18th July 2018
What was your first break in business?
Aged 22, I was given my first team to manage by the retail banking director in London’s West End. It was at our Piccadilly Circus branch, which was a new flagship site. It was to be our biggest global branch of Barclays – so big it needed two branch managers! I was in the right place at the right time and, at a young age, I learnt how to manage an incredibly diverse team in the heart of one of the world’s most vibrant cities.
What did you want to be growing up?
I played football as a junior at Newcastle United and Sunderland academies during the early 2000s so there was always an ambition there. Equally I had a passion for flight and considered a career in aviation. But it was during my studies at Durham University that I developed an interest in business and that ultimately led me into banking.
What attracted you to your current role?
The great thing about Barclays is its scale and with that a myriad of opportunities. What I learnt early on was that I enjoyed leading and motivating teams so, when an opportunity came about to head up Barclays’ Business Bank in the North East, I snapped it up. I’m incredibly proud to lead a team of more than 50 relationship managers who are so passionate and dedicated to supporting growth of businesses across the region.
What is your company’s mission?
To support the growth of our local economy and through that the economy of the UK. We have over 100,000 business clients across the North East and Cumbria, banking over one third of the business market. Across the UK, we have business or personal relationships with 50 per cent of the UK population so we are in a unique position to be able to make connections between the customers and businesses that we help grow.
Who or what inspires you?
I think there are huge parallels between sport and business. Jim Alder is a sporting icon in the North East, having won a gold medal in the marathon at the 1966 Commonwealth Games. He also held the world record for 30,000m on the track. A foster child, his mother died of tuberculosis and his father was killed on the last day of World War II. He moved from Glasgow to Morpeth, Northumberland, after the war and despite this adversity, he rose to become one of the best marathoners in the world, typically running 200 miles a week. Jim typifies the spirit of the North East and I’m honoured as a runner to be coached by him.
What are Barclays Business short and long-term goals?
I brought our Global CEO Jes Staley up to the North East a few weeks ago to launch our £500m Barclays Northern Powerhouse Fund. Over the coming weeks and months my whole team are working very hard to ensure that as many businesses as possible access that funding. We are also bringing a Barclays Eagle Lab to Newcastle in the Autumn of 2018 where we are partnering with Tuspark on Grainger Street. Tus is a Chinese high-tech company which supports high growth businesses through its network of business parks in China. The fact they have established their first co-working space outside of China in Newcastle demonstrates just how attractive Newcastle is to investment in the city. In the long term, the Tuspark Eagle Lab will play a critical role in the high growth eco system of the North and will support the growth of many scaling businesses.
How do you achieve a good work/life balance?
Quality time with the family is very important, so my wife and I carefully plan weekends to get the most from them. Sporting wise, I run competitively for Morpeth Harriers and that’s a huge release. I’ve also recently dabbled in transcontinental bicycle touring cycling across America from Los Angeles to New York, solo and unsupported in 18 days. Seeing a whole continent sat on the saddle of a bicycle was very special. The final 10 miles of a 200 mile day on the bike across the Rockies tends to make day-to-day business challenges feel a little easier to overcome.