The ongoing plastics debate has dominated 2018 for Clifton Packaging Group chairman Shahid Sheikh, who believes that innovation coupled with export presents the biggest opportunity for printers going forwards.


Clifton Packaging Group chairman Shahid Sheikh

What’s at the top of your Christmas wish list this year?
Less bickering and mindless point-scoring and more positivity, especially in the arena of politics. For 2019 let’s just remove the ‘E’ from EGO and let’s all just ‘GO’ forwards.

What trend (business or technology) do you think 2018 will be remembered for?
The ongoing, and often misinformed ‘debate’ about ban plastics, plastic packaging and the environment. Oh, and not to forget the sacking of Jose Mourinho.

What do you think will represent the single biggest opportunity for printers in 2019 and why?
I still 100% believe in continuous investments, innovation and UK manufacturing and the competitive advantage that gives us over other European and global printers/markets.  Innovation coupled with export still gives us the single biggest opportunity in 2019, irrespective of what happens with Brexit. It’s a global village and there are plenty of markets to explore over and above Europe. Let’s do today what others are planning to do tomorrow.

What do you think will represent the single biggest threat for printers in 2019 and why?
Getting bogged down with all the rubbish that’s being talked and written about regarding Brexit and politics in general. Stop listening to it and being a slave to it and start creating your own path to business and personal success.

What’s the one thing that the industry should do more of, or do better, in 2019
Sharing best practice. That’s something I’ll be doing with the launch of our Packaging Centre of Excellence, which will be located at our headquarters here in Leicester. Entirely self-funded, it will open in the first half of 2019 and will run a proactive series of lectures and seminars for both industry professionals and those outside of our industry but with an interest in our industry. We’ll start with a debate on plastics and our environment.

What was your biggest disappointment in 2018?
Business, nothing. Personally, losing so many people who were very close to me but are all now looking down on me from above.

What was your highlight of 2018?
Being recognised as the overall winner of the Institute of Directors (IoD) East Midlands Director of the Year Awards plus winning Director of the Year for Innovation and Director of the Year for Inclusivity. That was quite a day and being recognised by your peers is incredibly special.

What are your hopes for 2019?
More of the same! Hard work, focus and reaping the rewards of that. #WorkHardPlayHarder and continue to #AspireToInspireBeforeWeExpire

What is your one-word view on Brexit?

What was the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Never follow other people’s dreams. Dreams are just for those who like to sleep so I learnt to create my own targets with clear goals to aim for.

What if anything will you do differently in 2019?
Play more chess to keep my mind active.

What’s your favourite Christmas cracker joke?
What does Miley Cyrus have for her Christmas dinner? Twerky.

What was the best Christmas present you ever received?
As a husband and father of three I couldn’t possibly answer this question without the risk of serious repercussions, so I’m going to be extremely diplomatic and say that every Christmas present is much treasured.

Are you making any New Year’s resolutions? If so, what?
No, I never do. I don’t wait for the New Year to resolve to do something differently if I see a better way to do something or a more beneficial way of doing something. I change it straight away!


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