Hot wheels: the passion behind bike company Madison

Hot wheels: the passion behind bike company Madison

In the second of a year-long series identifying the most innovative businesses in Britain today, Abigail Townsend meets Madison chief executive Dominic Langan.

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Team spirit: Dominic Langan with Madison Genesis riders Photo: Gemma Day

10:56AM BST 07 Jun 2013

Dominic Langan likes to do things a bit differently. In 2009, the 45-year-old chief executive of specialist sports distributor Madison agreed to buy mountain bike brand Saracen. Once hugely successful, Saracen’s reputation had suffered as it became more mainstream and less reliable. Langan decided there was only one option: start a bike team, compete at the highest level and prove how, under Madison, Saracen was again desirable. It was a bold move. “Four years ago, everyone would have laughed,” says Langan. “We knew we had a job to do.”Putting something back: Dominic Langan

The Saracen Madison Downhill team is now well established with numerous wins under its belt.

It’s a strategy appropriate to business start-ups. “Only do what you love and are passionate about,” he says. “Understand your market and what makes your customer tick.”

Now Langan’s doing it again, in the highly competitive professional road racing world. Langan has built his team around Genesis, a Madison brand that makes high quality steel-frame bikes.

The current trend is for carbon-frame but, as Langan argues, “You have to differentiate yourself… there’s growth in steel: they are more durable and more comfortable.”

As with the downhill team, Madison Genesis uses up-and-coming riders – a canny move that has endeared Madison to retailers. “It’s gone down well as we are putting something back.”

Langan joined Madison in 1989, taking a job he thought he’d have for six months, only to “stay for life and love it.”

Since taking over as chief executive in 2005, his tendency to take the least worn path has paid off: annual turnover has risen from £28m and is on track to hit £120m this year.

He has even taken up cycling. Most Sundays, he spends a couple of hours riding the roads around the family home in Rickmansworth, and once a year he, his wife and two boys, aged 13 and 10, cycle in the Scottish Highlands.

“There’s something special about a cyclist,” laughs Langan.

“They love the freedom, the excitement – and there’s something quite addictive about that.”

Factfile

Company Madison

Established 1977

Turnover £103m in 2012

Number of staff 260

Website madison.co.uk

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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