For John Foley, 'the ride on the UK roller-coaster was pretty bumpy, so we had to get on board the European express'. As finance director of the Birmingham-based Triplex Lloyd engineering group, Foley helped mastermind a strategy that will push overseas sales to 50% of turnover by 1993.
Like many West Midland companies, it has been export or die for Triplex as the recession bit. 'In 1987, if we exported to Stoke-on- Trent, we thought that was an achievement,' he told the Management Today/West Midlands Development Agency regional lunch.
But while the 40 participants gathered at the Birmingham Botanical Garden agreed that a drive into Europe was the key to future West Midlands prosperity, their immediate concern was the continuing UK recession. Here, though, at long last, after months of relative gloom at the Management Today regional lunches, some cheerful news emerged. Virtually every single speaker saw a definite upturn in activity. John James, from Edge and Ellison Calow Easton, reported that 'as a medium-sized law firm we are seeing evidence of deals beginning to happen. There are clear signs now that people are getting the confidence to do business.'