SMC Pneumatics (UK) has announced that after seventeen years leading the company, Steve Bangs has stepped down from his position as managing director.  He is succeeded by the company’s Assistant Managing Director, Kevin O’Carroll.  The changes took effect from 1st May 2015.
Steve Bangs joined Milton Keynes-based SMC as sales manager in 1984.  He was appointed managing director 1998 and under his strong leadership, the UK subsidiary of Japanese-owned SMC has grown and survived significant global economic challenges.  In 2014 he was promoted to the main board of directors of SMC, with responsibility for SMC’s European operations.  He will continue working for SMC in the capacity of corporate advisor.
Kevin O’Carroll takes over as managing director having gained experience in many of SMC UK’s functions during a 28 year career.  After serving an engineering apprenticeship with Vauxhall, Kevin joined SMC in 1987 – attracted by an extensive product range and SMC’s reputation in the marketplace.  He gained experience in several key areas of the business, culminating in promotion to head of operations in 1996, assistant managing director in 2009 – and now, managing director.
Speaking of the handover, Steve Bangs commented: “After 31 years with SMC, it’s been very gratifying to be a part of the success and growth we have achieved. One thing that has stood out for me is the enthusiasm and support I have received from all of the staff here – support that I know Kevin will be able to rely on as he takes the reins.”
Kevin O’Carroll says he has no plans to make radical changes. “Steve will be a hard act to follow, and it’s because of his leadership that SMC UK is so well-respected by the Board of Directors of SMC.  He steered us through some difficult times and we’ve come through even stronger, so I don’t plan to make any wholesale changes to the way we operate.
“Our continued success is down to a number of factors, not least our excellent workforce and our constant investment in new product development.  In the UK we follow the Japanese ethos and strive to build trust and respect with our customers and our employees. Over half of our employees have been with us for more than ten years and this stability gives us an excellent skills base plus the flexibility of a committed workforce that are willing to accommodate workflow changes. The calibre of our people in the UK is appreciated throughout the corporation and many of our team over the years have been actively sought out to work on European and Global projects to support SMC.
“I want everyone in SMC to know that they can – and do – make a difference. Their contribution is respected and valued. I’ll continue to do everything I can to support the people of SMC to be successful in their careers, because if they are successful ultimately SMC benefits.
 “I’ve ‘grown up’ in this company and we have a first class management team that wants the best – not just for employees but for all our customers and sales partners too.  I’m looking forward to building on the foundations that Steve has put in place and taking SMC forward into the next era”.