Ian Howell, CEO at ArrowXL

WLN – What’s the most exciting thing about your job?

It is definitely the variety of leading a company like ArrowXL. Every day is different and full of opportunity. I work with some amazing people and enjoy being part of a winning team!

WLN – Who’s inspired you most in your career?

I’ve been lucky enough to work with some great leaders over the years, but I’d like to highlight two in particular. 1. Brian Nixon (ex Wincanton), who gave me my first managerial opportunity. He took a risk, pushed me hard and always encouraged me to believe in myself. 2. Dave Lowther (ex B&Q), who has been instrumental in my career development. He gave me lots of tough love over the years, much of which was deserved and always for the right reasons.

WLN – If you were an item in a warehouse, what would you be?

I would have to be some kind of cleaning material as I can be OCD when it comes to cleanliness, standards and presentation, especially with vehicles and warehouses.

WLN – If you had to do it all over again, what would you do different?

Lots of things. I’ve made plenty of mistakes along the way, but I would follow the same path again.

WLN – What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you at work?

Let’s just say there are two towns in England with the same name and I turned up at the wrong one for a meeting. I was very embarrassed when I phoned the office for directions only to realise I was 46 miles away from where I should be. It was in the days before sat-nav…

WLN – Who or what makes you laugh?

My PA. She doesn’t take herself too seriously.

WLN – Do you have any hidden talents?

Unfortunately not.

WLN – Who would be your favourite party guest?

Sacha Baron Cohen, he would be hilarious.

WLN – What is the greatest luxury in your life?

My camper van. It’s an old VW and a money pit, but I love driving it and spending time away camping in it.

WLN – What is your favourite guilty pleasure?

Watching Jeremy Kyle (not often)!

WLN – Do you have any secret ambitions?

My secret ambition is to have the skills to be able to build my own home.

WLN – What’s your dream holiday destination?

I would love to do the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

WLN – What are your three favourite movies of all time?

Shawshank Redemption, Alive and Grimsby (it’s hilarious!)

WLN – What is your favourite book of all time?

Papillon by Henri Charriere. It’s a fantastic book based on the author’s real life adventures.

WLN – What’s your favourite pastime?

Watching motorsport and camping, preferably at the same time. It’s a great chilled way to spend a weekend.

WLN – If you won the Lottery, what would you do?

Make a difference to young people’s lives by dedicating my time to working for charities that support young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

WLN – What would be your advice to someone thinking about coming into this industry (apart from “don’t do it”)?

Absolutely do it! It’s a great industry, but you must be prepared to work hard and be flexible. Learn to listen, engage with people, use your common sense and sound logic – by doing so you could enjoy a fantastic career.


ArrowXL are the UK’s leading two-man home delivery specialist, delivering over 14,000 products to around 7,000 homes every day. We boast a unique service proposition that covers warehousing, fulfilment, room of choice delivery and in-home services, including unpacking, assembly and installation.

To take part in Quote Unquote please call: 01923 272960 or email: james@warehousenews.co.uk