Dundee Michelin manager John Reid leaving city for “another post” with firm

Michelin Dundee manager John Reid.

Dundee’s Michelin Factory will get a new manager in May.

John Reid, the man widely credited for saving the plant from closure in 2010, is being transferred to another of the tyre manufacturer’s factories.

Workers at Michelin’s Baldovie factory were told of Mr Reid’s departure in a staff-wide email on Friday.

The news of Mr Reid’s departure comes just days after it emerged Michelin had been ordered to pay almost £30,000 in compensation to a factory worker who was sacked after being signed off with stress.

Stan Reid was signed off after Ralph Smith, the son of a friend, died after falling from cliffs at Arbroath. Two of Mr Reid’s other friends — Julie McCash and David Sorrie, were then killed at a vigil for the missing teenager.

Mr Reid was signed off work for a week but bosses at the tyre factory saw a Facebook photo of Mr Reid at a gin festival and dismissed him.

An employment tribunal ruled his sacking was “egregiously” unfair.

John Reid described said he was “extremely concerned” by the ruling.

Dundee Michelin boss “extremely concerned” after Stan Reid tribunal ruling

The memo to staff from Mr Reid stated: “From the 21st of May, I will be replaced as factory manager in Dundee by Jonathan Wright, currently the Stoke factory manager.

“Jonathan will arrive in Dundee in the second half of April to undergo a period of training and handover.

“Jonathan has been the plant manager in Stoke for approximately three years, prior to that he was head of production for the Ballymena factory.

“I will then move to another post in the group, to be announced at a later date.”

Mr Reid added: “This is a positive thing and after 8.5 years as the factory manager, you probably feel ready for a change.

“I know I can count on your support over the next few months as we continue stabilising the factory and making investments work.”

The factory currently employs more than 800 staff.

New machinery and technology will be installed at the factory later this year as part of an investment programme that started in 2015.

Last June First Minister Nicola
Sturgeon visited Michelin to announce a
£16.5 million upgrade to the site, with
more than a quarter ofthe cash coming
from public funds.

Michelin was asked to comment but had not responded by the time of going to press.


Comment: A big loss to Baldovie

In many folks’ eyes, John Reid is the saviour of Michelin Dundee, writes Courier business editor Graham Huband.

By 2009 Michelin’s main operational board in Clermont Ferrand, France, had earmarked the Baldovie facility – Dundee’s largest industrial site, with almost 1,000 workers – for the chop.

Morale was low, the working environment was poor and production output was significantly below standard for the group. It was only a matter of time before the gates to Baldovie slammed shut.

But almost a decade later, Michelin stands proud and hundreds of workers who could have found themselves on the dole remain in work.

© DC Thomson
The Michelin factory at Baldovie.

It started with efforts to re-engage the workforce, continued with simple measures to clean up and paint the workshops, and pushed on with the, frankly unlikely, securing of millions of pounds of new investment from Michelin centrally.

It is now one of the best-performing factories in Michelin’s global network.

The transformation of a once-tired factory was complete when the Queen visited its new tyre warehouse and production line extension in 2016.

At her side was John Reid, who designed, coordinated and oversaw the reinvigoration of the forlorn Dundee site from the day he took the reins as factory manager in 2010.

The announcement of John’s departure from Dundee comes in a black week for the company locally following a damaging employment tribunal judgment.

Michelin and the Dundee management team got that wrong, but it should not cloud the other achievements of John’s tenure.

Make no mistake, John Reid’s departure is a loss to the city and its business community.

I can only hope his successor will have as great an impact and ensure Michelin Dundee remains fighting fit for decades to come.