Our People - George King

Managing Director for the South

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Our People – George King

SIG Roofing values all its employees and they have a wealth of experience across their team of people. So, in a series of articles we want to introduce them to you, to showcase their value and the part that they play.

Next up is an individual who has clocked up over 36 years in the roofing industry, largely with SIG, he is our Managing Director for the South…..GEORGE KING.

George King started work as a roofing labourer and has clocked up 36 years in the industry. He now heads up the SIG Roofing South Division giving him responsibility for 470 staff across 68 branches and a little over half the turnover of the Roofing division…


George King’s first job after leaving school was with a roofing contractor in his home Village. It was a business called Swift Roofing, that he passed on his paper round each day and during his school exams, he decided to call in and ask if they had any jobs. 48 hours later he started working for them, contracted out as a labourer and he clearly remembers the first roof he worked on being a daunting experience. It proved to be a good decision and a great grounding for the career that followed.

His next move was working for the merchant business, which was part of the contractor, called The Roofing Centre Group in the yard. They then moved him to a newly acquired merchant in Tunbridge Wells where he worked in the yard, the warehouse and the trade counter, successfully helping to turn an ailing business back into profit. He also discovered a love for selling and building relationships with customers, which has continued throughout his career.

At the time of the SIG acquisition of the merchant, The Roofing Centre, he worked for in 2001,  George was 29 and was managing two branches in Tunbridge Wells and Maidstone. He got on well with his new managers at SIG and within 3 years he was promoted to Regional Manager.

In 2005 George became the Sales Director for the division and in 2007 he joined the Board of SIG Exteriors. He quotes this as one of his key highlights and modestly explains that he was so elated he accepted the role and drove 40 miles down the motorway before he realised that he hadn’t asked what his financial package was going to be!

He now heads the Southern business for SIG Roofing as Managing Director for the South Division which includes 68 branches and just under 480 people with a turnover of circa £220 million. His area covers from Northampton across to South Wales, down to Newquay across to Anglia and down to Ramsgate.

So what’s an average day in the working life of George King?

“It’s important to get a home life balance correct and I believe I have got that now.

I aim to split my time so 30% is out and about in the SIG branches, 30% is in the office on strategy, reflecting on performance and what can we do tomorrow, 20% with suppliers and general meetings and 20% with customers or senior managers. And the bit I enjoy the most is meeting customers. I also love being in the branches at the trade counter talking to customers and if I could do more of that I would.”

What’s different about SIG?

“SIG is the largest merchant of roofing products in the UK with over 100 branches nationwide, a large stock holding, well-informed staff and we work hard at bringing the latest roofing product innovations to market.

We’ve had our peaks and troughs over the years, but we are a business that can change and adapt to market conditions. In the last four years we’ve changed the model of our business completely and each year since we have taken market share and we are dealing with more customers. Change has to happen and it’s important to take your team, customers and suppliers with you on that journey and to communicate it properly.

I believe that the branch management team at SIG Roofing today is better than it has ever been. We are investing a lot in the training and personal development of our staff and that is helping us retain experience and attract new talent. I think that is fantastic to see.

We are also very good at credit management for our customers, we are flexible and supportive and that goes a long way in helping us to build long relationships.

Personally, one of the key reasons I have stayed at SIG for all these years is down to the relationships I have built with colleagues in the business and with customers. I work with some very talented individuals.”

Current challenges:

“First are the Market conditions. We sell a lot of products in the New Build sector and it has slowed down and we don’t forecast any upturn soon.  That’s largely due to macroeconomic indicators like high-interest rates and inflation. Every year the government sets a target to build 225,000 new homes and whilst the UK has never reached the target, they are very unlikely to this year.

A large part of our roofing business is also in RMI (refurbishments) and we are starting to see a softening in this area too. If interest rates don’t drop we are concerned that this area of the market may slow down further.

To compensate for this market change we are running many new initiatives in SIG Roofing branches this year. These are largely to grow our share in a softer market, which is always a challenge in an industry where long-lasting customer relationships are prevalent.

The second challenge is the massive labour shortage we are experiencing as an industry. The UK weather has been particularly wet this winter and I don’t know many contractors that have caught up with the work largely due to labour shortages. It’s also rightly due to the tightening of H&S legislation which now prevents work on roofs in some wet conditions.

This is a massive challenge and we are supporting industry associations to help make roofing a more attractive career proposition for the future.”


“We see the biggest opportunity in the roofing market currently being in renewables, largely solar panels. SIG Roofing has heavily invested in this area and that includes in the people with the expertise to advise us on the right product, in the stock and in training to understand how we sell and install it.

We have started that journey, had some great successes and learnt valuable lessons. We are currently on a rollout for all branches to be trained. The installation is straight forward but it must be connected to the grid by specialist electricians. 

We also have a massive programme on redeveloping our SIG Roofing branch premises, not only to provide a well-merchandised branch for our customers to visit but also investing to make the workplace a more pleasant base for hundreds of SIG Roofing staff. It’s another step to happier employees and attracting new talent.”

Registered Office: SIG Trading Limited, Adsetts House, 16 Europa View, Sheffield Business Park, Sheffield, S9 1XH. Registered in England No. 01451007 VAT No. GB 487 01733