Robert De Regge provides background on his acquisition of GS UK and his plans for the future
Robert De Regge
Born and bred in Ghent in Flemish Belgium, Robert De Regge is excited to be in Nottingham. After buying GS UK towards the end of 2019, he is preparing to steer the company into a new and even more successful era.
With his son Ruben, he is working with GS UK’s established team to grow the business and expand its operations. “The goal of myself and my son in purchasing the company is to grow the business. We have found the team here very enthusiastic: they are loyal with lots of expertise in the market. I’m going to work with the team here to see what we are going to do in the future,” he explains.
Robert and Ruben intend to keep GS UK in Nottingham, its base since the company was founded in 1989, and from there they plan to build on the various elements of the existing business. Known as a specialist supplier to the embroidery industry, GS UK distributes Gunold threads, Brother sewing machines and the Merlin Pro range of embroidery machines. It also supplies CadCam laser cutters and Brother GTX DTG printers, and provides full design services and laser-cutting services. On an international level, it sells its own ApS-Ethos suite of professional software for embroidery and cutting.
International sales expertise
Ruben, who has expertise in international sales, comments: “We already have dealers and agents overseas for the software, but we want to expand sales generally for GS UK into the rest of Europe. We also see an opportunity to look more at UK-based products and manufacturers and, through our channels and operations, to get those products into the rest of Europe – Benelux, France, Germany.”
Trained in engineering, Robert brings a wealth of business experience to his new company. He started out working for European and international companies, rising to managing director and CEO roles at several well-known corporates, including home products group Lever Brothers (now part of Unilever), global steel wire group Bekaert, shipping company ISU Containers and Afinia Plastics. Aged 49, he set up his own consultancy, Archor, specialising in turning around and improving companies, from sales and marketing through to operations, and this became Gandae Consulting after Ruben joined.
Now 61, Robert has consulted across all kinds of businesses, including textiles, in the UK, the rest of Europe, Asia and the Americas, working with private equity firms, large industrial conglomerates and family-owned companies. “The majority of my career has been with businesses in the UK so I know the British market well,” he adds. He came across GS UK after being brought in by investment company Gimv to help with changes at one of its businesses, Summa, the Belgium-based manufacturer of cutting plotters: Summa took over CadCam Technology, including its subsidiary GS UK, in 2018.
“They [Gimv] approached me to see if I would be interested in GS UK as they knew I was looking at companies,” Robert explains. He could see that there are opportunities for the business and proceeded to buy it, without any private equity money. “GS UK has a good background. It has been running for over 30 years, which means it must be doing something good. Some people have been there over 25 years, some over 10 years, so there is lots of expertise and knowledge,” he points out.
Robert’s other businesses include a Prague-based media company called JennPro, which has a digital media subsidiary, Jennings UK, in Barnsley in South Yorkshire. Following the acquisition, Robert and Ruben wasted no time in implementing their plans for GS UK, having already overseen new corporate branding and a new website, which were unveiled on the company’s new-look stand at Printwear & Promotion Live! in January. This is just the beginning of a new and exciting chapter in GS UK’s history, according to Robert, who is promising that the industry will “see new activities from us in the next few months”.