Published On: Thu, May 5th, 2022

Guy Hubble, Joint Managing Director at RegaLead

Facts and Figures:

First job: My first job was as a Management Trainee at Slumberland Group, the bed and furniture manufacturers, where I gained experience in production management, quality systems and product design.

When did you join RegaLead? I joined the sales office of RegaLead in 1991 and after 10 years in various sales roles I was part of the management buyout team in 2001.

Favourite / most useful gadget: Without a doubt, it’s my phone. I spend all day, every day on it. I do all my emails and calls on it and I rarely use my laptop nowadays.

Favourite / most useful website: It’s got to be Google. Whether it’s for checking background on potential customers, finding that elusive component to make a new product or making travel arrangements. It really makes you wonder what we did before Google! How did we ever live without it? I love it, the world is at your fingertips.

Business person you admire: This is an interesting question because every person I interview for RegaLead, I ask that exact question, and I usually demand an answer straight away – but seeing as I haven’t had an interview in more than 30 years, I’ve never really thought about it myself! 

I would probably have to say my stepfather, who ran a luggage manufacturing business from the age of 30 until he retired at 75. He came from a sales background and encouraged me to get into sales as a route into business management. Until he passed away 4 years ago, he was an invaluable sounding board and mentor to turn to at the big moments, as he had seen it all before.

Favourite hotel for business: I am a big fan of small independent hotels, which I have built up a large selection of after spending 30 years on the road. I tend to stay away from the faceless corporate ones, if I can.

Favourite UK restaurant: I haven’t eaten out as much over the last two years, for obvious reasons, but if it’s a day-to-day casual meal I would have to choose my local Lebanese restaurant. I like to go there after I’ve been on the road or working away. If I’m celebrating or want a night out in the city, then Australasia or the Ivy in Manchester are my first choices.

Best business decision: Undoubtedly, the decision to move into glass for composite doors in 2006, when the market was in its infancy. It created a whole new side to our business, and it now accounts for 50 percent of our turnover. Being in the market since day one has undoubtedly led to our strong position.

Lesson learnt over the last 12 months: The last 12 months has really put into perspective the importance of good cash flow. We’ve seen how vital it is to have ‘rainy day’ money and a strong balance sheet for when the unexpected hits.

Other interests: Playing reasonably poor golf or skiing. Diving as well, but only in warm climates! 

Working Day

I tend to split up my working week, spending Monday in the office to check what’s planned for the week ahead, and heading back in on Friday to review what’s been completed. Tuesday through to Thursday usually sees me out and about on the road, visiting customers and suppliers.

My primary focus as Joint MD is sales/marketing and product development, with our other Joint MD, Darren Baker, focussing on operational issues, so a huge part of my role is understanding exactly what customers need from us and where the market is moving. It’s essential for driving our development strategy so we can stay ahead with products that meet the requirements of the market.

Working Location

My base is at our head office in Manchester, which is the centre of our business, but I also spend time at our other sites in Hawick, where we manufacture our door glass units, and Northfleet in Kent, which is where we produce our coatings for glass, PVC and composite doors.


I know I don’t look old enough, but it’s 30 years since I first walked into the RegaLead offices in 1991 for what I expected to be a short-term sales office role. Back then, we were a much smaller business and were one of ten manufacturers of adhesive lead with a turnover of less than £1m. Looking back, it really is incredible to see the level of growth the business has had and how the business, and industry we operate in, has changed so much over the last three decades.

The development of RegaLead as a business, and my career within it, has undoubtedly had its ups and downs with several bumps in the road. However as with most businesses and careers, there are key moments that shaped it and as I reflect back there are many ‘what if’ moments that could have led RegaLead and myself onto very different paths.   

After a short time away from the business in the mid-90s, I couldn’t stay away from the industry and returned to RegaLead as Sales Director in 1999. At the time we were still a part of French PLC, and the business was experiencing a period of rapid growth in both the company’s product range and customer base.  Whilst all was rosy in the RegaLead garden, it wasn’t so great for some of the other businesses in the group and the opportunity came for a management buy-out which my fellow directors and I seized with the help of venture capital finance.   

The removing of the group shackles, and our own personal stakes in the company, was the change needed for the team to move the business forward and we grew in both our UK market and branched out into the export markets. The defining moment of the 2000s was Glassex 2006 when RegaLead launched several new product areas that moved us from being a niche supplier of adhesive leads and films to a more rounded, added value components company, with the introduction of integrated blinds, door furniture and the launch of our Signature decorative glass business.  As anybody reading this who was a customer at the time will know it was a mixed bag of success. The stand-out product, however, was our Signature decorative glass offering and this went on to be one of the cornerstones of our future development and growth. 

