SME has a new owner and a CEO. Britain’s oldest surviving audio company is now owned by Cadence the Indian electrostatic speaker company that also owns the Audio Lounge, Spendor, Siltech and Crystal Cables among other interests. SME’s new CEO is Stuart McNeilis (above) a former aerospace engineer who intends to maintain and enhance the company’s reputation for engineering excellence in both the audio field and the other industries it serves, including F1, medical and aerospace.
He plans to increase the current 40 strong work force and to continue the production of SME turntables in the company’s Steyning facility on the south coast of England. Since the buyout in October 2016 SME has seen an investment program that has provided a new paint shop and an upgrade to the plating shop. McNeils intends to increase sales and distribution at home and abroad and will be bringing in design skills so that the turntable range can be expanded and improved. Faced with the challenge of making the best better McNeils is keen to get the message out that SME has the most advanced engineering skills in the audio industry and that everything, right down to the nuts and bolts, is made in house.
UK distribution has been taken over by the specialist audio distributor Padood, who plan to build on a long period of rather lacklustre sales and marketing by SME under its previous ownership. SME (Scale Model Engineering) was founded by Alaister Robertson-Aikman in 1946 but didn’t start to build tonearms until the the fifties, the Model 30 turntable followed 30 years later.