Components manufacturer Ford Aerospace Limited and Ford Component Manufacturing Ltd (Ford) has appointed a new managing director – the joint youngest in its 103-year history.
Chris Ford, 28, is the son of chairman Geoff Ford MBE and great-grandson of founder Robert Ford and progresses to the role having spent 10 months as finance director.
The new MD said he is looking forward to overseeing the two companies which, between them, employ more than 160 people across three North East sites and exports across the globe, this year seeing sales top £11m for the first time.
Chris Ford said: “Over the past year I’ve become involved in all areas of its work and operations and this feels like a very natural progression, one that is right for me and for both companies.
“Ford is doing very well at home and abroad, so what we do won’t change but how we do it will, to a degree. I believe we can progress even further by slightly modifying the way our staff work together and that more flexibility and team working is the way forward to maximise the full potential of the company as well as each and every one of our employees.
“I am extremely proud to be carrying on the family tradition, and I know my father is too. There are exciting challenges ahead and the future is extremely bright.”
Robert Ford was 29 when he founded the firm in 1910. His son, also Robert, was 28 when he became managing director in 1944. Geoff Ford was 31 when he attained the title in 1975. Geoff said: “Chris is very well qualified for his new role. He has learned from our previous MD and myself and has picked up lots of experience along the way. Ford is in very safe hands.”
Exports are key to Ford’s continued expansion. In the past financial year around £9m was made for the UK but more than half the £900,000 sales increase – which built on 2012’s £10.1m turnover - came from expansion overseas, meaning exports jumped from £1.45m to £2m.
The company is targeting £15m of sales within three years.