When Colin Day was appointed CEO of Essentra four years ago, the business had undergone a series of changes and consolidations. Originally part of the Bunzl Group, which started in the 1940s as a manufacturer and distributor of fibres, a decision was taken in 2005 to demerge the manufacturing activities into an independent UK-listed company, initially known as Filtrona plc.
However, while ostensibly a single company, Filtrona was actually several separate businesses acting independently of each other. "Filtrona were in cigarette filters, they were in other filtration products, they were in plastic components and tear tape. Everything was done as separate trading brands none of it was joined up; there was no coordination or common strategic purpose." Colin admits that it was a challenge to take on such a diverse collection of businesses and mould them into a cohesive, global organisation that could drive consistent growth a challenge that, he admits, he perhaps initially underestimated. In this respect, the rebranding of the company to Essentra in 2013 has certainly been an important milestone in that effort.