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i-MAGAZINE Issue Two – January – June 2015 £49.95 Search - IMAGAZINE.GB.COM
RICHARD BRANSON [ on the Virgin way ] HENRY KISSINGER [ speaks on the world order ] ROBERT DE NIRO [ interview with the legendary actor ] LORD BROWNE [ on the glass closet ] COLIN POWELL [ on developing a winning attitude ] BARONESS ARIANE DE ROTHSCHILD [ the worlds most powerful female banker ]
Editor-In-Chief and Publisher Vincent Abrams email@example.com Designers Threeshadesred, Creative Director; Paul Martin Business Editor Nathan Dupont firstname.lastname@example.org Business Editorial Advisors Louise Dolan Lord Laird of Artigarvan Lord Beecham Lord Glentoran CBE Baroness Prashar CBE Lord Popat Baroness Thornton Baroness Greengross Lady Massey of Darwen Lord Soley Political Editors Simon Wills email@example.com Political Editorial Advisors Lord Jones of Cheltenham Baroness Perry Lord Smith Baron Grenfell of Kilvey Lord Chidgey Ronald J. Walker AC CBE Lord Willoughby de Broke Lifestyle Editor DL Osborne firstname.lastname@example.org
The Editor’s Letter Welcome to the second issue of I-MAGAZINE, following the launch of our first print edition, we now return with a host of interviews and comment that you we are sure you will enjoy. In this issue, Richard Branson (the cover star) writes on themes around his book ‘’The Virgin Way’’, offering insight into how he became a businessman and some of the pitfalls he had to endure along the way. We also speak to Henry Kissinger, who writes on the ‘’World Order’’, the role that the United States has played since the early 30’s in its position as the worlds only ‘super power’, the impact that it has had on countries across the globe, economically, politically and socially. Colin Powell, the former US Secretary of State talks to us about how he prepares mentally for the boardroom and tells us some the secrets that made him one of the most powerful
Contributing Cultural Editor Henry Hopwood-Phillips
men in the world in the 90’s and shares his tips for success in the
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comment from many CEO’s including Amanda Blanc, Keith
business world. Also, we have a host of business articles and Breslauer, Lord Watson, Rodney Schwartz and Hilde M. Tonne.
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We speak to Switzerland’s most powerful female banker, Baroness
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means for her and the lessons she is trying to pass on to her
Distributed by Smiths News & Menzies Contributors Richard Branson, Henry Kissinger, David King, Rodney Schwartz, Frances Ketteringham, Mike Tobin, Amanda Blanc, Daniel Godfrey, Jac Van Beek, Ariane de Rothschild, Colin Powell, Keith Breslauer CEO I-MAGAZINE Liberty House, 222 Regent Street London W1B 5TR Tel: + 44 (0) 203 755 3644 Fax: + 44 (0) 207 297 2100 www.imagazine.gb.com I-MAGAZINE is published by Merlin Publishing. A Merlin Lott Group Company.
Ariane de Rothschild on what ‘being responsible with wealth’ children, the Rothschild banking dynasty is one of the wonders of the modern age and has a fantastic history. I very much hope you will enjoy the magazine, we had great fun putting it together, your feedback is always appreciated, so when you get a moment please do feel free to email me via the email address below and let me know what you think of the magazine, you are also of course welcome to join us on Facebook and Twitter, to do so search IMAGAZINE.GB.COM – I look forward to hearing from you soon.
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03 - CREDITS PAGE – Includes the letter from the Editor -In-Chief, Vincent Abrams. 49 - DIARY – Cultural events at home and abroad through the summer months of May through to November. 176 - POLO SPECIAL – a look at the most glamorous polo events taking place around the world, in association with British Polo Day.
52 - HENRY KISSINGER – former US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger talks about the United State’s role in the world order. 54 - OBAMA ADMINSTRATION – a look at the foreign security policy of the Obama administration since 2008 and its impact on the world in general. 58 -COLIN POWELL – interview with four star General, Colin Powell, he talks to us on themes around his book, ‘It worked for me, in life and leadership’’.
90 - RICHARD BRANSON – Richard Branson writes for us on ‘’The Virgin Way’’, how he started in business and the pitfalls he faced. 136 - SIR MIKE RAKE – we sat down with the Director General of the CBI, he talks on his plans for the organization. 194 - HILDE M. TONNE – interview with the Vice President of Telenor. 123 - KEVIN GARDNER – the head of wealth management at Rothschild Investment Management on ‘’Questioning the conventional narrative’’. 196 - LORD WATSON – writes on the ‘’Characteristics of Leadership’’. 114 - BARONESS ARIANE DE ROTHSCHILD – interview with Switzerland’s most powerful female banker, she discuss the responsibilities with wealth.
66 – DOLDER GRAND – by DL Osborne a look at the five star Swiss hotel. 150 - LE BRISTOL PARIS – a review of one of the finest hotels in Paris, looking at its restaurant ‘Epicure’ and accommodation as well as its atmosphere. 193 - THE WHISKY SHOP – a look inside the Piccadilly based Whiskey retailer. 158 - BUGATTI VEYRON – the worlds most expensive super car. 156 - LORD BROWNE – writes on his experience of being in the ‘glass closet’ whilst CEO of BP and the advantages of coming out as gay to others. 101 - SIR HAROLD EVANS – Harold Evans talks to us about growing up in Manchester’s Lowry and the challenges it bought, he reflects on his career highlights.
CULTURE 161 - THE BOOK REVIEW – a look at a selection of book Part 1 & 2. 174 - RESTAURANT REVIEW – a look at Tom Aitkens’s Restaurant. 169 - ROBERT DE NIRO – The actor talks to us on his Tribeca Film Festival and his plans for working with Martin Scorsese.
contents Jan/Jun 2015
NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera Season September 2015
London International Boat Show January 2015
The opening of the 2014-2015 season at the Metropolitan Opera is a glamorous night, rich with the promise of a star-studded winter of world-class opera. In 2008 the Metropolitan Opera celebrated its 125th anniversary season. It has been located at the Lincoln Center for Performing Arts since September 1966, when a new opera house opened, equipped with outstanding technical facilities. World-class conductors - from Toscanini, to Bruno Walter, George Szell and Fritz Reiner - have taken the podium at the Met. It has also seen the American premieres of some of the most important works in the repertory. Each season the Met stages over 200 opera performances in New York.
This maritime extravaganza has something for everyone. Sailors and boat-owners will be fascinated by over 500 exhibitors, demonstrating the very latest milestones in yacht design, nautical engineering and maritime technology. A range of small craft are on display in the indoor harbour, while larger boats are moored outside on the show’s spectacular marina, which exploits ExCel’s dockside location. Landlubbers, on the other hand, can explore exhibitor boats or enjoy a range of entertainment - from swimwear catwalk shows to spectacular displays of dance, acrobatics and music. A number of experts will be on hand to provide inspiration - whether their passion is restoration of historic vessels or maritime photography. And amateurs can test their marine skills in the interactive zone, which even features an indoor pool for rowing competitions.
MONACO Monte-Carlo Rally January 2015
The Metropolitan Opera.
LONDON Turner Prize Exhibition October 2015 Set up in 1984, the Turner Prize is an award that celebrates new developments in contemporary art. It is awarded each year to a British artist under the age of 50, who has made an outstanding contribution in the last year. The winner is awarded a prize fund of £25,000, and gains considerable international prestige and attention. The four shortlisted artists, selected by an independent jury, present their work at an annual exhibition at Tate Britain, before the winner is announced in December. The Turner Prize invariably provokes debate and controversy about contemporary art. The roll-call of previous winners is undoubtedly impressive: past winners include Howard Hodgkin, Gilbert & George, Anish Kapoor, Rachel Whiteread and Antony Gormley.
Organised each year by the Automobile Club de Monaco, this event is officially known as the Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo. It takes place against the spectacular backdrop of the French Riviera, and has a history dating back to 1911. It is now the opening round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, an international series launched in 2008. From its earliest beginnings, the rally has always been seen as a test of the road-worthiness of new cars. Success in the rally carries great kudos, and garners very positive publicity. This challenging winter course embraces a range of road conditions, including dry and wet tarmac, ice and snow. One of the most notorious stages of the rally is from La Bollene to Sospel (or vice versa), a route with takes the drivers over the Col de Turini, a hair-raising mountain drive which consists of a dizzying series of tight hairpin turns, often covered in ice and snow.
LONDON London Art Fair January 2015 London Art Fair, the UK’s largest art fair for Modern British and contemporary art will return to the Business Design Centre, Islington, between 15 and 19 January 2014. The 26th London Art Fair will feature galleries presenting the great names of the 20th century as well as exceptional recent works from established artists and emerging talent. Galleries from across the UK and overseas will exhibit work by artists covering the period from the early 20th Century to the present day. Museum quality Modern British art will be presented alongside contemporary work from the best leading and emerging artists.
The Cheltenham Festival March 2015 The four-day Cheltenham festival is an eagerly awaited event on the National Hunt horse-racing calendar, attracting crowds of around 230,000 people, with total prize money of £3.67 million. Cheltenham Festival 2015 opens on Tuesday 12 March with Champions Day, featuring the most important hurdle race of the season, The Stan James Champion Hurdle. Champion Day also features a parade of past champions, entertainment around the racecourse, pre-racing interviews with racing celebrities. On Wednesday 13 March the Queen Mother Champion Chase provides an invigorating spectacle, a two-mile dash over Cheltenham’s famous fences. Wednesda is also Ladies Day and there are awards for the Best Dressed Lady, Best Accessories and Best Hat. Thursday has an Irish flavour and is an early celebration of St Patricks Day, featuring the Ladbrokes World Hurdle and the Ryanair Chase. The Festival culminates on Friday with the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup, the highlight of the Jump season, and the title that is universally coveted by jockeys and trainers alike.
UNITED STATES The U.S Master April 2015 As its name implies, the US Masters 2015 is an elite golf tournament, one of the four major professional championships in men’s golf. Golf enthusiasts will have many cherished memories of this classic tournament: the historic dominance of Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player, Nick Faldo’s nail-biting win over the Australian Greg Norman in 1996, Tiger Woods’s blistering 12-shot victory in 1997. Players enter the tournament by invitation only, so the field is smaller than in any other major championship. The US Masters is held each year at the same location, the Augustusta National Golf Club, and is sometimes known as the Augustusta Masters. The beautiful course at Augustusta was designed by Alister Mackenzie on the site of a former indigo plantation. The challenging terrain is notable for its luscious vegetation, and every hole on the course is named after the tree or shrub with which it has become associated.
LONDON Chelsea Antiques Fair March 2015 The Chelsea Antiques Fair is the oldest antiques fair in Britain, and possibly internationally, having been established in 1950. From 1951 until 1984, Josephine Graham Ballin ran the fair, establishing its high reputation internationally, with particular interest being generated in America. Since September 1984, Caroline Penman has been at the helm, continuing its long-running success. 2013 saw the launch of a new look fair, with a completely new layout, and enhanced standards of quality and displays.
comment Jul/Dec 2014
Questions of World Order By Henry Kissinger No truly global “world order” has ever existed. What passes for order in our time was devised in Western Europe nearly four centuries ago, at a peace conference in the German region of Westphalia, conducted without the involvement or even the awareness of most other continents or civilizations. A century of sectarian conflict and political upheaval across Central Europe had culminated in the Thirty Years’ War of 161848—a conflagration in which political and religious disputes commingled, combatants resorted to “total war” against population centers, and nearly a quarter of the population of Central Europe died from combat, disease, or starvation. The exhausted participants met to define a set of arrangements that would stanch the bloodletting. Religious unity had fractured with the survival and spread of Protestantism; political diversity was inherent in the number of autonomous political units that had fought to a draw. So it was that in Europe the conditions of the contemporary world were approximated: a multiplicity of political units, none powerful enough to defeat all others, many adhering to contradictory philosophies and internal practices, in search of neutral rules to regulate their conduct and mitigate conflict. The Westphalian peace reflected a practical accommodation to reality, not a unique moral insight. It relied on a system of independent states refraining from interference in each other’s domestic affairs and checking each other’s ambitions through a general equilibrium of power. No single claim to truth or universal rule had prevailed in Europe’s contests. Instead, each state was assigned the attribute of sovereign power over its territory. Each would acknowledge the domestic structures and religious vocations of its fellow states as realities and refrain from challenging their existence. With a balance of power now perceived as natural and desirable, the ambitions of rulers would be set in counterpoise against each other, at least in theory curtailing the scope of conflicts. Division and multiplicity, an accident of Europe’s history, became the hallmarks of a new system of international order with its own distinct philosophical outlook. In this sense the European effort to end its conflagration shaped and prefigured the modern sensibility: it reserved judgment on the absolute in favor of the practical and ecumenical; it sought to distill order from multiplicity and restraint. The seventeenth-century negotiators who crafted the Peace of Westphalia did not think they were laying the foundation for a globally applicable system. They made no attempt
to include neighboring Russia, which was then reconsolidating its own order after the nightmarish “Time of Troubles” by enshrining principles distinctly at odds with Westphalian balance: a single absolute ruler, a unified religious orthodoxy, and a program of territorial expansion in all directions. Nor did the other major power centers regard the Westphalian settlement (to the extent they learned of it at all) as relevant to their own regions. The idea of world order was applied to the geographic extent known to the statesmen of the time—a pattern repeated in other regions. This was largely because the then-prevailing technology did not encourage or even permit the operation of a single global system. With no means of interacting with each other on a sustained basis and no framework for measuring the power of one region against another, each region viewed its own order as unique and defined the others as “barbarians”—governed in a manner incomprehensible to the established system and irrelevant to its designs except as a threat. Each defined itself as a template for the legitimate organization of all humanity, imagining that in governing what lay before it, it was ordering the world. At the opposite end of the Eurasian landmass from Europe, China was the center of its own hierarchical and theoretically universal concept of order. This system had operated for millennia—it had been in place when the Roman Empire governed Europe as a unity—basing itself not on the sovereign equality of states but on the presumed boundlessness of the Emperor’s reach. In this concept, sovereignty in the European sense did not exist, because the Emperor held sway over “All Under Heaven.” He was the pinnacle of a political and cultural hierarchy, distinct and universal, radiating from the center of the world in the Chinese capital outward to all the rest of humankind. The latter were classified as various degrees of barbarians depending in part on their mastery of Chinese writing and cultural institutions (a cosmography that endured well into the modern era). China, in this view, would order the world primarily by awing other societies with its cultural magnificence and economic bounty, drawing them into relationships that could be managed to produce the aim of “harmony under heaven.” In much of the region between Europe and China, Islam’s different universal concept of world order held sway, with its own vision of a single divinely sanctioned governance uniting and pacifying the world. In the seventh century,
Islam had launched itself across three continents in an unprecedented wave of religious exaltation and imperial expansion. After unifying the Arab world, taking over remnants of the Roman Empire, and subsuming the Persian Empire, Islam came to govern the Middle East, North Africa, large swaths of Asia, and portions of Europe. Its version of universal order considered Islam destined to expand over the “realm of war,” as it called all regions populated by unbelievers, until the whole world was a unitary system brought into harmony by the message of the Prophet Muhammad. As Europe built its multistate order, the Turkish-based Ottoman Empire revived this claim to a single legitimate governance and spread its supremacy through the Arab heartland, the Mediterranean, the Balkans, and Eastern Europe. It was aware of Europe’s nascent interstate order; it considered it not a model but a source of division to be exploited for westward Ottoman expansion. As Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror admonished the Italian city-states practicing an early version of multipolarity in the fifteenth century, “You are 20 states… you are in disagreement among yourselves… There must be only one empire, one faith, and one sovereignty in the world.” Meanwhile, across the Atlantic the foundations of a distinct vision of world order were being laid in the “New World.” As Europe’s seventeenth-century political and sectarian conflicts raged, Puritan settlers had set out to redeem God’s plan with an “errand in the wilderness” that would free them from adherence to established (and in their view corrupted) structures of authority. There they would build, as Governor John Winthrop preached in 1630 aboard a ship bound for the Massachusetts settlement, a “city upon a hill,” inspiring the world through the justness of its principles and the power of its example. In the American view of world order, peace and balance would occur naturally, and ancient enmities would be set aside—once other nations were given the same principled say in their own governance that Americans had in theirs. The task of foreign policy was thus not so much the pursuit of a specifically American interest as the cultivation of shared principles. In time, the United States would become the indispensable defender of the order Europe designed. Yet even as the United States lent its weight to the effort, an ambivalence endured—for the American vision rested not on an embrace of the European balance-ofpower system but on the achievement of peace through the spread of democratic principles.
opinion january/dec 2011
opinion Jan/Jun 2015
The Obama administration’s foreign security policy so far... By Mathew Davies ’While vowing to use force when America’s vital interests are at stake and rejecting pessimistic projections of national decline, Obama has unlike his predecessor, George W Bush – relied more heavily on diplomacy than force’’ Joseph S. Nye (2014) President Barack Obama was inaugurated in 2009 with remarkably high great expectations. Consequently, it is not surprising that the President’s foreign security policy has been criticized as too weak by Republicans. However, it is alarming that Liberals such as Jimmy Carter have accused the administration of heavy handedness. A mature assessment is possible based on the most reliable source. I think that the President’s own priorities and the ability of the administration to deliver them is the best way to gain that clear assessment. Those priorities were set out at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs in 2007. The Senator asserted his belief that ‘’America is still the best hope on earth’’ with respect to global stability. The priorities for 21st century thinking were then set out. Firstly, an end to the occupation of Iraq. Secondly, a 21st century military, and thirdly an attempt to meet the threat of weapons of mass destruction, and finally a policy approach which would reconstruct relationships with allies. Based on those priorities, I think that a realistic assessment would illustrate moderate to considerable success.
