Sharp Operator

It’s almost as if an irresistible force is drawing Stuart Chambers towards the Asian continent. He spent the first 16 years of his life living there, and now, aged 51, has just accepted a new challenge that will see him spending 50 per cent of his time in Tokyo.

Chambers was appointed chief executive of St Helens-based glass manufacturer Pilkington in 2002. Then in 2006, when Pilkington was bought by Japanese group Nippon Sheet Glass (NSG), Chambers agreed to join NSG’s board as chief operating officer for a two-year transitory period.

When the transitory period came to an end in March this year, Chambers was asked to stay on and become chief executive of the new group, which employs around 34,000 staff in 29 countries and has a turnover of just over £4bn.

"It’s slightly unusual in that we were a global operation headquartered in St Helens and listed on the London stock exchange and now, having being bought by a company about half the size of Pilkington with a regional rather than international presence, we’re listed on the Tokyo stock exchange and are headquartered in Tokyo," says Chambers.

But NSG’s regional focus had its advantages when it came to integrating the two companies, as it meant there was very little overlap. "NSG was in Japan, Malaysia and Vietnam and Pilkington was pretty much everywhere NSG wasn’t. So we weren’t faced with the usual acquisition issue of plant closures," says Chambers.

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