THE new leader of Northumberland safety equipment firm, Draeger UK, has set his sights on doubling the company's UK sales in the next five years.
The Blyth-based manufacturer achieved both domestic and export sales of around £89m in 2011 after increasing its turnover from £70.4m to £77.6m the year before.
Integral to the firm’s future growth is the appointment of its new managing director Michael Norris who is poised to mastermind a number of key initiatives.
Born in Ohio, Norris, joined Draeger from global power giant Cummins and brings with him a wealth of leadership and commercial experience.
During his time at Cummins, he held a number of senior management positions across the globe, most recently as managing director of the business in West Africa. His latest role at Draeger sees him take responsibility for shaping and leading the strategic development of the safety business in the UK.
Norris joined the North East manufacturer in January at an important time in its development, as the company looks to widen and deepen its reach in markets such as fire and rescue, law enforcement, oil, gas and petrochemical, as well as the chemical and general industry sectors.
He said: “We were predicting sales to be significantly lower in 2012, but we are pretty much on target with where we were last year. However, with European economic woes a big concern for our export market and the likelihood of further public spending cut-backs on the horizon, we need to be looking at marketing our extensive product portfolio more effectively.
“Draeger is exceptionally strong in one of its key segments, which is the design and manufacture of breathing apparatus for the fire and rescue services but, if we want to double our sales in the next five years, we need to broaden our offering even further.
“More than 40% of our production is exported through Draeger’s international channel, but it would be nice to consolidate more of that in the UK and really push our domestic sales.
“I have experience in growing businesses; when I managed a business in Asia I helped grow its turnover from £25m to £100m.
“I’m delighted to join Draeger here in the UK at such an exciting time. Having the opportunity to work for a global company that delivers products and solutions which can actually make a difference to people’s lives certainly provides you with all the motivation you need in the morning. The firm has a proud history and has achieved an enormous amount over the past 120 years. I’m looking forward to building on that business success story here in the UK by helping to write the next chapter.”
Draeger UK is one of the leading manufacturers of safety solutions, employing around 400 people at its headquarters in Blyth. It currently supplies a range of safety solutions across industry sectors, notably breathing apparatus and other firefighting equipment to a large proportion of the UK’s fire and rescue services and stationary fire and gas systems.
It also manufactures portable personal gas monitors, alcohol and drug-screening equipment and occupational safety equipment. The multinational Draeger Group is present in more than 190 countries and has about 12,000 staff.