MODERATE TO CONSIDERABLE SUCCESS It is clear that the most successful area of American foreign security policy has been the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. There were 100,000 troops in Iraq in 2009. Troops were removed 4 and half years later despite the economically difficult times the USA had incurred. 2009 was a difficult time because of the Great Recession which hit all advanced economies. Despite that austerity, military spending remained high. Nonetheless, the military witnessed a 12% cut in real terms. Regardless, maintaining US spending was not a priority. Modernizing it was. Regardless of the ongoing talk in left-leaning universities and some progressive think-tanks about an inevitable decline in American hard power, the facts highlight a different story. Firstly, that the USA does not need to intervene in every conflict zone. And secondly, that the future of combat cannot be reduced to soldiers on the ground and military spending. The Syrian conflicts and the increase in the use and number of drones illustrate that point. The President drew a red line during the Syrian conflict and stated that the use of chemical weapons would lead to a strong response from the USA. This was not necessary after the USA received support from France and the United Kingdom who led the intervention. This highlights a more interdependent approach to foreign affairs with allies. Moreover, enemies have been targeted by an increasing number of drone strikes. This is made possible with the investment in Reaper and Predator drones.
There were 390 covert drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia in the first five years of the Obama administration. This was criticized by the Bureau of Investigative journalism which pointed out that 2400 people were killed including 273 civilians. Nonetheless, the use of drones has meant that the military has avoided the body bag effect, which was experienced during previous foreign interventions when the media highlighted the deaths of soldiers. However, there is a human rights campaign by individuals who argue that a robot cannot be taken to the tribunal. Nevertheless, there is evidence which demonstrates that improvements in drone and missile technology have reduced civilian casualties. That meets one priority which was to modernize the military. This success can also be shown in the policy aim of tackling WMDs. Firstly; there have been agreements sealed including an arms control agreement with Russia. But the most important development concerns limiting and securing nuclear weapons. The START treaty is an agreement which aims towards the reduction and limitation of strategic arms. It expired in 2009. Under the currently administration, it was replaced in 2010 with the new START Treaty. The number of nuclear missile launchers will be reduced by half and a new verification system established within the next decade, accordingly. This Treaty is extremely important considering the difficulties regarding Russian interests in Georgia in 2008, and diplomatic tensions with the previous American administration. Realistically, military modernization and moves towards the eradica-
opinion Jan/Jun 2015
tion of WMD’s has been slow and moderate. The same cannot be said with respect to the view of America in the world. It would be odd to claim anything less than considerable success achieved at the level of international organizations. Critics have spoken against the president’s apparent inertia with respect to meeting global challenges. Some of those critiques are very relevant and are discussed further below. Yet, those critics would be wise to consider the President’s speech at the NATO conference in South Wales in 2014. This was a prescient speech because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the threat of ISIL and what has been called Easy Jihad. This is the ability of European Union nationals to fly to Turkey and then cross the border to Iraq or Syria. In his speech, the president pointed out that ‘’Russia’s invasion of Ukraine threatens our vision of a Europe that is whole, free and at peace’’ and went on to explain that the central mission of NATO remained the same for the United States under article 5 which states that all member states have a responsibility to each other and that an attack on one was an attack on all. This was reinforced with support for all states to inject 2% of their GDP in collective security. The speech in South Wales did more than tackle the US-NATO relationship and the USA’s position with respect to Ukraine. It also spelt out the belief that the USA was committed to developing defense capabilities in Jorden, Georgia, and Libya. Working with partners in Libya, or at the level of global institutions in seeking collective sanctions has been at the forefront of the administration’s approach to foreign affairs. And success in gaining support in this area leads one to believe that relations have been improved. Nonetheless, in an insecure world which has changed considerable since 2009, one key question must be asked. Is it good enough? A NEw VIsION fOr A NEw wOrLD A vision of America’s role in the world is absent. This is disturbing considering that the USA is still the global superpower economically and militarily. The global economy rests on decisions made at the Federal Reserve, and the US significantly outspends all other states in terms of its domestic and foreign security forces. Yet, since the Arab Spring Revolutions began in 2010, the situation in the Middle East has been constantly mutating. Russian and US relations have been were in an unhealthy state long before the invasion of Crimea. Therefore, the theatre of geopolitical forces has shifted, and the question must be asked whether the administration has responded appropriately. Professor Niall Ferguson, argues that ‘’the defining characteristic of Obama’s Foreign
Policy has been not just a failure to prioritize, but also a failure to recognize the need to do so’’. The Professor is correct in pointing this out. It is surprising that the National Security Council failed to prepare for the overthrow of Egyptian leader Mubarak. It was equally worrying that the USA continued to change its official position with respect to Mubarak. A uniform and consistent policy in terms of his removal or appeasement was never developed. This critique highlights what is missing in foreign security policy. It is clear that Indecision has been a reoccurring theme of the administration. Inquirer Columnist for the Philadelphia inquirer Trudy Rubin pointed out that indecision is witnessed many policies pertaining to the Middle East. For example, the President threatened Syria and then failed to deliver on the threat. Rubin believes that inertia has made the administration appear weak. Rubin’s point is important because it highlights another example of soft words backed up with little more than air. Indecision in international affairs has been an area of critique, and unsurprisingly so. The Bush administration publicly announced a pre-emptive rather than preventative approach to international interventions. Some realists believe that was the right approach to take considering the threats of WMDs. Whist the President’s lack of hard power is in question, it is clear that he has continued the policies pertaining to the ‘War on Terror’. This is a view of global threats which have been at the forefront of American politics since the 2001 attack on the World Trade Centre. Professor Mearsheimer argues, however, that ‘’terrorism is a minor threat … what are we worried about? The Shoe Bomber? The Underwear Bomber?’’. In the wake of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, such sentiments are more relevant than before. In response, President Obama set out his vision for the future of American Foreign Policy in a speech at West Point in 2014. He argued there were three main policy approaches that his administration adopted. Firstly, that the United States would only use force when necessary including impending attacks on its citizens and allies. However, when the attack is indirect, then the United States should focus on diplomacy, development and international law. This was very vague because members of allied institutions including NATO may be directly threatened whereas the United States may not be. Therefore, the USA could use direct force against threats to its allies. And the zone of intervention is extremely wide indeed. Therefore, it is false to imagine a world where the USA will intervene less, despite the President’s suggestions.
Obama’s second policy approach asserted that terrorism remains the key threat. And that the USA must pursue a policy strategy which reflects that asymmetric and decentralized threat. Consequently, the administration has set up a counter-terrorism fund to support security forces in Yemen, peace operations in Somalia, and capacity to work with the EU in Libya and resources in order to help the French forces in Mali. There are two problems. The first is that any realist would accept that to frame terrorism as a major threat is poor logic. It makes more sense to frame it as a crime. This is because states would not logically want to appear in collusion with terrorist attacks. This is particularly clear with respect to WMD’s because the consequences would threaten their state and with it their political power if they were linked to a terrorist attack. The USA and its allies would smash them. The second problem is that there is nothing new about countering international threats. That has been the role of the Central Intelligence Agency since it was established. The final policy approach was framed as ‘internationalism by working with global institutions’ such as the OECD and IMF. President Obama asserted that positive outcomes can be witnessed in Ukraine because opinion has turned against Russia because of its invasion. This assertion will not comfort the people of Ukraine who have lost the right to their private property, and in some cases, have lost relatives from the violence incurred during the civil war and invasion. One could argue that the speech at West point exposed the weaknesses of President Obama’s version of security because it was focused on answering critics rather than clarifying a future world vision for American Foreign Policy. Furthermore, it was terribly familiar and did not contain anything new. The message of no boots on the ground and the need to fight isolationism is common rhetoric. A series of speeches since the crisis of Easy Jihad and the ISIL movement established internationalism as necessary. And the overall message is that the military must be neither too soft nor too hard. That is not a vision. Obama’s foreign security policy so far should be considered a moderate to considerable success based on its priorities. Conversely, the world has changed, and the administration failed to act coherently and decisively at times. Furthermore, a new vision for American foreign policy is needed. Unfortunately, that vision has not revealed itself.
interview Jan/Jun 2015
i-MAGAZINE sat down with Colin Powell, you might know Colin Powell as a retired four-star general in the United States Army, but he’s also one of the foremost business leaders and speakers in the world. General Powell has earned numerous military, civilian, and foreign honors. He has served four presidential administrations in a variety of roles, most recently as Secretary of State from 2001 to 2005.
How do you go about developing a winning attitude in business despite setbacks? Can you share a story from Infantry school that gave you a winning attitude?
I think whether you’re having setbacks or not, the role of a leader is to always display a winning attitude. No matter whether we’re doing well or poorly, we’re going to have a winning attitude. If you look at the rules that I have in the book, the ﬁrst one really applies: “It ain’t as bad as you think”. It will get better in the morning. So, it’s an attitude I’ve always tried to display during my leadership experience, “guys we may be down, but we’re never out and we’re going to ﬁnd a solution and we’re going to come back.” So like any football or basketball coach, you always always believe you’re going to win. A story I’ve used in my life, and it’s in the book, it’s a pretty old and straight forward story between myself, some other lieutenants and a company commander were at a bar one night, and he said to us “You know, you guys think you’re so good, you’re so smart, you’ve been in the army for six months and you think you’re geniuses, but let me tell you what leadership is about. You know, you go home from the company one day and everything is great. All the troops are accounted for, all the weapons are there, there’s nothing missing, there are no problems you had a great day of training and you think you’re hot stuff. You go to bed and then in the middle of the night, when no one’s looking, and things get bad and screwed up”, and my publisher would only allow me to say “screwed up” if you catch my drift, “and when you come in the next morning a jeep is missing, two GI’s are AWOL, several windows have been broken, there’s been another assault and the MP’s are waiting to talk to you. Everything is all screwed up. Well, you want to know something? Suck it up and get started again.” In other words, don’t expect to always be great. Disappointments, failures and setbacks are a normal part of the lifecycle of a unit or a company and what the leader has to do is constantly be up and say “we have a problem, let’s go and get it”. The leader has to convey that kind of attitude with passion and intensity. Always, always. With passion and intensity. If a leader doesn’t convey passion and intensity then there will be no passion and intensity within the organization and they’ll start to fall down and get depressed.
what can entrepreneurs learn from you about risk taking? Can you site an example from your military experience where you took a risk and it paid off??
I was thinking about this last night. Perhaps the biggest risk I ever had to deal with was very much a business thing, rather than a combat thing. It was between ‘89-’91 when the United States armed forces having built itself up over a half century to ﬁght the Soviet Union and all of equipment, deployment of our troops, the Iron Curtain, 300,000 troops in Germany all rested on a need to deter and perhaps ﬁght the soviet union. And then the Soviet Union went away! As I write and have written and said many times, I was with President Gorbachev when he looked across the table at me and said “General, you’ll have to ﬁnd a new enemy.” So, there you are, your entire corporate being, the very strategy that caused you to build this has been kicked out from underneath you. The risk is what do you do?
what is the best way to build a high performing team, can you explain why sharing credit and the art of kindness are important when leading and influencing?
The best way to create a winning team is to train them, give them everything they need to get the job done and second, make sure they know what the job is and what the job will be. So you connect strategy to resources. If you just talk about what we’re going to do and you put it up on PowerPoint, but you don’t resource it with training, the equipment, the weapon, with all the rest of it, then why should they believe in you? The next thing you then move onto is building trust within an organization. You build trust by being faithful to the purpose and equipping them for the purpose and you treat people kindly. I never understood why some leaders feel it necessary to shout and scream and to be unkind to people when kindness works in my judgment. When you are kind to somebody and I don’t mean necessarily “buddybuddy”, just show kindness and consideration. Show that people are worthy and you respect them and you are glad they’re in your organization and you keep telling them “I couldn’t do this without you. You are part of a great team. You are that team.” That seems to me, to be just pure human nature that we all should have learned as children and that doesn’t go away when you become a chairman or a chief of staff or a CEO. That doesn’t mean you’re soft, and it doesn’t mean you can’t fire people or do tough things, it just means that people see you generally as somebody who cares. Cares about the organization, cares about us. My experience is that when you demonstrate that kind of attitude to your people, your people will take care of you because you are taking care of them.
What we decided back then is that we have to determine our own future. We have to realize that the Soviet Union, the Iron Curtain and the Cold War are gone or in the process of going and the American people and Congress will demand a signiﬁcant peace dividend. We can either roll around and wait for them to decide how to take it out of us or we can develop a new strategy and a new ﬁnancial plan for the future. So we decided, myself, Secretary Cheney, and having to be approved by President Bush #41, let’s cut ourselves 25% and the risk was would Congress want more than that or would there be members of Congress that wouldn’t want that much. That was the risk; we didn’t know what Congress would react to.
Jimmy Carter, former president of the United States, talks about effective philanthropy and The Carter Centre.
Failure is a part of life and interestingly in my army I’ve had failures and I get asked the question quite often by, surprisingly, kids. There is a story in the book about a Japanese girl in high school; she says she’s afraid to fail everyday. So she comes to school scared. I just pointed out to her that failure is a part of life and you have to learn to deal with it. Failure is something that is part of life’s cycle and it’s from failure that you gain life experience. So get over the failure, figure out what you did wrong, fix yourself and then move on. Don’t linger on the failure and learn from it because that’s how you will gain experience.
From the first basic course you go to, to the advance course, then one war college and then another war college and then, in my case, two years in graduate school to get a Master’s of Business Administration and then they sent me off to a White House fellowship for a year. Why would they send an infantry officer to get a Master’s of Business Administration? Because they’re preparing him to be a general we hope some day and he’s going to have to run a large business association called the United States Army.
How should entrepreneurs deal with the fear of failure and conquer it?
what did your experience in the Army teach you about recruiting? Do you judge on past performance – or potential? why?
