GWP Packaging supremo and company founder retires after 30 years and company sale

GWP Packaging, David Pedley

GWP packaging founder, the man who founded one of the South West’s most successful packaging companies, is retiring after 30 years, after selling the company to Glasgow Based Macfarlane Packaging earlier this year.

Macfarlane’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Macfarlane Group UK Limited, acquired  GWP for £15.1 million.

David Pedley, the former CEO of Wiltshire based packaging firm GWP Group, has been reflecting on his time with the business.

The long-established GWP Group based in Cricklade and Salisbury designs and manufactures packaging solutions for local, regional, and international companies, supplying into a wide range of industries. GWP employ over 100 staff; have 500+ customers and a turnover in excess of £13 million

With GWP having been purchased by Macfarlane Packaging back in March, David decided that it was the right time to retire following more than three decades at the helm.

Swindon packaging company sold to Scottish counterpart for more than £15 million

David said: “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time at GWP – and am incredibly proud of everything we have achieved – but feel that now is the right time to step down.

“The hardest part is that I am really going to miss the people – pretty much all of my peers in the industry. I’ve made great friends amongst suppliers, competitors and obviously colleagues. I’ll miss the challenge of big projects and winning new contracts but, most of all, the people.”

Having founded Great Western Packaging – as it was then known – in August 1991, the business was initially based in a spare bedroom and employed only a handful of staff.

Recalling the early days of the company, David said: “At the start, we were all working extremely hard, 14 hours a day, 7 days a week.

GWP Packaging David Pedley with TV crew“We would often be getting into work very early in jeans and t shirts, working in the factory on production, then putting on a collar and tie and going out to meet customers during the day. Then we would be back in the factory, often working late into the evening. And then we would do it all again the following day. “

The business has since grown  to more than 100 employees across two large, specialist manufacturing facilities.

David said: “Even though it was very hard work, it was enormous fun, and to see the business grow the way it did has been hugely rewarding. In saying that, probably my happiest memory was day one, standing in an empty factory (at Lynton Road, Cheney Manor) when we first started.”

As well as the business’ growth and success, there have been numerous other landmarks and events that are recalled fondly.

“A lot has happened over the 30 years GWP has been in business. We have been featured on BBC2, been honoured with a Royal Visit to our factory, and even commissioned an art exhibition made entirely from cardboard to celebrate our 25th anniversary.

“Outside recognition – including Wiltshire Business of the Year and a number of Starpack industry awards – was also incredibly satisfying.”

Ruth Cook, who has been with the company since day one, and is now Managing Director, said: “David has lived and breathed GWP. Having been alongside him at GWP since day one, I have seen first-hand the drive, commitment, and acumen he brought to the company. When many would have sat back and celebrated the success of the business, David would always be out looking for the next step forward. He has been – and continues to be – an inspiration for me.

“On behalf of everyone here at GWP, we wish him a long and happy retirement to enjoy his passions – sailing, travel and spending quality time with his family.”

The GWP Group is made up of five divisions and manufactures all forms of industrial packaging including corrugated cardboard products, bespoke protective cases, foam inserts, ESD (electrostatic discharge) packaging and specialist coated and reusable Correx® packaging.