CEO Today UK Awards 2021

About Ian Robb Glasgow-born Ian Robb left school at 16 to do a Mechanical Engineering apprenticeship. He’s held an array of roles – from machine operator and maintenance manager, all the way to managing director and divisional managing director. Ian moved to Asia 28 years ago where he spent 20 years working with Morgan Advanced Materials. Before joining The Vita Group as its new Group CEO in December 2019, he was the Global President for Morgan Advanced Materials’ Thermal Ceramics & Molten Metal Systems divisions. Previously, he’s worked in various capacities with Cape Plc and Esab AB, both divisions of the engineering firm Charter plc. Within the first threemonths of joining The VitaGroup, Ian’s key strategic imperatives were all aligned to reinforcing Vita’s leading European status and maximizing how it could benchmark production by sharing experience and technology across its 36 different sites. Since joining the company, he and his team have initiated a strong EHS (Environment, Health & Safety) and ESG (Environment Social & Governance) culture across the group; built a highly experienced and effective management team in a clear and efficient structure; introduced systemised initiatives in operational and commercial excellence and selectively invested in innovation and new product development. Ian and his team established a ‘One Vita’ approach around Vita’s newly formed purpose and values: Creating Comfort; Delivering Performance; and Enhancing Everyday life. Before starting his role, Ian spent time understanding the business environment in which The Vita Group operates. Setting a strict pre- 100-day onboarding programme before his official start date, he was able to interview key executives face-to-face. These meetings provided an assessment of their effectiveness, compatibility, and future roles within the organisation. Other elements of the programme included understanding key expectations from the business owners, the board, and the Chairman. Ian visited many sites within the European footprint, along with specific executives, to understand style and managerial effectiveness. All this activity was completed before his official start date, allowing immediate and sustainable changes to be made within the first 100 days of his tenure. Ian believes that the knowledge he gained during this period allowed him to reset the management team within the first three months of his start date. Ian’s style is based on experience, working with multiple cultures and a significant understanding of what makes people want to succeed. He shares this openly and honestly with the team to ensure they achieve success and regularly receive feedback on what works and what does not. Over the new few pages, we hear all about Ian’s tenure at The Vita Group and his plans for the organisation. Tell us a bit about the history of The Vita Group? In 1949, Norman Grimshaw formed Vitafoam Limited on £100 of capital at Glen Mill in Oldham, North West England. The company manufactured latex cushions and mattresses. Its first customer was Wrays furniture retailers in Lees, Oldham, and the original cheque payment for £39 has been preserved and retained. From these humble beginnings, a multinational company was born, which now serves hundreds of customers across Europe. We pride ourselves on the exceptional service we offer, which is why our average customer has been with us for more than 20 years and in some cases over 50 years. Headquartered in Manchester, The Vita Group is Europe’s leading flexible polyurethane foam solutions providers. We develop, manufacture, and market a wide range of value-added and differentiated flexible polyurethane foam, Talalay latex and flooring products to create comfort, quality, and functional solutions for customers. We have been leading the market with its high-quality products, leading industry innovations and sustainable solutions for over 70 years. When I took the reins inDecember 2019, the company undertook an internal restructure to create three divisions, Comfort, Technical and Flooring. Vita’s Comfort division is geared towards providing premium products and services to the Bedding and Furniture sectors, including the rapidly growing ‘bed in a box’ market, pioneered by online mattress providers. Its Technical division focuses on foam for a wide variety of sectors, including construction, automotive, aviation, and medical applications. Finally, the Flooring division encompasses the manufacture of branded and premium carpet underlays for various floor types, primarily using recycled materials from Vita’s own production process. 111 CEO TODAY UNITED KINGDOM AWARDS 2021 Manufacturing

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