Changes in the STI group10 January 2001
Following an internal review of the organisational structure of Scottish Tanning Industries Ltd certain changes have been implemented to combat the difficulties being caused by the continuing weakness of the Euro against Sterling. At the beginning of December, John Henderson took over the role of managing director of Bridge of Weir from Jonathan Muirhead, who will be concentrating his efforts on marketing and new business development. Mr Muirhead remains involved in the development of the ongoing manufacturing and business development strategies of the STI group in his capacity as a main board director. The changes also saw Iain MacFadyan replace Robert Dickinson as managing director at WJ & W Lang. Bridge of Weir Leather are world renowned manufacturers of car upholstery and supply the likes of Volvo, Saab, Renault, Honda, and other major car makers. They also supply seats to airlines, including BA, Singapore Airlines, KLM, and Japan Airlines, as well as companies which make office seating. However, the largest part of the business is supplying the car industry. The company, whose business is 95% export, said the pound's strength has made their product uncompetitive against European suppliers. The problems of the high hide prices and the resistance of the car manufacturers to accept higher leather prices has meant that jobs have been lost from the workforce of 374. However, Mr Henderson said: 'We are effecting cost savings leading to a continuity that would not have been possible if these changes, at both Bridge of Weir and within the group, had not been implemented.' 'I am confident about the future. We have a high skills base and a great deal of commitment, both of which are leading to better profitability. While there has been a reduction on the production front, this has been carried out selectivity.' Mr Henderson pointed out that the difficulties lay solely with Bridge of Weir and has been caused by the problems highlighted above. 'The other members of the Scottish Tanning Industries Group, Garston Leather Co, WJ & W Lang, NCT and Andrew Muirhead, are all performing to the targets and requirements of the group', he commented.