Well when you’re recruiting you initially don’t have a record of past performance, when you’re bringing in young lieutenants or young privates. So you take a look at what they have done to that point in their life. When we’re recruiting or say, listing people we are very anxious to get young men and women who are high school graduates. Why do we want high school graduates for entry level positions? One, they have better skills than non-high school graduates and we can work on a stronger base in educating them and training them for military purposes. But, there is another reason, which is just as important. When you get a young person who is a high school graduate it means he didn’t drop out, she didn’t drop out. It means they stuck with it. When the going got tough they didn’t quit, when they might have wanted to drop out, they didn’t. So, that kind of spirit. Even at that early age of 18, the youngster is showing you performance, he stayed in high school, and potential, they’re willing to face off and go there and not drop out. As you move up the ladder in the military, let’s say officers, officers come out of colleges and academies so we have a better sense of their ability to do the work, but as they move up, what you’re looking for is performance. Performance is the best indicator of what they might be able to do at the next level, but it is not the sole indicator. You really have to get inside somebody and measure them carefully, to see not how well they performed now, but what is their potential at the higher level? Because at the higher level they will have new work that you don’t have a performance indicator on and so it’s the toughest part of leadership of judging someone who is a good performer or a superb performer and asking yourself “will this person grow into the job that we’re going to give him at the next level?” In the military this is especially important for a couple of reasons. One, we don’t higher from the outside. If we want a battalion commander, a lieutenant colonel commanding 700 people, we have to bring in a lieutenant 12 years earlier. If we want a sergeant major, we need to promote a private 15 years earlier. We promote solely from within and for that reason we really need to focus on performance potential and all the measurements that go along with it. I often tell people that I was in the army for 35 years and the army sent me to different schools, including civilian schools, for six years. How many corporations that Forbes covers would actually invest six years of education away from the workplace for one of their senior executives? The answer is they wouldn’t. The only other place you would find something like that is the medical profession. In the medical profession you’re constantly going to school, but, you know, how many hedge fund managers have had anything beyond their Master’s degree in finance or sent back to school? Occasionally they might be sent off to one of the Harvard courses, but I don’t think anyone makes the kind of investment in their senior leadership that the army does, along the whole course of the career
In Chapter 14, you explain that guys in the field usually are right, and staff often gets it wrong. Can you analogize to business? Is the customer, for example, always right?
It’s a little more nuanced than that. I say to my guys when I take over “Look, my prejudice is with the field, so I generally go through life thinking that my field commanders are right if there is a dispute and you guys are wrong, in the staff” and it kind of annoys them initially and I have sort of always felt that the guys in the field are closer to the troops, closer to the problem, who are actually executing what’s supposed to be done by the organization, they should have a better understanding of what’s going on, so if they tell me something is wrong I am going to assume they are right and be careful, nobody is threatened at this point, I will go back to my staff and say “Colonel soand-so told me this…” and they’ll go check it out and if it turns out the field is right and the staff is wrong then they have to go and fix it. Occasionally, it happens that the staff is right and the field is wrong, at which point I chew out the field commander. The point is not to count coup on each of these guys, you’re right, you’re wrong. It is to create an environment where the staff says “Holy Cow, the Colonel, the General, he’s been out there again picking up all this stuff. We got to start talking to the field a lot more closely so we don’t get caught in this game” and that’s what its all about. I want my staff thinking they are not work for me; they are working for my field, my subordinates. Staffs tend to think “I’m working for the Colonel; I’m working for the General”. No, I want you working for the field.
interview Jan/Jun 2015
If problems are going to arise, don’t wait for me to find out about it or someone to tell me, work with the field, show them that you’re there for them, and not just for the corporate headquarters and I think that’s something not all businesses have learned. That the staff should have the attitude that you work for the field and not the boss on the 7th floor.
In Chapter 15, you discuss managing two very different kinds of commanders. How do you leverage their separate strengths, avoid conflict – make sure they follow your orders?
commanders. There is no substitute for doing what I am told to do. I give them sufficient latitude to take into account the different personalities they have, the different experience levels they have, the different skills they have and the different weaknesses that they have. Everyone has a different combination of all of that. So, rather than me treating three or four commanders identically, I always try to practice what I call “situational leadership”. I am not an X or a Y leader, I am a situational leader and I adjust my style, within limits, to the strengths and weaknesses of my subordinates, so I understand what they can and what they can’t do, and I understand where I have to compensate for their weaknesses and where I can take advantage of their strengths- each one is different. As long as they get the job done efficiently and in a more than satisfactory manner, I am prepared to live with the differences that exist between the human beings. They are human beings, they’re not clones, they’re all different and I think the best leaders are the ones that can analyze a subordinate or a human being and how to figure out how to get the best out of that individual.
You famously give your new aides a list of things that they should or shouldn’t do if they want to be successful. How have you used this list to build the best possible team?
By giving out that list at the very first meeting. Saying “Look, let’s not waste time trying to learn one another, here is what I want you to do and how I want you to behave as you become a member of my front office.” I find that if you just walk into a front office and take over a new organization, everyone is scared, if not scared, then they are uneasy. “What is he like? Does he drink coke? Does he like coffee? One sugar or two?” They have to learn everything about you, your personality; they have to learn what makes you mad and what makes you happy. I have found it very useful to put out this list. Keep in mind, I didn’t write the list, it was written by one of my assistants many years ago saying “This is what this guys is all about, this is what Powell is like”. I have taken that list and passed it on to every new team ever since and what it does is it speeds up everything. It gets everyone in tune with me very rapidly, as opposed to learning it over time through trial and error. I have found it very very useful and it’s very appreciated, because in our first weeks together I will send you lots of notes on the most trivial of issues when I think something isn’t going right and it annoys people, they think “Good God, aren’t I doing anything right?”. But, the purpose of that technique is to nail you early and make sure you understand what it is that I want and not wonder or guess and we lose time bonding together as a team. So between the list you mentioned and the annoying notes I will send out, I get a team up to speed quickly. The annoying notes, I promise them “you’ll see, these will dry up and in a couple of weeks I won’t have to send you any because you will know what I want and I’ll know what you need.”
In the lead-up to the Gulf war, you were known as “the reluctant warrior.” what can entrepreneurs learn from this before taking bold, decisive action?
My view has always been, and I try to characterize this in the book in many places, that when faced with a problem, the first thing you do is “How much time do I have to solve this problem?” Every problem has a time dimension to it and once you know how much time you have, then you can start to analyze how to go about it. My view has always been before you suddenly say “Let’s go bomb somebody, let’s go attack somebody”, let’s think it through. Is there another way to go about this problem? Is there another way to achieve our political objective that does not require the loss of life on our side or the side of the potential enemy? Because those are the children of our moms and dads too. If you can not find another way around, then I am no longer reluctant. Military force has to be used and my reluctance goes away and then something kicks in that says “Let’s go do it. Let’s bring all the force necessary to achieve a decisive victory and let’s make sure we know how much we want to get done.” For example, we are not going to Baghdad – that was decided from the very beginning of the Gulf War. The mission, the goal, was to kick the Iraqi army out of Kuwait and we did it. The mission was accomplished at that point. I believe as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, I would occasionally get in trouble because I would ask my superiors “Why are we doing this? What are we trying to do? What is the purpose?” Whereas there were others that already leapt to the conclusion that we have to do this and it was my job to point out everything and not simply get swept up in the enthusiasm or fear of the moment and that’s why I got tagged the Reluctant General. Reluctant meant let’s make sure we know what we’re doing, let’s make sure we thought it through and that we have a goal and a purpose in mind and once you got that and if it can’t be solved in any way other than war, you’re going to want me running that because we’re going to get it done.
interview Jan/Jun 2015
An interview with David Miliband, President and CEO, International Rescue Committee. Three years after Syrians first rose up against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, more than nine million people in Syria are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, two-thirds of whom are displaced, according to the United Nations.
syria’s civil war has produced a refugee crisis of staggering proportions. what new approaches has your organization taken, and is there an underlying philosophical shift?
The Syria crisis has outstripped all predictions in its brutality and in the numbers of people affected. Of the three million or so people who are in [Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Turkey] as refugees, it is important to remember that the vast majority are not in refugee camps. The second noteworthy aspect is that by refugee standards, these are middle-class people. They’re people who were educated and employed in Syria. Thirdly, it’s important to reflect that in the IRC’s experience, there’s been a change over the last nine-to-twelve months in the increasing number of refugees coming to our centers in the four neighboring countries, where we’re operating. An increasing number of those refugees have been moved [as many as] six times within Syria; they’ve been multiply displaced within Syria before they became formal refugees. That speaks to the growing intensity of the conflict. “A thousand Lebanese towns and villages have had their populations more than doubled.” Innovations in the way services are provided have had to follow these facets of the crisis. One, services need to be opened to host communities as well as to refugees. Two, these are people for whom dealing in money and credit is second nature, and so cash [assistance] programming has been an obvious feature of our work. Thirdly, and sadly, in this crisis as in many others, women and girls are 60 to 70 percent of the total refugee population, and that’s significant in the kind of programming that’s essential. Finally, many of the states to which refugees are going are themselves challenged on a number of fronts—Lebanon most obviously. In an area where most Lebanese don’t send their kids to local public schools, the need for what we call community-based education that is a complement to the mainstream system is clear.
what tensions or resistance have you faced from the host communities?
The host communities in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Turkey have been remarkably open, generous, and respectful of the refugee populations. A thousand Lebanese towns and villages have had their populations more than doubled by refugee influx. The refugees who’ve arrived in Lebanon make up about 20 or 25 percent of the population. That’s like the whole of Britain coming to the United States, in percentage terms. For the scale of the hit, the level of resentment and tension has been remarkably low. Having said that, rents have gone up, prices have gone up, and there’s been a huge increase of pressure on local services. That’s why it’s been essential to open up our services and our cash assistance to host communities as well as refugee communities. It’s basic good practice in a situation where you’ve got populations mixed together that you try to provide a degree of openness in your service provision.
Secondly, it’s very important to be open and transparent with what you’re doing, which we have been with local and national governments. That NGOs need to be registered is perfectly legitimate; the principle of openness and transparency seems to me to be absolutely critical. Thirdly, it’s important to add value to local services because in all four countries, notably Turkey, the feeling at the beginning of the crisis was that the local provision would step up. In all cases it has, but it’s been overwhelmed by the sheer number of people. In Turkey two hundred thousand people were announced by the prime minister at the beginning of the crisis, but with now eight hundred thousand refugees in Turkey, it’s a problem that goes beyond having twentythree refugee camps. We’re always seeking to add value to what local actors are doing. It’s important to coordinate because you don’t want different players tripping over each other in the delivery of humanitarian aid.
Inside syria, one of the major humanitarian stories is the inequity between the amount of aid delivered to government-held areas and rebel-held areas. far worse off are those in besieged areas. How do you reach those cut off from aid?
The most desperate situation is for those in the besieged cities, and in the wholly appropriate discussion about extending cross-border aid it is important not to forget those who are beyond the reach of cross-border efforts. By definition, those in besieged areas are people whom aid agencies are in the main not reaching, whether [by agencies] recognized in Damascus or operating from outside.
syria’s neighbors each have their particular political concerns and, in some cases, worries about stability of their own. How do you manage those concerns?
There is a high degree of political sensitivity required in all the places that one’s operating, even if you’re not a Western NGO. The good news for us is that although we’re a New York–headquartered NGO, the face of IRC in Jordan is much more Jordanian than it is American, in Lebanon it’s much more Lebanese, and in our cross-border work into Syria it’s much more Syrian. That’s an important down payment on the kind of local knowledge that one needs.
jokes Jan/Jun 2015
A young boy enters a barber shop … ...and the barber whispers to his customer, “This is the dumbest kid in the world. Watch while I prove it to you.”The barber puts a ten pound note in one hand and 50p in the other, then calls the boy over and asks, “Which do you want, son?” The boy takes the 50p and leaves. “What did I tell you?” said the barber. “That kid never learns!’ Later, when the customer leaves, he sees the same young boy coming out of the ice cream parlor. “Hey, son! May I ask you a question? Why did you take the quarters instead of the dollar bill?” The boy licked his cone and replied: “Because the day I take the dollar the game is over!” An engineer dies... …and reports to the pearly gates. St. Peter checks his dossier and says, “Ah, you’re an engineer — you’re assigned to hell.” So the engineer reports to the gates of hell and is let in. Pretty soon, the engineer gets dissatisfied with the level of accommodations and starts designing and building improvements. After a while, they’ve got air-conditioning and flush toilets, escalators, elevators and so on ... and the engineer is a pretty popular guy. i-MAGAZINE
One day, God calls Satan on the telephone. “So, how’s it going down there in hell?” God says. “Hey, things are going great. We’ve got air-conditioning and flush toilets and escalators. There’s no telling what our engineer is going to come up with next!” Satan says. “What? You’ve got an engineer? That’s a mistake — he should have never gotten down there. Send him back immediately!” God says “No way! I like having an engineer on the staff — I’m keeping him!” Satan says. “Send him back up here or I’ll sue!” God says. Satan laughs uproariously and answers: “Yeah, right. And just where are you going to get a lawyer?” A taxi passenger tapped the driver …on the shoulder to ask him a question. The driver screamed, lost control of the car, nearly hit a bus, went up on the footpath, and stopped inches from a shop window. For a second, everything was quiet in the cab. Then the driver said, “Look, mate, don’t ever do that again. You scared the living daylights out of me!” The passenger apologized and said, “I didn’t realize that a little tap would scare you so much.” The driver replied, “Sorry, it’s not really your fault. Today is my first day as a cab driver — I’ve been driving a funeral van for the last 25 years.”
Send in your favourite joke and win a bottle of Macallan Single Malt whisky - the leading premium Scotch blended whisky, renowned for its smoothness and its honeyed, rich taste. Send your entries to firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘’joke’’ in the subject heading. Enjoy Chivas Regal responsibly www.drinkaware.co.uk
destination Jan/Jun 2015
Dolder Grand, Zurich Beckons... By DL Osborne The Dolder Grand in Zurich was built in 1897 on top of the wooded Adlisberg Mountain in order to provide a place of regeneration. Basel architect Jacques Gros threw open its doors in 1899 and could not have picked a better location. The view from this hotel takes your breath away as the city cascades onto a shimmering Lake Zurich with the magnificence of The Alps in the distance. The sublime advantage of this open passage of light makes way for the greater sense of space, it is simply spectacular. London architect Norman Foster restored it in 2001 and his juxtaposition of the modern against longstanding, solid, characterful architecture roots the context of the surrounding countryside amongst a city six minutes away by car. This September, The Dolder Grand launched its own inaugural gourmet festival entitled, ‘The Epicure: Days of Culinary Masterpieces’ where twelve Michelin starred guest chefs gather under one roof to cook for you. I cannot impress enough upon i-MAGAZINE readers to pencil this event into the diary. Let me start with the hotel. The Dolder Grand is deservedly on the list as one of the leading hotels of the world and of course the rooms reflect this as does its understated impeccable service. The Spa is second to none. The spacious landscape of a combined indoor-outdoor 4000sq. metre area undisputedly accounts for the multiple awards given for relaxation and rejuvenation. It’s an incredibly well thought out space with one of the most beautiful, luxurious and quiet environments that is conducive to personal renewal. In collaboration with Galerie Gmurzynska the hotel displays over 100 pieces of dazzling artwork dating from the mid-18th century to the present day. The fine dining restaurant headed by renowned German chef Heiko Neider has been awarded two Michelin stars and 18 GaultMillau points. Heiko and his team are responsible in bringing together this outstanding and cleverly thought out gourmet weekend event. My four day festival started on the Friday evening with drinks on the terrace with Massimo Bottura, chef patron of Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy. He would be cooking dinner i-MAGAZINE
in the dining room that evening alongside Heiko Nieder. A variety of maxims poured forth with huge enthusiasm and open arms from one of the world’s top five chef’s: ‘water is truth, the kitchen is love…who cares about imperfection-leave space for poetry and yourself...build perfection with imperfection’. Finding the words to convey my dining experience that evening with these gifted gourmands is extremely difficult. The menu left me speechless. As I have limited words, if I may, I will leave it at these few adjectives: wondrous, exquisite and delectable; eight courses and a cellar of over 1200 bottles of vintage wine provided for an opulent culinary experience. On Saturday morning I strolled along Zurich’s narrow 13th century streets of artisan guild houses and cosy patisserie shops too difficult to walk away from. The city’s fresh air and clear water in the River Lammet and the lake are unexpected and admirable as are the 1,200 fountains available to drink from. The very helpful Zurich Tourist Board recommended I continue with my gourmet quest and feast my eyes alongside the bequeathed works of art at the legendary Restaurant Kronenhalle on Ramistrasse 4. It is here we are thankful that some things never change. The dining room serves a combination of traditional French and Swiss cuisine at its very best and like the Dolder Grand, its history and previous clientele are fascinating. It’s one of those places where lunch could easily segue into dinner. Amongst an array of different events happening in the Epicure’s Masterclass agenda, I chose an important wine tasting so it was back through the forest to the hotel on the charming Dolderbahn cable car. Situated in the library that wouldn’t have gone amiss in any gentleman’s club in London wine expert Martin Schwarz took us on an insightful and intimate journey where eleven wines enticed our taste buds and curiosity. A superb and discerning few hours was had where I finally understood the importance to speak of the character of the vintage (thank you Martin). A particular 2009 Rhone from Domaine Jean-Louie Chave caught my eye as did a 1994 Monte Bello from Paul Drapers
Ridge Vineyards in the Santa Cruz Mountains. I had dinner in a traditional tavern called Adlisberg that’s a short walk through the forest from the hotel. The regional and locally sourced dishes were delicious and the Swiss wines couldn’t have been any better. I’m told Britain doesn’t see Swiss wines because of the small yield of grapes; it’s highly probable they’re keeping their bottles at home. The Epicure Masterpiece culminates on the Sunday with a finale full of anticipation and excitement. The international chefs demonstrate their craft at their stations with accompanying wines to complement each dish but not before we enjoy a glass or two of Krug by way of introduction to them all first. The room is electric as these artists and their teams perfect their creations with precise adoration. Here is your chance to take a few tips back to your kitchen and it’s a lot of fun choosing who you’re going to try next or go back to. The secrets of these culinary genius’s are best left with them besides I would rather come back. Chocolatier Calogero Giunta does need to be mentioned here. His Macadamia nut and popping candy creation is why he is a true artisan of chocolate. I enjoyed a light supper that evening where an uncomplicated sophisticated menu with exceptional produce and yet another outstanding wine list was had in the hotel’s Garden Restaurant. This inauguration of such a fine event and within easy access to the rest of Europe, Swiss Air offers up to 19 daily flights from the UK, this event will remain one of the highlights of autumn. I’m already planning a visit when the snow falls; the Dolder Grand is far too beautiful a setting not to. It’s also impossible to find elsewhere the variety of the very best in fine dining alongside an exquisite location in such an intriguing city. I did warn you to book early.
