Mark Perrins started his career working at Swedish stainless steel maker Faragusta’s UK head office in Stratford, selling stainless strip.
Although the son of the managing director of a steel hardening and tempering company in Worcester, he hadn’t particularly sought a job in steel after completing a course in business studies.
However, a job came up at Faragusta and, as he admits, the fact that his father knew one of the senior managers in the office did him no harm.
Consolidation in the Swedish stainless steel industry led to a series of moves.
“Every time we merged, I ended up having to move office,” Mark Perrins recalls.
By that time, the business he worked for was owned by Avesta and one of the senior managers from Sweden invited him to take over regional sales, based in Avesta itself.
“When I moved, I was aware that Avesta’s merger with British Steel Stainless was going through and within three or four months it had happened,” he says.
Mark Perrins describes his time in Sweden as “a really positive experience.”
Although he admits he never learned Swedish – “They were in the middle of a merger with a British company and they all wanted to speak English!” – he says, his daughters to all intents and purposes “became Swedes.”
“I used to joke that I had to remind them that they were British. They were fluent after six months and can still speak Swedish to this day.’’