A woman who started out as a PA at a Midland courier company ended up launching a management buyout of the firm and driving a four-fold increase in turnover.
And now Jane Weaver of Solihull-based AYS couriers has received recognition for her achievements with a top transport industry award.
Ms Weaver won the Director of the Year award at the 2012 MAN everywoman in Transport & Logistics Awards, an honour she described as “confirmation we are doing the right thing”.
The AYS managing director admits she has been on “quite a journey” but confessed when she started at the company in 2001 she never dreamed she would be running it one day.
“I came to work for the business as a PA at quite a tough time in my life,” she said. “I had been there for a few years when the previous owner, a lady who had started the business, decided it was time for her to move on and that was when I came up with the MBO idea.
“The company had a great reputation and I knew it would be successful. We would have been sold to a bigger company and I thought it would be a shame for the business to be swallowed up.”
Though she had no experience in management Ms Weaver concluded it was the opportunity of a lifetime and decided to take the plunge.
“I really admired what the previous owner did and thought it was a really good opportunity which I wouldn’t get again – it was right there in front of me.
“I spoke to a couple of people who had been involved in MBOs, who helped me in terms of how I might structure an MBO and helped with the bank, which could see the company was a good stable prospect.”
A consortium of ten shareholders was put together and the MBO completed in 2004. Initially the focus was purely on survival.
Ms Weaver said: “The business plan at that time was to just stay the same but as soon as we bought it we got ambitious.”
As the company found its feet Ms Weaver’s confidence grew – even her stint as PA helped her insofar as she had “got to know everything that went on” – and over time she consolidated her leadership by buying out the other shareholders.
“Twelve months ago I came to an arrangement that I would buy out the remaining shareholders,” she said. “As the company developed for various reasons they moved on. It is now just me but if I hadn’t had those shareholders I wouldn’t have been able to do it so it’s a good job they were there.”