Executive Chairman at ICE
Born 1964 in Southampton and educated at Downton Secondary Modern school, Darren chose to join the family business directly from school. Floormac Services offered some valuable life skills and true 'coal face' experience, including cleaning windows (with some extreme ladder work which wouldn't be seen today) floors and toilets.
Two years later in 1983 he joined the other family business, Industrial Cleaning Equipment (Southampton) Ltd as a salesman. He excelled in this brave new world of cold calling, demonstrating and securing sales and enjoyed the commission cheques that followed.
At the age of 28, Darren's entrepreneurial spirit inspired him to lead a management buyout of ICE, funded with venture capital.
It was not an easy market with established competitors, tight margins and an intense focus on customer service. Part of the key to ICE’s subsequent success was a move from selling cleaning equipment to providing complete service solutions. This transition took more than a decade and significant investment. Clients also wanted predictable costs, flexibility and funding options. In the period following the 2007/8 financial crisis, institutions were reluctant to lend, but Darren and his colleagues were able to secure alternative funding through the private sector.
Today ICE is the market leader in the UK and by far the largest independent provider of cleaning equipment solutions, with numerous industry quality accreditations. Darren puts his success down to a passion for the business, lifelong learning, innovation and being able to attract the right people. He is now Executive Chairman of ICE, supported by an excellent team of directors, all of whom continue to drive the business forward.
Darren has been married to Tina for 15 years and has 3 adult children: Matthew, Adam and Laurel.
In his leisure time Darren is likely to be found with Tina on a boat. Introduced to sailing by his father at a young age, he has had a lifelong passion for the sea. Competitive sailing started with Mirror dinghies, then keelboats and ultimately pro-am offshore yachting. He has taken part in international regattas worldwide and loves sailing with and against the world’s best professionals. He now owns a classic Fairey Huntsman which competed in the 1965 Cowes - Torquay powerboat race.
Darren is currently Junior Warden of the Worshipful Company of Environmental Cleaners. Introduced by a client and great friend, Barrie Richards, he was clothed in the livery in 1999 and, subject to election, he hopes to become Master in 2018.