UK based crane rental company Ainscough Crane Hire has appointed Peter Gibbs as chief executive, Andrew Tyler as chairman and Ian Scapens as chief financial officer.
Tyler, 53, an accomplished scientist and business manager, spent the first 17 years of his career with the BMT group, starting out in 1989 as a senior marine scientist, before becoming managing director of BMT Marine Information Services, and later its Defence Services division and finally group operations director in 2005. After a year in the job he left to join the UK’s Ministry of Defence as chief operating officer of its procurement and support organisation. In 2011 he was appointed as chief executive of wind turbine manufacturer Siemens Marine Current Turbines, leaving for aerospace and defence contractor Northrop Grumman in 2013 as chief executive of its European business. In 2018 he joined modular space company Algeco as chief executive, a role he held until the end of last year.
He has also served as non-executive chairman of Sealand Support Solutions and Kite Power Solutions and was president of the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology until April of this year. He has also operated as a consultant for a number of years, as owner of Ancient Horse.
Paulo Eapen, senior managing director of GSO Europe, part of GSO Capital Partners which manages the majority of funds that own Ainscough Cranes, said: “We are delighted to appoint Andrew as chairman of Ainscough Crane Hire. Andrew brings a wealth of relevant experience in industrials and support services, as well as deep market knowledge. His addition complements and adds to the strengths of the existing executive team, under the leadership of Peter Gibbs. We look forward to working together in building on Ainscough’s success as the UK’s leading crane hire company.”
Gibbs,57, is currently chief operating officer and has been running the company since the sudden departure of Jeremy Fry in March, just two months after his interim position was confirmed - see:Ainscough CEO departs. He joined the company in May 2018 from food services supplier Brakes where he was a director.
His career began in 1982 as an officer in the British Army, during his time with the military he completed an MBA and, having served for 18 years, left to join food wholesaler Palmer & Harvey, moving up through the ranks to become director of its south eastern distribution centres. In 2006 he moved to TDG Logistics as operations director of TDG Ireland before moving to food distributor GIST two years later in the role of commercial director. The following year he took up a similar role at Reynolds Catering Supplies, joining Brakes in 2014.
Ian Scapens, 46, joins the company as chief financial officer, having left industrial chain and drive component group Renold PLC in March, where he has been chief financial officer since 2017. He is not new to the equipment rental sector though, having spent almost 10 years with Speedy Hire, starting out as mergers & acquisitions director in 2005 after three years with Deloitte and following two years with Arthur Andersen, having started out in 1995.
At Speedy he was promoted to integration director in 2007, finance director of the engineering division the following year and finance director for the UK and Ireland a few months later. In late 2010 he was appointed as group financial controller, a job he held until his departure in 2015, when he moved to Keepmoat as chief financial officer, leaving for Renold at the start of 2017.
The new chairman Andrew Tyler, said: “These appointments further strengthen Ainscough’s great executive team, now under Peter’s leadership. I am much looking forward to continuing to serve our customers and build on the reputation the company has established over many years as the UK’s only nationwide mobile crane operator, working in partnership with our customers.”
Ainscough has struggled with its leadership ever since the MBO partners led by Neil Partridge stepped down in 2013. Partridge was followed by Robin Richardson who while not well liked by many within the company, did least oversee an acquisition or two and a change of ownership, although friction between him and the company’s operators erupted in a series of devastating strikes in 2016. Shortly afterwards he handed over to Janet Entwistle who won over most of the operators and seemed to have been well respected both internally and by major customers alike. She made a sudden departure last March and was replaced on an interim basis by Jeremy Fry, he was confirmed as the permanent chief executive at the start of this year and departed suddenly just two months later.
Peter Gibbs has two years experience with the company now and appears to be doing a decent job, with a series of new depot openings and refurbishments, while seemingly keeping the major customers satisfied. Ian Scapens brings some extensive UK rental industry experience, while having worked with a major public company. The new chairman is a well respected individual, with strong connections that could prove useful for the business. His job will be as much to keep the owners happy/occupied in order to leave the management free to run the business as it is to open doors and protect shareholders interests.
While it might not seem obvious to some, this could prove to be a good senior management team for both employees and customers, and if they are satisfied the returns should come and the owners will be satisfied. But that depends on the UK crane hire industry, which all too often makes a decent annual return a major challenge.