The next Epicure: Days of Culinary Masterpieces Gourmet festival is 17-20 september 2015 Picture: Mount Cinnamon
international Jan/Jun 2015
Sir David King i-MAGAZINE talks to Sir David King, Director of the SSEE (Smith School of Enterprise and Environment)
The smith school for Enterprise and the Environment is a unique institution committed to combining academic, government and business thinking in the search for practical and innovative solutions to the complex environmental challenges of our time. Our belief is that a proactive and collaborative approach is required which engages private enterprise and the public sector with the best academic minds across a wide range of disciplines if we are to overcome current inertia. The School has been created to act as a catalyst to mobilise the University of Oxford’s world leadership in social, environmental, physical, life and engineering sciences, in order to address the scale and complexity of these inter-related challenges. It provides a magnet and hub for the best scholars in different disciplines to assemble and collaborate on the formation of policies and identification of opportunities, alongside members of the business and policy communities. I started out lecturing in Physical Chemistry at UEA, was appointed to a Chair in Liverpool in 1974 and in 1988 I was appointed 1920 Professor of Physical Chemistry at the University of Cambridge. I subsequently became Master of Downing College from 1995 to 2000 and Head of the University Chemistry Department from 1993 to 2000. In 2000 I was appointed as the UK Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser and Head of the Government Office of Science. During my time as CSA I worked towards raising the profile of the need for governments worldwide to act on climate change and was involved in creating the £1bn Energy Technologies Institute. In 2008 I co-authored “The Hot Topic” (Bloomsbury 2008) on this subject and as Director of the Government’s Foresight Programme, I created an in-depth horizon scanning process which advised
government on a wide range of long term issues, from flooding to obesity. I also chaired the government’s Global Science and Innovation Forum from its inception and advised government on issues including: The foot-and-mouth disease epidemic 2001; post 9/11 risks to the UK; GM foods; energy provision; and innovation and wealth creation. We established the Smith School in 2008 and I have worked to draw together an elite group of full-time, associate and visiting academics and business fellows from all over the world to be part of the School. The impact of humanity on the planet is seriously endangering the ecosystems we rely on every day for the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat. Rapid change is required in order to address the challenges that mankind faces from resource scarcity to climate change in the 21st century. Failure to change our habits and attitudes will leave the planet in a state where it can no longer sustain our civilisation. The Smith School engages with, educates and equips public and private enterprise with the solutions, knowledge and networks needed to address these major environmental challenges. At the heart of what we do is our ability to help public enterprise with policies that create opportunities for private enterprise to develop solutions informed by rigorous academic research. As founding director I am proud of the progress the Smith School has made during its first four years. The impact and the influence of the School have been felt globally as we have equipped decision makers with the very best skills, knowledge and expertise possible. Our constant aim is to expand our team and add to our expertise in order to build new educational and research programmes.
The threat to our planet and the environment has been steadily growing over the past two centuries. The industrial revolution saw science, engineering and technology grow in Britain and Europe and spread across the world, resulting in a massive increases in wealth, human well being and human population. By the middle of this century the population is expected to reach 9.5 billion. The pressures on food, energy, water, land and mineral resources and on the global commons, if continued unabated, will leave future generations with a challenge for survival. We must work together globally to manage these problems; that is an enormous challenge. The key objective of the Smith School is to help people tackle environmental challenges in the ‘real world’. Although we are based at the University of Oxford, which gives us the knowledge base we need, we are a different organisation to anything else at Oxford. While our research gains academic recognition, our main objective is to translate the in-depth research of the academics in order to underpin the work we do with private and public enterprise. There are huge opportunities for businesses and governments in addressing environmental challenges. By partnering in the development of environmental knowledge and understanding, organizations and individuals have the opportunity to make an impact and our research and teaching presents possibilities for involvement at multiple levels.
comment Jan/Jun 2015
The financial benefits of having a royal family It can’t be denied that, ever since the signing of the Magna Carta, the prolific royal families of Europe have struggled to cope with the incessant dissent of republicans and dwindling planes of public support. A mere 12 European monarchies have survived the new millennium, and several of those (such as françois Hollande’s status as Co-Prince of Andorra) are merely a nod to ceremony. Yet for those few royal lines still sewn into the fabric of their respective societies, an increasingly convincing case can be made that the costly presence of these archaic leaders is an invaluable financial asset for taxpayers. In recent years, Europe’s monarchs have started to open up quite a few opportunities economically. In the UK, where Elizabeth II has enjoyed 61 years and counting on the throne, this argument is tested on a regular basis. Broadly speaking, around 70 percent of Britons agree the house of Windsor’s continued shows of extravagant pageantry serve some sort of purpose. Just under one in 10 would see the monarchy eradicated, viewing the nation’s royal hijinks an embarrassing waste of cash in an era of financial instability. It’s not hard to see where they’re coming from. Every year, UK taxpayers dish out £40m to keep the Royal Family looking immaculate – meaning the Queen costs the public around 62p per person per year. Given the huge financial returns Elizabeth and her brood wrangle back into the country, 62p is a hell of an investment.
According to PwC, the British Royal Family rakes in a whopping £170m per year through tourism and memorabilia sales in London alone In 2007, economists at the University of Tilburg conducted a study to determine the financial impact monarchs have had on a country’s GDP. According to Harry van Dalen, who oversaw the research, nations stand to gain up to one percent in annual economic growth by maintaining a royal presence. That’s because, not only do long-standing royal households help to build an aura of leadership stability for a country, but they also serve as more evocative ambassadors to the up-and-coming economies across the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
Not every royal house of Europe enjoys the near-universal popularity Queen Elizabeth has worked to build. Earlier this year, King Harald V barely survived a parliamentary vote to abolish Norway’s constitutional monarchy in favour of a republic. Nearly 40 percent of Norwegian MPs have confessed to seeing no real net benefit to Harald’s presence – and with the world’s biggest sovereign wealth fund tightly under their control, it’s not hard to see why. The Scandinavian state emerged largely unscathed from the global financial crisis, and boasts some of the highest employment figures in Europe
DuTCH DIVINITY For the Netherlands in particular, the royal house of Willem-Alexander appears to garner an exceptional level of respect and adoration from the international community. Monarchs in Brunei, Thailand and the gulf states roll out the red carpet for the King, viewing his presence as an ode to these up-and-coming leaders’ rightful place at the ‘big boy’s table’. Dutch firms ride the King’s coattails all the way. Oil giants like Royal Dutch Shell (part-owned by the Royal Family) and Unilever have secured quite a few lucrative deals in developing royal nations – adding an estimated €5bn to the Dutch economy. Bearing in mind the fairly frugal Willem-Alexander costs the Netherlands around €100m per year, his retainer appears to be well worth its weight in oil contracts.
A BuMP IN TOurIsM According to PwC, the British Royal Family rakes in a whopping £107m per year through tourism and memorabilia sales in London alone. Nationwide, researchers estimate a windfall of up to £620m. As Elizabeth’s grandchildren continue to fill their diaries with juicy public engagements, that income is starting to swell further still. The arrival of Prince William and the Kate Middleton’s baby, for example, gave UK retailers a £243m bump in sales – including an extra £62m on celebratory booze, and £80m on royal souvenirs. Republicans argue that boost could have been easily replicated were the country to host more global gatherings, such as the summer Olympics. They’re absolutely right. Yet royals don’t merely give the public excuses to spend; they also single-handedly attract new business into the country.
The royal house of Willem-Alexander is estimated to bring as much as €5bn to the Dutch economy. Domestically, Europe’s constitutional monarchies contribute substantially to the branding power of local businesses. In a 2004 study conducted by Harvard Business School, researchers found European businesses profit endlessly from royal endorsements. The various charitable endeavours of royals also encourage corporations to act more responsibly and engage in sustainable community regeneration schemes. Almost 3,000 organisations across the globe list a member of the British Royal Family as their top patron, inspiring the public to raise an estimated £1.4bn per year in donations. It’s difficult to quantify the social impact of such widespread philanthropy; however, it’s not quite so difficult to imagine how that must help to maintain the sterling brand reputation of Britain’s royals – which is worth £26bn per year, according to Brand Finance.
The Scandinavian state emerged largely unscathed from the global financial crisis, and boasts some of the highest employment figures in Europe. Royal souvenirs hardly line the shelves of Norwegian airports, and Harald’s royal palace in Oslo brings in far fewer tourist dollars than that of Sweden’s Carl XVI Gustav in Stockholm. If the value of Norway’s monarchy as a brand continues to plummet, King Harald won’t be so lucky the next time parliament questions his costly presence. Meanwhile, the stocks of Europe’s other royal houses are going nowhere but up. A couple of years ago, King Willem-Alexander delivered a powerful address to the Dutch people. He dutifully informed them the welfare state of the twentieth century was dead and gone – and in its place, a “participation society” has emerged. The Dutch people must take responsibility for their own future, the King proclaimed, and create their own financial safety nets. As the Dutch economy continues to contract, that may be easier said than done. Yet something about the monarch’s grim message seems more meaningful coming from his royal lips, rather than those of one of the country’s dime-a-dozen career politicians. Perhaps that’s because Willem-Alexander not only talks the talk – but can actually walk the walk. Today’s European monarchs may not be able to behead their competition, but they can certainly make tangible financial contributions that provide their nations with a sustainable economic advantage. So, while it may not be cheap to drape them in furs, it’s certainly worth the cost.
HACKETT / AsTON MArTIN Hackett AMR (Aston Martin Racing) Emerson Moto Jacket / Midnight Hackett. Part of a range of Aston Martin Racing clothing that fuses automotive-inspired Aston Martin shades, jumpers and accessories, this easy to wear, ultra cool piece is a great lightweight jacket for the spring / summer. Available at hackett.com
discussion Jan/Jun 2015
Dame Fiona Reynolds By Gareth Hughes, In 2012, Dame Fiona Reynolds left the venerated National Trust, the £400m-income charity she has led for the last 12 years, for a new post as Master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge. Her departure drew the curtain on a period of enormous change at the Trust; in many ways the heritage and conservation charity is barely recognisable from the fusty, old-fashioned institution she inherited in 2000. It now has more than four million members - up from 2.7 million when she took charge - a Facebook page, a virtual farming community, and nearly 67,000 Twitter followers. It operates out of new, ultra-modern, environmentallyfriendly headquarters in Swindon. It has a trustee board of 12 – 40 less than when she joined – and a new staffing structure that devolves much more power to local property managers. Dame Fiona sums up the new culture as “open-arms conservation”. “I hope that the big thing that I’ve been able to bring to the Trust,” she says, “is that as well as being a passionate conservationist, I have a real love of people. When I got here, my analysis was that this organisation is brilliant at conservation, but I questioned whether we really loved people.” At the time, the Trust’s relationship with its public was totally on its own terms, very much a ‘look but don’t touch, this is hallowed ground’ approach. Most of its 350-plus historic houses seemed to be full of roped-off areas and libraryquiet, children weren’t allowed to play, and properties would be closed to the public while restoration took place. But under Reynolds’ leadership, Trust properties have become much more user-friendly and welcoming – families can picnic on the lawns, all restoration work takes place in full view of visitors, and many properties now have rooms where visitors can relax on sofas, read books, perhaps even play billiards. “It’s the difference between closedarms conservation and open-arms conservation which says ‘this belongs to all of us, not just the organisation’,” says Dame Fiona. suCCEssfuL CAMPAIGNEr The Trust’s expanding membership has also given it a new legitimacy in terms of campaigning. In the last year alone, National Trust campaigns have managed to derail two flagship government policies – first on the sale of forestry assets and later on the planning reforms that threatened to introduce a presumption in favour of development.
Dame Fiona is sure that these are the kinds of changes the trustees had in mind when they recruited her to the job all those years back. “There was a recognition they wanted change,” she said. “They wouldn’t have appointed me otherwise – I was still reasonably young, the first woman ever to take the job, a campaigner. There were plenty of people they could have hired if they wanted things to stay the same.” Her arrival as director-general, aged 42, certainly raised some eyebrows at the time – the Daily Mail described her as a ‘Tony Crony’ while others depicted her as a ‘Blair babe’. And the changes she has instigated have not been universally welcomed – a quick search of any comment board relating to stories about the Trust will soon throw up accusations that the leadership has put commercial imperatives ahead of historical ones and even tried to ‘Disneyfy’ the organisation. But the evidence, especially membership numbers and campaigning victories, speaks for itself. For Dame Fiona, it’s been “my dream job”. “I have a very powerful instinct about the ethos of an organisation I lead,” she says. “It’s not intellectual, it’s quite emotional – I have this sense of what matters, of what is the personality of the organisation. I am really passionate about an organisation’s history – the first thing I do when I get a new job is read about its history.” Hence, she doesn’t really perceive the changes she instigated at the National Trust to have been taking it into a new phase, but more about reconnecting it with its origins and its provenance. NEw CHALLENGE So why leave? For the same reason that she left the Council for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) in 1998 after nine years, seven at its helm. “I felt I had got a bit too cosy, too comfortable,” she confesses. “I wanted to test myself in a different environment.” So she will join Emmanuel College (also a charity) in September, but won’t actually take up the post until a year later – she is taking a gap year first to write a book. “It’s partly a story about the issues of the day, about why an organisation like the National Trust matters, about our quality of life and the values we have as a society.”
She describes Emmanuel College as “like a mini-National Trust – it has beautiful buildings, beautiful gardens” but adds that she is not being brought in as a change agent this time. “I’ll be responsible for the wellbeing of the college, making sure it thrives and is a happy and harmonious place. I think it’s going to be lovely.” The Emmanuel job will take Reynolds back to Cambridge University where she read geography and land economics as an undergraduate. It’s where she had her “breakthrough” moment, when she realised that she could actually earn a living from working in the conservation field, that it didn’t always just have to be a hobby. “It was always in my blood,” she explains. “I was one of five girls, and we had this amazingly energetic and inspiring father who was a metallurgist in his day job but all kinds of things outside of work – explorer, historian, photographer, pianist, lay Methodist preacher - you name it. We were always off in the countryside, camping or exploring ancient sites. So it was central to who I am and what I cared about. “But the breakthrough came the day I realised that maybe I could have a job in this area, that I could get paid for doing it.” After university she saw a job advertised to head up the new charity that had just been spun off from CPRE and CPRW, which was then called the Council for National Parks. She applied, and to her utter surprise got it, and so found herself in her first CEO role in her very first job – albeit with just one part-time employee. ‘uNBELIEVABLE LuCK’ The president of the new charity was Lord Hunt, the leader of the successful 1953 British expedition to Mount Everest which saw Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay conquer the summit. As the Council’s newly-appointed ‘secretary’, Reynolds found herself traipsing around after Hunt on charity duties, meeting with ministers in the Houses of Parliament, visiting national parks, campaigning for their protection. “It was unbelievable luck,” she says. “I absolutely loved that job. I learnt so much from John Hunt – he taught me how to lobby, he just knew how to sow the seeds of brilliant ideas. He had this knack of making people think it was their idea, he was absolutely inspirational.
