New year, new management team at Signs Express after second management buyout

The board of directors at Signs Express in Norwich following a management buy-out (L-R) Mark Poole,

The board of directors at Signs Express in Norwich following a management buy-out (L-R) Mark Poole, Ed Guichard, Carl Fisher, Jonathan Bean, Mark Harvey and Aaron Davis. Picture: Steve Wright Photography - Credit: Steve Wright Photography

The new year has begun with a new management team for the UK's largest graphics franchiser.

Jonathan Bean, managing director of Signs Express in Norwich, who took the top job following a manag

Jonathan Bean, managing director of Signs Express in Norwich, who took the top job following a management buy-out. Picture: Steve Wright Photography - Credit: Steve Wright Photography

Norwich-based Signs Express went through a management buyout late last year which saw its boss of 10 years, Craig Brown, step down.

The process was led by Jonathan Bean, who has worked for the company for 13 years, most recently as finance director, and replaced Mr Brown as managing director on January 1.

It follows a successful year for the company – which saw it expand its network of national franchises by 15% and achieve record turnover – and a two-year project to improve infrastructure and support services.

The new six-strong management team, which includes network development director Aaron Davis and commercial director Mark Harvey, will continue to implement Signs Express's 2020 vision to grow its network and revenue.


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Mr Bean said: '2017 has been a remarkable year for the business. We've proudly celebrated our 25 years in franchising and marked that milestone to help us achieve incredible growth in our network. Consequently, our trading has been exceptionally strong with our third successive record year.

'All of this adds up to a fitting tribute to Craig's tenure as managing director and both I, and the board team, are really excited about building upon that legacy.'

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Mr Brown had worked for Signs Express since its creation in 1989 and was himself at the head of a management buyout at the firm in 2013, which saw the departure of founders David Corbett and Frank Eliel.

He said: 'I genuinely believe I am leaving the business in much better shape than when I took the role of managing director and that it is poised for a really exciting future.'

Network turnover across all Signs Express franchises in 2017 was in excess of £23m, and the company believes it is 'firmly' on track to increase this to £30m by 2020. It also expects to reach its target of having 80 production centres by that year, with nine new franchisees recruited in 2017 and new branches planned throughout 2018.

It now has 66 franchises across the UK and Ireland, employing around 350 people, as well as 20 support staff employed at its head office on St Matthews Road, Norwich.

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