AFTER scouring the globe for a new managing director Sevcon president and chief executive officer Matt Boyle found the ideal man – just a two-minute walk from its Gateshead base.

Dave Sidlow has joined the fast-growing low-carbon vehicle company from fellow Team Valley business Palintest.

In his 10 years as Managing Director of the water testing and analysis company sales more than doubled from  £7m to £15m, and profitably trebled.

Mr Sidlow’s appointment as Sevcon Managing Director will allow Mr Boyle to concentrate on driving forward his strategic vision for the world-leading motor control and battery charging business.

Mr Boyle said: “We employed leading head hunters and scoured the world. We interviewed people from France, Italy and Greece and then we found someone with all the attributes on our doorstep; just a few minutes away.

“Dave has a history of growing business, along with automotive industry experience and a grounding in electronics. He was head and shoulders above the other candidates.”

Mr Sidlow has joined Sevcon at the most exciting time in the company’s 50-year history as the global shift to hybrid and electric vehicles gathers true momentum.

Sevcon, as a world-leading, electric drivetrain technology specialist, is at the forefront of this worldwide electrification movement.

Its technological excellence is witnessed by its growing order book which currently stands at $400m with further contract announcements imminent.

Mr Sidlow said: “Electric vehicles will be the most exciting thing over the next few years. The size of the market opportunities for Sevcon at this time are immense.”

Mr Sidlow knew the time was right when approached by Sevcon. He is proud of the company’s pedigree and excited by the company’s growing reputation for electrification excellence.

“The business has great people, great technology, great strengths and a great track-record.

“As we develop, our focus is shifting from the more traditional electric vehicle market to high-spec, high-performance on-road cars.

“This shift into the automotive supply chain is the single biggest challenge we face; it’s one that requires a different engineering philosophy and mindset.

“Each automotive project will be bespoke, with its own set of engineering, logistical and lead time challenges.

“The key to our success will be our ability to ramp up to meet these emerging project and product volumes.”

Earlier this year Sevcon said it would recruit an additional 200 technicians and engineers and this, and its proposed move to larger headquarters on the Team Valley, are well underway.

As Managing Director of Sevcon Mr Sidlow will be responsible for all of its operations which include Gateshead, the Thames Valley and new design centres in Canada and China.

At Palintest he was responsible for some major breakthroughs in the Chinese market; a key one for Sevcon.

Prior to Palintest Mr Sidlow was responsible for developing new facilities for Rolls Royce, Magna Kansai and Schmitz Cargobull. He has a degree in Electronic Engineering from Nottingham University and an MSc from Newcastle University in Manufacturing Systems Engineering.

He added: “My core skill, built up over 30 years in an engineering environment, is change management. My first challenge at Sevcon will be to understand the business and ensure we have the additional resource we need to help us achieve our full potential.

“These are exciting times for Sevcon and it’s great to be part of the team at this transformational time for the business.”