‘Darren’s appointment is one of strategic significance for SMS,’ said Dan Lockyer, head of interiors, The SMS Group. ‘Our outfit business has grown year-on-year for the last three years and as the cruise industry prepares for a global restart, the timing is just perfect.
He added, ‘Our vision is timely, controlled, organic growth and that will very much be front and centre of Darren’s objectives, which is something Darren has vast experience of in his years within the maritime industry. It’s the ideal situation.’
Smith, who has 30 years’ industry experience, responded, ‘I’ve known Dan and the team for a long time and I look forward to working with them… in creating a new and exciting business. We’re building something special and it’s great to be a part of it.’
Smith will work alongside Lockyer in addition to project managers Nick Border and Chris Bailey. Collectively, they possess over 100 years’ worth of experience.
He will be based in Southampton.
Cruise and ferry sector is ‘mission critical’
The company’s commercial director, Nicholas Warren, noted, ‘As we conclude the 2020/21 fiscal year and realign our objectives for the 2021/22 period, a targeted approach to outfit, within the cruise and ferry sector, is mission critical for the business.
‘Despite the pandemic, each of our eight [UK] locations has this year made a positive EBITDA contribution… which has resulted in us exceeding our budget by some margin.’
He continued, ‘The time is right for investment and as the cruise industry restarts, it will move from being one of our many marine-centric verticals to being at the heart of our operations. We’ll make future investments in this space too.’
The business aims to increase awareness via industry events, marketing and further sales initiatives as its client list expands, with Warren stating, ‘This perfectly matches Darren’s profile, experience, his industry background and broad network of connections.’