Appointments: Provident Financial, Premier Farnell, AMRC, AMT Group

THE University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre has hired a chief executive officer.

Colin Sirett, formerly head of research in the UK for Airbus, has joined the team.

Mr Sirett left school at 16 for an apprenticeship, rather than taking A Levers.

He said: “I liked the idea of earning money and I had heard that you stood a chance that one of the local companies would sponsor you through a degree.

“This country lost its way when it started forcing young people to go straight to university, which is why what is happening now at the AMRC Training Centre is so massively important. Just look at who is at the helm of many of the UK’s leading engineering companies and you will find many former apprentices who gained qualifications while they were at work.”

On the AMRC, Mr Sirett said: “The AMRC can not only drive technological development, it can also translate it into production technology that can go straight onto the shop floor at companies around the world – and that, I believe, makes the AMRC quite unique.

“Everyone wants to push hard and that means there will be further growth, but it cannot be unconstrained, it has to be managed. That’s my key role; making sure we face up to the challenges of growth and turn the organisation into a strong business for the future and a business that can keep on growing.”


A CHIEF executive has been appointed at Premier Farnell.

Jos Opdeweegh joins the team from Neovia Logistics, where he led the carve out from Caterpillar.

There he was also chief executive, having spent 16 years in senior management positions in North American industrial companies.

Interim chief executive Mark Whiteling will assume the role of deputy chief executive. He has been in the interim role since 2012, when a double defection led to Harriet Green and chief financial officer Nicholas Cadbury left within six months of each other.

In February, the business offloaded its fire-fighting equipment business Akron Brass.

Val Gooding, chairman of Premier Farnell, said: “Following an extensive global search, we are delighted to appoint Jos as Chief Executive of Premier Farnell. His international experience and achievements in enhancing value for shareholders in a number of different businesses provide a strong platform for the next stage of Premier Farnell’s development.”


LENDER Provident Financial has welcomed Jonathan Vardon as chief information officer of its consumer credit division.

Mr Vardon works with managing director Mark Stevens in this newly created role. He joins from IT service provider UST Global, where he was chief digital officer for Europe and global head of retail.

He has worked for Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group and Boots, where he led their digital transformation.

Managing director Mr Stevens said: “Jonathan has enormous experience in change management and IT implementation. He will play a key role in supporting an exciting phase of business growth by ensuring our technology continues to adapt to ever evolving customer preferences. I’m delighted to have him in board.”



A NATIONAL fleet manager has joined the AMT Group.

David Edgington has more than 30 years’ experience in the automotive sector.

Prior to his appointment he worked for Listers Group for 17 years where he was fleet director.

Neil McGawley, managing director of AMT Group, said: “David has considerable expertise in the automotive industry and will bring invaluable skills to the team as we continue to build our presence across the UK.”