New Hewden boss sets out his stall

Adrian Murphy, now six months into his new job as CEO of hirer Hewden, speaks to David Taylor.


Hewden aims to become a major force in the crane hire business once again, says new chief executive Adrian Murphy.

Once a leading crane specialist capable of providing contract heavy-lift services, Hewden has scaled back its crane activities over the past 20 years or so to focus on quick turnaround ‘taxi-crane’ services for general building and industrial customers.

Speaking on the company’s stand at the Plantworx show in June, Murphy admitted that Hewden’s crane hire division is “very understated” as a business. And he wants it to flex more muscle.

“We are still one of only two national providers of cranes in the UK,” said Murphy. The other, of course, is Ainscough. The Hewden fleet currently extends from 25-tonne capacity city cranes to 130-tonne capacity all-terrain models and Murphy has plans to extend this range.

“We are looking at capacity and starting to reinvest. Cranes are now a separate part of the business – a different business with its own dedicated operational structure. We can now start focusing on it,” he said.

Murphy joined Hewden in January 2015, taking over from Kevin Parkes who unexpectedly announced his departure in December after more than five years at the helm. Murphy was previously chief operating officer at rival hirer Speedy – albeit for just a few months, having taken up the post in April 2014.

His career has also included spells with top power tool manufacturer Hilti, engineering group United Technologies and cladding manufacturers Pilkington and Arcelor-Mittal. Besides developing the crane business, Murphy said that he wants to forge closer links with the supply chain and focus more on equipment that will deliver a quick return on investment. Hewden’s “core fleet” concept, launched in late 2012, has proved a great success said Murphy. This idea – essentially to guarantee next-day delivery on the 30 most-hired items in the fleet – has proved popular with the target market of smallto medium-sized customers. Murphy is now extending this idea by teaming up with attachment manufacturer Miller to offer a range of boom-mounted breakers along with its excavators.