Stolen moments Charmed Backstage Photographer: Polskey for I-MAGAZINE Models: Various Agency: FM London & Select Clothes supplied By: Gieves & Hawkes
comment Jan/Jun 2015
When the Coalition government came into office four and a half years ago, it asked some sensible – and fundamental – questions about the state and its role. By Alan Leaman, CEO Ministers need to deliver significant reductions in public spending as part of their programme to reduce the deficit. They also believe that further reform will improve the quality of services and make them more responsive to the public. So the Treasury published an agenda document-which seemed to get to the heart of the issue. What does government really need to do? Are there functions it should drop? And what should the taxpayer fund? These are questions which every government should ask from time-to-time, whether or not the public finances require cuts. Predictably, perhaps, we have discovered since the 2010 election that it is much easier for politicians to ask the questions than to provide the answers. The government’s savings agenda has concentrated on delivering greater efficiency, pruning public sector salaries and pensions, reducing the income of local government and trimming aspects of the welfare budget. All of these may or may not be desirable and much of this work was long overdue. But it is difficult to argue that these initiatives add up to a fundamental re-shaping of the state. And, while the Open Public Services policy built constructively on previous agendas, with the vision of greater competition and choice in the public sector, much of it is mired in complex changes to the NHS and political differences within the coalition over the involvement of private sector organisations. One area where ministers such as David Laws and Francis Maude looked to make early savings was in the government’s use of management consulting services. There were some quick wins here as the Cabinet Office imposed much stricter controls on the approval of this expenditure. I don’t particularly complain about that – indeed, there have been some benefits. It is up to ministers to decide how much they should spend and how it should be organised. Some of the previous government’s spending on consulting was undoubtedly for work that could and should have been done by in-house civil servants – and the public sector is still bedevilled by the expensive use of interims and contractors. Unfortunately, this is an area which has often been confused (and lumped together) with management consultancy.
Of course, ministers ran risks and, in some cases, have clearly paid a price. The costly fiasco over the letting of the West Coast rail franchise, for instance, has been widely put down to the failure to draw on outside expertise. In this case, it is pretty clear that a relatively small amount of appropriate expenditure would have helped save a massive bill for the taxpayer. And, with such tight controls over the use of consultants, a lot of expertise has also been lost to vital public services such as schools, the police and the health service.
These award-winning projects are all focused on the agenda of ‘more for less’ – and rightly so. The public wants to see continuing improvements in the quality of public services but also expects the government to deliver them with lower costs. It is often the intervention of skilled management consultancies that enables this circle to be squared.
But the real question isn’t about how much is being spent on consulting – there isn’t a ‘correct’ answer. It is about whether government is achieving what it needs to serve its citizens in today’s complicated world.
So it was interesting to see that, according to the MCA’s data for 2012, there has been a small uplift in the sector’s spending on consultancy services. This follows two years of dramatic falls. It suggests that, after a period when the top priority was to introduce controls and develop policy, there is now an increasing focus on delivering better outcomes for citizens and taxpayers.
A better co-ordinated approach to buying consulting services within the public sector was needed. We see it now with the ConsultancyONE framework, which has a clear emphasis on driving best value, not just lowest price. The framework also offers public sector buyers a far wider choice between consulting firms, with greater opportunities for SMEs in the industry to participate. In fact, MCA data has shown that small specialist consulting firms are already starting to win a greater share of consulting work in the public sector, particularly from central government, the NHS and local government. This year the MCA Awards showed what can be achieved by consultancies and public sector clients working closely together. The West Midlands police have exploded the myth that public sector organisations can’t improve performance while also making savings. Working with consultants at KPMG, they improved performance, reduced crime and cut costs. In the health sector, management consultancies are also leading the way in delivering the better commissioning and patient experiences that everyone wants to see. Atos Consulting won an MCA Award with the Staffordshire NHS for their work to improve the care for patients. PPL Consulting worked with NESTA to develop a new approach for people with long-term medical conditions. Their People Powered Health has the potential to transform healthcare for the better. Meanwhile, iMPOWER, a specialist consultancy, is achieving great results with a number of County Councils for its work on foster care.
This would be a sensible time to build on this experience and spread it more widely throughout the public sector.
But the big questions – those set out in the 2010 Treasury document – remain. And that is a further dimension where management consultancies could provide significant value. When George Osborne announced his spending targets for 2015-16 it was clear that some of the additional savings could be achieved through improved efficiencies. But the larger questions can’t be ducked for much longer. And, arguably, the longer we wait the more difficult they will become to answer. All over the private sector, organisations are being transformed from top to bottom. The onset of digital technology, new types of customers with new attitudes, new business models and routes to market, and the much tougher world of keener prices and greater regulatory oversight – these are all forcing the pace of change. Why should the public sector not have access to all this experience and knowledge – while maintaining its distinctive ethos and values? And when, like all healthy organisations, will it answer those fundamental questions that were asked just three years ago? Alan Leaman is Chief Executive of the Management Consultancies Association (MCA)
profile Jan/Jun 2015
Arnaud Bamberger, Managing Director at Cartier Men’s accessories is one of the fastest growing areas of fashion, but Cartier’s executive director and man about town Arnaud Bamberger thinks men should be even more decorative and individual in the way they dress. Michael Hewitt takes note “It is the centre of London, the most concentrated street in the world for luxury, a great area for shopping - the best,” says Arnaud Bamberger, executive director of Cartier UK, of Mayfair. “Within a few hundred yards between Old Bond Street and New Bond Street, there are a huge number of brands. I have been all over the world and I don’t know of any other place, whether Milan or Paris or Geneva, where you can find [that].” As a journalist on a magazine for and about Mayfair, you can imagine my delight at Arnaud’s opening words in our interview. “Hurrah - an enthusiast,” I think, and a good thing that the enthusiast in question is one of the great characters in luxury. Arnaud - a French national and a tri-lingual Anglophile - is strictly a businessman by trade. But the colossal success of Cartier in London, and its involvement with the arts, events and new product launches have perched him on the top of the luxury ladder. Sitting in his office on Bond Street, we meet to discuss Mayfair and the way in which men are now joining the luxury fold - and he has plenty to say. Proselytising for British style and explaining how it has influenced him, he says: “There is a kind of natural elegance of the Brits in the way they dress in the countryside or in the street, which makes it interesting. All of this is linked to the tradition of Savile Row. It has spread out, but even though it is not in Savile Row, it is still the spirit of Savile Row. Tailors around London generally have trained there or refer to it, even if they are not physically there - but usually they are not very far away. I have been going to the same tailor for 20 years and he has either been on Savile Row or near it.” The tailor he speaks of is John Kent, one third of the tailoring triumvirate Kent, Haste & Lachter, tailor to the Duke of Edinburgh and all manner of illustrious clients. It did not take long for Bamberger, on his arrival in the UK in 1992, to add himself to Mr Kent’s roster. He recalls: “When I arrived here 21 years ago, I asked an Italian Count friend of mine, as he was
quite well dressed, “Where do you go?” And he said, “Oh, I have a tailor that I have been going to forever called John Kent.” He introduced me to him, and we got on so well straight away that John is almost like a friend. I don’t have to order anything when I go there, but I go the old-fashioned way you “go” to your tailor.” During the course of their knowing each other, Kent partnered up with his protege and fellow master tailor Terry Haste and shirt-making supremo Stephen Lachter, of whose services Bamberger has availed himself as a result. Sartorially, he seems to have it sorted. “It’s very simple” I either go to Ralph Lauren for day-to-day clothes, which is easy as it fits me perfectly, so I am a very good customer of Ralph Lauren,” he says. “Or I like to personalise the things I have, and through a tailor you can make whatever you like - whether a monogram on the flap, lining, fun extras or anything. With John, I am very happy and I am very faithful to him, and I do not intend to change - this is it.” As he points out the extras he has on his outfit, I spot next to his buttonhole a curious crimson threading, much like a mother might put on her child’s school uniform to identify it from other children’s. He catches me staring, and explains that it is his Legion d’honneur. Clearly they haven’t forgotten about him back home. Moving to discussing men’s style, Arnault does not pull any punches and is quite clear about his style approach. He sees style and dressing almost like a puzzle in which you have to try different stratagems before you succeed. Even if you hitherto had all the sartorial aplomb of a fairground attendant, a little extra can make all the difference. He explains: “I always wear a hankie - if I don’t wear one I feel naked. There is always a bit of eccentricity needed in the way you look, whether it be through the socks, belt, tie, anything. It is the way you portray yourself, the way you are, that matters, and you are either elegant or you are not elegant. If you use your handkerchief as a pochette, but not correctly, it doesn’t work. If you put it in too much, even in your overcoat it looks silly. You have to understand what works for you and how you dress. It is that simple.” Is this really something a lot of men are doing? “More and more,” he insists, “but it needs
confidence, and the problem is that there are too many men with no confidence. That is what one needs - I have this confidence. So build on confidence, and have one extra thing that people will not expect.” The two Cartier nail bracelets on his wrist, which are part of the current Bamberger look, are the next curios we discuss. “I found the first nail bracelet in an antique shop and I bought it, I wore it and I loved it,” he says. “It is very unisex, and it was a piece that was made for Cartier New York in the beginning, so it is very rare. Then I thought that one was dull, so I found another and put two together.” Men’s accessorising is on the rise, partly as a progression from electronic accessories, iPad and iPhone cases, and wallets, pocket squares and so on are where a large amount of revenue now comes from. Burberry’s men’s accessories sales rose 30 per cent last year, while Tom Ford’s accessories sales were up 20 per cent and are forecast for a further 25 per cent growth next year with the release of the Tom Ford sneaker. Since the more fashion-curious and experimental tend to outgun the regular buyer, tie pins and extravagant cufflinks are becoming more of a fixture. Although for now at least, Arnaud agrees, the market is limited, “there is always a market for bespoke - things that make you different, special. It may be a bit limited, but those who are looking are doing so in London. But we are into big jewellery, women’s jewellery, which drives our business more than men’s jewellery. We are a jeweller for ladies.” It is jewellery that Cartier has its mind on at present, as this month it wraps up the largest ever exhibition it has held at the Grand Palais in Paris. Part of the job of a heritage brand like La Maison Cartier is the curating of its history to dictate what comes next. The exhibition is as ambitious and large as any jewellery exhibition in history. Cartier keeps itself ahead of the game in enterprising ways, and Arnaud is the personification of that. With a touch of the Duke of Windsor, he allows people to see his personality through his style. He lets what he wears be dictated by who he is, not the other way around, and thinks, probably correctly, that’s the right way round. i-MAGAZINE
Making new sense of culture by Erin Meyer Today, whether we work in Dusseldorf or Dubai, Brasília or Beijing, New York or New Delhi, we are all part of a global network (real or virtual, physical or electronic) where success requires navigating through wildly different cultural realities. Unless we know how to decode other cultures and avoid easy-to-fall-into cultural traps, we are easy prey to misunderstanding, needless conflict, and ultimate failure. Yet, it is quite possible, even common, to work across cultures for decades and travel frequently for business while remaining unaware and uninformed about how culture impacts you. Millions of people work in global settings while viewing everything from their own cultural perspectives and assuming that all differences, controversy, and misunderstanding are rooted in personality. This is not due to laziness. Many well-intentioned people don’t educate themselves about cultural differences because they believe that if they focus on individual differences, that that will be enough. After I published an online article on the differences among Asian cultures and their impact on cross-Asia teamwork, one reader commented, “Speaking of cultural differences leads us to stereotype and therefore put individuals in boxes with ‘general traits.’ Instead of talking about culture, it is important to judge people as individuals, not just products of their environment.” At first, this argument sounds valid, even enlightened. Of course individuals, no matter their cultural origins, have varied personality traits. So why not just approach all people with an interest in getting to know them personally, and proceed from there? Unfortunately, this point of view has kept thousands of people from learning what they need to know to meet their objectives. If you go into every interaction assuming that culture doesn’t matter, your default mechanism will be to view others through your own cultural lens and to judge or misjudge them accordingly. Yes, every individual is different. And yes, when you work with people from other cultures, you shouldn’t make assumptions about individual traits based on where a person comes from. But this doesn’t mean learning about cultural contexts is unnecessary. If your business success relies on your ability to work successfully with people from around the world, you need to i-MAGAZINE
have an appreciation for cultural differences as well as respect for individual differences. Both are essential. As if this complexity weren’t enough, cultural and individual differences are often wrapped up with differences among organizations, industries, professions, and other groups. But even in the most complex situations, understanding how cultural differences affect the mix may help you discover a new approach. Cultural patterns of behaviour and belief frequently impact our perceptions (what we see), cognitions (what we think), and actions (what we do). MAPPING THE wOrLD’s CuLTurEs To help people improve their ability to decode these three facets of culture and to enhance your effectiveness in dealing with them, I have built on the work of many in my field to develop a tool called the Culture Map. It is made up of eight scales representing the management behaviours where cultural gaps are most common. By comparing the position of one nationality relative to another on each scale, the user can decode how culture influences day-to-day collaboration. The eight scales are based on decades of academic research into culture from multiple perspectives. To this foundation I have added my own work, which has been validated by extensive interviews with thousands of executives who have confirmed or corrected my findings. The scales and their metrics are: Communicating. When we say that someone is a good communicator, what do we actually mean? The responses differ wildly from society to society. I compare cultures along the Communicating scale by measuring the degree to which they are high- or low-context, a metric developed by the American anthropologist Edward Hall. In low-context cultures, good communication is precise, simple, explicit, and clear. Messages are understood at face value. Repetition is appreciated for purposes of clarification, as is putting messages in writing. In high-context cultures, communication is sophisticated, nuanced, and layered. Messages are often implied but not plainly stated. Less is put in writing, more is left open to interpretation, and understanding may depend on reading between the lines.
