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Published: 31 May 2012
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Sir Neville Bowman-Shaw, one of the leading figures in the fork lift truck industry, will retire from the business in October
|Sir Neville Bowman-Shaw|
Sir Neville Bowman-Shaw, one of the leading figures in the fork lift truck industry, will retire from the business in October, after a career spanning more than 60 years.
With his brother Trevor Bowman-Shaw, Sir Neville built up the Lancer Boss FLT business starting from the early 1950s. Exports started early and in some cases the company accepted goods in exchange for FLTs because the customers in the emerging Eastern Bloc had no hard currency.
The business became a major employer in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, to where the company moved from London in 1959. It was responsible for major innvoations over the years, including the 'B' series of "open mast" ECH mast trucks - at one time, the 'B5' was the world's top ECH mast truck seller - a "tricycle" configuration 30t-1200 ro-ro FLT and a heavy duty (36t-1200) FLT with hydrostatic drive (before anyone else tried it at such a lift capacity).
Lancer Boss went into receivership in 1994 because of difficulties at its German affiliate Steinbock Boss. Subsequently Lancer Boss was acquired by Jungheinrich. Another Lancer Boss acquisition, Hyco in Italy in 1991, had also contributed to the UK parent's difficulties.
In 1997, Sir Neville founded Samuk and started importing Chinese-made Hangcha FLTs into the UK and helped the company develop its range.
He has now stated that there have been several enquires from potential buyers of Samuk, and that negotiations are ongoing.
"I have decided, in my 82nd year, to retire on my birthday October 4th, which is also my wife's birthday, although she is eight years younger," said Sir Neville. "Both our sons are pursuing other careers and are not interested in lift trucks, so we expect to amalgamate or sell Samuk this year comfortably, and have already had several enquiries, of which two are interesting. One of the management team has trained on lift trucks since teenage and they are technically good and work hard."
Sir Neville served as executive chairman of Lancer Boss Group (1966-94), chairman of Boss Trucks (1959-94), chairman of Bowman Lift Trucks Ltd (1996-2005), and chairman of Samuk Ltd (1997-present day). He was a member of the Design Council (1979-84) and the British Overseas Trade Board (1982-85). A former high sheriff of the county of Bedfordshire, Sir Neville was recommended by the then British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, for a knighthood in 1984 for exporting 85% of Lancer Boss's output.
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