The imagination of the Entrepreneur and the precision of the Engineer

I started grown up life as a solicitor in the 1980s with one of the UK’s top City law firms. Successful lawyers are generally quite unpopular in our society.  The public regards City solicitors, with some justification, as elitist and overpaid.  But there’s nothing like a good legal training for developing a critical eye. I have a Bull Shit detector which can smell nonsense a mile away, which is a great skill to have when someone comes to you with a new business proposition.

In the early 1990s I left the legal profession to run GEC plc’s project finance division. GEC was then the largest industrial company in the UK making everything from washing machines to avionics. My job was to finance the big ticket projects. Working inside a large corporate like GEC offered a great training in the rudiments of management and a valuable insight into how large organisations work, both the good and the bad. Really invaluable experience if you’re setting up a small business to compete with larger, more established, competitors.

I was CEO of Marconi Finance plc in 2002 when one of our largest customers went into administration. Here was a bankrupt telephone network which was going to waste and, with the telecoms industry in crisis, we were able to pick it up on the cheap. Once we acquired the network, we implemented a simple white label strategy. It wasn’t easy at first, but soon we were supplying companies like T Mobile, tel-2 and even BT. Sales went from £0m to £100m and we became the most profitable company in the UK telecoms sector. An amazing achievement from a standing start.

In 2007 I trained as a business coach. It was a great fit with my existing skill set. I quickly built up one of the fastest-growing practices in the London area and have worked with companies across a variety of different sectors. Today my main focus is on creative, hospitality and property.


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