Evaluating. All cultures believe that criticism should be given constructively, but the definition of “constructive” varies greatly. This scale measures a preference for frank versus diplomatic negative feedback. Evaluating is often confused with Communicating, but many countries have different positions on the two scales. The French, for example, are high-context (implicit) communicators relative to Americans, yet they are more direct in their criticism. Spaniards and Mexicans are at the same context level, but the Spanish are much more frank when providing negative feedback. Persuading. The ways in which you persuade others and the kinds of arguments you find convincing are deeply rooted in your culture’s philosophical, religious, and educational assumptions and attitudes. The traditional way to compare countries along this scale is to assess how they balance holistic and specific thought patterns. Typically, a Western executive will break down an argument into a sequence of distinct components (specific thinking), while Asian managers tend to show how the components all fit together (holistic thinking). Beyond that, people from southern European and Germanic cultures tend to find deductive arguments (what I refer to as principles-first arguments) most persuasive, whereas American and British managers are more likely to be influenced by inductive logic (what I call applications-first logic). Leading. This scale measures the degree of respect and deference shown to authority figures, placing countries on a spectrum from egalitarian to hierarchical. The Leading scale is based partly on the concept of power distance, first researched by Geert Hofstede, who conducted 100,000 management surveys at IBM in the 1970s. It also draws on the work of Robert House and his colleagues in their GLOBE (global leadership and organizational behaviour effectiveness) study of 62 societies. Deciding. This scale measures the degree to which a culture is consensus-minded. We often assume that the most egalitarian cultures will also be the most democratic, while the most hierarchical ones will allow the boss to make unilateral decisions. Erin Meyer is the author of The Culture Map (PublicAffairs, 2014). follow her @erinmeyerinsead.
interview Jan/Jun 2015
The Virgin Way sir richard Branson writes on ‘‘The Virgin Way’’, giving insight into the conditions both psychological and social that drove him to become the businessman he has become.
from my very first commercial venture at age sixteen with student magazine, right up to today’s far loftier adventures with such things as Virgin Galactic and space tourism, I have always had one paramount philosophy: if a new project or business opportunity doesn’t excite me and get my entrepreneurial and innovative juices flowing, if it’s not something with which I sense I can make a difference while having a lot of seriously creative fun, then I’d far rather pass on it and move right along to something else that does excite me. This same line of thought flows into my attitude towards writing books: if I don’t enjoy writing them, then the chances are pretty good that nobody is going to be too happy reading them. The simple fact is that if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing and the people with whom you’re doing it, then there is no possible way that you are ever going to do it as well as something that you do enjoy. As some wise person once said, ‘Life is not a dress rehearsal.’ This is it! So unless you plan to give it a better shot in your next life – assuming you are lucky enough to get a second chance – then why risk wasting any of your limited time on this earth doing stuff that doesn’t light your fire? I am constantly amazed at how many people appear to live their lives either always looking in the rear-view mirror or talking about how things are going to be different in the future. There is nothing wrong with cherishing and enjoying memories and hopefully learning from past experiences just as planning for the future is something we obviously all have to do as well – but what about today? All too frequently ‘now’ gets lost in the frenetic shuffle to rush ahead to tomorrow. Face it: these are ‘the good old days’ that you’ll be looking back on twenty years from now – so why not move heaven and earth to enjoy them while you’ve got them? Mahatma Gandhi is one of my all-time heroes, and a quote from him that I think I first read in a school history lesson has stuck with me ever since: ‘Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.’ This good advice has been popularly abbre- viated to, ‘Live every day as if it were your last’, which is a wonderful sentiment even if it has frequently
become a worldwide rallying cry for nevermind-the-consequences hell-raisers. I remember well the one time (as an apprentice hell-raiser) I tried using the latter version on my mum as an excuse for some mischief or other. ‘But Mum,’ I implored, ‘I was only doing what Gandhi said I should do.’ Unimpressed, she gave me a straight-faced reply of, ‘Pull that trick again, Ricky, and today could very well be your last!’ Actually the best quote on living every day like it’s your last belongs to Steve Jobs, who in a commencement speech he made at Stanford University in 2005 said, ‘If you live every day like it’s your last, someday you’ll almost certainly be right.’ It would be funny but for the fact he courageously gave the address just twelve months after he had been diagnosed with the cancer that would kill him six years later. As fallible human beings we all make our share of mistakes and get ourselves into the kind of predicaments that result from making the wrong choices, but in the vast majority of such situations we all have the ability to pause, take stock and say, ‘Sorry, but I’m really not happy with this so I’m out of here.’ I recognise that in a lot of instances – particularly when friends and family are involved – this may be easier said than done and taking any such drastic action usually calls for a lot of courage. However, as the old adage goes, when you make mistakes at least try to make them quickly. I have often had people say to me, ‘Well, sure, Richard, all that stuff is easy for you to say when you’ve built your business and you’ve pretty much made it in life.’ To this my response is always along the lines of, ‘Yes, that’s true – to a degree. But why do you think I have all those companies? They almost certainly wouldn’t be there had I not repeatedly dug my heels in and refused to spend my time on things I recognised as just not right for me.’ One of the earliest examples of a situation in which I felt off-kilter was my time at school. When I shocked my parents as well as friends by dropping out of the prestigious Stowe School at age sixteen, I did it with my young eyes wide open in order to pursue a dream of starting my own magazine publishing business. In my heart of hearts I knew that making Student magazine a
success simply didn’t necessitate me spending any more of my precious time sitting in stuffy classrooms. The idea of spending another couple of years memorising mind-numbing facts from textbooks, wrestling with the joys of calculus and defining little-known Latin verbs seemed totally irrelevant to my future life and so I had to escape or risk losing my sanity. Please don’t misinterpret this as some kind of ‘burn your books’, anti-education tirade – quite the opposite. Availing yourself of the best education you can get is an imperative particularly in today’s ultra competitive commercial world. When I went to school, however, learning was much more of a memorisation and regurgitation process than it seems to be today. The old way was particularly challenging for someone like me with dyslexia and borderline ADD – attention deficit disorder. There were several excellent teachers who did make their subjects come to life, but with my early-stage entrepreneurial juices starting to flow I had mentally moved on already. The paradoxical twist is that ever since I dropped out of school I have spent the balance of my life with a thirst for learning about new things, businesses, people and cultures. The big difference, of course, is that my learning process has involved experiencing all these things first-hand as opposed to reading about them in books or third-hand from someone who frequently had never lived outside of academia. Although I had serious trouble tuning into teachers in school, when I struck out on my own I had to quickly set about honing my dubious listening skills. One of the first of many tasks I took on at Student was that of ‘cub reporter’ so when interviewing someone, I had no option but to listen intently while scribbling down notes that sometimes were almost completely indecipherable. Whether it was with John Lennon or John le Carré, I had to rapidly acquire the art of simultaneously listening, writing and thinking about my next follow-on question. It was somewhat of a ‘Chinese plate trick’ as you had to keep all the components spinning or you found yourself helplessly adrift. But the ability to lock in and listen is a skill that has served me well in life. Although it seems i-MAGAZINE
“ I’d just urge you to do a lot more listening than talking, don’t be afraid to wear your passion on your sleeve for all to see, and when in doubt trust your instincts.’’ to be somewhat of a dying art, I believe that listening is one of the most important skills for any teacher, parent, leader, entrepreneur or, well, just about anyone who has a pulse. What’s become known around our various companies as ‘the Virgin way’ is something that has evolved since day one. When someone who has just joined us from outside comes out of their first, usually highly informal, strategy or product meeting and says, ‘Wow, you folks certainly do things differently, don’t you?’ the response is often, ‘Yup, that’s the Virgin way’, usually said with a smile and a knowing wink. As you will (I hope) understand, one of the keys to ‘the way’ we do things is nothing more complex than listening – listening intently to everyone who has an opinion to share, not just the self-professed experts. It’s also about learning from each other, from the marketplace and from the mistakes that must be made in order to get anywhere that is original and disruptive. And perhaps most importantly, it’s about having fun with a capital F while we’re doing it. Leading ‘the Virgin way’ often has quite unpredictable consequences and takes us to places where other ‘more sensible’ operations might fear to tread. And with a brand that is now as visible as it is, this means leading from the front and sticking your neck out in ways that a lot of leadership styles might not consider ‘prudent’, a word that I do not use on a frequent basis. I don’t profess for one moment to have some kind of secret formula or a panacea for the challenges of business in general. What I write about in the coming pages is simply what, in my wide-ranging experience, has served me
and, by extension, Virgin extremely well – the vast majority of the time at least. Having what we like to call ‘serious fun’ is at the core of ‘the Virgin way’ and that’s something for which I will never apologise. Being passionately engaged and enjoying every minute of what you do is an attitudinal thing – a spark – that cannot be mandated, trained, put in a job description or an employee manual. It’s something that’s either in a person’s DNA or not, and as such has to come from within. If you’re someone who believes in going your own way and having a lot of fun doing it, then you’re already on the right track and there’s probably very little anyone can say to modify your course more than a few degrees. I’d just urge you to do a lot more listening than talking, don’t be afraid to wear your passion on your sleeve for all to see, and when in doubt trust your instincts. I only mention all of this in order to be totally transparent on how I have lived my life and to put my, perhaps somewhat less than traditional, take on listening, living, laughing and leading in the proper context. There are a lot of slightly crazy things I have done with boats and hot-air balloons, jumping off tall buildings and more that certainly had the potential to shorten my life expectancy. Some may call it recklessness but I prefer to call it taking ‘calculated risks’. One way or the other, though, I’d certainly put many of my past adventures in the category of ‘Don’t try this at home’. What I do believe to be an essential, however, particularly for anyone with entrepreneurial aspirations, is an unfettered willingness to trust their instincts and to follow their own star, even if at times it might appear to be leading them towards the edge of the precipice.
a capital-intensive business like an airline, kite-surfing across the English Channel in my sixties, fighting to reduce the suffocating carbon blitz that is killing our planet, or seeking to commercialise space travel, I love nothing better than what appears to be an outlandish challenge. As any of my colleagues at Virgin will attest, in my vocabulary the phrase ‘seemingly impossible’ is defined as ‘something that should be a lot of fun disproving’. After a Laser dinghy ride around the island with me, one frequent guest on Necker (who wishes to remain anonymous) once laughingly commented, ‘Wow, Richard! After that experience I now understand what makes Virgin different: you really take the “shortest distance between two points is a straight line” thing very seriously, don’t you?’ When I asked what exactly he meant by that, it turned out that the thrill I get from sailing at high speed through, and frequently right over the top of, the island’s encircling jagged rocks was clearly not what he’d had in mind when I suggested we go sailing. The way I see it, though, just about anyone can chart a safe course and laboriously pick their way around a field of obstacles – but where’s the fun in that?
My star has certainly led me over quite a few cliffs and in some pretty wild and woolly directions and so I should also confess that from an early age, my idea of ‘having fun’ might not be the same as a lot of other people’s. Whether the challenges are physical or financial – or sometimes both – fun, aka excitement, has for me always been inextricably linked with taking risks and sometimes perhaps some pretty insane ones. The problem is that being told ‘You’d have to be crazy to even think about doing that’ has to me always been like the proverbial red rag to a bull. Whether it’s starting a Christmas tree farm,
Amanda Blanc, CEO. Much vitriol has been dished out to the banking sector since the crash of late 2008 and not without justification. There have been repeated demands from politicians and the public for fundamental changes to be made to the banking system and root out the practices that brought our whole financial system to the brink of collapse. The problem, put simply, is that the banking world pursued profit at all costs. The acquisition of money was the main and often only priority of these financial institutions – if it wasn’t illegal, then it was fair game and in some cases it was fair game even if it was illegal. That the banking sector had in many instances been corrupted by greed is not in question but I would argue that the banks shared the landscape they inhabited with the rest of the corporate world. I would also argue that the moral malaise that brought the banking sector to its knees had infected business in general, the only difference being that it has largely gone unnoticed. There appears to be an acceptance that in finance, ruthlessness, a cold-hearted focus on the numbers and delivery of profit, is all that matters. The existing culture accepts that morality and ‘doing the right thing’ have a very limited place in business. This is not a culture I wish to engage with and I’m not sure many of my peers would want to either. And this is the crux of the issue. The culture of prioritising profit over all other considerations is entirely out of kilter with the sentiment of wider society. All around us are signs that people are willing to pay more, give more and dedicate more time to products and services that they perceive to be ethical or morally ‘correct’. Essentially, people want to do the right thing and they want to align themselves with organisations that do likewise. So what it comes down to is whether the corporate world has the willingness and more
importantly, the ability, to align itself better with a social culture that increasingly demands that the ‘right thing’ be done. Even if the willingness is there, first we must overcome a significant potential stumbling block – the executive’s fiduciary duty to deliver profit to the shareholder. To breach this duty would be to neglect your responsibilities as an executive but it is, I believe, possible to fulfil this duty in a way that does not dismiss all other considerations. Surely it is possible to treat our employees fairly, give them good working conditions, pay and benefits and still make a profit? Surely it is possible to sell customers products that are appropriate to their needs, invest in services that meet and beat their expectations, treat them as human beings rather than a commodity and still make a profit? And surely it is possible to lead a business that ‘does the right thing’ and still makes a profit? Of course, but it will not be easy to deliver and we have to start with ourselves. One of my favourite phrases is ‘a fish rots from the head down’. It is up to the executive of a corporate entity to set the moral tone for a business – that is nothing new but it would appear that simple truism has been forgotten. But it is more than that. I believe that we have to encourage everyone in a business, from the new starter to the most senior executives, to take responsibility for their own ethics, particularly as they apply to their working day. All too often, social responsibility is given to one division or indeed individual to manage and it is reduced to a box tick exercise. However, if we are to overhaul the cultures of corporate entities we must have challenge and change at all levels of the business. We need to set little fires across the organisation and the more of those that are ignited and encouraged to burn, the more the business will transform in its ethical stance. Those that are not willing to change will find that they no longer belong
and those that wish to work in an organisation that takes ethics seriously, will be attracted to seeking employment there. In addition, employee loyalty will increase which in turn tends to generate greater customer loyalty. If an ethical culture takes root in an organisation, it is only natural that the individuals incubating this culture will treat their customers more fairly and to a standard that matches their own. With this greater customer satisfaction and loyalty, will come more repeat business and in the long term, market share. That is one of the key stumbling blocks to this approach – longevity. Financial services have become trapped in a short-termism that does not allow for success, profitability and sustainability to come in the long term. Again, what is required is a change of culture. I honestly do not believe that corporate entities as a whole can survive without making wholesale efforts to change their culture. It is not about what is desirable anymore. Unless we adapt as outlined above, we will become redundant, a relic of how business was once conducted. Our customers are better educated, more demanding and less tolerant of unethical behaviour and what may have been acceptable in the past, as long as it delivered profit, is now considered to be completely out of synch with society’s demands. They expect better from us and on that basis alone we should be committed to change but more than that, if we do not respond to this moral shift, we will become obsolete and those that are willing to build business models that deliver the right outcomes for employees, customers and shareholders, will simply take our place.
interview Jan/Jun 2015
i-MAGAZINE speaks to Lydia Vladimirskaya the Founder of BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) magazine.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your connections with the BrIC countries?
I was born in Moscow, Russia so obviously I am well aware of the cultural and economic movements from this BRIC nation, but I have lived in many cities all over to world and in a way, see myself as an international local. I love the idea that in today’s society we can be exposed to so many cultures and what I have noticed over the past decade is the BRIC countries have been paving the way for new generations with great strength. I have taken many inspiration from the BRIC countries and feel connected and proud of their achievements
what is BrIC Magazine and how did it get started?
BRIC is a London-based magazine sharing outstanding stories of success, debating big ideas, narrating about arts, culture, love and business from the emerging economic superpowers: Brazil, Russia, India and China. London, being the melting pot of the international business and cultural stage, gives us an independent perspective not only to explore the tales of the exclusive BRIC communities domestically, but also their global ventures. I felt that there was a gap in the market since there was no single voice of authority for the BRIC nations. These countries are filled with art, culture and resources that are not being utilised and promoted to the Western world. As well as telling the stories of successful entrepreneurs and artists, I wanted to create a platform to promote inspirational content from one side of the world to the other and to help build an international community of like-minded people who can provide advice and business tips to others.
who is BrIC Magazine aimed at?
BRIC Magazine is aimed at readers who want great insights into all the fun, motivating and high-end markets found in and out of BRIC countries. Our readers are empowered individuals, but also humble enough to appreciate the achievements no matter how big or small from entrepreneurs and forward thinkers. Although established, they may also secretly turn straight to the society pages to take a sneaky peak in hope of finding themselves or their friends!
where is BrIC Magazine available?
BRIC Magazine is available in selected locations internationally, we can be found in 5* Hotels, Spa’s, Private Members Clubs, Airport Lounges and Corporate locations.
London is centred boldly amongst these emerging superpowers with the perfect view to report what’s next.. Also, in the US, purchasers are recommended to use an LLC (limited liability company) to protect against claims from visitors to the property who might injure themselves and subsequently sue for damages.
How did you come to work in the media industry?
Once I was attending a dinner in London at an authentic Chinese restaurant with a dear friend, a Professor from the States. We got caught in a debate about which city is the centre of the world and if such a city exists. The professor was convinced this city was New York, which I love, but to me London was the birthplace for some of the world’s most influential and groundbreaking movements in Business and Arts. I thought of which countries had contributed towards London’s vibrant scene and the thought of BRIC came up, it was first coined by Terence O’Neil, but it got me thinking that London should document successes from these nations in order to create an international instrument to endorse international inspiring ideas, achievements and creativity and would include BRIC countries as equal members. We had experienced a wonderful evening and were about to leave when we were presented with a fortune cookie, my dear friend insisted I open it for good luck and it read, ‘Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will’. This message played over in my head and I couldn’t help but wonder who would take the step forward as a point of authority for these amazingly distinct and vibrant cultures, and there was no doubt in my mind. Shortly after this evening, BRIC Magazine was born.
what does the future hold for the BrIC countries?
