Company overview

Bernhard & Co are the market leaders for the supply of blade sharpening solutions to global sports turf facilities and one of the world’s most influential forces in the presentation and quality of turf grass. They manufacture and distribute worldwide a range of products designed to maintain today’s sophisticated mowing machines in perfect cutting condition.

Golf is currently the company’s largest market. In the US, they are present at 75 of the top 100 golf courses, and over 65 of the World Top 100 golf courses and provide support for the PGA tour and other major tournaments.

As part of an ambitious growth and diversification strategy, the business has recently entered into a partnership with SubAir Systems, a world-renowned aeration and moisture control specialist, to supply SubAir’s unique aeration system and innovative TurfBreeze fans to the EMEA region. With Bernhard’s strong network and reputation, contracts have been secured at several prestigious top-level playing surfaces including Wembley, Wentworth and a number of premiership football clubs.

The brief

The owner/manager/founder of the business, Stephen Bernhard, wishes to retire from full time involvement with the business and move to a non-executive chairman role. To facilitate this change the company required a new MD to lead the continued development and growth of the company throughout the UK, USA, Asia and Australia. Directorbank was appointed to manage the search process.

Key responsibilities of the role include strong and dynamic leadership, defining and evolving future strategy and growth plans, and identifying, assessing and executing opportunities for innovative expansion. The ideal candidate required strong senior management experience with a proven track record of successfully growing SMEs, particularly owned-managed businesses, within a relevant sector. Experience of leading transformational change, either organically or via integration, on an international basis was also specified, as was a professional qualification in engineering.

The process

After a rigorous search process which involved our networks and a comprehensive market mapping exercise of almost 100 companies across four key target sectors, more than forty high calibre candidates were explored for the role. Seven suitable candidates were then interviewed by the Bernhard & Co team, and ultimately Brian Batchelor was successfully appointed to the position.

The result

Brian is an adaptable, strategic and results-driven MD with a solid track record of experience and achievement across international markets and multi-national groups. 

Throughout his career he has held a succession of MD roles at both privately and public owned SME manufacturing organisations similar to Bernhard & Co, starting with Micropump, then Blagdon, Munster Simms, and Spincraft. Notable in his achievements are a focus on delivering EBIT growth, diversification and positioning in new markets, enhancing competitive advantage, developing company strategy and realising shareholder value. Brian also has a strong academic background in mechanical engineering backed up by a Master’s degree from Cranfield University.