Meet the MD: Tony Hague of PP Electrical Systems

With a passion for UK manufacturing and all that is good with regards engineering and process innovation, Tony Hague is now looking to turn PP Electrical Systems into a £40m turnover firm by 2020. He spoke to BQ about life as MD of PP.

Describe your role in no more than 100 words.

Being managing director of one of the world’s leading manufacturers in its field is both exciting and challenging. No one day is ever the same and you need to be able to stay focused on what is important, manage time and priorities in a way that is flexible.

Like any MD, the challenge is to be accessible and supportive, assist in managing the tactical needs of the company, but not at the expense of spending too much time working ‘in’ the business as opposed to time working ‘on’ the business.


What is it the company does?

We provide control and automation solutions to 13 of the world’s leading machinery manufacturers, operating in automotive, F1, food processing, machine tools and telecommunications.

What do you believe makes a great leader?

The ability to create a vision and the ability to support others to be the ‘best’ they possibly can be. You cannot decide to be a leader, those that are prepared to follow you dictate that.

What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?

Developing the business from a company that sold a commodity based product, into an organisation that provides a customised solution that can be articulated. The entire sales and marketing approach is different.

How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?

Go the gym! I also try not to worry about factors that I have no control over.

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
You may not believe it, but I’ve always wanted to be an electronics engineer so in a way I suppose I’m living my dream.

Any pet hates in the workplace?

Lack of intent. If you are going to do something, do it to the best of your ability and with real purpose.

Where do you see the company in five years time?

The business plan suggests that we will have doubled in size to nearly £40m turnover, employing nearly 250 people. Driving this expansion will be increased marketshare in Europe and, in particular, an established reputation in Germany.

What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?
Be yourself, be honest, accept your flaws and build a team around you that you trust and who can bring different skills to the table.


Where did you start your career?

A UK sensor manufacturer called Synatel Instrumentation. I joined at 16 as an apprentice.


Give us a brief timeline of your career so far.

As mentioned, apprentice trained engineer who moved into a technical support role for a controls distribution company. During that role, I became aware and interested in product marketing and was fortunate enough to take on a technical marketing role for a number of years.

Since then I worked for two large national technical distribution companies, before joining PP Electrical Systems as sales and commercial director. I was appointed managing director in 2004.