A Newry business man has spoken of his “rags to riches” journey from sole trader to CEO of a global empire. It’s forty years since Martin Naughton now widely regarded as one of the island’s fathers of entrepreneurship founded Glen Electric – now Glen Dimplex – with 10 employees in Newry. But Naughton’s shrewd expansion strategy buying and rejuvenating brands from businesses that were in difficulty – has seen his fledging firm become the largest manufacturer of electric heating appliances in the world. Today it employs over 8,500 people globally and has a multi-million pound turnover. The company team boasts complementary skills in design, manufacturing, marketing, finance and management. Mr Naughton meanwhile is sitting pretty at number 736 in the Forbes Rich List. Recalling how he started out “with one little electric heater in Newry” Mr Naughton is confident that the company will continue to grow from strength to strength. “We are still here and will be here for the next forty years because of the investment in our products,” he said. “We recognised from the start that we couldn’t just stay in the UK and Ireland markets. We have always looked to the products of the future. I have always said if you don’t innovate you will evaporate.” Looking to the future Mr Naughton knows the natural resources we rely on are finite and has his eye on change. “We cannot rely on imported fuels forever and we aim to replace traditional oil and gas boiler systems with products that are much more efficient,” he added.
8th October 2013