Former Norwich family firm ESE Direct looks to fresh era under new chief

Jackie Wells, the managing director at ESE Direct.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Jackie Wells, the managing director at ESE Direct.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

A business which has stepped away from family ownership into a new era under a national PLC has appointed a new managing director.

Jackie Wells, the managing director at ESE Direct.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Jackie Wells, the managing director at ESE Direct.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

Norwich-based industrial business supplies company ESE Direct, a former Future50 company, was sold to rival Slingsby in March 2015 by former owner Simon Francis.

And while the new era will bring investment in technology, ESE Direct is retaining its identity and will remain a separate business, according to new chief Jackie Wells.

Mrs Wells, who joined the firm four weeks ago after a spell working in Australia, said: 'At the moment we are in the process of implementing a new computer system. It will mean we can process orders faster and gain a clearer insight in our customers' data.'

The 48-year-old said the change of ownership would enable ESE Direct to have greater buying power, and pass on savings to customers.


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She added the team of 28 people was likely to remain the same, and the new computer system would allow the company to grow by using their skills elsewhere in the business.

While turnover last year remained flat at £6.4m, the plan is to grow the business to £10m within five years.

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'We would like to concentrate on the UK and once we know we are doing the right thing and servicing our customers that's when we can start thinking about growing it,' said Mrs Wells.

Established as Eastern Storage Equipment by Brian Francis in 1975, the Northumberland Road firm began as a traditional field sales business before diversifying into mail order in 1984.

Mr Francis's son Simon took over as managing director in 1999, and its first online ordering website was launched in 2000.

Are you planning to sell your business? Email sabah.meddings@archant.co.uk or call 01603 772879.

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