IMI plc (IMI): The Men Who Run It

IMI plc (IMI)LONDON — Management can make all the difference to a company’s success and, thus, its share price.

The best companies are those run by talented and experienced leaders with strong vested interests in the success of the business, held in check by a board with sound financial and business acumen. Some of the worst investments to hold are those run by executives collecting fat rewards as the underlying business goes to pot.

In this series, I’m assessing the boardrooms of companies within the FTSE 100. I hope to separate the management teams that are worth following from those that are not. Today I am looking at IMI plc (LON:IMI), the maker of fluid control valves for everything from nuclear power plants to drinks machines.

Here are the key directors:

Director Position
Robert Quarta (non-exec) Chairman
Martin Lamb Chief Executive
Douglas Hurt Finance Director
Roy Twite Executive Director

Robert Quarta has been chairman since November 2011. He is a partner and European chairman of Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, the U.S. private equity firm that numbers Jack Welch and Terry Leahy among its advisors. He worked in an executive capacity with the firm from 2001. He was CEO of BBA Aviation from 1993 to 2001, subsequently moving up to be its chairman until 2007. He spent the previous 17 years in various positions in BTR. A slew of previous non-executive directorships include BAE Systems.

Restructuring
Martin Lamb has been CEO for 12 years. An engineer by training, he has spent most of his career with IMI plc (LON:IMI), joining in 1986, and quickly moving into management and business development roles. He joined the board in 1996, responsible for the beverages-dispensing business.

On becoming CEO in 2001, he instituted a strategic review that led to substantial restructuring over the next few years. Diversified operations were sold off, manufacturing was relocated to low-cost countries, the business was focussed globally on product niches, and the balance sheet strengthened with debt reduction. The shares have quadrupled during his tenure.

A chartered accountant, Douglas Hurt joined IMI plc (LON:IMI) as finance director in 2006. After leaving the profession he worked at GlaxoSmithKline plc (ADR) (NYSE:GSK) in finance and operational roles.