Board and leadership team

MEET THE TEAM

Jonathan Atkinson

COO

Jonathan is Chief Operating Officer of the COBA Group and is responsible for leading the management of multiple subsidiaries, in addition to working on strategy and direction with the board. Jonathan joined COBA Plastics Ltd in 1998 as a Quality Engineer and swiftly made his mark on the company, resulting in being promoted to Manufacturing Manager by 2000. Since then, he has held several positions, including Group Operations Director and Managing Director. Jonathan has a BSc in Manufacturing Engineering from DeMontfort University and has been a member of the Academy for Chief Executives for over 15 years. Jonathan is a self-confessed ‘petrol head’, with an ‘obsessive interest in cars and motorbikes’. He also owns an impressive collection of musical instruments. Jonathan’s career highlights include promotions to his MD and COO positions, as well as leading several construction projects for the group, both in the UK and in Romania.

Robert Peat

CFO

Robert was made Group Finance Director in 2014, just a year after joining the COBA group as Group Financial Controller, and was appointed to his current position of CFO in 2020. Robert heads up an international team of over twenty from COBA’s HQ in Fleckney, Leicestershire, and has responsibility for the financial performance of the Group. In his tenure, he has been instrumental in the acquisition of four companies, as well as setting up two brand new incorporations. Prior to joining COBA, Robert qualified in Accounting and Finance, at the University of the West of England, and is now a member of both the FCCA and IOD. In his personal life, Robert is an ASA qualified swimming teacher and has taught swimming to people of all ages for the last ten years. Believe it or not, earlier in his career Robert was a bungy cord tester for AJ Hackett in New Zealand!

One of the main tasks was testing the bungy cords each morning by throwing yourself off the bridge – obviously the cords were good as I am still here now and not floating down a river. This job was certainly a good way to disperse any fear of heights.

Jozef Kolba

Plant Director

Jozef joined the COBA Group back in 2005 when he became Plant Manager of COBA Automotive s.r.o. in Slovakia, and has navigated the company through many phases since then. In 2017, Jozef was made Plant Director, and is responsible for the successful operation and growth of the business. In his spare time, Jozef’s newest hobby is woodworking and in fact making woodworking equipment. Of his career with COBA, Jozef said:

I am very proud to have built a successful, high performing team of co-workers.

Stephen Walton

Plant Director

Stephen’s key objective as Plant Director of COBA subsidiary, Copely Developments, is to deliver exceptional products and services by constantly improving the equipment, processes and people within the business. Stephen was actually part of Copely between 2001 and 2006 before it was acquired by COBA. He rejoined in 2011 as Operations Director and supported the COBA leadership team in transforming Copely into an organisation that follows the group’s successful blueprint, whilst staying true to the brand’s own heritage and valuable manufacturing know-how. Stephen’s proudest achievement in his current role is developing the team towards being a responsive and professional group of people who are fun to work with every day. Stephen says of his achievements:

When we receive praise from customers regarding the service we have given, it makes me very proud.

Stephen holds a BEng in Mechanical Engineering from Nottingham University, an MSc in Engineering and Management from Durham, and a Diploma in Accountancy and Finance. Outside of work, Stephen is a dedicated fan of Sunderland FC, and ‘supports them through thin and thinner’.

Emanuel Sarikas

Sales Director – Automotive Seating & Interior

Chris Richmond

Sales & Marketing Director – Technical Products

Chris had a varied education studying a range of subjects including Pattern & Modelmaking, Foundry Practices, Technical Drawing and CNC Machining. Before he joined COBA, Chris was Sales Engineer for Ogle Design – the brand that designed the original Raleigh Chopper. He also worked on futuristic designs for Triumph Motorcycles, Airbus, and Westland Helicopters.

Chris has worked with COBA for more than two decades now, having joined in 2001 as Account Manager. His role became more specialised in 2008 when he was made Business Development Manager for Technical Products. The Technical Products division within COBA Automotive is responsible for designing and producing a range of external seals and internal mouldings for the automotive sector. More recently Chris was promoted to European Sales Manager – Technical Products in 2015, before his current position of Sales & Marketing Director – Technical Products. In his current role, Chris is responsible for managing, maintaining, and developing business with new and existing clients for COBA’s portfolio of extruded and injection moulded solutions.

The aspect of Chris’s role that he values the most is winning supplier awards and receiving recognition from customers for the good work we do at COBA.

There is a tremendous amount of hard work and team effort involved in typically long sales cycles and demanding applications.

Chris Stanley

Group Commercial Director EMEA

Chris joined COBA in 1996 as National Account Manager for the matting division, bringing with him several years of sales experience in the PPE and Site Safety sector. Since then, Chris has progressed through several promotions, including Sales Manager in 2001 and Sales Director in 2011, to become Commercial Director for the EMEA Group in 2020. Chris was instrumental in onboarding and developing business with Screwfix, one of COBA Europe’s top accounts. Chris’s key responsibilities include the day-to-day management of COBA Europe in the UK, as well as leading the management of – and developing strategy for – the wider EMEA Group of companies. Chris notably planned and partook in a significant charitable bike ride from the Lake District to Robin Hood’s Bay, which raised a considerable amount of money for Cancer Research UK.

I am a keen guitarist and love to wind down in the evening playing along with my favourite bands at home or jamming with a local band in rehearsal studios, in Market Harborough. Though I won’t be giving up my day job!

Charlene Petzer

Director

Charlene is a Director of two COBA subsidiaries in South Africa, COBA Plastics (Pty) Ltd and COBA Africa (Pty) Ltd. Her main objectives include: optimising all business areas to maximise output without impacting quality, going above and beyond to ensure ongoing customer satisfaction, and investing in people by providing a safe and productive working environment, as well as training and upskilling.

Charlene joined the COBA family in 2005 when her employer Tie Down Plastics was acquired by the group. In her role of Accountant, Charlene was responsible for the finances of this new subsidiary, before being promoted to Finance Manager in 2007. Her responsibilities grew further in 2010 when COBA expanded its matting operations into South Africa. Other significant milestones include overseeing the acquisition of two further businesses: the injection moulding company Rubaloy, and well-known matting brand Matco. With a much larger combined operation now in the region, Charlene was promoted to Financial Controller in 2015, before more recently being made Director of both businesses in 2018.

I am driven by the desire to lead our teams in South Africa to become the best version of themselves. I will support, guide and lead, but I am nothing without the strong team that surrounds me. I am also a strong believer in the COBA values – Care, Optimism, Belief and Adaptability, and work by each of these values in my day-to-day roles and responsibilities and I strive to encourage others to do the same.

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