CRADLEY Heath bag designer and manufacturer Billingham has announced the appointment of Joe Hancox to its board of directors, with responsibility for financial management.

Hancox joins the company as it embarks upon a new period of international growth and expansion.

Until his retirement from full-time work on 31 March 2017, Hancox had advised Billingham for 30 years as a partner in accountancy firm, Crowe Clark Whitehill.

For the past seven months, he has acted as a direct consultant to the business.

As a qualified chartered accountant, Hancox began his career specialising in tax and became a general practitioner after five years in this discipline.

He joined Crowe Clark Whitehill in 1972 and was responsible for opening its Kidderminster office, which grew to more than 50 staff and five partners.

Hancox was born and educated locally to the Billingham factory in Cradley Heath and has lived in the area for the majority of his life.

Founded by Martin and Ros Billingham in 1973, the eponymous company has experienced significant growth after building a strong reputation fro the durabilty and quality of its products wuth photographers around the world.

Billingham is now moving into its next chapter of development, extending its sales activities into the rest of Europe, the US and the Far East through partnerships with specialist distributors and retailers.

Martin Billingham, said: “Joe has been a trusted advisor to Billingham for many years, and we welcome his appointment to our executive team at this critical time in our expansion into new territories.

"As a leading practitioner in his field, he brings a wealth of international expertise, and he will be a highly valued member of the board.

"We look forward to benefitting further from his experience and insights.”

Hancox commented: “I have followed Billingham’s tremendous success story for many years, and it has been a privilege to work with the team as an external financial advisor.

"I greatly admire the dedication and ambition of the Billingham family in driving forward its business strategy, and I look forward to contributing to this next exciting stage in the firm’s growth as it builds its presence in global markets.”