Coats appoints new Group Chief Executive

Coats, the world’s leading industrial thread manufacturer and a major player in the Americas textile crafts market announces that Rajiv Sharma, currently Executive Director and Global CEO, Industrial, is appointed Group Chief Executive with effect from 1 January 2017.

Current Group Chief Executive, Paul Forman, is to leave Coats on 31 December 2016 by mutual consent and take up the role of Chief Executive at Essentra plc, a FTSE 250 company and a leading global provider of essential components and solutions. 

Rajiv Sharma joined Coats in November 2010 and is responsible for the global Industrial business, which accounted for approximately 80% of Group revenues in 2015.  Under his leadership, it has built new commercial and operational capabilities to deliver a strong track record of profitable sales growth.  It has been at the forefront of product and service innovation for the global apparel and footwear industries and Rajiv has overseen the expansion of the Speciality business into emerging applications such as fibre optic cables and value added engineered yarns used in composites and conductive products.  Rajiv was appointed an Executive Director of Coats in March 2015.  Prior to joining Coats he worked at Honeywell, GE and Shell, amongst others.  His experience spans multiple disciplines, including M&A, digital and leading large complex businesses, in a range of industries, across five continents. 

Rajiv Sharma said: ‘I am energised and excited to be taking on this new role.  Paul is passing me the baton of a company in a market leading position, holding a strong strategic hand of cards.  Superior customer experiences, motivated employees, innovation, digital and technology will be the pillars of our continuing profitable sales journey within a safe, respectful and inclusive workplace.  I look forward to guiding Coats through its next positive chapter.’

Commenting on the announcement, Mike Clasper, Chairman, said: ‘Paul has been working closely with me and the Board in order to identify the most appropriate time to step down and prepare for a seamless transition.  In light of this Coats has been considering both external and internal candidates and identified Rajiv as the best suited individual for the role.  He has strong leadership skills; a proven track record of running our core Industrial business and increasing its profitability; and has been fully involved in developing our corporate strategy. 

‘The Board would like to extend its thanks to Paul for the outstanding contribution that he has made to Coats over the last seven years.  Under his stewardship Coats has evolved from being one of many diverse investments of its former holding company, Guinness Peat Group, to re-establishing itself successfully as a standalone listed entity, due in no small part to his trademark energy and dynamism.  He has also driven material improvements in financial performance.  We wish him every success in the future.’ 

Paul became Group Chief Executive of Coats on 31 December 2009.  Before joining he was Group Chief Executive of Low & Bonar PLC, a global performance materials group, quoted on the London Stock Exchange, and prior to that, MD at Unipart International, the leading European automotive aftermarket supplier.  Paul is a Non-Executive Director at Tate & Lyle PLC.


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Notes to Editors

About Coats

Coats is the world’s leading industrial thread manufacturer and a major player in the Americas textile crafts market. At home in more than 60 countries, Coats employs 19,000 people across six continents. Revenues in 2015 were US$1.5bn.

Coats’ pioneering history and innovative culture ensure the company leads the way around the world: providing complementary and value added products and services to the apparel and footwear industries; applying innovative techniques to develop high technology Speciality threads and yarns in areas such as automotive and fibre optics; and extending the crafts offer into new markets and online.

Headquartered in the UK, Coats has a premium listing on the London Stock Exchange.

  • Each year we make enough thread to go into 8 billion pairs of jeans - that’s one for every person on the planet
  • Every month Coats produces enough thread to stretch all the way to the sun
  • More than 450 million pairs of shoes are made every year using Coats’ thread
  • More than 100 million car airbags are made using Coats’ Speciality thread every year
  • In 1879 Thomas Edison used Coats’ thread in his experiments to invent the light bulb
  • We’re experts in colour, last year we dyed thread and yarn in more than 150,000 different colours for our customers
  • Our Red Heart knitting and crochet yarn brand has been named ‘America’s Most Recommended’ by the Women’s Choice Award
  • Our flame retardant Speciality threads can withstand temperatures as high as 1,000 degrees Celsius
  • Coats is the second largest supplier of zips to global brands