We’re delighted to welcome John Chidlaw to the team as our Strategic Development Director. We’re a curious bunch (or maybe just a bit nosey), so we always like to ask a few questions when a new team member joins. Read on to find out what energises John at work, what drains him – and what football team he supports! Great to have you on our team, John!
First impressions of the UK Group?
My first impressions were mind blowing. We’re the biggest, most dynamic company in the cleaning sector and I hadn’t heard of them. It’s my job, along with my amazing team to make sure I’m that last person to think this.
What do you see as the biggest challenge of your remit?
We have grown in the past few years through merger and acquisition from £50m to £150m and gone from 2,500 colleagues to 8,500. My team is responsible for business development and marketing. I initially thought that pulling all of the businesses together as a group would be the biggest challenge. However, I have been so surprised and impressed with the level of buy-in from not only the senior management team, but from all our colleagues.
What was your first job?
My first job was working as a glass collector in the local working men’s club. My first full-time job was working for Aviva in the Independent Financial Advisers Commissions team.
What led you to this career?
I used to work for an estate agency in Sheffield, and within 6 months became their best-selling agent. Within 18 months, I won an award for being the European top seller. This agency was constantly complaining about issues with their cleaning contractors, so my entrepreneurial side kicked in and I set up my own cleaning business. I left the agency a year later to concentrate on my first cleaning business. I eventually grew the business to just under £10m turnover.
What energises you at work?
Positivity! I am always cool, calm and collected and in my 27 years in the industry I feel like I have been hit with pretty much every situation imaginable. I’ve learnt that my actions can have a positive or negative impact on my colleagues, so I always approach every situation with a positive mindset and attack everything head on. It seems to be working so far.
What drains you at work?
Negative people who always seem to find fault in everything. I usually see people like this as a project and try every option possible to change their mindset to a positive one! I also find Sheffield United fans draining being a massive Sheffield Wednesday fan!
Any work-related accomplishments you are really proud of?
Over the years I have had so many experiences. One that stands out is my first large contract win in the food manufacturing sector. This sector is so hard to win contracts in if you don’t have the right level of expertise. I won a contract worth £5.75m per annum with a large supermarket chain managing their own abattoirs and meat packing facilities. This was unheard of as the other 3 companies bidding for the work were all £bn companies and it was little old me that won the business. We then retained it for 3 further years on retender after the initial term due to the relationships we had with our client.