Martin Doyle has been appointed as operations director for Pegasus World, a textiles and fulfilment company, which is based at Logic Leeds by Junction 45 of the M1.
The two men first worked together in 2005 when Mr Doyle was head of the Phones 4u store in York and Mr Zhou took a weekend job there as a salesman while at the University of York.
Mr Doyle said: “Ivan was a brilliant salesman, even though English was his second language after Chinese.
"I knew he’d go far, but I didn’t realise he’d go so far as to run a hugely successful textile and fulfilment company – and end up employing me.
“We had always kept in touch as friends and I watched in admiration as he set up Pegasus, which has grown to be one of the most successful textile companies in the North of England.
“After Phones 4u went into liquidation in 2014, I joined HSS Hire, where I enjoyed working – but I absolutely jumped at the chance to join Ivan at Pegasus when he approached me. We worked very well together at Phones 4u and there’s no doubt we will again now, despite the role reversal."
Mr Zhou added: “Not everyone has happy memories of their first boss, but I do. Martin was a massive support to me in my first job and gave me the support and confidence I needed to be a good salesman. His strong work ethic, personal skills and intelligence will make him a tremendous asset at Pegasus.”
Mr Doyle joins Pegasus as the company plans for the post-Covid economy. When the UK went into its first lockdown last March, Mr Zhou realised that only supplying textiles to the hospitality industry put his business in a precarious position. He quickly added another division - cleaning and hygiene - providing products such as hand sanitisers, wipes and face masks for offices and retailers.
The initial strategy worked and sales at Pegasus increased by 40 per cent last year. Mr Zhou decided to completely reorganise the group into a number of new targeted business divisions: healthcare, cleaning, chefwear, aprons, textiles, homeware, and green earth - textiles made from recycled materials.
Pegasus is building a 65,000 sq ft warehouse near its headquarters at Logic Leeds, which is expected to create 15 to 20 jobs in the coming years. The building, which will undergo a £1m plus fit-out when it’s completed, will house its new Curo Fulfilment operation, which will store goods for other businesses, pick and pack to order and deliver to customers.
The building will also include 6,000 sq ft of flexible office space, some of which will be available to local businesses to use for hot desks, offices of various sizes from one person to up 10 people as well as meeting rooms available for hire.