Allied Textiles has been a bellwether of the UK textile industry for over 50 years. Stewart arrived as Group Chief Executive just before Allied faced one of its biggest crises-the 2008 great recession. So what did he do. He sold off some unprofitable parts of the business, rationalised the workforce, introduced new technology and invested in the profitable businesses (both organically and through acquisition). Between 2008 and 2015 the turnover of the group declined somewhat, but delivered a significant increase in return on capital. Allied’s four companies specialise in different areas of the production of synthetic fibres, focussing on technical end uses.
Stewart’s degree is in Law, and he then qualified as a Management Accountant, but has spent all of his career since qualifying in commercial and sales roles. For 7 years he was commercial director for Courtaulds Textiles in the Philippines and then in Hong Kong covering the rest of Asia, returning to the UK as Sales and Marketing Director of Christy Home Textiles before becoming Group Chief Executive of Allied Textiles in 2007.