Customade appoints David Leng as Group Chief Executive

Published: 16 January 2018 - Rachel Tucker

Customade Group (Customade) has appointed David Leng as Group Chief Executive.

David Leng.
David Leng.

Leng’s appointment is effective as of 1 February, succeeding John Lightowlers who continues with the firm in a non-executive capacity. Leng is highly experienced within the windows and doors industry, with a proven track record of growing multi-site manufacturing and distribution companies. He joins from Synseal Group, where as chief executive he took the company from a £70m manufacturer of window profiles and conservatories, to become a £160m multi-channel, multi-material market-leading business in the window, glass, roof and door sectors.

Using a mix of acquisition, disposal, turnaround and organic growth, over the last 16 years Leng has led the transformation of several complex manufacturing businesses1 with turnovers ranging from £20m to £300m. His early career in sales and marketing has generated an expertise in product and channel development, which has resulted in
numerous business and personal achievement awards.

Customade has benefitted from considerable investment in the last 12 months and Leng’s expertise will be instrumental in scaling the business and generating further
growth, to ensure that the company fulfils its potential.

In the year since Customade merged with Polyframe, John Lightowlers, Customade’s retiring Group Managing Director, and his team have created the UK’s largest trade fabricator of PVCu, aluminium and composite windows and doors. He has overseen the successful consolidation of the four acquired businesses2, to create a £100 million company that operates nationwide, with nine manufacturing facilities and over 900 employees.

In parallel, he has led a period of intensive investment and change, where each manufacturing unit has been significantly expanded or upgraded and he has developed the product range to create six clearly differentiated offerings, each with its own distinct identity to meet the entire fenestration needs of the UK installer market. 

Lightowlers has been instrumental in establishing and settling a strong management team and maintaining the quality of offering, service and innovation that differentiates Customade from its competitors. The Board of Customade is delighted that Lightowlers, having chosen to be less active in the management of the company going
forward, will continue to be involved as a non-executive director in the next phase of its growth.


Supported by Customade’s management team, David Leng is tasked to drive the business forward, doubling its scale to build a company with a turnover in excess of £200 million in the medium term. He said: “I am delighted to be joining Customade – it offers exactly the type of opportunity that motivates me. It is at a really exciting point in its development and is ready to capitalise on its numerous growth opportunities. We have ambitious goals to fulfil and Customade is well structured, with strong investor support, exceptional products, first-rate employees and a well-deserved reputation for superior service. I look forward to leading the next phase of its development.”


John Lightowlers, Group Managing Director, said: “The merger with Polyframe was the culmination of an ambition to grow my business into the successful enterprise that it is today. To have achieved so much and with the support of a great team fills me with pride. At the time of the deal, I committed to stay for as long as was needed to ensure that the merger transitioned well, to give the management team the support that they required during a period of intense change and to prepare the company to fulfil its potential. Customade is well positioned for the next stage in its development and so this seems the natural point for me to pass the baton to Leng and to continue my support as a non-executive member of the Board.”

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