In the 5 years since Colin Day took the reins as CEO, and under the collective leadership of Essentra’s senior management team, the company has diversified into new end-markets, made a number of acquisitions, extended its global footprint, and undergone significant strategic and management change. “This organisation is completely unrecognisable from the one I stepped into 5 years ago,” he says. “Not only in the name, the branding, or in the way we run the business, but even down to the furniture, the layout of the offices, the carpet, and the colour of the walls.”

Essentra is a multi-faceted manufacturing group across a variety of disciplines, with more than 50 factories, in a number of sectors and with numerous different customers.

“What unifies us as an organisation is that we are predominantly a manufacturer of high-volume, low-cost components; parts, pieces that go into something else,” says Colin.

It might sound basic, but the understated language belies the huge amount of strategic planning that has led to the company’s transformation. Notwithstanding this extensive planning however, there have occasionally been executional challenges, as Colin points out. “Our ‘Drive for 2020’ strategy encapsulates the ambitious objectives we set ourselves and acts as a roadmap for the future direction for Essentra; which we firmly believe will drive long-term value for our shareholders.” He explains. “That said, we’re not perfect, and we strive to apply every learning to ensure that any issue is short-lived and that we are making continuous improvements.”

Underpinning the ongoing change at Essentra is an emphasis on talent management: “We do a lot of work on trying to develop people. People management has really escalated in terms of importance here.”