Wilkinson chief to head up SIG

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Chris Davies is to step down as chief executive of top Sheffield company SIG after five years as chief executive and 19 years with the leading European specialist building products distributor.

His place will be taken by Stuart Mitchell, chief executive of Worksop-based Wilkinson Hardware Stores.

Mr Mitchell will join the company in December and take over as chief executive when Mr Davies leaves in March.

Chris Davies, right, is 58 and has been at the helm whilst SIG has faced some of the toughest times in its history.

He has spearheaded a substantial rationalisation programme that has led to major job cuts as SIG fought successfully to return to profit against a background of a deep recession affecting customers in the construction industry.

SIG chairman Leslie Van de Walle said: “Chris leaves SIG in good shape and in good hands.

“As CEO, he has further strengthened our European business, integrated and focused our UK operations, rejuvenated our senior management team and ensured that we have a robust balance sheet and a solid platform for future growth.

“On behalf of the Board I would like to thank Chris for his major contribution to the Group and the strong leadership he has shown as CEO through challenging times.”

Before becoming chief executive of Wilkinson, Stuart Mitchell was managing director of A S Watson (Taiwan), part of Hong Kong-based multinational conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa, and managing director of J Sainsbury.

New of Mr Davies’ departure came as SIG released its interim management statement.

The company says market volumes have declined slightly, but it has focused on improving business performance and remains on track to meet its expectations, subject to any exceptional adverse weather conditions in the remainder of the year.

The group says it is continuing to keep a tight control on operating costs and is on track to deliver further efficiency savings.