How did this man go from warehouse packer to MD of a global medical supply company?

Simon Leggett

The man who began his working life in a warehouse packing boxes and rose to be the company boss, has been appointed MD of a global medical supply company.

Simon Leggett literally started his career at the very bottom working his way up to enjoy a high flying career in sales, marketing and business leadership.

Early ambition to join the Office Depot (Pentagon) sales team quickly paid off where he spent 16 years learning the trade before taking a whistle-stop career path to the very top.

He has now taken on the MD role at SP Services in Telford, Shropshire – a long established company respected in the medical supply field with clients including the NHS, MOD and the United Nations.

It was Simon who chose SP Services with a desire to take the already well run SME to the next level.

Not surprisingly, he passed his interview with company founder, Steve Bray, with flying colours.

Steve, who plans to continue as a hands on director of the family business he founded almost 30 years ago, says Simon has the perfect global business experience to expand the company.

Business growth is his forte with a resume which includes sales director at office supplies company Staples and main board director at education and care supplies provider, The Consortium.

As MD of Timstar, he helped turn around and relocate a company selling science equipment into schools with £1 million growth in the first year. He also has international sales experience helping a Wisconsin firm, Wall Family Enterprise, which owns a number of businesses in Shropshire and the surrounding region.

But Simon has never forgotten his roots on the road to success, and has empathy with employees after starting his working life as a 16-year-old packing office supplies in a Basingstoke warehouse for Pentagon Stationers.

At the time, he was told by fellow workers, that he would never ‘make it’ to be a picker – a job in the warehouse.

He explained: “I don’t have a degree. My mum got me my first job and I pestered the sales manager Eammon Fitzgerald for a job selling stationery. He gave me an opportunity and changed my life forever.

“The immortal words that I would never make it to “picker” have always kept me motivated and still ring loud.”

Today, Simon has already made the tea for the team of 40 at SP Services, and held meetings with the Service Delivery Team which deals with clients in the UK, Europe and Middle East as well as across the world. In addition Simon has already taken the opportunity to promote Amy Owens, an existing employee, from within the finance team rather than automatically recruit from outside the company.

Simon said: “My role as MD is to simply to harness, coach and develop the existing expertise within the business and enable the team to work together to deliver outstanding results for our customers. It doesn’t have to be any more complicated than that.”

Over the years, business has meant working away from home for days on end with nights in hotels and transatlantic trips.

Now Simon (50), lives near Ruabon, near the Wales and Shropshire border and enjoys a 45 minute commute to SP Services at its HQ in Hortonwood which has easy access to the Midlands motorway links providing a distribution network across the UK and abroad.

He added: “SP Services is already a very successful firm with an excellent 30 year reputation as a medical supplier. They have knowledge, respect, accreditations across the board which are second to none. I don’t intend to destroy any of that. It has taken 30 years to build. Steve has taken a step back and first and foremost I’ve got to work with the team to fill that void and maintain what he has done.

“The hardest thing in business is to resist making quick changes. I’ve seen the culture in big business where change is made for the sake of change and it sends a company backwards.

“I aim to understand the business and then to tweak it. This company does not need open heart surgery. There is a good team here and I want to add to it. It’s steady as she goes but I can see some opportunities.”