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Hornby appoints former Ladbrokes director Richard Ames as chief executive, ending long-running succession process after retirement of Frank Martin

13 February 2014
by Chris Price

Models manufacturer Hornby has appointed a former Ladbrokes director as its new chief executive.

Richard Ames will join the group in April having managed the bookmaker’s product division.

His appointment ends a long-running succession process which began in March last year as then chief executive Frank Martin stepped aside to become deputy chairman in a non-executive role.

A model steam train made by Hornby

A model steam train made by Hornby

Since then, chairman Roger Canham has been in charge of appointing a new board, bringing in non-executive directors David Adams and Charlie Caminada to chair the Margate-based firms’ audit committee and remuneration committee respectively last month.

January also signalled the end of Mr Martin’s career with the firm, having served as its chief executive since January 2001.

The announcement of his successor comes after a difficult period for the company, whose brands include Airfix and Scalextric.

Shares in the company have fallen since it failed to hit sales targets after winning the contract from London 2012 to produce products like London buses and mascot toys.

Last month it also told shareholders it expects to lose £1m over the year after long-running supply chain issues. It will cease working with one of its major suppliers in July.

“He has a wealth of experience of leading consumer facing businesses..." - Chairman Roger Canham on Richard Ames

Incoming chief executive Mr Ames joined Ladbrokes in 2005 and had run the UK and Ireland retail operations.

Earlier in his career he worked as marketing director for Dixons and helped lead the consumer electronics divisions at Asda Walmart.

His appointment means chairman Mr Canham resumes his non-executive role.

Mr Canham said: “I am delighted that Richard is joining Hornby.

“He has a wealth of experience of leading consumer facing businesses.

“I was impressed with his track record of implementing successful marketing strategies and managing complex supply chains.

“Finally, I am pleased that he has a genuine passion and enthusiasm for the Hornby business and I am confident that Hornby is in good hands as we move forward.”

Mr Ames said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to lead one of the UK’s best loved companies.

“Hornby has built a superb collection of brands, that have tremendous potential both in the UK and overseas markets.

“I am personally very excited to be joining the company.

“Looking forward, I am confident that Hornby has an excellent platform from which it can build the scale and reach of its business and that the future for the group and our shareholders is very good.”

Hornby shares remained at 75.5p in early trading today.

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