David trained as a chartered accountant in London before joining Unilever and was FD to several of its UK subsidiaries in the fields of animal feeds, chemicals, and fast moving consumer goods. David then became its Financial Officer for the whole world other than Europe and North America, gaining experience in the Far East, Africa and South America. After leaving Unilever David had 3 years as Finance Director of Guinness Overseas before joining the Board of PPI PLC which was an extremely entrepreneurial top 50 FTSE company. After Polly Peck went into administration, David joined his wife's small business selling textiles by mail order in aid of the British Equestrian Olympic Fund and other charities. The business then changed direction by developing its own brand of garments sourced from Vietnam, China, Bangladesh etc, and selling these to printers, embroiderers and school outfitters in the UK and Europe. Eventually Blue Max Banner expanded its customer base and product range by acquiring two other companies, and became UK’s No. 1 independent supplier to the schoolwear and sportswear markets under the name Blue Max Banner. David grew the business to sales in excess of £30m with excellent margins and profitability before selling it in 2015.
Group managing director of the OSL Group. David set up his first company in 1981 and is now the group managing director of six manufacturing companies serving a global market, turning over £35 million plus and employing over 400 staff. David also plays an active role in the redevelopment of the Sheffield economy, and has been on the board of a wide range of key strategic groups in the city. He was awarded an MBE in the 2010 New Year's Honours List for his services to industry and regeneration in Sheffield and is a member of the Sheffield City Region LEP Board, as well as having been the Master Cutler.
David describes himself as bbb - a back bedroom boy. David and his wife Elizabeth started trading in vegetable oils from a desk and phone in their back bedroom in 1980. At the beginning they blended and packed oils mainly for the food industry but during the 1990s they began to manufacture their own oils and by the time the business was sold they stocked over 800 oils. By this stage 75% of the oils went to the food industry and 25% for use in cosmetics, aromatherapy and the like. At the time of the disposal in August-2015 The Kerfoot Group had sales of £75m, was exporting to 52 countries and had and sales offices in Poland and New York.
There are not many multiples that David has not sold to. After the sale of his family's butchering business, he moved into dairy products selling to multiples including M&S who then asked him to sort out their main fish and prawn supplier; by the time he left that company it was selling to 9 departments within M&S.
After a period with Geo. Adams Ltd selling cooked meats, sausages etc he and David Rixon re-established Giles Food Ltd after a fire had virtually destroyed the business. Over the following 19 years David built the sales of quiche, garlic bread and sweet pastries to Tesco, Sainsburys, Morrisons and M&S so that by the time the company was sold in 2014 the turnover was approx £xxm, David was asked to help the new MD settle in before finally leaving Giles Foods in 2016.
President, CEO and Co-Founder of Wandisco plc which stands for Wide Area Network Distributed Computing "which makes software happen". Co-founded in 2005 by David Richards, Jim Campigli and Dr Yeturu Aahlad, WANdisco has dual headquarters in Silicon Valley and Sheffield. WANdisco grew, without raising any private equity, venture capital or angel finance to become a leading provider of global collaboration software to the software development industry. On June 1st, 2012 the company had a highly successful IPO on the London Stock Exchange raising over $24 million. The IPO was oversubscribed by over 300%. Prior to WANdisco, David served as the President and CEO of Librados, where he took the company from an early stage technology company to exponential customer and revenue growth. David led the company's acquisition by NetManage (Nasdaq:NETM) just over a year after joining the company. Following the successful acquisition he joined the executive management team of NetManage where he served as Vice President and General Manager.
Deirdre started up a business, i to I, from a bedsit and turned it into the world’s biggest gap year company. She then sold it to a FTSE 100 company for an eight-figure sum. And she did it all in just 10 years! She did it fast. She did it differently. She defied the skeptics. And she made millions. What makes her story even more remarkable is that she had no previous commercial experience. She had no family history of enterprise. And she set the whole thing up without any start-up capital. All she had was a great idea, a real belief in helping young people have amazing experiences, piles of passion and a belief that a travel business could be both ethical and profitable.