Britain's Top 100 Entrepreneurs 2014: No. 96 - Christopher Duncan, Numatic

The entrepreneur behind Henry the Hoover is worth £103m.

by Philip Beresford
Last Updated: 24 Oct 2014

With its long nose and wide smile, a Henry is an instantly recognisable choice for many domestic and commercial cleaners. Made by Somerset company Numatic International, the first Henry was produced in 1981 and the factory now turns out 4,500 cleaners a day, 40% of them for export. Numatic was founded in 1969 by Christopher Duncan to produce heavy-duty commercial vacuums for cleaning coal, oil and gas-fired boilers, before branching out into the school, hospital and home markets. The name and cheery face of the Henry was Duncan’s idea. He reckoned early-morning cleaners would prefer a friendly looking machine. In 2013 Numatic International’s profits rose to over £10m on sales of £124.4m.

Age: 75
Activity: Vacuum cleaners
Wealth: £103m
Latest turnover: £124m
Five-year rise in turnover: 26%
No. of employees: 885
Five-year rise in employment: 7%
Score: 251

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