New team take their seats

New team take their seats

Well-known furniture manufacturer Shackletons has been bought by a Yorkshire entrepreneur for an undisclosed sum.

The Dewsbury-based business, which also has a showroom in Batley, has unveiled a new ownership and management structure to drive future growth and development.

Businessman Sir Anthony Ullmann has led the move and becomes Shackletons’ new chairman and chief executive. 

The long-established firm specialises in the manufacture of chairs and occasional furniture for the healthcare, hospitality and retail markets.

Sir Anthony previously co-founded Autofil Worldwide, the manufacturer of technically engineered yarns for the global automotive industry which, at its peak, employed more than 200 staff at a state-of-the-art textile R&D and production plant in Nottinghamshire. 

It had annual sales of £45 million. He and his business partner sold the company to an Italian conglomerate in 2012 and Sir Anthony finally ended his relationship with Autofil last year.

He said: “Since ending my 23-year association with Autofil Worldwide I have been looking at a range of other opportunities, and in Shackletons I have found a renowned business built on solid traditions of quality craftsmanship from a talented and loyal workforce and excellent products and which I firmly believe has great potential for growth over the coming years.

“We aim to be a business that is proud of its famous heritage but one which is firmly focused on the future with a design-led, customer-focused approach that will produce high quality products and matching customer service standards to both contract and retail customers.”

Sir Anthony acquired the company from managing director Martyn Higgins, who will remain with the business to support the management and sales team.

Sir Anthony added: “I have spent a lifetime in textiles, manufacturing and the supply chain to an exacting client base and I believe that my previous experiences within the demanding automotive sector demonstrate that success is built on first class, design-led products and outstanding customer service.

“This approach can only help enhance operations at Shackletons so that our customers are not only delighted by our products but also by the service they receive.”

Shackletons currently employs around 70 people at its plant on Weaving Lane in Dewsbury.

The company is aiming to increase sales by growing its healthcare, leisure and retail businesses as well as exploring additional opportunities for new sales channels.

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