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60 second interview - Spottiswood's new boy will build on tradition

Chris Saxton has just been announced as the new managing director of Morris and Spottiswood's fit out division. He talks to Jo Kerr about his experience and the challenges of his new role.

What is your background?

After 21 years at Jarvis, I moved to what is now Interior Services Group as a divisional managing director.

I followed that with a position at Morgan Sindall, where the Bluestone brand was being created. I joined Rok to develop its nor thern operations, but since I had so far missed out on being the managing director of an entire business, I couldn't resist moving to Morris and Spottiswood.

What lessons have you learnt in your previous job that you will bring to your new position?

I have a wealth of experience in managing companies and taking them forward. The firm is well established, but I hope to complement the existing board members and exercise strong leadership and motivational skills. My role will be two fold, primarily as managing director of fit out but also as a director on the board of the entire company.

Tell us about Morris and Spottiswood.

We are a fit out and facilities management company that operates mainly across the north of England, the Midlands and Scotland.

We perform fit out and refurbishment for financial, retail and commercial companies such as Marks & Spencer, the Royal Bank of Scotland and Tesco.

The high quality of our clients is challenging but the tight deadlines and high standards drive forward improvements.

On the facilities management side, we deal with social housing, both in refurbishment and new build.

You were voted one of Th e Sunday Times Best Companies To Work For.

What do you have that other companies do not?

The company is still privately owned by George Morris and this gives the set-up a family connection.

Everyone who works for the company wants it to be successful and this makes it an unusual place to work, with a close-knit team.

The Sunday Times award reflects the fun environment of the company.

What will be the major challenges for your company in the next few years?

Currently we are not a well enough known provider in our bases in Manchester, Glasgow and Edinburgh. We want to have our name understood in local communities and gain a level of trust there.

We already have a greater presence of vans out on the street and they are starting to become a feature in the cities.

Another vision is to make the firm an even more special place to work. In the next few years we will move into fit outs in hotels, health, leisure and education.

The fit out sector is notoriously volatile. How will you ensure that Morris and Spottiswood is not the next firm to go under?

We have a well established business and are financially robust as well as having a fantastic team.

The workload for the future is definitely there because we're always building on the firm foundations of great relationships with our clients and within the company.