Lord Digby Jones has agreed to take over as chairman of Grove Industries, one of the region’s most successful investment conglomerates, following the sudden death of its founder last year.
Fresh from announcing that he was not interested in becoming Birmingham’s first elected mayor, the former trade minister has added to his rapidly increasing business interests in the region with his appointment.
Grove Industries was founded in 1991 by celebrated industrialist David Grove and his business partner Leszek Litwinowicz and the company and its associates manage a portfolio of 12 privately-owned businesses with total sales in excess of £300 million and around 1,500 employees.
Lord Jones and Mr Grove, who passed away at home in Warwickshire last November, had known each other for many years with Lord Jones advising Grove Industries from 2009. The former senior partner at Edge Ellison also spoke at Mr Grove’s memorial service at Birmingham Cathedral.
The group acquires controlling stakes in manufacturing and distribution businesses and takes a long-term view of value creation. Local management participate in equity and are given strategic support as required by the core Grove Industries team – Leszek Litwinowicz, Trevor Middleton, Richard Banham and Jonathon Grove.
Chief executive Mr Litwinowicz said: “Digby’s appointment as chairman will immeasurably strengthen our board. His experience of business and of the political framework in which it operates means that he is well placed to assist us as we work to improve the strategy and competitiveness of our portfolio.
“This appointment is part of our stated aim to continue the work of our founder David Grove by supporting and empowering good management teams and creating value over the long term.
"We continue to seek new acquisitions and to strengthen our existing investments; in fact we are currently looking at a number of potential deals across a variety of our traditional sectors.”
Lord Jones added “I am very pleased to have been asked to chair Grove Industries; it is a real honour to follow in the footsteps of such a fine businessman. My role will enable me contribute to the future of what is already a hugely successful business, while making a further personal contribution to boosting UK manufacturing business, in which I have a passionate belief.
“The group itself continues to seek new opportunities to grow the portfolio and I believe that my new role will enable me to add further to this process through advising on strategy, growing the businesses in which we are involved and opening doors to potential new deals both on national and international stages.”
Lord Jones, a former Minister for Trade and Investment, was director general of the CBI from 2000–2006.
He is currently chairman of the International Business Advisory Board at British Airways, a senior adviser at HSBC and Babcock International Group plc and chairman of Triumph Motorcycles.
He is a corporate ambassador for JCB and Jaguar Cars. He also recently launched a new software company with seven other investors called NeutrinoBI which has taken space at the Innovation Centre at Longbridge.
Lord Jones had long been touted as a potential independent candidate for the mayor of Birmingham if the city votes yes in a referendum in May although he announced last week that he would only be interested if it was a regional role.
The late David Grove’s family remain closely involved with Grove Industries, and his two sons sit on the board of the group. Jonathon is an executive director with specific responsibility for seeking out investment opportunities, working with management teams, while Simon is a non-executive director.