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Third generation of Stewart family takes the reins at Andron

A leading UK facilities management business established nearly 50 years ago by a father and son will soon be in the hands of their family’s next generation and its first female chief executive.

Andron Facilities Management was formed in 1980 by Ron Stewart and his son, also Ron, when the two men were made redundant within weeks of one another.

From a small carpet cleaning business serving clients in Aberdeen, the two men have grown the enterprise into an industry-leading soft services specialist. Andron, which remains independently owned by the Stewart family to this day, now employs 2,500 people and serves nearly 1,000 sites around the UK, for clients including The Crown Estate London and JLL.

Ron junior’s daughter, Cheryl Stewart, has now been named as the firm’s Chief Executive and on 1 June will formally take over the role from her father, who will retain an active interest in the business as Andron’s chairman.

Cheryl is already well versed in the family firm, which takes its quasi-eponymous name from its two founders and was chosen with a view to securing a prime slot near the front of the Yellow Pages phone book. She joined Andron nearly 10 years ago and became a board director in 2019. Prior to that, she completed a degree in international business at Strathclyde University and a graduate sales and marketing programme at IHS in London.

Andron is by all measures flourishing, with revenues growing steadily over the past decade, from £19 million in 2015 to an anticipated £70 million turnover this year. The team prides itself on the strength of its relationships with clients, which are built in large part upon their relentless dedication to providing meticulous customer service.

That focus on people and relationships has been a hallmark of the firm since day one, epitomised by Cheryl’s grandfather who made a point of knowing the name of every cleaner on the firm’s payroll, even as staff numbers grew into the hundreds. The outpouring of affection from employees and clients alike when Ron senior died in 2022 reflected that personal touch, which Cheryl is determined to maintain under her leadership.

“I grew up listening to stories from my dad and grandad about the early days of Andron. Their hard work and determination to build a successful family business from the ground up really inspired me and fuelled my passion for Andron, even before I joined the firm.

“Having this opportunity to continue their legacy is a tremendous honour, and I am committed to preserving the family values and ‘people first’ culture that has underpinned our business for the past four decades, serving our customers to the best of our ability each day.

“I am really excited about the future of our business. We are continuing to invest in people, sustainability, and technology to ensure we remain a great place to work for our colleagues and a trusted partner to our customers.”

From humble beginnings, when the two Rons leveraged their many strong personal and professional relationships in Aberdeen to offer cleaning services to businesses around the city, the duo soon won NorCo (the Northern Cooperative Society) and the Bon Accord retail centre as major clients. Ron and Ron quickly came to recognise the huge commercial opportunity large shopping centres represented as highly visible, high-footfall premises. Before long, they had won contracts with Buchanan Galleries in Glasgow and Waverley Market in Edinburgh and, from there, they moved into the north of England, via Birchwood Shopping Centre in Warrington. The vast majority of Andron’s employees still work on client sites, with the firm’s 100 office-based employees split between London, Warrington, Aberdeen, and Cumbernauld.

Ron Stewart Jnr said: “Being a family business, succession planning is critical to secure our long-term sustainability and retain the reputation for excellent customer service that Andron has been built upon.

“Reflecting on the last 44 years, it’s hard to describe how it feels to see a company I started with just my father grow to the 2,500-strong team we have today. As you can imagine, it isn’t easy to step back from a role that’s been a massive part of my life, but I know it’s the right time for me, Cheryl, our team and our customers around the UK.

“Cheryl has been preparing for this position since joining Andron’s board of directors in 2019, and I have complete confidence that she’ll continue to lead the company in the right direction. Knowing that Andron will remain family-owned and managed gives me confidence that we’ll stay true to our values and our culture as we look to the next 50 years and beyond.”

Ron Stewart will chair Andron’s board, whose other members are chief executive Cheryl Stewart, chief operating officer Paul Orru, chief financial officer Andrew Harper, and chief compliance officer Derek Stewart.

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