John Newcomb

The BMF appoints a new MD

Published:  23 July, 2012

UK: The Builders Merchants Federation has appointed John Newcomb as managing director with effect from 1 August 2012.

Mr Newcomb has extensive recent experience in DIY and housewares as well as prior knowledge of the merchanting industry. He joins BMF from Imperial International, one of the fastest growing housewares suppliers in the UK, where he was commercial director. Mr Newcomb also has first-hand knowledge of trade associations, with a 15-year involvement with BHETA, the British Home Enhancement Trade Association, the last two years as President.

Mr Newcomb is no stranger to the builders merchant sector, having spent several years in senior marketing and managing director roles with manufacturers supplying this sector, including H&R Johnson, Sandvik Saws & Tools UK and Addis Group, where independent merchants were a key customer group for commercial cleaning products.

Commenting on his appointment, Mr Newcomb said: “I am excited to have the opportunity to lead the BMF into its next phase. I am impressed by the Board’s vision for BMF and my role is to implement it. I am joining BMF at a challenging time, but there are many similarities to my time as President of BHETA. They also had to make structural changes, recruit new executive directors and relocate their operation. I will miss the housewares industry, but I don’t see the merchant sector as a radical departure and, with my past experience I am looking to bring a fresh pair of eyes to the role.

“The first 100 days is critical to someone coming into a new role. With distance from the merchanting industry, it is far easier to have a helicopter view of what is working and what isn’t, and to understand what members are really looking for.

“The priority for any trade association is its members. The first thing I need to do is to fully understand the opportunities and threats facing the industry, and the strengths and weaknesses of the current organisation. I need to assess what BMF currently offers its members, what we do well, what we don’t do so well, and what else we could offer.

“Relocation is another priority. BMF is not only moving to a new home, we also need to develop a new culture. My role is to hone a new organisation of like-minded people who will create opportunities to develop and build the organisation to support its members. At heart I am a brand marketer and I recognise the importance of the BMF brand. It’s a great brand, but we need to build its reputation once more with members, with the wider industry and with government. The bigger, the stronger the brand, the more influence it will have in government circles. I’m hugely ambitious for this organisation, and can’t wait to start.”

It has taken several months to make the appointment, but BMF Chairman, Terry Parker believes that taking time to find the right person for the job will pay dividends. “The Board was looking for a rare mix of commercial experience and understanding of both being a member of a trade organisation and the running of one. In John we all feel we have just that. Whilst not working for a merchant, John has worked for several companies who trade in our sector. More importantly, his background of senior commercial roles in a related industry and membership and recent Presidency of BHETA brings both understanding and a fresh approach and expertise to the role, that can only benefit BMF and its members going forward.”

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