'For me, it has always been about investment in people'
HE HAS been instrumental in Arco's growth, helping develop the company's 40-strong trade network while being heavily involved with its national distribution centre (NDC).
Now, as he starts his retirement following ten years with the company, Nick Hildyard is looking forward to helping other East Yorkshire businesses and charitable organisations grow.
Mr Hildyard, who will remain a non-executive director on the Arco Board, said: "I have had a great time at Arco. Behind the business is a great family that has huge integrity and lives by doing the right thing – and the ethos rubs off on everybody else.
"In terms of sales, the business has almost doubled over the past ten years and that is down to continued investment.
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"I will continue to give the business support in a non-executive role and now I am looking forward to offering my experience to other businesses in the region."
Mr Hildyard joined Arco in 2002 as finance director, also taking on responsibility for business process.
In 2008, following the death of Jo Martin, he was appointed joint managing director, a role he shared with Thomas Martin.
Now, as well as supporting the University of Hull through membership of its council and finance and investments committee, Mr Hildyard will share his time among other commitments, including the Burton Constable Foundation, the Hull Boys' Club and the Nancie Reckitt Trust.
Speaking about his time at Arco, he said: "It is a really exciting business and, over the years, we have built our own leadership position.
"There was a time when it would have been easy to simply be a 'box-shifter', however we looked at what Arco was famous for and that was safety.
"When I was at Smith & Nephew, I remember Arco coming in and telling us all about legislation. They were the 'experts in safety', and that was something the company has built on over the past ten years.
"Arco has spent a huge amount of time and resources on training people and now it has experts who can go out and train other people, as well as 140 sales people on the road who know everything about the products.
"For me, it has always been about investment in people – you can have as many different brands and products as you like but it counts for nothing if you don't have the right people."
Mr Hildyard said paid tribute to how Arco had achieved growth "by not compromising on integrity or ethics".
"As a result, it has been able to attract really good people," he said.
"Maintaining a presence in Hull and creating the NDC here rather than shipping it out further down the M62 is another great thing the family did and demonstrates its commitment to the city."
Mr Hildyard said he was privileged to have carved such a career in Hull and said he was excited about the city's prospects.
"There is a great entrepreneurial spirit in Hull," he said. "You only need look at some of the businesses that have started here and developed from nothing into hugely successful companies. It is all down to the people.
"Hull now has huge prospects in terms of what it can achieve, but again it is down to people – it needs leadership for that to happen."