July 27th, 2018

Letter from the
Chief Executive Andrew Davis

Following on from my Father's letter to staff and clients last month, it seemed natural that I should give an update from the office of the Chief Executive. I was invited to take the reins of the family firm in April 2001 and I have been working here ever since, so that's unbelievably almost 18 years ago.

I started my career at the accountancy firm BDO that in my day was called Stoy Hayward, then joined the sweat shop that is Proudfoot Consulting before gaining an MBA from Manchester Business School, where amongst other things I met my wife (I know now it stands for Marry a Beautiful Accountant!). I then worked at IBM Consulting before joining American Express in 1996. I worked in their finance department before transferring to Corporate Services where I was able to use not only my business skills but also my languages as I travelled and worked across Europe.

It was then in 2001 when I had a series of lengthy conversations with my Father, when he managed to persuade me that the time was right to join him here. Having worked for two giant American behemoths, coming back into the family business seemed very strange at first, but working in mere hundreds of pounds rather than millions or even billions of dollars every day is actually much more like the real world and also more fun.

Although I have been an employee here for only (!) a third of my lifetime, I have actually been involved for much longer than that. I used to help out every summer holiday and got to know not only the processes but also the people very well. In the days before electronic communication, forming a company was a long and complex process that, unlike today, required quite a lot of human intervention.

I have such strong memories of my Father sitting at the kitchen table signing stacks and stacks of paper, ready for when a client would order an off-the-shelf company for which he would be a nominee director merely for the purposes of getting a company incorporated. Honestly today's youngsters don't know how lucky they are!

When the first offer came from Robert Maxwell to buy the company in 1987, I was asked if I wanted to take the business over before a sale was negotiated. I knew in my mid-twenties I had so much more to learn and wanted to pursue my own career path. Little did I know that 20 years later I would end up back where it all began, although of course the business had completely changed.

We now have a thriving international department, offering UK companies to clients overseas and offshore companies to UK clients. Acquiring York Place Company Services in Leeds in 2005 made us a leading player in the property search industry which is still true today. We have also learnt over the years that in business, as in life, going through your fair share of peaks and troughs is inevitable. This is due not only to internal issues but external as well, and in our industry, legislation plays a huge part.

Our property department was particularly affected in 2010 when the new Cameron Tory government scrapped the Home Information Pack overnight, thereby presenting us with a unique set of challenges. We are constantly kept on our toes looking for new avenues and new ways of doing things so that we can remain at the forefront of the industry.

Our Irish acquisition, Brady & Co, is probably the best example of our rollercoaster experience. The recession in Ireland hit us hard a few years ago, but now things are booming again thanks to a strong economy and the effects of Brexit. Our international department has seen a significant increase in requests for Irish companies and a good number of our UK professional clients are opening offices in Dublin.

The recent acquisition of A1 Company Services, together with its many brands, has made us even more of a leading player in the formations industry. The future with them on board as part of our ever-expanding group is very exciting. They were always one to watch for their technology and digital advances, and we welcome this added innovation into the group.

Our IT team has expanded rapidly as we continue to develop our proprietary platforms and websites designed to make our processes faster, more efficient and easier to work with.

For us client service has always been a top priority and that principle is as strong today as it has ever been and it must remain so. I would like to think that our strong and loyal client base that we have cultivated over the years think so too. To them I say thank you and I hope in the future we will be able to continue to provide the standard of excellence that has long been synonymous with the Stanley Davis name.

Andrew Davis

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