New GAI leadership

Mario Del-Signore, managing director of CES UK, and president of the Guild of Architectural Ironmongers

Mario Del-Signore, managing director of CES UK, has been appointed as the new president of the Guild of Architectural Ironmongers (GAI). A new vice chair and treasurer have also been appointed, to deliver the GAI’s new strategy.

Mario has built his leadership career in the ironmongery industry for almost 30 years. Following 12 years with a successful retail ironmonger, he joined CISA UK to lead its mechanical business division. After roles with both Ingersoll Rand and GU, Mario established CES UK in 2009.

He also served as the Institute of Architectural Ironmongers’ (IAI) vice chair, and then chairman, for five years, as well as roles on the GAI’s technical and marketing committees. For his contributions to the IAI, Mario was awarded the GAI trophy for services to the Institute in 2011, and the Fellowship Award in 2018.

At the Guild’s recent AGM, Mario outlined his priorities for his term as president as follows: “Our mission here at the Guild is to advance architectural ironmongery through integrity, professionalism, representation, education and training of our members. Our sights are firmly on the future and ensuring all members have the tools they need to grow both their businesses and the skillset of their staff.

“As part of this, we need to ensure that those who are new to the industry have the support and resources they need, and that we nurture and showcase this future talent. Fresh eyes brings new creativity and can help our whole industry to address the changing needs of clients and end users.

“We will be continuing our outreach programme with some of the great organisations and associations in the UK and overseas to bring together our experiences and resources. When we work together to improve the whole industry, we also work to improve it for future generations, helping young people to stand on our shoulders to reach higher in the future.

“I also want to keep the UK at the forefront of standards. The Guild is leading the way in this area through the work of the staff team and volunteers. It is by setting these standards and holding our membership to them that we demonstrate leadership.

“These ideas will underpin our strategy going forward, and I look forward to working with Simon Forrester and the GAI staff team, alongside our vast network of volunteers on the future shape and structure of the Guild.”

Mario took over the GAI presidency from Julian Newman, managing director of Oxford Ironmongery, who guided the Guild through the last few years, including the Covid crisis. Kaz Spiewakowski, managing director of GEZE UK, was appointed as GAI vice president, and Steve Bewick, chief operating officer for access solutions EMEA at Dormakaba, has become the GAI’s treasurer.

Kaz joined the architectural ironmongery industry in 2007 and was managing director of Exidor for almost six years before moving to his current role at GEZE UK. He has served on the GAI executive committee since 2014. Steve also joined the industry in 2007 as the sales and marketing director at Surelock McGill, before joining Kaba (now Dormakaba).

The GAI is the only trade body in the UK that represents the interests of the whole architectural ironmongery industry – architectural ironmongers, wholesalers and manufacturers. Its reputation is built on three key areas: education, technical support and community.

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