The Signature products were a classic case of right product- right time. The 2006 launch came just as the composite door was being re-positioned by fabricators from a social housing solution to a retail replacement aspirational product. We were fortunate enough to work with some of the pioneers in this transition in creating decorative glass ranges that are still going strong 15 years later. The 2011 acquisition of Decorative Door Products, a UK based manufacturer of decorative glass, further strengthened our offering and 10 years on we continue to develop the capabilities and team at the Hawick site.

The second cornerstone of our transition was the acquisition of CadRam in 2009. As a relatively small producer of decorative resin systems, it was intended to be small bolt on to support our core RegaLead business. However, it became so much more than that. It was the seed for our development as a coatings supplier. The resin technology that came with the business enabled us to develop Colorspray Original, our back painted glass solution and further developments came with the introduction of Colorspray GRP product for composite doors and more recently Colorspray PVC. Whilst our core business and Signature business continue to grow, the emergence of our ColorSpray business has given us a whole new market and product range to develop and is at the heart of our future plans. 

With the development of the ColorSpray and Decorative Door Products, we have become a truly multi-facetted supplier, but we have never lost sight of our roots and continue to build and grow our ‘core’ business of supplying decorative components to the glass industry. The recession of 2008/09 provided opportunities for consolidation within the market, and we seized these. With the acquisition of DuraLead, Stained Glass Overlay Inc (USA based decorative glass franchisor), and a deal for UAP’s bevel business, we built a range of products that clearly differentiated us in the market. Of the original 10 adhesive lead manufacturers who were operating back in 1991, RegaLead is the sole remaining company that hasn’t been closed or taken over.  

Over three decades we transformed from a ‘leaded glass’ components supplier in a niche sector with a turnover of less than £1m, to a £13m turnover company with customers and extensive product ranges that covers the whole fenestration market, from IG and processed glass manufacturers to door and window fabricators, right through to installers – and that’s something I’m very proud of.

‘A tsunami of business’

The 18 months since the beginning of the pandemic has been such a huge event in our lives and its impact has been extraordinary for every sector, but especially the glazing industry. Like everyone else, we went from a normal day in March to being closed the following day. We’ve always had a close relationship with our customers and that had to continue throughout the pandemic, even when the business was closed. There was so much uncertainty as to what we would come back to. People use the phrase ‘a wave of business’ but this was more like a tsunami of business as demand shot up.

Operationally, it’s been extremely challenging and definitely the most difficult time in my 30 years and for our industry as a whole. The huge increase in demand has been against a backdrop of global material deficiencies, labour shortages and rising prices and energy costs, which has severely stretched our supply chain. We were one of 19 independent suppliers to address these issues to the industry with the #UnitedFront movement, which helped us inform our customers of the current challenges of the market and explain that this is something that is affecting us all.

With everyone in the industry facing these challenges, one thing I’ve noticed over the last 12 months is that companies have put new product development to one side as they are trying to cope with the huge rise in demand. The biggest differentiation for companies over the past year is whether or not you have stock, which has been the key to winning more business throughout these supply chain issues.

A return to normal levels of demand?

Once we return to more normalised volumes of demand in the industry and supply chain issues are resolved, simply having stock will no longer be a unique selling point. We will all need to re-focus on product development and growing our customer base to avoid stagnation or even move backwards. This goes for fabricators too. When the supply chain returns to normal and levels of competition return to more familiar levels, fabricators will have to differentiate, add value and develop new products to avoid the all too familiar price competition to fill their increased capacities.

I’ve said time and time again that door glass is such a good way of offering something different, especially as we enter a new phase in the composite door market, which is the ‘replacement of a replacement’ era. Offering different colours and glass designs helps give customers a reason to upgrade a perfectly working door.

We expect to see a level of stabilisation of demand and supply chain issues in the new year, and as RegaLead returns to some level of normality, we will be focused on product development and have some great new product launches planned for 2022. We’ve held off on introducing new products this year for obvious reasons, but there are major revisions to our door glass range to be announced in the early part of 2022, ready for FIT Show in May, which will be a fantastic opportunity to take new ideas to the market and ultimately achieve our key objective, which is to add value to windows and doors with our products. 


Having spent almost the whole of my working career in this industry I have seen the sector move on from the ‘white gold’ era through to the more professional industry we are today, met some incredible people, worked with a great team, seen our business grow and develop and look forward to where we go next. Looking back over 30 years would I have made different decisions? Probably. Do I think taking that sales office job back in 1991 was the right decision? Absolutely.