The future for the BRIC countries is extremely exciting, with advances in the global economy and evolutions in art, culture and science. We feel that there is so much undiscovered potential and we want to be the ones to unearth them.
How is BrIC Magazine different than any other business/lifestyle magazines on the market?
It’s hard to compare BRIC to other magazines on the market as we feel there really isn’t anything else like it currently. We cater to a wide range of topics combining subjects such as philosophy, art, business, success stories and smart advice. It is not a publication just for the businessman or just for the artist, it is something bold and fresh that caters to a new hybrid reader, the intellectual all-rounder with a thirst for what’s new on a global level. BRIC Magazine is motivated by the idea of endorsing international inspiring ideas, achievements and creativity.
why did you decide to launch the magazine in London?
For me, London is the birthplace for some of the world’s most influential and groundbreaking movements in business and arts. In the long run, London is closer to Bollywood, Chinese art collectors and Russian oil magnates than any other city – it is a melting pot for emerging markets to flourish. i-MAGAZINE
lifestyle Jan/Jun 2015
A luxurious investment... By Chris Beauchamp, Market Analyst, IG
THE LUXURY SECTOR: AN INTRODUCTION They say money can’t buy happiness but the world’s super elite are certainly doing their best to prove that theory wrong. With the world’s economy picking up again following the 2008 banking crisis, it is safe to say that demand for luxury goods is not completely back at the level of free flowing consumption once seen, but the sector as a whole certainly seems to have held its own. For many, being able to instantly afford a Tom Ford suit, Tiffany cufflinks or a Breitling watch is a reality born from smart investment in those same luxury brands that continue to make strong gains year on year. Luxury goods need not only put consumers out of pocket, they can also provide strong investment opportunities.
luxurious cars, wine, jewellery and watches are continuing to grow, each featuring high on the shopping lists of many, an encouraging sign for an array of luxury brands today.
A RECESSION PROOF INDUSTRY? Investing in luxury is a global business, one that both the developed and emerging nations are all an intricate part of. Today the growing middle classes in China, Russia and India are seeking the factors that make up a wealthy Western lifestyle. Record numbers of well-dressed tourists are flocking to Europe’s luxury stores to purchase exclusive handbags, the most luxurious heels and new clothing lines from the world’s leading fashion brands. Any signs of a market slowdown following the recession have been well and truly bucked by Hermes who announced last month that fourth-quarter sales grew by 4.6% to €1.09 billion, with the brand reporting particularly strong sales figures in Europe.
THE BIGGER PICTURE That said, like any market, the luxury sector is subject to peaks and troughs in market demand and even the largest players are being forced to adapt to evolving consumer preferences. Fears last year of an uncertain Chinese economy certainly impacted consumer and investor confidence. It is perhaps of little surprise then that LVMH, whose brands include Louis Vuitton, Givenchy and Bulgari recently reported only a 4% growth in revenue, a sharp decline from the double-digit increases seen in previous years. The strengthening of the euro last year against the dollar and the Japanese yen was also felt across the luxury goods sector with Prada and Kering (formerly known as PPR) reporting weaker sales than usual in the third quarter.
Just this week the findings of the Wealth Report 2014 were released, highlighting how the spending on luxury goods and collectable items is continuing to gather pace. It is interesting to note that the luxury opportunity index, used to pinpoint the 10 countries with the fastest growing potential for luxury spending in the short and medium term, cited Africa highly. Africa accounts for five of the top 10 locations, with the Middle East taking up the top three slots (Qatar in pole position followed by UAE and Saudi Arabia). The report also confirms that consumer appetites for
The economic gloom still looming over many has certainly had a significant impact on the luxury sector, with consumers in traditional luxury markets such as Western Europe, Japan and the US often choosing to spend more cautiously. This, in addition to a crackdown on luxury gift giving in China, has forced many luxury brands to create new strategies and appeal to new markets and consumer tastes. Beijing’s restrictions on luxury gifts has certainly had an impact on British drinks group Diageo for example, after it announced a drop in sales of baijiu, a spirit typically used to toast success-
Looking at the bigger picture, the luxury sector as a whole is predicted to register significant growth over the next decade, with overall spending predicated to rise from €730 billion today to €880 billion by 2020 according to findings from the Boston Consulting Group. IG clients have been quick to capitalise on this trend, and have been broadly long of such stocks as Burberry and Mulberry over an extended period, indicating that they expect further growth in the new markets such as Africa.
ful business deals. Clients at IG reacted to this disappointing news, with sentiment shifting from the previously predominantly long positions that we had seen last year during the strong rally in Diageo shares. Interestingly, they are net short on Diageo’s rival, SABMiller, whose portfolio is more geared towards more popular brands. Evidently they still expect the luxury end to do better. With consumer tastes changing, Louis Vuitton quickly learnt that many of its high-end customers were abandoning its familiar logo-emblazed handbags in preference for more subtle products. In response, LVMH has increased its investment in smaller brands like Fendi and Berluti. This change in shopping habits also undoubtedly had a part to play in the decision by LVMH to diversity its portfolio even wider, recently acquiring the Hotel Saint-Barth Isle de France in the Caribbean. AN INVESTMENT PERSPECTIVE Recession proof or not, nearly 80 per cent of luxury industry executives remain optimistic about their firms’ revenues during the first quarter of this year according to a recent Wealth-X survey. Indeed more than 30 per cent of luxury industry executives interviewed expect revenues to rise by more than 10 per cent in the first quarter of 2014. Unsurprisingly, as wealth continues to increase worldwide, so too will the level of spending on luxury goods. Signs of sustained growth in the Eurozone and the US, as well as a stabilisation in key Asian economies all point towards a positive short term future for the luxury sector. As luxury brands battle for new and exciting market opportunities, the luxury sector will remain an increasingly interesting sector to watch from an investor perspective.
Street Life Harold Evans remembers growing up in Lowry’s Manchester
The Tate gallery’s wonderful, if belated, exhibition of the work of L.S. Lowry evokes bitter-sweet memories of growing up in his landscape of mill chimneys and two-up, two-down terraced houses spotted with pubs, churches and corner shops and sooty relics of the industrial revolution. Somehow or other in the vast urban sprawl of Manchester and Salford, without a blade of grass, still less village greens or grand town squares, people coalesced into little neighborly communities. On our move from Patricroft to Failsworth, my mother started a little grocery out of our front parlor and the new neighbors sprang to her aid against competition from the mighty Co-op. The warmth is not what strikes a viewer of Lowry’s work. He populated his fine architectural drawings with crowds of figures, anonymous in black, invariably bent forward against the adversities of northern life. Coal fires in every home and the thousands of tall, smoky chimneys – we could count 40 from our backyard – condemned Lancastrians to five times the national rate of bronchitis. When I got to know Lowry in the fifties, interviewing him at his home for the upstart Granada television, it was borne in on me how much he empathized with ‘the folk’. It was his dying regret, according to the critic John Heilpern, that having declined all sorts of honors, he was never offered the one he would have treasured: being named a freeman of the city he forever embedded in our imaginations. Lowry’s The Steps at Wick (1937), one of the paintings of his Bonhams is offering for sale this autumn, made an indelible impression on me. On the pavement below the daunting rows of broad steps rising to a smoky plateau,
you’ll see an urchin in short trousers pushing a crude handcart propelled on a couple of old baby carriage wheels. I’d be nearly ten then. There’s a small lifeless figure in the pushcart, so I guess it must be around November 5th, the time of year when my brother, Fred, and I would stuff old newspapers into a discarded suit of Dad’s, stick a colored mask and floppy bonnet on the biggest turnip we could find, and take turns pushing the dummy around Lowry’s streets chanting, “please to remember the Fifth of November”. The fifth, of course, was the date of the gunpowder plot of November 1605 when our effigy, Guy Fawkes, was discovered in a cellar of the House of Lords intent on blowing up Parliament. I can’t say the folks in our street seethed with resentment about Captain Guy, but they cheerfully coughed up “a penny for the Guy” to enable us to buy fireworks for his immolation. The streets were central to the lives of youngsters like me. We’d line up for a weekly treat seeing Bob Hope and the Three Stooges at the local Palace cinema, never miss the adventures of Bob Cherry at Greyfriars public school in The Magnet magazine, but most of the fun was homemade: marbles, yo-yos, hop scotch (at which the girls were better), whipping a spinning top, bowling a hoop, cricket under a gas lamp with tennis ball, the lamppost for a wicket. Lowry was not confined to the streets. I relish his single portraits of another Manchester I knew: the smug grammar school boy in his crested cap, the bowler-hatted Manchester man who’d made money, I guess, in cotton, and Ann, Lowry’s severely beautiful companion.
But the big occasions were communal like Bonfire Night and the Whitsun walks, football matches and the greyhound races where Dad won enough to take us on an annual week at the seaside. We were addicted to street parties. Both ends of a street would be blocked to traffic, easy enough when none of the inhabitants had a car. Long tables with freshly ironed tablecloths overflowed with meat pies and sausage rolls hot out of household ovens, followed by jellies and lashings of ice cream. In Lowry’s print, VE Day party (1946), his people, proud of victory, have lost the humps. They stand tall. Easter was also special. Every year across north Manchester, thousands trekked to Daisy Nook where Silcock Brothers set up a fairground with tents and stalls. Lowry must have enjoyed himself with his oil Good Friday, Daisy Nook (1946). He exuberantly packed in more people than I ever saw at the fair. No doubt, folk liked trying to identify themselves. I can see myself as the urchin in his The Steps at Wick. If the way I described his painting gives the impression it’s my pushcart, forgive it as a little deceptive mischief of the kind in which our hero indulged.
sir Harold Evans was Editor of The sunday Times from 1967-1981. He founded Conde Nast Traveler, and among his many books is the much acclaimed The Paper Chase
Pal Zileri & I Photographer: Francesca Rozzini Model: David Davidenko Agency: Forward Clothes supplied By: Pal Zileri
profile Jan/Jun 2015
Dr Juergen Gessler
CEO of Porsche Design Juergen cuts an imposing figure. Immaculately dressed in a navy suit, and chatting with associates at the opening of the latest retail store at Marina Bay Sands, you immediately recognise his authority and leadership. It was a little intimidating, but his stern nature soon gave way to a man who is driven by passion for what he does and becomes animatedly excited when asked about his interests in design, retail and chairs. His collection of 20 chairs, limited by the size of his home, is testament to his love for design. He can easily rattle off names of famous designers, such as Ray and Charles Eames and Gerry Rietvald, and describe their creations in detail. He tells us the chair is one example of a product where design form and function meets clearly. “The chair itself is an interesting product; it’s very challenging because chairs can have an outstanding fancy design, but also has a clear function, to be sat on and to be comfortable in. It’s the same as our design philosophy.” DO wITH PAssION While some of Porsche Design’s contemporaries have faltered in the luxury market, Dr Gessler has led the company through the economic downturn, recording growth every year, expanding into new markets and overseeing the expansion of the retail arm. He tells us that it is his dream to build up the retail arm of Porsche Design and combine it with love for design. But he attributes this success to passion. “What I’ve learned from the very beginning, and what I would teach to my children is whatever you do, do with a passion. What I’m doing in the moment, I do with passion. You have to enjoy the moment in life, that’s important.” In fact, “passion” was a word that continually littered our conversation. Dr Gessler is very much a man who has been led by passion. Despite having a doctorate in economics and having a stint in a university, he found his true calling in customer analysis.
“From my personal interest, no matter what company I work for, I have always been interested in why customers shop, what is the shopping experience, what’s happening on the retail side, why customers buy this and not that. This is what I am driven by.” Even his leisure hours are decided by such a concern. On Saturday mornings, he loves nothing more than to venture into the city centre and visit various shops, observing the customers and how the stores operate. He jokes that he enjoys shopping much more than his wife. Talking to him, you always sense his devotion to the customer’s experience.
“The chair itself is an interesting product; it’s very challenging because chairs can have an outstanding fancy design, but also has a clear function.’’ ON TAKING rIsKs Under Dr Gessler’s leadership, Porsche Design has expanded its network of retail outlets and now boasts 127 stores worldwide, with 42 in Asia alone. The German company has branched out into women’s fashion, the mobile phone market and fragrances in the last five years. Yet more can be done, according to Dr Gessler. “In comparison to other brands, we still have not enough locations, so we are expanding into other countries and cities,” he says. “The development for growth is very much retail driven and by product development. We
have the variety, now we have to work in the categories and build up more competence.” Here, he once again shares how his passion in customer analysis can help minimise risk when branching out into new territories. He acknowledges that women’s fashion was unchartered waters for the company and he had his share of doubters onboard. “Going into women’s fashion, everybody in the company told me it was a huge risk competing with the big brands and we will never sell. But it was very much driven by our female customers who always come to our stores buying products for their husbands. And they would ask why we didn’t make real female products,” he says. He also notes that Porsche Design’s products are rather suited to the Singaporean market because of the brand’s design philosophy. He said, “Singapore is very much a modern city, with modern people who are very style-oriented. What they wear are very much straightforward designs, not too fancy, not too decorative.” TEAM sPIrIT But while Dr Gessler may start to sound like a one-man show, he is also quick to point out the importance of teamwork. When quizzed on his work philosophy, he answers that it is always important to put a team together. He emphasizes, “One of the biggest factors is to have the best class of people in the company; this is a challenge today and will be a challenge for the next 10 years.” “There will always be a high level of competition for the best people, because only with the best in the team can you really drive the company. So this is my philosophy, to always look for people who are better than myself.” I’ll say it’s easier said than done.
