The EVO group of companies has signalled its determination to implement its long-term plans by appointing Lorna Mendelsöhn to the newly-created role of strategy and transaction director.

Lorna, a qualified solicitor, has been general counsel and corporate services director with the organisation, the UK and Ireland’s largest multi-channel business supplies and services distributor, for the last two years.

The EVO group of companies provides sourcing, storage and fulfilment services to over 50,000 resellers, corporate clients and public-sector organisations. It has two main trading businesses: leading business products and facilities supplies wholesaler VOW, which has a network of over 2,000 resellers, and Banner, a major workplace supplies and service provider to the private and public sectors. This is underpinned by Truline, the group’s transport company, which manages deliveries on behalf of Banner and VOW.   

Explaining her new role, Lorna said: “Our organisation dates back to the 2014 amalgamation of business supplies groups Vasanta and Office2Office. Following a period of post-merger stabilisation and Steve Haworth being appointed Chief Executive in 2016, we determined our new strategy last year, and my responsibilities now include implementing this blueprint across our group of companies.

“My role also features managing all types of transaction – an area in which I have significant experience – as suitable acquisitions are a key part of the new strategy but by no means its sole element. I’ll also be implementing our corporate and business simplification process.

“In addition, I’m now responsible for our corporate communications and brand building, for our group of companies overall.”

Lorna will be assisted in her new post by Adrian Vaughan, acquisition manager, previously EVO’s credit control manager, who brings financial expertise to her team.

After attending law school, Lorna spent seven years with giant US law firm Sidley Austin, where she was a trainee solicitor and an associate in the corporate reorganisation team. She then joined Vasanta as legal counsel in 2012, assuming her previous role in 2016.

Describing her reaction on being asked to assume her new role, Lorna said: “I’m excited about not being a full-time lawyer anymore and am looking forward to making things happen and putting our plans into action.”    

News of Lorna’s appointment follows the announcement that Banner has furthered its key strategic goal of broadening its business beyond its traditional base of mainly large contract customers into the mid-market, by acquiring leading reseller Ventura Office Supplies, based in Bingley, West Yorkshire. The acquisition followed Banner’s purchase of Manchester-based WA Office Needs six months earlier, for similar reasons.   

Steve Haworth told the hundreds of resellers and suppliers attending VOW’s annual Green Light event in Birmingham last month that the EVO group of companies had been through significant change in the last three-to-five years, but now had a long-term management-led strategy, with sensible goals. He said the organisation was being supported on this journey by leading private equity investors Endless.

He said the EVO group of companies’ strategy meant it will continue to develop its range of products, brands, categories and sectors. It will accelerate this process through mergers and acquisitions, where they further its plans by taking it towards critical mass or adding important expertise in key expansion areas.