International Cards & Gifts (IC&G) is bolstering its sales team with the appointment of two experienced industry execs. Allen Taylor (pictured above) and Simon Harper are to join the Dorset-based publisher in the newly created positions of regional sales director and regional sales manager, respectively. Both Allen and Simon are to leave UK Greetings to take up their new roles with IC&G. Allen is set to join IC&G by July while Simon will officially start his new position in mid May.
This news comes after Tony Roberts’ planned retirement as sales director of IC&G at the end of March. (https://www.pgbuzz.net/i-really-am-retiring-announces-tony-roberts-sticking-to-his-plan/)
Commenting on the appointments, Simon Wagstaff, managing director of IC&G said: “We are absolutely delighted that both Allen and Simon are joining our team bringing their personalities and wealth of their collective experience to IC&G to play a part in our future growth.”
Allen Taylor’s greeting card industry career started in 1989 when he joined Andrew Valentine. Since then, apart from a couple of years when he left to dedicate some time to his wife’s estate agency business, Allen has spent the last 30+ years working for UKG (or its former incarnations), latterly as its northern regional sales manager.
“This industry gets under your skin!” Allen told PG Buzz. “I will be forever grateful to UKG for my many years with the company, working for and with some great people, but I am also relishing the opportunity of joining IC&G, a true family company that puts independents at the heart of what it does,” Allen added.
While Allen is to have overall responsibility of heading up the sales team, Simon Harper will support him as regional sales manager while also having responsibility for the south west sales territory.
Simon has been with UKG for over 17 years, largely covering the south and south west. He started his greeting card career in wholesale cards back in 1997 when he was a rep for Kardwell Hobbs (now KH Distributors) before moving into DTR in 2003 when he joined Hanson White and Camden Graphics.
He describes his new position as “an opportunity I couldn’t turn down!” and is all revved up by “the expansion plans with product and planned display and the role they want me to do.”
Simon’s appointment means that as from May 17, IC&G will no longer be represented by independent sales agent, Rose Trow in the south west. Paying tribute to Rose, Simon Wagstaff said: “Rose has been a wonderful agent throughout the years and we have both very much enjoyed working together to provide you with the best product and service as we possibly could. We part company on very good terms and Rose understands and supports this decision fully.”
Meanwhile at UKG, Allen is working on a smooth handover with Matt James (currently UKG’s business development manager) who will assume his responsibilities in May.
In a letter to retail customers about on Matt’s promotion, Darren Cave, UKG’s commercial director said: “We’re delighted to be able to appoint someone with 23 years’ worth of industry knowledge, much of which has been spent working with Independent retailers like yourselves.”