with 250 people in sites boasting ISO quality and environmental accreditations. "This," says the colleague, "is sizeable and unlike many big players, Roger didn’t inherit it, he created it."
Why This "safe pair of hands", as he was described by one colleague, makes his debut after a two-year growth phase for CFH. Dave Broadway embarked on an acquisition strategy in October 2011 starting with FST in Livingston, followed by Print For Business 12-months later. Having now invested £1.4m in new equipment, CFH’s managing director, who joined his father’s firm in the 1980s, is eyeing further growth. Something of a petrol-head in his former years, Broadway now prefers the quieter life, preferring to roll up to the office on his Harley…in full leathers. Colleagues praise his wit, drive and clarity – perhaps the latter can be attributed to his daily lunchtime 10-mile run.
Why "Shaun’s skills lie in his unwavering belief in being best in class and always striving for better…" Peer accolades don’t get more flattering. And roles don’t get more challenging: as purchasing and operations director for the Penguin Group, he is tasked with ensuring quality and profit while achieving the global brand’s high corporate responsibility expectations. This year he’s been key in developing Dorling Kindersley’s digital strategy and, on the print side of Penguin’s operations, Hodgkinson’s negotiated various multimillion-pound deals. We’ve also learnt that he famously combats frequent flying fatigue by jogging off the jetlag and that his smart and passionate approach has won him the respect of many major print suppliers.
Why Considering what he has achieved, Real Digital managing director David Laybourne is one of the most modest men in print. He’s described as the "calming influence" on Real, something that was much needed when you consider last year’s PrintWeek Company of the Year’s journey from start-up, which burned its way through millions of pounds, to the sustainably profitable and award-winning business it is today. But according to Laybourne its success is down to everyone at the firm, and his role was simply a supporting one. "He knows everyone in the business and he’s a great leader, in fact it’s hard to find a fault with him," says one colleague. If he’s not in the office, his second favourite place is behind a powerboat, being dragged at breakneck speeds.
Why "As sharp as a tack and getting sharper with age…" Not PrintWeek’s words, but those of one of his sales managers. We won’t argue; as chief executive of post-press kit specialist Friedheim International, the outgoing chairman of Picon and chairman of the newly-created Graphics, Print & Media Alliance, Peter Morris’s clout is stronger now than it ever has been in his 50 years in the industry. Externally, Morris is a main point of contact for myriad companies, offering guidance and impartial advice on all things post-press. While internally he’s known for keeping positive, articulate and challenging staff in order to inspire them… As his well-publicised comments on industry deskilling certainly testify.
Why Translating a purely online business into a bricks-and-mortar experience sounds like a peculiar strategy to adopt. But when the person behind the move is Moo.com founder Richard Moross, who hit upon the idea of launching a pop-up store in Shoreditch earlier this year to showcase the company’s range of business cards, the tactic begins to make perfect business sense. According to a source close to Moross he "possesses both an instinctive understanding of great product design and a passion for delighting customers". But he’s blessed with much more than this. "He’s a charismatic leader, and a great listener," adds the source.
Why "He’s a great bloke," says one colleague simply of new chief executive of West Ferry and Broughton Printers John Higginbottom. Only stepping into the role in March, Higginbottom hasn’t had huge amounts of time yet to show what he’s made of, but he’s already impressing. A key success for Higginbottom since he took on the role alongside continuing as finance director of both companies, has been the installation of a new inserting line. "He’s got a nice relaxed easy going style," says the colleague. "Being an FD he keeps a tight rein on the money, which is good. And he knows more about production than any FD I’ve ever known."
Why Simon Moore’s impressive jump up the rankings this year reflects his tenacious management of Eclipse’s acquisition of 4DM. Acquiring a 10% stake in the direct mail firm in 2011 as part of a five-year takeover strategy, managing director Moore oversaw the early completion of the deal last September and rebranding the firms in March 2013. Staff say that in return for Moore’s passion and commitment to them they are happy to give their pound of flesh. They were also quick to reveal though, that having recently taken up cycling in a bid to stave off the threat of middle-age spread, and having few practical skills, Moore had to enlist colleagues to attach his pedals and wheels before he could set off on his maiden voyage.
Why It’s been a terrible year for William Gibbons joint managing director Mark Gibbons. His beloved Wolverhampton Wanderers were relegated for the second season in succession, and now languish in League One. Fortunately, there’s a perennial bright spot in the shape of the family-owned printing business, one of the industry’s quiet, some might even say reclusive, success stories. An admirer of the firm’s performance says, that with Mark and brother David at the helm, the firm is putting into practice what its rivals yearn to achieve: "It proves that no matter how competitive the market is, if you set it up right, you can do very well. A lot of people would love to be in the same position as Gibbons."