The Non-Executive Director of the Year: Stewart Vaughan
The Non-Executive Director of the Year
Winner: Stewart Vaughan
STEWART Vaughan's three decades of experience in the engineering sector and pragmatic approach to improving business made him a very worthy winner.
He is honoured for his contribution to engineering company Astrum, which manufactures metal and polymer-based components for the defence and commercial markets.
During two and a half years as a non-executive director with the County Durham company, Vaughan helped transform the fortunes of the business. The current Astrum business was formed in 2006 after a management buyout led by Phil Kite, a director of the William Cook group, which had owned the long-established Stanhope business since 1989. Vaughan says that when he joined Astrum, he found a company that was brilliant at engineering but, since lacking in sales and marketing expertise.
“They were basically a factory that was very competent and efficient at making things,” he says. “The main thing I have worked with them on was to help them to start to move towards being a sales and marketing led company.
“The main benefit was in terms of helping to analyse the sales and marketing functions that they had and then by assisting in a fairly hands-on way in restructuring that and preparing to build the business internationally.”
Vaughan gained much experience with County Durham filtration company Domnick Hunter, which had a turnover of £4.5m and 140 staff when he joined in 1984. At the time of his departure, this had grown to over 2,000 employees and a turnover of around £200m.
He says that non-executive directors have a valuable role to play by sharing the experiences of their careers with other businesses – something that is especially important in a challenging economic environment.
“I have 30 years of experience in international business and in that time I made some mistakes and some of them were costly,” he says. “If you can help companies avoid making mistakes, avoid incurring expenses especially in difficult times by helping them to take shortcuts to get the results they are looking for then a non-executive can be a very effective weapon.”