Our man in Peru…

Agent Bob’s South American ‘adventures’ – and in-depth textile experiences South American ‘adventures’

Armed raids, political upheavals and scandals, legal battles, terrorist attacks, even a kidnapping …no, we’re not talking about the plot of the latest TV drama. Those are just a few extracts from the CV of Richard Hough’s latest overseas agent, Bob Hosty, who now represents the company in Peru.

Actually, Bob is a real textile expert, with a solid background of top-level management experience, ranging from Liverpool to Lima. But he would readily agree that some of his ‘adventures’ over the years – especially in South America – would make a quite sensational novel, except for the fact that they are all true…

Hopefully, Bob’s current and future activities, as consultant and Peru agent for four British and US companies, will continue to be more peaceful, as he works to develop the business opportunities arising from the revival of textile industry investment by the country’s export-oriented manufacturers.

After graduating from Leeds University with a textile chemistry degree, Bob Hosty’s industrial career began at the Courtaulds plants in Aintree (Liverpool) and Spondon (Derby) in quality control and shift management in dyeing and finishing. With the UK industry in decline at the time, he took up the challenge of moving to Latin America, working as finishing manager of a knitting firm in Bogota, Colombia.

This was when he first encountered the more alarming aspects of South American life: “After many incidents of insecurity and armed raids on the company – in which one of the owners was killed – I was relieved to be offered a job as production manager at a large woven and knitted textile concern in Maracay Venezuela,” he says.

Even then, the ‘adventures’ continued, including being held prisoner in his own plant: “At one company in Venezuela, along with other plant managers, I was kidnapped by the Union for three days, trapped inside the factory, until the local police obtained the authorisation to enter the factory, restore order and liberate the managers,” he recalls.

Five years later, he returned to Bogota as dyeing and finishing manager of a large woven and knitted semi-continuous company. His next move was to the Peruvian capital of Lima, to start up a new operation dyeing and finishing woven cotton fabrics. However, four years of “constant terrorist attacks” and bombs in the city forced him to take his young family away to another finishing plant start-up, in Trinidad and Tobago. This phase ended when the firm’s owners started a bitter inter-family legal battle and the company was forced into closure, just 2 months after his arrival with the family.

Bob then focused on consultancy work, mainly in dyeing and finishing, taking in Venezuela, Guatemala, El Salvador and Uruguay, before joining an ambitious company in the Dominican Republic, whose multiple plans and projects were sadly never realised. So, it was back to Venezuela, as dyeing and finishing manager of the largest textile company in the country. “Unfortunately, after three years, the company fell into financial difficulties, and with Hugo Chavez winning the Venezuelan presidency I opted to leave for a new post to start up a new operation in Mexico,” Bob says. “But again the owners were involved in several problems and after three years and with the plant fully-operational, I decided to resign when I was offered the opportunity of a three-year contract to return to Lima with the previous company, after a change of ownership and with an assurance that the terrorist situation had been resolved…”

After two more contracts and serious earthquakes, Bob opted to refocus on consultancy and representation in Peru, joining the Richard Hough network of global agencies a few months ago, with a commitment to present the quality and economic benefits of latest Hough technology to a newly-energised textile sector.