Chairman clocks up half a century of service

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IN an age of upheaval, it’s rare to find a senior manager who has clocked up half a century of service with the same firm.

Roberts Mart & Co’s chairman John Roberts has done just that, and he still keeps the younger generation on their toes by getting in ahead of the other directors each morning.

Mr Roberts has been with the Yorkshire-based flexible packaging printers since 1964, and he took over operational control of the firm from his father Peter in 1974.

He later handed over the day-to-day management to his two sons, William and Ben - the sixth generation of the Roberts family to be in charge - in 2009.

The business has changed dramatically during John Roberts’ service; from being predominately a commercial printer and paper bag manufacturer to a company at the cutting edge of the packaging market.

Mr Roberts oversaw a significant change 10 years ago, when Roberts Mart moved from Bank Mills on the Leeds waterfront to a new manufacturing facility on the outskirts of the city at Thornes Farm Way.

There are no signs that the innovative Mr Roberts plans to slow down.

Company director, William Roberts, said: “He has been a real stalwart at Roberts Mart. To complete 50 years’ service is a remarkable achievement and he still gets in early each day and opens the post”

Roberts Mart was founded by William Roberts in 1852.

It employs around 170 people across both its sites in Leeds, at Thornes Farm Way, and its subsidiary company Romar Packaging, a specialist packaging film business based at Newmarket Lane on the edge of Leeds.

The company’s success shows that family firms can still prosper during periods when many smaller enterprises are being swallowed up by multi-nationals.

To help expansion into new markets, Roberts Mart has spent more than £13m over the last nine years on its manufacturing site.