New chief executive of Hughes Electrical started work in Fenland store as teen 21 years ago
PUBLISHED: 16:34 08 July 2020 | UPDATED: 18:49 08 July 2020
A Wisbech man has been appointed chief executive officer of Hughes Electrical after he joined the company at the Fen town’s store as a teenager 21 years ago.
Mark Wardell began his career at the large electrical retailer shortly after his 16th birthday when his father told him to go out and get a Saturday job.
The former Peckover Primary School and Wisbech Grammar School pupil, who grew up on Cambridge Drive, is now responsible for the company which turns over £125 million.
He was appointed on Monday, July 6 and takes over from Robert Hughes who has run the company for 25 years and is moving to the role of chairman.
The company has nearly 1,000 employees, has more than 120,000 electrical items on rental at any one time and has more than 35 stores across the country.
Mr Wardell said: “The electrical business was all very different when I started. The big sellers were stereos, camcorders and mini-disc players.
“Then there were the very heavy, and large, CRT TV’s – my job each Saturday was to build their stands and fill any gaps in the display.”
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Mr Hughes said: “Mark’s appointment has been three years in the planning.
“Hopefully with the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic behind us and the economy opening up comes at an exciting time for the company.
“Next year we celebrate our centenary, all this makes it the perfect time for change by bringing in dynamic, fresh thinking. I look forward to working with Mark going forward.”
Mr Wardell added: “It is a great pleasure and honour to follow on from Robert who has been in charge while the business has gone through massive change, responding to the demands of customers, particularly over the last decade and he will continue play a very important role.
“Recently we have worked closely together to successfully steer the company through the coronavirus emergency.
“Now my challenge for Hughes is to be the very best at what we do right across the company.
“Being a successful business is not just about growth, it is about getting better and better at the things you do to the benefit of all our customers.
“But memories of growing up in Wisbech will always be with me – learning to swim at the Hudson Swimming Pool, going to the theatre at the Angles and Empire and summer open days at Peckover House or Wisbech Castle.”
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