The Long Game: Richard Brown

October 2, 2020

Richard Brown is chief financial officer at Melius Cyber Consultancy. A North East native, he studied at Manchester University before going onto chartered accountancy work with Price Waterhouse, also in Manchester. He moved into corporate finance within the newly-formed PwC and worked on private equity and PLC transactions. He then moved back to the North East and worked as finance director and managing director in the construction sector.

After the 2008/9 recession, he continued in the hire sector, and has interests in recruitment and cybersecurity. Away from work, he is keen on all sports and, having hung up his playing boots, is now a rugby referee for the Northumberland Society. He enjoys walking in the lakes and is a passionate member of Method Training, at Kingston Park. He is married and has two children

PAST

Entry into the Big Six (now four) accountancy practices has always been competitive because the career prospects inside and outside of practice are huge. You are also gaining an international qualification, and with business decisions and financial planning the same the world over, you can take the qualification anywhere (language permitting).

When I was training, you only ever saw part of the picture. However, when I qualified and transferred to corporate finance, it was like having the lights turned on as I got to see all aspects of the business and was suddenly interacting with the decision-makers.

At that time, there were a lot of private equity deals going on and quite a few public to private transactions too. The other major worry in the late 90s was the millennium and the tech bubble crash.

PRESENT

I am chief financial officer of Melius Cyber Consultancy and am still involved in the hire sector as the finance director of iThena Recruitment (a niche tech recruiter), so I am wearing many hats.

The needs of each business are different; established businesses need stability, but also to be challenged and be self-reflecting – you are never always getting it right. Newer growing businesses need to focus on cash burn and getting value for money. For every Facebook there are a million failures. For me, the sector doesn’t matter, the people and the ideas are the key. Once you can understand the drivers of a business and its market, you should be able to adapt your skill set.

The biggest change over my career is the reliance in every industry on technology. COVID-19 has emphasised this even more – companies need to be more flexible in how they deliver their services and clients/customers still need to believe they are getting a full service. Of course, this all needs to be done securely, which is the market opportunity for Melius.

FUTURE

I see a very digital future. For example, my children are using a whole suite of tech products at school.

The drive to develop greener energy, the new work normal as office use potentially declines and the need to do global business without travel – these all require skilled professional IT developers and as we use this tech we need to do it safely and securely. I am focused on being at the centre of this growth.

We have used 2020 to develop our brands to utilise social media marketing and other tools to reach out to clients and let them know what we can do to help. I am really excited about our recent launch of MELCaaS, which is our Cybersecurity as a Service product. It provides 24/7 monitoring for your network and tech estate.

I know 2020 has been a disaster and that many people will lose businesses or their job. I have been there. But the sun will still come up and they will recover. We need to continue to be innovative and driven. It is what comes next that matters most.

Melius Cyber Consultancy
www.meliuscyber.com

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