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Solotech names new UK MD as Alex Penn and Spencer Beard depart

Solotech has appointed Bryce Jewell as its new UK managing director, where he will oversee the SSE Audio, Wigwam, Capital Sound and BCS Audio brands and further develop Solotech's UK operation. His appointment comes as both Alex Penn, son of SSE Audio co-founder John Penn and former managing director, and Spencer Beard, former UK group live productions managing director, leave the company.

Penn departs after 15 years with SSE Audio, while Beard parts ways after almost 30 years with the brand, representing a significant change for the brand at senior executive level. The pair have yet to disclose details of their respective next roles, although each have made reference to 'new starts' in LinkedIn posts. 

In his new role, Jewell will spearhead the overall business strategy for Solotech in the UK, both for the Live Productions and Sales and Systems Integration Divisions.

“This appointment is the symbol of a new major milestone for Solotech’s expansion in the UK and Europe, and a true testimonial of our intention to continue investing in our people, our technology, our operational structure and our brand”, said Martin Tremblay, president and CEO of Solotech globally. “We are in it for the long run, and are definitely looking to build a strong, UK-based operation with - in addition to the audio heritage from SSE Audio, Wigwam Acoustics, Capital Sound and BCS Audio - other key services and technology that set Solotech apart and make it absolutely unique on the global market.”

Jewell brings over 20 years of experience within the technology sector to the position, spanning the UK, US, Norway, and Australia. He previously led the turnaround of the UK and US Enterprise businesses as managing director at Global Cloud Xchange, which operates the world’s largest privately-owned subsea cable system.

Before that, he served as director, sales Europe, at Pacnet, achieving President’s Club honours in his first year. For the past two decades he has gained experience in engineering, sourcing, product, sales, and management.

“We are absolutely thrilled and proud to welcome Bryce as part of our Leadership Team,” Tremblay continued. “His knowledge of business management and technology background will be a major game changer for the diversification of our business activities in the UK and in all of Europe for the years to come.”

SSE Audio co-founder John Penn announced his retirement from the business last year, some 43 years after establishing the company.

In a statement issued at the time outlining the reasons for his decision to step back from the company he started, he said: “When the business started, run from the garage with a Transit van and a Wem Audiomaster, I never dreamt any of what we have achieved could be possible. For 45 years we have innovated and invented, often out of necessity, sometimes by accident and I think we can say we have helped to shape the whole UK live events industry. We encouraged a culture that relished the challenge to be better, with an attitude that said anything is possible, we just needed to figure out how.

“Like any business there have been lows and stresses. But alongside that, and at the very heart of it, has been the people. The friendships, humour and comradeship forged in the heat of our battles have been quite amazing. I can be a tough taskmaster and many have been on the wrong end of a JP rant! But this was because I cared so much and near enough wasn’t good enough.

“Many of those who received my toughest of lectures, became my strongest supporters, which says a lot. Over the years I‘ve been told on numerous occasions by former staff that working here was “the best job I ever had”. I think this says a great deal about our culture and is something I take a lot of pride in.

“With Alex Penn and Spencer Beard at the head of the UK operation, the ongoing leadership is in excellent hands. I have total faith and trust in their abilities as the company moves forward.

“It just remains for me to sign off by saying a heartfelt thank you – to everyone – who has shared and contributed to this roller coaster ride with me. None of this would have been possible without you. I wish each and every one of you health, happiness and success for the future. Rest assured you’ll still be seeing me around!”