Willerby builds on success by promoting homegrown talent to leadership roles

UK holiday homes industry leader Willerby has invested in internal talent with a reorganisation of its senior team and a raft of promotions to drive the business further forward.

Willerby executive team and operating board members. Image: Shaun Flannery.

Willerby has reshaped its executive team and operating board with the introduction of new roles, a series of internal promotions and a senior external appointment.

The changes underline Willerby’s outstanding track record of investing in staff training and development and supporting career progression.

The executive team and operating board now has an equal number of male and female members – an exceptional demonstration of commitment to leadership gender balance in an industry which is traditionally male-dominated. The leadership group also has a combined total of almost 100 years’ experience within the business.

Peter Munk continues as CEO and is joined on the executive team by Susan Allan as Chief Financial Officer; new external appointment Nicola Budge as Chief Operating Officer; and Darren Black as Chief Commercial Officer. Darren began working for Willerby on the shopfloor 13 years ago as a Manufacturing Supervisor and most recently held the position of Commercial Director.

The operating board welcomes several promoted team members, including Aaron Cambridge, who has worked for Willerby for more than 20 years, as Director of Singles Production, and Chloe Lidster, who has been with the company for seven years, as Director of Customer Experience. At 34, Chloe is the youngest member of the board.

Willerby has also introduced two new internal programmes to support the development of new and upcoming leaders within the business. The programmes will look to encourage and support career progression within the company. 

Peter said: “We’ve just completed another excellent business year, despite the significant challenges posed by external factors, including the lingering impact of the pandemic, supply chain pressures, rocketing energy prices and the current economic uncertainties.

“It’s important we continue to invest in our people, products and facilities, to drive the business forward, not just in the current year, but for many years to come, and we’re committed to doing just that.

“The way in which we’re organised is fundamental to the day-to-day running of the business, as well as our long-term ambitions. Investing in our people to enable personal development and career progression is also absolutely crucial.

“That’s why we have made these changes and promoted so many leaders who have grown within the business. The new leadership structure gives us a very strong platform to continue our momentum and build for the future.”

The appointments build on an exceptionally strong performance in the financial year which closed at the end of September 2022, despite the many external challenges. They also follow hot on the heels of a landmark initiative, with the introduction of the pioneering new Willerby® GreEN Standard.

The GreEN Standard is Willerby’s new sustainability specification which reduces the carbon emissions of its holiday homes, makes them more energy efficient and cheaper to run.

Chief Operating Officer Nicola, who brings to Willerby a wealth of experience with blue chip businesses including Unilever and DFS Group, said: “As the brand leader in the holiday homes sector, the business continues to go from strength to strength, as shown by the recent introduction of the ground-breaking Willerby GreEN Standard.

“It’s exciting to join such an excellent team in an organisation which has sustainability at the heart of its operations.

“The future is very bright indeed at Willerby and I’m looking forward to playing my part in the continued growth and development of the business.”

As well as investing in the career progression of existing team members, Willerby is also committed to bringing through the next generation of talent at entry level.

The company took on 15 new apprentices in September, after recruiting more than 30 last year in the single biggest apprenticeships intake in Willerby’s 76-year history.

Chief Commercial Officer Darren Black is currently undertaking an Executive MBA Degree at Cranfield School of Management, underlining the company’s commitment to personal development at all levels of the business.

He said: “I’m extremely proud to be a part of the Willerby team.

“Having worked my way up from the shopfloor to the senior executive team, I’m as aware as anyone of the company’s commitment to supporting the development of its people.

“That opportunity for progression is incredibly important and a significant factor in our success, as is our investment in new young talent.”