Company overview

Founded in 2002, Belfield Furnishings Group is now one of Europe’s largest and most successful manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors of upholstered furniture, soft furnishings, curtains and mattresses. Headquartered in Derbyshire, with 6 sites across the UK and a trading office in China, the firm is a key supplier to the UK’s leading high street stores as well as caravan and leisure holiday home manufacturers.

Belfield is a private, family owned business with a UK workforce of c.1,500 and a turnover of c.£150m.

The brief

As part of a thorough succession plan, Belfield required a CEO Designate to prepare for CEO Steve Hampton’s retirement and to help guide the family through a desired exit process in the near future.

Alan McWalter, Chairman of Belfield, invited Directorbank to propose a solution having met them initially as a candidate.

The process

The Directorbank team – led by Simon Thomas – undertook a thorough assessment of the business and insisted on meeting a number of senior executives and visiting two sites before completing a detailed brief to work from.

Within 6 weeks, Simon and the researchers had identified over 100 candidates through a comprehensive market mapping exercise. With further input and challenge from the Belfield team, this was narrowed down to a longlist of 12 candidates to probe further as part of the selection process. Belfield then met a recommended shortlist and quickly identified Don Coates as the strongest candidate after a second stage of interviews.

The result

Don is an inspirational CEO with international experience and an impressive record of delivering performance improvement and creating shareholder value.

During his tenure as MD of Brintons, the global carpet brand, he led a successful period of change and significant profitability improvement. He distilled a sense of purpose and ambition throughout the team, led the marketing strategy to build the firm’s reputation as a luxury British heritage brand, and drove new product and market offerings. He also completed a successful investor process which resulted in Carlyle backing the business. On his departure Brinton’s had a turnover of £80m pa, 4 factories, a global sales office network and 1,500 employees.

Other notable roles include the CEO of Powerflute, the paper and packaging group, where he grew the business through an ambitious acquisition and expansion strategy, achieved record profit performance from a loss making history, and completed a successful IPO on AIM.