When chief executives are appointed they tend to thank their staff or their family – but the new top man at a Midland office business singled out his alarm clock for praise.
Chris Meredith has just been appointed to the top job at 80-strong officebroker.com in Tamworth – despite previously facing the sack for turning up to work late.
The 28-year-old from Sutton Coldfield was threatened with the sack at the start of his career in 2004 after sleeping in hopelessly late twice in the first two weeks – earning him the nickname ‘Bear’ after colleagues joked he hibernated for winter.
However, after completing the journey from sales floor tea boy to boss in eight years Mr Meredith believes the investment in an extra loud alarm clock has reaped rewards.
He said the firm’s founders Jim Venables and Andy Haywood came close to dismissing him, but he kept hold of his job and learned his lesson.
He said: “Officebroker was my first proper job. I did get to work on time on my first day but on the second day I completely slept through my alarm and woke up at about 9am to my mobile phone ringing and questions about why I am not there.
“I ran out and got there as quickly as I could and promised it would never happen again. The next day I set two alarms – and managed to sleep through both of them. I woke up at about 9.15am.”
He added: “Andy and Jim took me into a meeting room and Andy said he didn’t think it was going to work out and Jim said ‘what are you, some sort of hibernating bear?’ and from that day forward I have been known as the bear.
“Now I am a real stickler for time keeping – which might seem hypocritical – but these were isolated.”
Mr Meredith has taken over from Mr Venables, who will work on other projects, to run the growing company.
It currently turns over £6 million, with profits of £1 million, but he has set ambitious targets to improve profitability in the short-term.
He said: “It has gone from being a small business to a medium-sized one quickly. The first thing I want to do is make sure that there is stability there. Once I have got that in place my overall plan is to double the profits of the business in the next two years.”
Mr Meredith previously concentrated on the central London office market – the company’s most lucrative segment – and impressed by learning all 150 of the central London office buildings on the firm’s books by heart. He went on to play an integral role in launching the firm’s first US office in Dallas, where Mr Haywood is based now.
In 2009 he was promoted to head of UK sales, overseeing the 30 sales consultants before finally being asked to take charge of the company last month.