Company background

Story Homes has a long and successful reputation of building high quality and high specification homes across Cumbria, the North East, Lancashire and Scotland. Founded in 1987, the business has grown significantly over the years to a current turnover of £80m and a 300-strong team.
With aspirations to become a national player in the house building market, Story Homes required a NED to bring independence and challenge to the board and help drive the continued development and growth of the business. Directorbank was approached by Fred Story, Founder and now Chairman of the firm.

The brief

The ideal candidate would be a proven entrepreneur with experience of leading a highly successful multi-site business through a period of rapid growth including expansion into new UK regions. A career spent in a customer-focused sector working with a family business, or similar ‘hands-on’ ownership structure, was also necessary as well as an understanding of the responsibilities and boundaries of an NED role.

The process

Directorbank carried out a comprehensive search process combining our strong network with a fresh targeting exercise to identify strongly-suited candidates, particularly those with in-depth experience of working with fast growing mid-market firms with connections to the North of England. Working closely with the client, Directorbank identified an initial long list of candidates from which a shortlist was derived.  After a successful round of interviews, James Lambert was appointed to the position.

The result

James is a proven and hugely successful entrepreneur who has scaled a business to become a leading player in the UK. In 1985 he, and his business partner, spotted the opportunity to buy a small ice cream manufacturing site in Teesside and started Richmond Ice Cream. With an ambitious growth plan, the business went on to acquire many ‘household name’ ice cream brands (and their manufacturing sites) across Europe including the major manufacturer Ronadin.

Fast forward to present day and the business – now R&R Ice Cream – has a turnover of more than £650m and employs over 3,300 people across 9 production sites in the UK and Europe. James has now stepped down as Chairman of the business, but remains a shareholder.

He currently holds non-executive positions at Burtons Biscuits (Chairman), Animalcare Group (Chairman) and Wagg Foods (NED) and has previously been a NED at New England Seafood International. He was crowned EY’s UK Entrepreneur of the Year in 2013.