New boss for Axminster Tool company

PUBLISHED: 10:11 19 July 2016 | UPDATED: 09:27 22 July 2016

Alan Styles

Alan Styles


Alan Styles takes charge of booming family business which employes almost 300 people

Axminster Tools and Machinery – the town’s biggest employer with 290 staff - has a new man at the helm.

Alan Styles has taken charge of the family run business from his uncle Ian Styles.

The new managing director is the eldest son of Bernie and Marjorie Styles who are also involved in the firm.

He holds a degree and an MBA, and has been with the company since leaving university almost 20 years ago.

During this time he has worked in virtually every area including customer service, retail and servicing, gaining a detailed understanding of the business. He has held the positions of customer services manager, office manager, purchasing director and most recently sales director. He has seen the company grow rapidly since he joined.

He said: “Gaining the relevant qualifications, experience and more importantly learning from colleagues, customers and other industries over the years, has given me good grounding for this business, so I believe I am very engaged with the function and operation of the company. In my role as a director I have also had the opportunity to visit many of our customers which I feel has given me a real insight to our market.”

Family man Alan is married to Emma and they have two daughters and live in Kilmington. Alan is active in the community, being an ambassador for Devon and helping with local initiatives in education and business. He is also a court assistant for The Furniture Makers’ Company, a charity which actively supports welfare, training and education for the furniture industry which in turn contributes £40bn to the UK’s economy.

Paying tribute to his uncle he said: “I feel humbled at taking on the role from Ian and would like to thank him for his dedication. I am passionate about our company, our products, customers, processes and people and I am strongly committed to its success in the future. Ian will still be very much involved at board level, as he has been at the helm for a very long time, holds a wealth of knowledge and, along with my family and other board members, has made this company what it is today.

“We do have a strong name for customer values, knowledge and availability. This is backed up by a strong ethos of service and honesty which is supported by the loyal and enthusiastic people I work with. Our processes and operation are impressive, but there’s always room for improvement so I will be working with all areas to see what improvements we can make on an ongoing basis.”

Axminster Tools and Machinery was founded in 1972 by Alan’s grandfather Ron Styles and the late Graham Brown, and first traded from retail premises on Chard Street, in Axminster. More than 40 years on, the company is now a successful multi-million pound business with just under 300 employees, a strong online presence, a string of ever-increasing retail outlets and a field sales force selling to prestigious organisations such as Pinewood Studios, Ascot Racecourse, The National Trust and Sunseeker (yachts).

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