A TOP JCB boss who has dedicated almost a quarter of a century to the digger giant has bid a fond farewell to a company he has given so much to.
CEO Alan Blake is retiring from the Rocester-based company and to mark the end of an era dozens of Mr Blake’s friends and colleagues gathered at the Rocester-based World Headquarters to say goodbye at a special presentation.
Mr Blake joined JCB in 1989 from Westland Helicopters, in Somerset, after a distinguished 19 year spell at the company which saw him rise through the ranks from apprentice to head of helicopter transmissions.
He became the CEO of JCB on January 1 in 2010 – only the fifth person to hold the top position.
Mr Blake, who will remain as an advisor to JCB, said he has learned a lot during his time at JCB and has never regretted his decision to join the company.
The father-of-two said: “Coming to JCB was one of the best decisions of my life; the breadth and width of what you can learn here is enormous and the opportunity to achieve great things is endless.
“I have been fortunate to have a great career here and one that has coincided with the global growth of the company.
“I have met and worked with some truly brilliant people all around the world and I will never forget my time at JCB.”
Mr Blake started his career at JCB Transmissions where he worked as an operations director with responsibility for developing new transmissions for two of JCB’s two key products: the world leading backhoe loader and Loadall telescopic handler.
He was then promoted to managing director in 1995 and led the multimillion pound company through an unprecedented period of growth which saw the doubling of production capacity with the opening of a second plant at the Wrexham site.
In 2000 Mr Blake was appointed as the managing director of JCB Service where he was charged with the task of maximising JCB’s reputation for excellent customer service.
At the time the company rapidly expanded its dealer network and customer base in new and expanding territories.
In 2003 he was again promoted and became group manufacturing director with the responsibility of overseeing JCB’s global production operations.
During his time in this role he was tasked with leading the biggest expansion and investment programme in the company’s history.
In 2009 Mr Blake became JCB’s chief operating officer before taking up his current position as the CEO.
Chief executive officer designate Graeme MacDonald, who takes over as CEO on January 1, paid tribute to Mr Blake’s time with JCB and thanked him for all of his continued hard work over the years.
He said: “Alan has contributed a huge amount to the growth and success of JCB over many years.
“The expansion projects Alan led enabled JCB to double its production from 36,000 to 72,000 machine over a five year period.
“In addition to his vast achievements at JCB, he will also be remembered for his humility and for making time to speak to everyone, no matter what their rank or position and that’s something we are all going to miss.
“On behalf of the 11,000 JCB employees around the world, our dealers and customers, we wish him a very long and happy retirement.”
Mr Blake is married to Diane and has two grown-up children.