The Aydon UK team - Curriculum Vitae

Aydon ConsultantsGerard Opel
Senior Researcher and International Trade Adviser
Professional Qualifications
BSC (Econ) 2:1 Business Management - University of Wales, Cardiff Business School

Gerard has 16 years experience in international trade beginning with 5 years based in Italy, marketing for a large clothing manufacturer. Gerard subsequently became manager for international development for a Welsh SME specialising in the restoration of masonry structures, he identified new markets and managed agents and distributors in Europe; France, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Italy, as well as the Middle East, Egypt and China, including responsibility for their marketing strategies and budgets. This coupled with extensive trade show experience has given Gerard a broad hands-on and very practical knowledge of developing business abroad. He has achieved long lasting business relationships and won numerous first export orders, experience that proved highly beneficial in assisting businesses on behalf of Welsh Assembly Government and Aydon Consulting.

Relevant Experience
International Trade Advisor (Aydon Consultants)
In depth market research to identify the most appropriate method of market entry including retail outlets, partnerships, agents and distribution channels. Services provided for numerous international clients from Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Consultant to Cardiff Business School
Gerard is currently assisting University College Cardiff in establishing a Centre for Excellence for Leadership and Management Skills. A resource designed to coordinate the training and skills requirements of Welsh businesses with the range of educational courses and training providers throughout the country.

UK Manager for the Thailand Board on Investment (Thai BOI)
As the UK representation for the Thai BOI Gerard’s duties involve the setting up and managing of Thai events in the UK, arranging meetings and coordinating with the Thai BOI European head office in Paris, the British Chamber of Commerce in Bangkok, and update meetings with the UK Thai Ambassador.

Export Assist Program Executive (Welsh Assembly)
Working in Conjunction with International Business Wales, Gerard organised and coordinated several Export Assist ‘Meet the buyer’ events involving delegations from India, Turkey, Switzerland and Romania.

Business Development Manager
Working for Aydon Consultants, Enterprise Consulting Ltd and Independent Consultancies Gerard has bid for and won several consulting contracts both Nationally and Internationally.

International Business Wales - International Business Opportunities (IBO) Programme Manager
The IBO Programme was a strategic alliance and matchmaking programme acting as a driving force in establishing alliances between Welsh companies and their counterparts worldwide. Gerard held responsibility for Western Europe and the Gulf Cooperative Council. He was responsible for developing dedicated on-going support, in-market assistance and advice to companies within Wales as well as through a network of in-market partners within these regions.

GCC Middle East:
Using the in-market partners from the UAE and Saudi Arabia, Gerard has organised inward missions to Wales that following a period of understandably slow activity has now reinvigorated interest in the Middle East. Previous experience of working for a Welsh SME in the fields of heritage restoration and security has involved Gerard in developing projects in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and The United Arab Emirates. Having used many of the services of IBW as a commercial manager, Gerard brought a good understanding of the IBO programme from both the perspective of a service client as well as that of a service provider.

Working with a range of Welsh companies Gerard has generated new interest and developed new lines of communication between Wales and organisations throughout Europe (Spain, Portugal, France Germany, Italy, Turkey, Greece). Gerard is fluent in Italian and has a good standard of French, this is coupled with years of experience working and trading in Europe, providing him with an insightful view of European commerce. He has developed close relationships with a network of international consultancies and has assisted in the recruitment of new ‘in-market’ partners to further strengthen this network. In Italy specifically Gerard has also forged links with The Turin Chamber of Commerce, AssoBioMedica (Bio Medical Association – Milan) and the Italian Chamber of Commerce – London.

International Development Manager
Gerard worked for Cintec in Newport for nine years, helping to develop their international trade activities. His responsibilities included procurement of foreign partnerships, international representation and management of international agents and distributors. Gerard actively contributed to setting up profitable partnerships in the Middle East; particularly Dubai and Egypt and also in Western Europe; Italy, France, Spain and Portugal.

As Head of Marketing and Business Development for the UK, Europe (and assistance to North America), Gerard developed and implemented marketing strategies for these markets and also organised seminars, exhibitions, wrote and created corporate literature and press releases.

In the role of International Development Manager, Gerard has organised and participated in over fifty exhibitions throughout the UK and Western Europe including France, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Netherlands, Germany and Italy. He negotiated new business partnerships and generated subsequent involvement in numerous lucrative projects that continue to this day.

Commercial Manager, Italy
For five years, Gerard promoted Italian made garments and also managed all suppliers, negotiating prices, quality and quantities.

Administrator, British Coal Enterprise, South Wales
Following redundancies in the mining industry, Gerard was working for South Wales ex-coal miners seeking new employment outside the coal industry. His role involved research in new opportunities as well as general assistance for the miners.

Marketing Analyst, Chloride, Manchester
Gerard was the internal company liaison officer for all aspects of customer service. – Automotive Plastic injection moulding.

Italian (Fluent)
French (Competent)
Spanish (Basic)