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Business & Economy

New driver at the Komatsu controls

One of the region’s blue-chip manufacturers is set to welcome a new Managing Director.

Current Director of Manufacturing Paul Blanchard will take up the reins at the company from April 1, taking over from current MD Peter Howe.

Peter has been Managing Director of Komatsu since 2001, having joined the manufacturer in 1992 as Finance Manager.

To ensure a smooth transition to his successor, Peter will remain at Komatsu UK until the end of March 2020, serving the company, which celebrated 30 years at its Birtley base in 2017, as Executive Chairman of Komatsu UK.

Peter said: “I am incredibly proud to have led Komatsu UK for the last 18 years, during which we have enjoyed significant growth across our product range, and have developed and manufactured some of the most innovative machines working across the construction industry.

“I have had the pleasure of working alongside some genuinely talented people and have shared some fantastic successes.

“I am confident that Paul is the right person to take the company forward.  He has a wealth of experience, knowledge and skill and I very much look forward to working alongside him for another year in my new role at Komatsu UK.”

Originally from Cheshire, Paul is married with two daughters, and has worked at Komatsu’s Birtley plant for the past 29 years, the last four as Director of Manufacturing.

Paul joined Komatsu straight from University as a graduate Engineer in 1989. He holds a BEng in Engineering and Business Studies, and an MSC in Manufacturing Systems Engineering with Marketing. During his career with the company, Paul has spent time in the Quality Assurance and Area Service functions, as well as Manufacturing.

He said: “It is a real honour to be appointed Managing Director for such an esteemed organisation.  I want Komatsu UK to build on the success we have achieved in recent years, as a result of Peter’s strong leadership and the hard work and dedication of our talented workforce.

“I would like to place on record my thanks to Peter for his many years of contribution and dedication to Komatsu. I am delighted he will remain in the business for a further year as we move through this transitional period.”

For more information on Komatsu UK, visit