New market region - UK, Middle East and Africa /Local/UK/News/John-Middleton_130x160.jpg As part of the ongoing review of the EMEA organization structure, the UK and Africa and Middle East regions will merge into one market region from 1st January 2009. John Middleton is appointed as the new market region manager with immediate effect. Patrik von Sydow is leaving the company following this reorganization. John is currently market region manager for Africa and the Middle East and will be relocating to the UK with his wife to take up this appointment. John has been the market region manager for Africa since 2000 and in 2007 he added the Middle East to his responsibility. John has been instrumental in growing the ASSA ABLOY business in the region for many years, both organically and through acquisitions. Prior to joining ASSA ABLOY, John worked for Pilkington Tiles in South Africa as managing director. John has an MSc in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA. John will focus on growing the sales and profitability of the expanded region – a challenging task, given the current tough market conditions. Another one of John’s top priorities will be driving innovation and new product development. He will also ensure that the improvements in operational performance continue in both the UK and in Africa. Tzachi Wisenfeld, head of division EMEA says: "I would like to take this opportunity to thank Patrik for his contribution to the UK business and to wish him all the best of good luck in his future endeavours. I am also pleased to announce that Neil Vann is appointed as Chief Operating Officer (COO) for the UK, Africa and Middle East region, reporting to John, with immediate effect." Neil is currently director of manufacturing fotprint for EMEA and he has been very much behind the tremendous momentum we have in MFP1 and MFP2. Neil has been with Yale since 1987 and with ASSA ABLOY since 2000 and has held a variety of Operations and Commercial roles in the UK during that time. Neil holds a BEng (Hons) degree in Manufacturing & Management. Neil will also continue with his EMEA responsibilities until a successor for his EMEA role is found.