A company's exclusive approach to fishing brought it world-wide fame - and huge debt. Now it has a new MD and he is reeling in the profits.
Not long ago, John Holland, the managing director of House of Hardy, received a telephone call from a potential customer. He was asked if the firm could provide them with various bits and pieces for a new venture they were about to embark on. Mr Holland was happy to reply that his firm could. Nothing remarkable in this, you might think, expect perhaps the name of the customer in question and its putative programme: respectively, the Pentagon, and Star Wars. Even this might not have seemed worthy of note, but for the fact that House of Hardy is not in the defence business - it is the world's most venerable manufacturer of fishing tackle. The request did, Mr Holland concedes, "seem a little incongruous".