Electrocomponents PLC has named Marianne Culver president of RS Components, appointing a seasoned industry executive with experience in distribution and logistics to head one of the U.K.-based distributor’s biggest operating divisions. Culver’s appointment is the latest in a string of executive decisions by group CEO Lindsley Ruth to strengthen the company’s management team as it accelerates growth initiatives in Asia, Europe and North America.
Culver has worked extensively in Europe and elsewhere, having put in stints at divisions within Avnet and at global logistics services provider TNT where she last worked as managing director of the company’s U.K. division. Prior to that she worked at Premier Farnell, the distributor recently purchased by Avnet. At Premier Farnell, Culver served as executive director of the company’s transformation and supply chain/supplier management operation. She is expected to leverage these experiences in her new position at RS Components, a division that now lies at the heart of Electrocomponents’ expansion and growth initiatives in Europe and in Asia, according to company executives.
“[Marianne’s] wealth of global distribution experience means she is extremely well positioned to take RS forward,” Ruth said in a statement. “Her energy, commitment and strong customer focus will be invaluable to our organization as we progress on our journey to deliver best-in-class results for suppliers, customers and shareholders.”
In addition to Culver, Electrocomponents now has senior executives drawn from various parts of the globe, many of them with extensive international experience and skills from all segments of the high-tech market. The company this year appointed David Egan as its new CFO. Egan's mandate includes improving return on investment and streamlining financial reporting at the different regional divisions. Other executives that have joined the company have been charged with keeping customers at the heart of Electrocomponents’ operation. Culver, too, hinted at this in a statement announcing her appointment. (See: Electrocomponents’ Ruth: ‘The Team is in Place’).
“RS is a strong brand with great recognition in the industry,” Culver said. “I am excited by the opportunity that we have to put the customer back at the heart of this business and drive faster growth and an improved performance.”
There are signs the renewed focus on a stronger and more responsive relationship with customers is already paying off. Earlier this month Electrocomponents announced stronger-than-expected results for the first half of its 2017 fiscal year, helping to push its stocks up on the London Stock Exchange where analysts say it has become one of the top performers this year.
“Electrocomponents Plc has shown good performance overall, both over the last one year (at 60.18%) as well as over the last month (at 22.41%),” analysts at CapitalCube said in a recent report. “Share price performance over the last month, though has been lower than that over the last year. But Electrocomponents Plc’s stock has done better than its overall peer group whose performance was 5.56% over the last month.”
Electrocomponents’ sales rose 13 percent in the fiscal 2017 first half ended September 30, to £706.3 million, ($882 million), from £626.5 million, in the prior fiscal first half. The company said headline profit before tax rose to £55.1 million from £31.3 million while net debt fell to £140.9 million from £169.6 million. Gross profit margins were relatively unchanged at 43.6 percent.
“One year on from the launch of the Performance Improvement Plan, I am extremely pleased by the progress we are making to put the customer back at the heart of this business, increase accountability and operate for less,” Ruth said in a statement announcing the results. “We have seen significant growth in both profits and cash flow during the first half of our financial year."
Ruth added: "However, while we have taken a major step forward, we are only just at the beginning of this journey and still a long way from best in class. We remain extremely focused on delivering a further step change in the performance of this organization and are excited about the significant potential for further improvement and growth.”
Other highlights announced with the latest results include:
- 2017 cost savings ahead of plan: £13m delivered in H1. Raising March 2017 savings target to £18m versus £15m
- We now expect to deliver £30m of total annualized net savings by March 2018 (previous guidance at least £25m)
- Significant progress in Asia Pacific, losses reduced to £4.2m versus £13.2m in H1 2016.
- Improved customer experience: Group customer satisfaction rating (Net Promoter Score) up 9% to 42.1
- Online customer satisfaction up 60% year on year in August 2016. Online speed improved by 33% year on year
- Successful repositioning of own brand range, RS Pro, (12.6% of revenues) with 6.6% growth in H1