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Following the completion of my degree in Chemistry with Analytical Chemistry and Toxicology I was recruited onto the Graduate Programme at Croda. I worked at Croda during my University vacations and loved the work ethos which allows people to make the most or least of opportunities presented to them depending on their own ambitions and abilities. I saw many people travelling the world and taking on senior positions within the company and knew that Croda would give me the chance to reach my full potential, the rest would be down to me. My first role in the company was as a Research & Development Chemist. I was responsible for a variety of tasks from analysing one of our key raw materials to assisting in the commissioning of a new production unit at our nearby manufacturing plant.
An opportunity arose for a career change into Sales and during the next few years I held a number of positions, first office based, answering customer enquiries and liaising with internal departments to provide the answers they needed, and then more externally focused, travelling the globe promoting Croda’s products into the Personal Care and later Health Care markets. Further promotion to European Sales Manager followed, at which time I had full responsibility for our sales and customers in the Personal Care market in Europe. This involved travel throughout Europe as well as managing a team of 11 in the UK. I was also responsible for setting budgets and developing strategies for future developments as well as liaising with internal departments to arrange exhibitions and develop marketing information to aid product promotion.
At the same time I continued with my education and after obtaining management qualifications with the Open University I finally gained an MBA through the University of Leeds. All of this was sponsored and fully supported by Croda. A complete change of direction for a year saw me seconded as an ‘internal’ consultant for the Sales and Distribution module as we implemented the IT Enterprise software SAP to manage our business. This allowed me to use my experience to ensure that the software solution fitted the company’s requirements but also as Business Team Leader allowed me to further develop my leadership skills
At the end of this secondment another life changing opportunity arose, this time one which took me East, to live and work in Singapore for 5 years as Sales & Marketing Director. In that role I had the responsibility for developing business in all market sectors for our newly commissioned plant in Singapore as well as developing opportunities for the sales of Croda products from other of our global manufacturing sites into Asia. Again the role involved significant management of people and exposure to new cultures and methods of working as well as extensive travel throughout Asia.
At the beginning of 2006 I returned home and back to the Health Care business as Sales & Marketing Director responsible for the growth in particular of our Omega 3 nutritional health supplements. Another change two years later and I took a role heading up the Personal Care business for Croda Europe as VP Sales & Marketing
Further organisational change (nothing stands still here…) in 2010 meant that I was promoted to Managing Director of our Industrial Specialities business, a challenge which involved the strategic leadership of 6 different businesses and a large team of personnel in Sales, Marketing and Technical functions across Europe. The learning from this experience meant that I had worked in all of Croda’s market sectors throughout my career and gave me the perfect skill base and experience for the next opportunity that came along.
Then in February 2012, I succeeded in my lifelong career ambition of being promoted onto the Executive Committee of Croda International taking on my current role as President, Consumer Care Europe. As eluded to this is a role I have aspired to since first joining the company 23 years ago. It allows me to use everything I have learnt over the years in a strategic role where I along with the other Exec members can make a real difference not only on the future shape of Croda but also have an influence on for example the chemical industry in general through roles I have with the CIA (Chemical Industry Association) etc. So what’s next…? The answer is I have no idea and that is the exciting part of working in the Croda organisation. All I know is that I have many more years to give and my wish is to continue adding value and having impact on the success of Croda.
Well what’s next is a move to a global structure for our Sales, Marketing and Technical functions to align ourselves more closely with our chosen markets and most importantly, our customers. Improved communication and decision making coupled with global thinking in terms of the best solutions for our customers are some of the benefits we expect to arise from this reorganisation. I have two ‘hats’ in my new role. The first is as President – Crop and Health Care, with full responsibility for these two market sectors on a global basis. The second and equally important is as President – Europe leading our regional business team comprising of a number of our ‘Consumer Care’ oriented factories and our European and EEMEA (Eastern European, Middle East and Africa) sales and distribution companies. The role of these people is to deliver the business today, ensuring excellent customer service, first class relationships with all of our customers ensuring efficient and cost effective delivery of our products from around the world to our European customer base..
Its time to move on again from 1 January 2016 in addition to my role as President, Europe & EEMEA I will be switching market sector hats and taking over the role of President Personal Care. This is a real honour given the importance of Personal Care to Croda and takes me back to familiar territory having held a number of roles in our Personal Care sector over the years. 2015 also saw me celebrate 25 years of working with Croda, something I am very proud of.