After 20 years with Wick Hill, and having reached retirement age, managing director Ken Ward is stepping down from his full-time job as MD, but will continue to work on projects in an advisory role. He will be lending his considerable knowledge and experience as Wick Hill pursues the strong development of its EMEA expansion plans, as part of Rigby Private Equity (RPE). Ward has been MD for 20 years, and worked very closely with Wick Hill chairman, Ian Kilpatrick, during the company’s strong growth to its current £100 million turnover.
Ian Kilpatrick, chairman Wick Hill Group, commented: “Ken is a one-off. He has been instrumental in the growth of Wick Hill, both in the UK and DACH regions, and in laying the foundations for our future growth, as well as developing the Wick Hill way of doing business. Ken and I complement each other well. I was front-of-house and Ken was back of house, making sure that everything worked. I count him as a good friend and in 20 years, we have never had a row – I don’t know how he put up with me for so long!
“He is highly respected at Wick Hill and took on a mentoring role with staff at all levels. Ken is also held in high regard by our channel partners. He has great industry knowledge, the ability to make things happen, strong ethics and was a leading member of the boardroom. Over the last ten years, he initiated and managed our succession planning structure and leaves us in great shape for our exciting future.”
Eugene Kaspersky, CEO of Kaspersky Lab, commented on Ward’s retirement “Our relations go back many years, and Ken’s belief in our brand and product helped us a lot in breaking into two most important European Markets – Germany and UK. Wick Hill’s channel experience influenced European SME strategy of Kaspersky Lab for many years to come. I wish Ken all the best in his new endeavours and to be as lucky with his golf partners as we were with him in business.”
Paul Samuel, financial director at reseller Cygnia Technologies, said: “A major part of any good relationship/partnership is the relatively unseen people in the background ensuring everything is glued together and runs as smoothly as possible. Cygnia has been working closely with Wick Hill for nine years. A major factor in the growth of our business has been the ease with which we can do business with Wick Hill. Ken’s attention to the requirements of the end user, the understanding of the detail and the processes to deliver what we need sets him apart from many others. After many years in the industry his Geordie tones and pragmatic insight will be missed. I wish Ken all the best in his retirement.”
Ken Ward commented: “I have enjoyed working at Wick Hill for 20 years and it’s definitely the best job I have ever had. I have been fortunate to work with Ian Kilpatrick, as we have differing but complementary skills, which made for a strong partnership. I have been looking forward to retirement for some time now, but the downside is that I will miss all my working friends, colleagues, vendors and resellers.
“Wick Hill has evolved over the years, getting bigger and stronger in different areas and the business is in excellent hands. As part of Rigby Private Equity, and alongside Zycko, I’m sure Wick Hill will go onto greater things and become a major player in Europe. I wish Wick Hill and all staff every success for the future.”
In retirement, Ward is planning to pursue his hobbies of golf, cycling and cars (he is currently renovating a Lotus Elan convertible) and spending more time with his family and grandchildren.