GEZE UK has been pivotal in the career of Peter Haywood who is set to retire from his role as an area sales manager after 48 years in the industry.
The company ‘opened the door’ to a number of opportunities in Peter’s career – spring boarding him into a glamourous role in the Middle East before joining the firm itself on his return to the UK.
He has spent a total of 16 years working for GEZE UK, overseeing sales in London, and the south east and latterly in the south west, and is due to retire at Christmas.
Explained Peter: “About 20 years ago, I was attending a GEZE exhibition in Italy when I was introduced to some businessmen from Dubai. I had experience in managing sales to the Middle East and they asked me if I would be interested in a job over there. A few months later, I was flown first class to Jordan to discuss a post overseas.
“I can’t resist a challenge and took the job. I worked out there for just over a year and during that time lived in the Arab neighbourhoods with Palestinian colleagues which led me to learn so much more than if I had been in one of the ex-pat areas.”
However, the call of home saw him return to the UK in 1997 and when former MD of GEZE UK, Dene Parker, heard that Peter was heading back, he suggested there could be a role for him with the company.
“He didn’t offer me something immediately,” recalled Peter, “he wanted to make sure that I had satisfied my wanderlust, so advised me to apply for other positions and decide whether I really wanted to be with GEZE UK and would be prepared to stay.”
Stay he did – initially for eight years – and then returned to the company in 2005 where he has remained for the remainder of his career.
During his time with GEZE UK he has been involved in a number of exciting projects including work on the Royal School of Music and the Royal Albert Hall, in London, the creation of the Madjeski Stadium – home of Reading Football Club, Glasgow Velodrome and a 600-ton ship for the Jubilee Sailing Trust which teaches disabled and able-bodied people to crew tall ships.
Peter’s eclectic career started as a building merchant’s apprentice at Randall’s in Bedford at the age of 17. He spent time as a metals buyer with Edward Baustead Ltd on the LME (London Metal Exchange) before moving into sales at Lloyd Worrall where he gained his Guild of Architectural Ironmongers qualification in 1983.
At Adrian Stokes Overseas Ltd, he developed knowledge of the Middle East and Far East markets, eventually becoming overseas contracts director handling contracts up to £1.25m.
He opened a new office for Worrall in Portsmouth during a brief return to the company and subsequently launched a new business in the city, Haywood Architectural, prior to his time in Dubai.
Peter is a former chairman of the Institute of Architectural Ironmongers and lives in Portsmouth. He has two grown-up children and two grandchildren.
His role with GEZE UK will be taken up by Gavin Coster who has had the opportunity to work alongside Peter in the run-up to his retirement.
“I have had a very rewarding career and seen some amazing sights, such as behind the scenes of historic palaces and stately homes to which the public would not normally have access. Not many industries could offer such wonderful experiences and opportunities, and on the way, I have met customers and colleagues who have become great friends,” added Peter.
Peter is not intending to turn his back on the industry completely – he is planning to do some consultancy work and is also to acquire a classic motorbike to renovate.
Said Kaz Spiewakowski, managing director of GEZE UK: “We are very sorry to be losing Peter. He has been a stalwart of the sales team. He has won and managed many important contracts for the company over the years, developing strong relationships and providing advice and expertise. We wish him a long and happy retirement, knowing that the friends that he has made from the industry will remain an important part of his life.”