Richard Swart, left, and Matt Boyle with their manufacturing awards
Jamie Hardesty

Two North East leaders make Manufacturer’s Top 100

Two North East industry chiefs have been named among the top 100 manufacturing leaders in the country, following recommendations from industry peers.

Gaining recognition in The Manufacturer’s Top 100 report are Richard Swart, UK MD of Durham-based Berger Group Europe, and Matt Boyle, CEO of Tyneside-based low carbon vehicle firm Sevcon.

South African-born Richard has supported the global export ambitions of hundreds of businesses and is a committed ambassador for his adopted North East.

He is chairman of international trade with the North East England Chamber of Commerce and has been instrumental in improving the fortunes of German-owned stock-listed Berger.

Matt Boyle joined Sevcon in 1996 as chief operating officer and was made CEO a year later.

The Gateshead company designs and manufactures high quality motor controllers and system components for all kinds of hybrid and electric vehicles with partners ranging from super car makers to fork lift truck, bus and electric motorcycle manufacturers.

The Manufacturer Top 100 report is published by The Manufacturer magazine every year. It was set up in 2014 to improve the image of manufacturing and provide a platform to publicly identify dynamic leaders and innovators in the industry.

The awards were announced during a drinks reception at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.

Richard said: “I’m delighted with the nomination, it means a great deal as it’s voted for by my peers and I’m in very good company.

“The challenge for UK manufacturing and the country as a whole is immense given the pending Brexit negotiations and it is vital that businesses use whatever limited influence they may have to strive for the best possible outcome, ensuring also that Great Britain remains great, and the United Kingdom remains united.”

Geoff Ford, chairman of Ford Aerospace who nominated Richard and Matt said: “Richard is an ideal role model in the North East, and further afield.

“His drive, passion and enthusiasm are an example to us all, in terms of anything being possible if you are sufficiently determined. His inclusion in the 100 most influential figures in UK manufacturing is very well deserved.”

Matt commented: “This award is testament to the efforts of the Sevcon team. We’re a business with a proud history of innovation and manufacturing excellence.

“Our focus is fixed firmly on the future and the global electrification transition. We are at the forefront of this ongoing shift from the internal combustion engine to electric vehicles and our exciting future plans aim to ensure we maintain our market-leading position.”

Max Roberts, vice president and UK leader of manufacturing & automotive, salesforce, and TM Top 100 judge 2016, added: “The individuals showcased in The Manufacturer Top 100 are changing the face of British manufacturing and redefining the industrial landscape as we know it.

“Their innovation is pioneering new ways of engagement, and together with these visionaries, we can provide the tools required to write our future.

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