KWB recruits Duffy to drive expansion strategy

KWB has brought in a high-profile sales director to significantly increase the size of its corporate cleaning division.

“There are several elements to the strategy, but the core aim is to double the turnover of KWB Corporate Cleaning within the next three years,” says Jim Duffy. “It is ambitious, but I’ve worked for several companies in business development positions when similar growth targets have been achieved.”

KWB Corporate Cleaning, part of the KWB Holdings Group, is a commercial cleaning company based in Birmingham city centre providing a nationwide service. Corporate Cleaning is a provider of totally integrated office and school cleaning, with services including workspace cleaning, washroom cleaning and supplies, and grounds maintenance, as well as window and carpet cleaning.

Jim’s CV includes management roles with the Wolverhampton-based Express & Star, Birmingham’s Post and Mail and Rentokil Hygiene.

His first love was football though, and he looked on course for a career in the sport, when his home-town club, Wolverhampton Wanderers, gave him a youth contract in the early 1980s.

Kenny Hibbitt was the terrace star, with more than 500 appearances and more than 100 goals, and he took a keen interest in the teenager’s fledgling career.  “It was an amazing feeling, to be born in Wolverhampton, get a deal with Wolves, and then have a club legend like Kenny make it clear that he fancied my chances of getting a pro contract. At the age of 16, football was my life and I couldn’t imagine any other future,” recalls Jim.

Unfortunately, Hibbitt was pushed out, along with youth team manager Frank Upton, and both went to Coventry City after the club was acquired by the Bhatti brothers.  “It was a very dark time for Wolves. They were relegated right down to Division Four, good players were leaving, and Molineux was a miserable place,” admits Jim.  “Kenny and Frank got in touch, and offered me an apprenticeship deal at Coventry, but I realised I’d just fallen out of love with football.”

However, he discovered a new calling, selling adverts for the Express & Star, and a move to the Evening Mail in Birmingham saw him promoted to regional advertisement manager, responsible for 10 sales representatives.

“Great times. Great people. The buzz was wonderful, but then in the early 2000s you could tell printed papers were starting to decline. It was quite sudden, but there were a lot of redundancies, and I chose to leave,” says Jim.

“My wife, Joy, teaches business and economics, and has always been a great sounding board and source of advice if I’m mulling over a move. Facilities management (FM) was a new and dynamic sector, and we thought my skills would be well suited to its demands.”

Rentokil Hygiene was the first of several FM roles, and when a mutual contact introduced him to KWB’s co-founder and director John Bryce, Jim didn’t hesitate to focus on the ‘softer’ side of the sector.

“Cleaning was an important element of FM work before COVID, but now it’s top of the list for schools, colleges, offices, and other corporate clients,” he says.

“It is a broad remit, looking at all our routes to market, overseeing the tendering process, bringing people together and setting achievable goals.

“We’ll probably grow the staff, perhaps bringing in someone on the business development side, but it will be organic, and it certainly won’t be rushed.

“John and the other directors know what they want to achieve, and so do I, and I’ll be working closely with the operations director, Paul Winters, to deliver results.”

For more information on KWB Corporate Cleaning’s services, or to discuss your cleaning requirements, contact Jim Duffy at jduffy@kwboffice.com or call on 0121 516 5740.