ZF's UK MD tells PCR how his day brings new challenges

A day in the life of: Michael Groom, Managing Director, ZF Electronics UK

There’s no such thing as a typical day, but my day starts around 6.30am with breakfast at home, where I open my emails from the previous evening. I generally close my PC after the 10pm news.

I also check my work text messages in case of notification of staff shortages, sickness or others. Depending upon what has arrived from around the world dictates certain actions and activities.

Cherry was acquired by ZF in 2008 and we are now part of the Global ZF Automotive Organisation based in Friedrichshafen, Germany, employing 70,000 staff with a turnover of around €20 billion. A further acquisition will bring ZF to around €30 billion and 130,000 employees.

I arrive at my Luton office for 8am, where we all reside in an open-plan office and there will be general banter as everyone settles into the day. What will we talk about now Strictly Come Dancing and The Apprentice have finished? I have no idea, but I guess back to football.

Each and every day brings new challenges, and looking at my previous week, apart from my daily duties of running the UK operation, I had a plant tour of a global UK tractor facility, a visit to a global electronics distributor, business reviews, communications over a legal situation, agreeing a supplier contract with a global company tying us together until 2017, two evening dinners with customers, conducted interviews for a new sales position for 2017 and a visit to the London Institute of Directors (IoD).

I also travel to Europe, the USA and India, and the previous week I was in Germany for a board meeting. Working for ZF is varied, challenging and rewarding, we all have to multi-task and that’s what keeps me motivated.

Away from work, I enjoy walking, holidays and relaxing with my family. Having recently become a grandfather, with a second due in February, my life continues to be even more busy than normal.


What was your very first mouse? How does it compare to Cherry’s range of mice? 

Microsoft Intellimouse in white with a ball – by comparison to the latest range of infra-red sensor versions, like our MW-2300 with up to 2000dpi, it was very sluggish and the ball was forever getting clogged with dirt particles. No such problems these days!

Tell us about the very first Cherry keyboard…

The first Cherry keyboards were created around 40 years ago and were designed for both the VDU terminals of the day and as replacements for electronic typewriters and telex type machinery. The first keyboards were switch based – like modern mechanical keyboards – and very heavy and robust products. 

What is your New Year’s resolution?

Having walked the Thames Path 185 miles and the Grand Union Canal 150 miles for the Keech Hospice and raised over £6,000, I intend to walk the Ridgeway and the London Loop.

What’s your most memorable tech product?

The wheel, followed by electricity. 

What was your favourite tech gadget as a child?


What would you like to see more of in the industry throughout 2015?

Certainly more keyboard sales to go along with the heightened interest in gaming products, as well as with the resurgence in interest in desktop PCs. Since reports are telling us that tablet sales are decreasing for the first time, I’d hope that the benefits of desktops, with choices in keyboard technologies and peripherals to attach to them, are a little more in customers’ thoughts.

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