Heidelberg has appointed the successor for UK managing director Gerard Heanue, who retires at the end of April.
Ryan Miles, who is currently managing director of Heidelberg South Africa, will officially take over Heanue’s role as managing director of Heidelberg UK [HUK] and head of cluster Northern Europe from 1 April.
Miles and Heanue will then have a handover before Heanue fully retires from the business at the end of April.
“Ryan knows the business, knows the team in the UK, knows how to run an SSU (sales & service unit), and he’s got the right skillset [for HUK], so I think it will be a light handover,” said Heanue.
Having worked in the industry for almost 15 years, including spells at Kodak SA and Itec SA, qualified accountant Miles took on the lead role at Heidelberg South Africa five years ago, when he was recruited by Heanue.
Heanue described 43-year-old Miles as his natural successor, and first proposed him for the role this time last year when he informed the Heidelberg board that he was planning to retire.
“So, I’m delighted he’s got the position, because he’s the right person for it. With his age profile too, it’s a generational shift and future proofing the business.”
Miles will initially commute to the UK weekly, before relocating his young family over the summer.
“I’ve got some large shoes to fill, so it’s quite daunting but very exciting at the same time,” said Miles.
Having already spent some time with UK customers, Miles said he was well aware of the differences between the South Africa and UK markets, with the former still predominately made up of micro businesses running older, less productive kit.
“The UK is industrialised and highly productive and the market consolidation is far more advanced, whereas in South Africa there are still many family-run shops and on the commercial side it’s still going through tremendous amount of consolidation,” he said.
Miles said he was looking forward to working with the UK team, meeting more customers and bringing a fresh perspective to the UK business.
“Heidelberg UK is a very successful organisation. I want to continue the good work that has already been done, but I think now technology has changed and we live in this new digitised world there’s an opportunity to take the business, and our customers, forward.”