Scottish engineering pioneer appoints new Chief Executive

Phil Harris
Phil Harris

Scottish engineering pioneer Vert Rotors has appointed a new chief executive as the company enters a commercially-focused phase to bring its patented technology to the market.

Manufacturing veteran Phil Harris has joined Edinburgh-based Vert from Clear Surgical, a medical device company based in Glasgow. Phil was previously chief executive of Clear Surgical from September 2016, and will continue with that firm as a non-executive director.

Phil replaces Vert founder Olly Dmitriev, who set up the company in 2013 to develop a revolutionary new type of compressor technology that is compact and quieter than traditional twin-screw devices and capable of continuous running.

Born in Birmingham, Phil earned a PhD in Chemistry in 1985 from Staffordshire University before joining Swiss pharmaceutical giant Ciba-Geigy. He moved in January 2000 to Ilford Imaging, a manufacturer of photographic materials, where he spent nearly five years as a programme manager in charge of restructuring across the US and Europe.

He then became chairman and managing director of Harman Technology, which was formed following the management buy-out of the UK operations of Ilford. He remained there until 2008, when he then embarked on a series of appointments heading up firms through periods of transformation.

He moved to Scotland in 2014 upon joining Bellshill-based equipment manufacturer Sphinx Medical as chief executive. He led a successful trade sale of that business in the following year.

In addition to the change in leadership, Vert has also strengthened its management team with two further key appointments. John McNeil has joined the team as sales engineer in charge of driving new business, while Vicky Thomas, formerly of Edinburgh Innovations, has been appointed marketing manager.

“This is a pivotal time in what will become the history of Vert Rotors,” Phil said. “The company is in transition from a technical push to a commercial pull – our focus now is on giving the market what it wants.

“This amazing technology has already proven many people wrong who thought it simply couldn’t be achieved. I am looking forward to leading a business with such huge potential, and which is full of talented individuals all pushing to bring this incredible technology to life.”

Vert’s patented Conical Rotary Compressor (CRC) technology has been hailed as the biggest innovation in the compressed air industry in 40 years. This unique design which is capable of producing high pressures in a single stage lies at the core of the quiet and portable Vert compressors.

The design is also significantly quieter than piston compressors, making it ideal for laboratories, offices and workshops where noise pollution is an issue and low noise is a distinct advantage.

VERT was formed in 2013 by Olly Dimitriev. Olly achieved considerable success at Vert, winning the title of ‘Inventor of the Year in Scotland 2017’, and was recognised by The Manufacturer magazine as one of the Top 100 figures in UK manufacturing, 2017. 

Olly left the company in October 2018 to pursue new opportunities but continues to retain an interest in the company as a shareholder.

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