Belfast Telegraph

Johnson Service Group chief Chris Sander retires as profits rise to £12.9m

The chief executive of Johnson Service Group is to retire after 33 years at the dry-cleaning, workwear and linen firm.

Chris Sander described leaving the company as "one of the most difficult decisions" he has had to make, but added that the group is in "excellent shape and very well-placed for continued growth".

He started with the group in 1984, joined the board in 2008 and was appointed chief executive in 2014.

Johnson Service Group's board has begun the process of identifying a successor both internally and externally and Mr Sander's retirement date is "flexible", the company said, although it will take place in the first half of 2018.

Chairman Paul Moody said: "The board makes this announcement with a degree of sadness. It has been a genuine privilege to work with Chris; under his leadership, JSG has made enormous progress."

Johnson Service Group made the announcement alongside first-half results, which saw revenue rise 19.3% to £138 million and pre-tax profit grow from £9.9 million to £12.9 million.

The company, which boasts dry-cleaning and tablecloth deals with the likes of Waitrose and Jamie's Italian, has been boosted by a number of successful acquisitions.

Mr Sander said takeovers such as that of PLS, which services the high-volume hotel linen market, have helped drive the firm's performance.

He added that the firm is bumping up its full-year guidance.

"We are well-placed to exploit the opportunities that exist within our market sectors and the exceptional performance across all of our brands gives us confidence that this will continue in the second half. We therefore expect results for the full year to be slightly ahead of current market expectations."

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