5 minutes with: Dave Walmsley

5 minutes with Lyreco's Group Commercial Director Dave Walmsley.


Describe what you do in fewer than 20 words

Reporting to the CEO, I’m responsible for Lyreco’s sales channels to market, SMB, corporate clients, global accounts, customer service and e-commerce. 

What was your first full-time job?  

Trainee Manager in the Liverpool store of retail chain John Lewis. At 18 I was being trained to influence middle aged women – not a chance! Three great years taught me discipline, merchandising, getting things done on the go all day and, yes, long hours. 

If you weren’t doing your present job, what would you like to be doing?

Managing Liverpool Football Club. As my lads told me: “Why don’t you apply dad, because currently you sell more and make more profit, so send your CV in.” 

Who is the industry figure you most admire and why?

[Former Lyreco CEO] Eric Bigeard – he is single-minded and visionary, and seemingly always has time to talk to people. 

What do you think will be the biggest single issue affecting the OP industry over the next five years?

It’s already here and its called the web. It has changed all of our buying habits, will continue to do so and will not only rationalise our industry but will mean many companies morph into being logistics organisations delivering a multitude of client needs. 

What makes you angry?

Complainers and moaning; sometimes those people need to take responsibility and do something about it. Actually, is that me moaning? I hope not!

What’s your favourite office product?

My Mont Blanc pen presented to me by the Lyreco UK and Ireland management team when I moved on to my new role. However, it has done nothing to improve my notoriously atrocious handwriting!

What’s the most memorable travel experience you’ve had while in the office products industry?

Spending a week in India with more than 200 Lyreco staff as we celebrated our top performers from around the world. It was a week of massive contrasts, emotions and experiences. 

What business book would you recommend as essential reading? 

What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School. Great tips from author Mark McCormack, who tells us don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know”, “I was wrong”, and “I need help”. 

What do you like least about the OP industry? 

The lack of innovation in recent years and probably that we still call our industry ‘office products’ when the marketplace and client demands have shifted to become much broader.

What would you like to be doing in five years’ time?

Like but probably not likely! I would ‘like’ to be running my own record label and spending my evenings scouring clubs and pubs for the next Oasis to eliminate all the fabricated X-Factor-type rubbish. 

What would be your ideal night out?   

Watching the sunset at the Snook Inn on Marco Island, Florida, in the company of family and friends.

What’s your favourite movie, and why?  

The Departed for that great line delivered by Jack Nicholson: “I don’t want to be a product of my environment; I want my environment to be a product of me.”

What’s the best concert you have ever been to? 

The Stone Roses at the Stafford V Festival in 2012. All part of the midlife crisis I’m afraid, and a reminder of all those years ago, growing up in the fantastic north of England.