He may have left the kitchen behind but Paul Rose is not putting his feet up. He spoke to Ismail Mulla about the Prince’s Trust and his aim to help small businesses.
When Paul Rose stepped down as chief executive of Rixonway Kitchens, at the back end of last year, he could have been forgiven for winding down and taking things easy.
Having led a management buyout in 2006 of the Dewsbury-based kitchen manufacturer, Mr Rose took the firm from being a £16m turnover business to £40m. Its headcount ballooned from 200 to just under 500.
The business was sold by private equity firm August Equity, which backed the MBO, to Swedish firm Nobia in a £34m deal in December 2014.
Retirement however is far from Mr Rose’s agenda. Instead the former chief executive of Rixonway has set his sights on doing what he enjoys the most – helping people.
“I like helping people. That’s what I enjoy doing,” says the industrious Mr Rose.
Post-Rixonway, Mr Rose has a very important role as chairman of the development committee for The Prince’s Trust in Yorkshire. He replaced Harrogate-based businessman Richard Jackson in November.
As chairman of the committee it is his task to help raise all-important funds to help disadvantaged young people in the region.
“We aim to help 5,000 young people in Yorkshire this year,” said Mr Rose. “It’s a big year for the Prince’s Trust, it’s the 40th anniversary of the Trust and we’re keen to develop and raise more funds so we can help more young people.”
It’s not just young people, through the Prince’s Trust, that Mr Rose is looking to help. He has also launched his own venture, Individual Investments.
Through Individual Investments Mr Rose hopes to get involved with and help small businesses. The inspiration for this latest venture came from his time spent on the board of Connect Yorkshire.
Mr Rose said: “I see lots of small businesses at Connect Yorkshire. That’s obviously a not-for-profit organisation but provides a fantastic service for small businesses.
“Through that and through other contacts I’m looking at other businesses opportunities and investments.”
Reflecting on his time at Rixonway, Mr Rose says it’s always hard stepping away from a business to which you’ve dedicated 23 years of your life.
“I think the thing that you miss most is the people. I had a really good bunch working for me and the business wouldn’t have been a success without those people,” he said.
Prior to joining Rixonway in 1992, as a sales director, Mr Rose started off his career at Shepherd Construction as a commercial trainee.
“That was sort of an apprenticeship,” says Mr Rose.
Perhaps that explains Mr Rose’s belief in apprenticeships and subsequently the numerous apprentices hired by Rixonway when he was in charge.
He said: “I’m a great believer in apprenticeships because I think you bring young people in who have a will to want to work and very quickly we found at Rixonway that it transitioned into a full-time role. We had a very good success rate, we didn’t lose very many apprentices.”
There is also a benefit to the young apprentices, who gain an opportunity and gain first-hand experience quickly.
“They’re a bit more work-ready than sometimes people from university are,” said Mr Rose.
The most remarkable aspect of Mr Rose’s tenure as chief executive though has to be that the growth Rixonway has experienced came during the recession.
“What you’ve got to recognise is that growth was achieved during a recession. We grew as a business through 2007 and 2008 when everybody else was going backwards,” he said.
Mr Rose added: “The secret to that success is to constantly look for the differentiator in the business. How can you differentiate your business from your competitors.
“We successfully sort of reinvented ourselves in the sense we were a very good manufacturing business but we reduced our lead times and just made it easier for the customer to deal with us.”
When it came to selling the business over 13 months ago, Mr Rose said Nobia offered the best option.
He said: “We had a number of interested parties both private equity and trade. The trade sale offered the best option for the business and for the existing shareholders.
“It was the right move. Nobia were the ones that came up and did the running and really wanted to buy Rixonway.”
Although he has officially left the business Mr Rose will continue as an adviser/consultant over the next 12 months.
In addition it’s also a landmark year for the Prince’s Trust, which celebrates it’s 40th anniversary.
Mr Rose said: “In the 40 years it’s helped just short of a million young people, disadvantaged young people into further education, full employment etc.
“It’s a massive year for the Trust and I think I’m right in saying that the hope is over the next ten years we can raise as much money as we have in the 40, so we can help more and more young people.”
He added that the Trust plays an important role in the region with all the money raised by the Yorkshire committee being spent in the region.
Mr Rose said: “I think it would be made more important by us raising more funds and creating more programmes to help these young disadvantaged people.
“We provide a very, very good platform in Yorkshire to help young people. I would hope that we can strengthen that over the next five to ten years and help even more young people.”
While Mr Rose can look back with some satisfaction at his tenure at Rixonway he has his sights set on doing what he loves – helping people.
Paul Rose factfile
Title: Chairman of the development committee for The Prince’s Trust in Yorkshire
Date of birth: 14.05.58
Favourite holiday destination: Skiing in Lech, Austria
Last book read: The Chimp Paradox by Dr Steve Peters
Favourite film: Taken 3
Favourite song: Too many to pick from
Cars driven: Maserati Granturismo S and Range Rover
Most proud of: My daughter, who had a brain haemorrhage when she was eight, she has gone on to do a lot of charity work and raise quite a lot of money for charities
Education: Wetherby High School