All posts tagged Mottie Kessler

Mottie Kessler speaks to The Economist on optimism after Brexit, working through uncertainty and why Britain should embrace the Manufacturing and Chemical Sector

On November 8th  2016, Mottie Kessler, 2M’s Chairman and CEO was invited to be part of The Economists’ Panel on Exporting the UK middle market to the European Union and beyond.

Mottie Kessler, Chairman and CEO of 2M Holdings at The Economist Panel

Mottie Kessler, Chairman and CEO of 2M Holdings at The Economist Panel

The Economist wanted Mottie’s views on how trade would be affected by Brexit. Below is a summary of the interview:

  • How well is your business equipped to deal with uncertainty?

MK: Brexit created uncertainty. However, uncertainty is not new to our business and many others. For example, prior to Brexit over a period of 20 years, the £/$ exchange rate fluctuated from 1:2 to 1: 1.5 and inflation fluctuated even more. When I started my business 12 years ago, interest rates were a different ball game altogether to where we are now.

Being involved in supplying the building blocks essential to everyday life, which are linked to global manufacturing and in many cases impacted by crude oil prices, we are used to uncertainty and fluctuations.

What’s different here is that there are ‘emotional’ feelings attached to Brexit, but from a business position, we remain as flexible as ever – that hasn’t changed.

  • How do you mitigate what still remains ‘unknown’?

MK: The mitigation strategy is nothing new to common practice and common sense in good business practice: Qualified and motivated people, good systems, flexibility, innovation, and a clear understanding of where and how to create added value to customers. Uncertainty and cycles in business are more ‘natural’ than certainty.

  • Is there a difference between the impact on the Chemical Industry and other sectors?

MK: To a degree, one can claim that the Credit Crunch was triggered by complex sub-prime lending models that created no added value, but only extra costs of extra hands in the supply chain which produced no real products. Maybe it’s a healthy awakening for Britain to revive manufacturing.

The first member of our group companies (Samuel Banner & Co) was established in Britain over 150 years ago and we plan to be here for at least 150 years more, that’s why we’ll continue to invest in skills and sites. The demand for our products will continue for as long as people need to keep drinking clean water, showering, taking medication and doing just about everything else required to keep living a healthy and happy life.

L-R: Callum Williams, Britain Economics Correspondent at The Economist; Graham Cartledge, CBE, Chairman, Benoy; Mottie Kessler, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, 2M Holdings; Rami Ranger, CBE, Chairman, SunMark

L-R: Callum Williams, Britain Economics Correspondent at The Economist; Graham Cartledge, CBE, Chairman, Benoy; Mottie Kessler, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, 2M Holdings; Rami Ranger, CBE, Chairman, SunMark

Mottie Kessler In the IoD Director Magazine


Following his Director of the Year Award in 2015, 2M’s chairman and CEO was profiled in the IoD’s Director Magazine in January 2016.

Today we meet Mottie Kessler, chairman, founder and CEO, of 2M Holdings, who won the Mid-Market Director award…

Mottie Kessler, chairman, founder and CEO, 2M Holdings

Providing chemical distribution and related chemical services, 2M Holdings prides itself on supporting sustainable growth for other companies. Ten years ago, it faced closure; since then it has tripled sales and acquired a raft of other businesses. So what informs Mottie Kessler’s highly successful approach?

What inspires you as a businessman? Stories of leadership and determination were plentiful when I was growing up – Mandela, JFK, Martin Luther King.

What’s been the most pivotal moment in your business journey? Buying my first company, Banner Chemicals, a business of 150 years’ history and then being told I had to close or relocate it, seven months after the purchase, to make way for the London Olympics. Rather than take the ‘quick cash’ out, I decided to relocate to the north of England.

Best business advice? My parents told me that educating yourself, and persistence, can lead you anywhere you want.

What’s the secret of your success? Continuous learning of the business environment, sharing knowledge with the team, persistence and delegating. And having a great partner – my wife – for both life and business.

Who is your most inspirational business person? Warren Buffet – he just keeps on growing his businesses and the sky is the limit for him.

How and where do you network? In both local and global business circles. For example, I’m a member of the IoD and YPO-WPO, a global organisation [of business leaders]. ‘Glocalization’ is an increasing reality, so sharing ideas with people locally and from all over the world is natural and crucial.

What should government do for business in 2016? Reduce red tape and support science-based businesses.

What’s the best business book you have read? Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.

2M Holdings vital stats

Business – 2M Holdings is a provider of chemical distribution and related services for purposes including emissions reduction and water purification.

HQ – Runcorn, Cheshire Staff 230.

Growth – The company has made 10 acquisitions in 10 years.

History – Founded by Kessler in 2004, 2M Holdings’ long-term aim is to grow an international chemicals distribution and services portfolio. Its HQ is in the UK and it has a presence in China, Benelux, Ireland, Poland, Scandinavia and Brazil.

Financial highlights – Turnover has risen 300 per cent in the past decade to around £110m.

Mottie Kessler is a fellow of the IoD and member of IoD Central London


What the sponsor said…

The UK mid-market is the powerhouse of the UK economy, providing over one-third of GDP, revenues and employment despite making up less than two per cent of all businesses*. Their contribution is crucial to the ongoing growth of the UK economy. The GE Capital Mid-Market Director of the Year award recognises the leaders of this incredibly important business segment.

Here at GE Capital, we were impressed by the passion, commitment and leadership shown by all of the entrants to this award. Equally notable was their commitment to staff, local communities and the towns and cities they operate in. Congratulations to our winner Mottie Kessler