Energy, property investment and hospitality business The Bayford Group has appointed a retail heavyweight as its new managing director.
Lindsay Austin has taken up the post at the Leeds-based firm, which has a diverse portfolio of businesses.
Ms Austin has previously held roles as head of retail at Topman, andTopshop, head of retail at Mamas & Papas and led Marks & Spencer’s North East region.
She takes over from Liz Slater who joined the business as a graduate trainee in 1988, progressing to board member in 1999 and to group managing director in 2007.
Ms Austin said: “The company boasts a rich history and powerful track record which speaks volumes.
“I’m looking forward to sustaining its successful operations in challenging and vibrant markets as we continue to diversify, evolve and expand.”
Ms Slater has worked with chairman Jonathan Turner to oversee a raft of acquisitions and new business start ups during her time with the company.
The group sold an 80 per cent stake in The Right Fuelcard Company (TRFC) last year to Edenred, the French prepaid meal vouchers and card provider, for £95m.
The Bayford Group said it posted record profits last year of over £17m. The has continued to grow into new territory.
Most recently the group launched Gulf Gas and Power to provide electricity and gas supply in the UK. It also launched another business in Holland.
Ms Slater will be staying on at The Bayford Group and focusing on these businesses. She will also be exploring new buying opportunities for the group.
Mr Turner said: “Lindsay’s wealth of commercial and operational experience highly complement the group’s diverse companies. Her appointment comes at a formative period in our evolution in the energy sector and focus on renewable energy with our new businesses.
“There is a huge amount of change going on globally with electric vehicles, EV supply, battery storage and solar power and I’m delighted we are in the thick of it.
“A heartfelt thank you to Liz for her invaluable role in growing and driving the Bayford day to day operation forward over three decades – it is now time for someone else to take the reins whilst Liz and I look at further global expansion of our Gulf Gas and Power business.”
The Bayford Group, which has its headquarters at Bowcliffe Hall, was launched 100 years ago at the end of the First World War by four soldiers from Leeds who were demobbed in the Hertfordshire village of Bayford and started a coal merchants business in Leeds.
Today the business is wholly owned by Mr Turner.
David Turner, who had joined his father in the business three years earlier, launched Bayford Oil in 1962. That business was acquired by DCC for £22.5m in 2009. The company formed Bayford Developments in 1977.
In 1988, the business moved to new headquarters in Bowcliffe Hall at Bramham, near Wetherby. Mr Turner became managing director in 2000 and began to make his own mark on the company with a series of acquisitions.
Mr Turner also owns The Yorke Arms, which he bought from leading chef Frances Atkins in 2017 for an undisclosed sum. Mr Turner decided to buy The Yorke Arms after seeing an article about its planned sale in The Yorkshire Post.
The group also has a foundation that creates sales jobs in the energy industry which will result in long term career opportunities for people.
The Bayford Group has 215 employees in total.