Brandauer charts growth with John Crabtree appointed new chairman

BIRMINGHAM-based precision pressings and stampings specialist Brandauer has appointed one of the West Midlands’ senior business figures as its new chairman.

John Crabtree joins the firm as part of its ongoing expansion plans that have seen it target the £10m sales milestone in 2012.

The experienced corporate lawyer replaces John Berkeley, who is retiring as chairman after 18 years on the board.

It will be only the second time in its 150-year history that a non-family chairman leads the family-owned business, which supplies complex components for the automotive, electronics, renewables and security detection markets.

Mr Crabtree said: “I am delighted to be appointed as the next chairman of Brandauer in what is a very special year for the business.

“Manufacturing and Birmingham are two things I’m very passionate about and I’ve been very impressed with how the company has evolved in recent years and continues to be at the forefront of new innovation and technology.

“The 150th anniversary is a wonderful opportunity to both celebrate Brandauer’s history and tradition and to build on those foundations for the years ahead.”

He said one his roles would be to use his experience to identify possible acquisitions.

“This could be an ideal way to accelerate penetration into new markets,” he added.

Trained as a corporate lawyer, Mr Crabtree has become one of the West Midlands’ most influential business figures after a career that has taken in Wragge & Co, Staffline Group, Glenn Howells Associates and technology law firm White & Black.

He was a director at regional development agency Advantage West Midlands for six years and in that role he was responsible for the launch and development of online stock exchange Investbx (now Finance Birmingham). He has also been president of Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry and for many years, chairman of Birmingham’s Hippodrome Theatre.

Manufacturing and industry have also been a big part of his recent career, serving as chairman of Metalrax Group, Claimar Group, Real Estate Investors, SLR Holdings and Truck East.

Mr Berkeley said: “This is a very exciting time for Brandauer and the fact we have been able to attract a business leader like John Crabtree illustrates how much potential there is.

“His knowledge of industry, managing rapid business growth and his network of contacts will all be invaluable in helping us achieve our objectives for the next ten years and I and the other family directors look forward to working with him.”

Brandauer, one of 10 companies that make up MAN (Midlands Assembly Network), produces in excess of 4m parts every week for customers across the globe, with 75% heading overseas to China and the United States.