interview Jan/Jun 2015
Baroness Arriane De Rothchild She is Switzerland’s most powerful lady banker, Baroness Arriane De rothschild occupies the second highest position in the Edmond De Rothschild group, i-MAGAZINE decided to get to know her better. The Rothschild dynasty has a new face and it belongs to a woman, Ariane de Rothschild, wife of Baron Benjamin de Rothschild. A seasoned financier, the ‘‘banker’s wife’’ has become the lady banker of the Edmond de Rothschild Group since 2008, when she was elected to its main boards of directors. Ariane de Rothschild, a French and German dual national, embodies a new role model of female success. One thing is certain: the next head of the dynasty will be a woman as well, because Ariane and Benjamin have four daughters. At present the young Baroness is showing them the way through her active involvement in all the Group’s entities. Banque Privée Edmond de Rothschild SA, the Group headquarters in the heart of Geneva’s banking district, features a plush atmosphere exuded by its rich tapestries, antique furniture and gourmet cooking. But it also sports ultramodern works of art that were handpicked by Baroness Benjamin de Rothschild. She is the epitome of modernness, as illustrated by her office in rue de Hollande (a swanky district in Geneva). Lovely, at 45 she has been ViceChairwoman of the group’s holding company since last November and has become her husband’s indispensable right-hand lad. This is her first interview with English (or British) journalists. They met in 1993 when she, still Ariane Langner, was 28 years old. Trained as a currency trader, she became a new breed of business leader. Reminiscing on her brilliant and atypical career, she notes, ‘‘It’s unusual to see a husband and wife at the head of a company, but that’s how we envisage family capitalism.’’ sHArED rEsPONsIBILITIEs The Baroness admires her husband for his trailblazing spirit and for his confidence in her. ‘‘I’m lucky to have a husband who wanted to share his responsibilities with me’’ she observes. Baron Benjamin presides over the Group and helps devise its strategy. ‘‘He has an original approach to business’’, Ariane de Rothschild tells us. Interviewed by i-MAGAZINE a year ago, the most powerful of the Rothschild’s had shown the same straight - forward rapport with people and things that his wife shows now. He is exceptionally gifted, intuitive and quick-minded. We ask her if that means other bankers, he should never be underestimated, Ariane de Rothschild cautions misunderstand him. ‘‘When his father died, the financial group that he inherited employed 600 people as against 2700 today. Assets under management and administration rocketed from CHF 20 billion
“Being rich means being responsible, you have to set an example and work harder...’’ to CHF 143 billion at end-2009.’’ Gratified by this phenomenal growth but reluctant to see his schedule tied up with overly frequent appointments, Benjamin de Rothschild needed someone to act as his deputy at board meetings. His wife was the ideal candidate. Ariane de Rothschild surprises us at every turn with her natural authority, her youthfulness and her technical knowledge. She has an accent that one cannot put a finger on but reflects a mix of her childhood in Latin America, her FrenchGerman origins, her teen years in Africa and her studies in the United States—a profile as global as today’s Edmond de Rothschild Group. A NATurAL NuMBEr TwO ‘‘I met Benjamin through work’’, the Baroness confides, ‘‘but there was no telling at the outset that I would assume responsibilities within the Group.’’ She began by dealing with the group’s non-banking activities (wine-making, hotels, art), developing them and thus demonstrating her acute business sense. But very soon she and her husband were thinking in dynastic terms. ‘‘What matters to us most,’’ she explains, ‘‘is that the Group survives and remains under family control’’. And so it was that her skills and experience thrust her naturally into the number two spot. Besides, she points out, ‘‘it would have been silly for me to go and work for another bank.’’ Their roles are clearly distinguished: Benjamin de Rothschild maps out overall strategy while Ariane de Rothschild sees it is implemented. ‘‘I’m much more available than Benjamin, so people see me more than they see him,’’ she says, adding that they discuss important matters together. She has his confidence, but he always has the last word. She has considerable latitude and the kind of global view that is needed so that all of the Group entities reinforce each other. That’s what the family motto ‘‘Concordia, Integritas,
Industria’’ means. She acknowledges being well aware of the privileged position and obligations attaching to the role of controlling shareholder. fOur DAuGHTErs A BLEssING One thing is certain as far as the future is concerned: the family bank will one day be presided over by a woman, i.e. by one or more of the couple’s four daughters, now aged 7 to 14. ‘‘I show them the way, and that’s highly important,’’ says their mother in all modesty. The revolution is indeed under way. Four daughters are ‘a blessing’, claims Ariane de Rothschild, adding, ‘‘we are parting with the tradition that insisted only males could perpetuate a dynasty.’’ The survival of the Rothschild name is not an issue either, since the daughters may very well decide to keep their maiden name. And Swiss law will allow future descendants to take their mother’s name. At home ‘‘we have discussions with our children’’, Ariane de Rothschild confides. ‘‘I tell them about my day at work. What I want to instill in them is a sense of responsibility.’’ For the Baroness nothing could come more naturally. ‘‘Like my daughters now,’’ she says. ‘‘Being rich means being responsible, you have to set and example and work harder’’ In addition to rearing them, she is handing down the Rothschild’s’ principles and values. These ‘‘may appear outmoded, but they are essential. They include the work ethic, respect and, above all, an understanding that being part of a dynasty also entails doing one’s duty.’’ Ariane de Rothschild points out that it is easier for four children to shoulder an enormous legacy than it is for one. Summing up her view on money, which is the family’s view as well, she asserts that ‘‘being rich means being responsible. You have to set an example and work even harder. And it takes a lot of work, not only to stay rich but also to make sure that the next generation has the proper upbringing to perpetuate the family’s success. Actually, this all goes far beyond money; it’s heritage we’re talking about.’’ We ask Ariane de Rothschild what she, as a woman, contributes to the family business. ‘‘A different view of time,’’ she replies. ‘‘Sustainable development is a gathering force that will ultimately prevail.
The Plane Truth By Mike Tobin
Success is a journey, not a destination
I spend an enormous amount of my timing flying – something like 900 hours a year, and that’s just the flight time. Every year, for example, I have four board meetings in Hong Kong, where I fly in overnight, arrive at 7am, start the meeting at 9.30 and finish at 6pm before flying back that evening to London. 24 hours in the plane for 8 hours on the ground. That’s the way I like it.
“Even delays – frustrating at the time – sometimes play into my hands.’’
Some people might say I spent too much time in the air. As the CEO of a technology company – TelecityGroup – perhaps it would seem more obvious for me to make the most of virtual meetings through web conference systems or Skype.
meet each of my country managers, who are looking after Telecity’s operations in each territory. Usually I won’t meet them in the office, but meet for drinks or dinner. We can sit and talk about all kind of things. By spending open-ended, quality time together I find that they open up and always tell me what is really concerning them.
But there are a number of sound practical reasons why I like to get on a plane (or a train if I’m going to Paris or Brussels) and physically meet my colleagues, business partners or the management of any potential acquisitions.
I do not know what I am expecting to hear, but I always come away with valuable nuggets of information that they might not otherwise have revealed in a pressurised, online assessment, where it is easy to deflect or dissimulate.
My life is a mobile life. Technology allows me to be in control of my life. I delegate to technology. That freedom allows me to operate anywhere in the world – Number One rule of course is to back it all up automatically, just in case.
So I know why I take all those plane flights. What I then try and do is take complete advantage of the time I am spending as a passenger.
But there is also one significant area of my business life where I do not want to enjoy, exploit or deploy technology. And that is my instinct. All the gizmos and the gadgets serve the purpose of freeing up my gut feeling. Hence the conscious decision not to use video-conferencing for certain elements of the business. The way I like to work is by running my company on trust, on emotion. When I do business I want to go and meet the person, go back to basics. If I am going to invest £100 million in a new data centre, I want to have the opportunity to look deep into that other person’s eyes and read their body language. That’s why I get on a plane. Face to face – from my point of view – improves faith to faith. Every few months I go and
I always have a list of things that I can do, that I don’t need to be connected to the web for. I’ll have downloaded agendas, ripped articles out of magazines. If I am not going to be online, then I can make the most of even a one-hour flight. Prepping to use every available minute is second nature to me. In order to free my mind I ground it in time. Given that I am likely to be in several different time zones in a week, often seven hours one way, followed by seven the other, I always keep my phone on UK time. Everything is then a relative point. Even delays – frustrating at the time – sometimes play into my hands. When we IPO’d TelecityGroup it was one of the most difficult times to go public. We were the last technology stock to get away in October 2007, and the only one for the following four years.
But we decided we were going to push on: there was a tiny window, we were going to go for it. We amassed a cast of thousands. An office dedicated to the process, a long table in the middle, with dozens of people around the table, the big hitters, the best of the best: banks, lawyers, brokers, investor relations specialists, analysts, and our management team. Assembling this high-powered personnel had a significant cost implication: tens of thousands of pounds a minute, ticking away relentlessly. The start-up meeting was planned for a Monday morning. I was already committed to attending a friend’s wedding in Florence that weekend, and there was a problem finding a commercial flight back at the right time. There were so many people coming to the start-up meeting that I couldn’t change the timing, but I was not about to let down my friend and miss the wedding. The best-laid plans... On the Monday morning there was fog in Florence and we left two hours late, so when we landed I had to go straight to the office without changing clothes and into the kick-off meeting. Most of these people in the room had never met me before. In I walked, in my ripped jeans and T-shirt – ‘Alright, mate?’ A senior partner at one of the biggest legal firms in the world (he is a good friend now) took one look at me and said, ‘Oh, I’ll have a coffee, please!’ I nonchalantly said, ‘OK’ and went over and got him a coffee. Somebody from one of the other advising firms noticed this and caught my attention. ‘I’ll have one of those as well...’ I ended up serving everyone coffee. And then I sat down in the middle of the table… Only then did they realise who I was, and that this was my meeting. The reversal of focus was 180º and as a result the dynamic of that meeting was electric. So for once, thank you, fog! i-MAGAZINE
comment Jan/Jun 2015
The evolution of management consulting – a story about enduring creativity? By Jac Van Beek,
CEO of Canadian Association of Management Consultants From the author’s point of view, the development and application of the methods and tools used by management consultants have evolved with the needs of business. Now perhaps more than ever before, the time is right to accredit/credential the profession. I had a chance meeting with a former consulting colleague, who is now working as a in a large financial institution. While I was surprised at first that he was no longer with a major consultancy, I shouldn’t have been. Today it seems that businesses are bringing the expertise of the business consultant inside the organization as they recognize the strategic capabilities and operational efficiencies these professionals can bring to the business. That meeting caused me to think about the evolution of consulting as a profession. OrIGINs The origins of the management consulting profession are often traced to practitioners focused on very practical issues of productivity on the shop floor --time-motion studies, assembly line design, and the introduction of the experience curve. Much of this work was inspired by the disciplines of engineering and sociology. As the nascent profession evolved, practitioners migrated to the boardroom and to the office. Rapid expansion of the post-war American economy in the 1950’s and 1960’s gave rise to two distinct branches of management consulting, differentiated here simplistically by their organizational orientation: • Strategy - Firms such as McKinsey, AT Kearney, and Bain focused on anticipating and designing broader directions to assure growth -- by pioneering strategy, planning, and programming methods drawing upon economics and psychology, and disseminating their practices through leading business schools and their publications. This model helped create a unique class of consultants serving Boards and senior leadership.
• Operations - Concurrently, accounting firms began to shape and develop their management consulting practices by offering methods to reduce the costs and increase the productivity of the operations of large (and growing) organizations. Management reviews, productivity studies, and organization structuring methodologies offered disciplined approaches to increase the productivity of labour intensive processes. This simple model established a broader base of well-trained consultants who used relatively complex methodologies and tightly prescribed processes. The rise of this model grew the profession and its disciplines significantly. Various shocks to the economy, and the prevalent social order of the day, have shaped the methods and approaches to management consulting since those early days. The constant is that consultants share methods, processes, and know how within a disciplined project framework. They apply these tools using trust-based relationships with senior leaders. sEEKING sTABILITY AND CONTrOL The impetus for change to this relatively stable business order can be traced to the oil shock of the early 1970s, when prevailing assumptions about the economy, world order, and the foundations of business were put into question. As cost structures escalated under rising oil prices, management consulting responded with more robust strategic planning processes (forecasting, scenario planning) and business process re-engineering, and organization design. It is fair to assume that much of this work was undertaken with the assumption that a shift had taken place and a re-defined equilibrium was required. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, changes in the rules and political structures governing trade, complemented by improvements in telecommunications, made globalization more feasible. This added new strains to domestic firms, and made possible the growth of multinational firms with greater internal cohesion.
Management consulting responded with: • Micro and macro competitive strategy methods • Elaborate information technology based enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems (for product planning, cost and development, manufacturing or service delivery, marketing and sales, inventory management, shipping, and payment) • Integrated financial and human resource management systems, augmented by change management methods, to assure longer term acceptance of these expensive systems throughout the workplace The intent was to assuage the fears of those with a stake in the profits of firms by instilling a greater degree of certainty and control in a world that was becoming increasingly uncertain and harder to control. This era came to a close in the aftermath of the Y2K (Year 2000) ‘crisis,’ which fell short of the predicted chaos stemming from fears that automated systems of the day would crash due to a programming oversight. While this fear provided impetus for lucrative large system installations, it also fuelled a growing level of cynicism about the objectivity of management consultants who did not realistically frame or better explain the risks when the foreseen cataclysm failed to materialize. THE INTErNET sHIfT The integration of Internet technology into established business, and as a base for new forms of enterprise, became the impetus for yet another fundamental shift in business. Geography and size were less important as design factors. Communications became less expensive. Businesses were able to disaggregate.
Management consultants developed many critical methods that were extensively used by businesses to develop new architectures. For example: • Fore-sighting - strategy formation driven by level of uncertainty, using options and gaming theory to explore possible shifts and changes, contingency planning to anticipate consequences • Business modeling
given rise to management consulting methods such as disaster simulations and planning and risk assessment/mitigation. The profile of teams has grown to include programmers and graphic designers who are introducing gaming and animation techniques into ever more realistic simulation games for those faced with the possibility of a significant security breach. Typically, the management consultant will frame the issues, design and stage the sequence of interactions, and analyze and interpret the data collected to create a story that will prompt creative problem solving.
• Network structural architecture • De-centralized control systems • Experiential change approaches Concurrently, academics and management consultants introduced businesses to the phenomenon of disruption, and provided strategic response approaches based on observing what worked. They introduced governments to new business formation thinking that translated into enabling policy. These methods rested upon the assumption of constant change and the futility of trying to control the dynamics of economies in dramatic flux to provide stability to business. This dynamic and relatively open period of business experimentation was supported (and to some extent enabled) by very creative and innovative management consultants drawn from non-traditional (that is, non-business) disciplines. Project teams often featured experts in design, anthropology, the performing arts, and the humanities. These disciplines provided fresh perspectives to the unfolding shifts in society that were changing business and its conduct. The methods and practices encouraged participation and integrated multiple perspectives. As businesses and their management consultants become more comfortable with the ambiguity and dynamic nature of the workplace, a new breed of professionals with skillsets rooted in mathematics and the advanced natural and health sciences, were augmenting consulting teams to explore and understand complexity and advance the use of computing in measuring and analyzing problems and issues. The capacity and ability to capture, store, and rapidly analyze big datasets naturally evolved symbiotically with the expansion of large internal ERP systems, medical research, and security monitoring and intelligence gathering activity. A PrEOCCuPATION wITH rIsK The events of September 11, 2001 (9/11) in the US and July 7, 2005 (7/7) in London have shifted the business landscape dramatically again. The preoccupation with safety and security as well as risk and its mitigation has
These same techniques have been used to solve the complex problems facing leadership teams in mining, public transit, and publicly funded multi-site events such as the World Cup and Olympic Games. Games organizers face political, financial, as well as security risks. The stakes are significant, and leaders are dependent upon a complex set of interdependencies for their success. Management consultants are skilled in reducing the complexity, identifying the points of risk, and working with leaders and their experts to prepare for successful execution – especially important when the entire team has one chance to get it right! Concurrent development of information technology and analytical tools has made analysis of big data sets and text based data (narratives, for example) increasingly effective, allowing for tracking of processes and media or narrative analysis to enrich the evidence underlying the work of consultants. THE EffECTs Of A PrOTrACTED rECEssION The era we are in now is being shaped by another more recent shock to the landscape emanating from a failure of the financial system. The outcome of the subsequent events is a protracted economic downturn. It has affected government policies and is being felt in management consulting in several ways. The major change has come from businesses who cannot (or will not) pay high fees for their external advisors. Many larger firms have instead opted to establish and build significant internal consulting teams. These teams are charged with implementing and enhancing core operational systems. The members of these teams are highly qualified professionals who have typically been schooled by major consultancies. The effect of this has been dramatic - the conceptual work and modeling traditionally undertaken by external management consultants is now being done internally.
valued clients, and manage costs. They are investing in employee engagement services (coaching, employee surveys, mentoring) and client retention strategies (re-design of Customer Retention Management systems to increase functionality, re-introduction or strengthening of balanced scorecards and benchmarking). These businesses want to achieve the right balance between internal resource allocations and cost cutting. It would appear that they are also investing in a greater organizational capacity to adapt by investing in: • Leaders capable of skillfully affecting change through their behaviours and ability to influence • Flexible processes and systems • Building looser, networked structures that can be adapted to opportunities • Innovation (technologies, management processes, delivery systems business models) • Futures (small investments in potential businesses or business lines) • Processes that simplify operations and result in decreased costs Perhaps the greatest shift I have seen in management thinking is the strong desire to control all aspects of the business while being transparent (a consequence of ubiquitous social media). Social media has opened organizations to scrutiny both internally and externally. Concurrently, the democratization of knowledge has also allowed organizations of all sizes to seek out and integrate richer information into their decision-making. The author, Jac van Beek, is Chief Executive Office of the Canadian Association of Management Consultants (CMC-Canada). He has worked for both multinational consultancies and national institutions over a career spanning more than three decades. The Certified Management Consultant (CMC) designation is the profession’s only globally recognized credential. CMC-Canada, through its affiliated institutes, awards it to those few individuals who meet stringent international standards. They have satisfied the commitment to attain thorough knowledge of management and a capacity to consult at a higher level. A CMC’s insight can mean the world to an organization.
Businesses that have survived and achieved a level of financial sustainability are now focused on managing both growth and stability. They want to keep their valuable employees, retain
Frances Ketteringham, Director of Research and Strategy, Mayfair Capital Investment Management The market for prime London housing continues to strengthen, but the sustainability of this growth is increasingly being called into question. Prices for prime residential in central London rose by 8.1% in the 12 months to the end of June 2014, which, although impressive, was less than the rise recorded in the national mainstream market. Monthly growth has been fairly consistent over the last year but several recent data releases suggest that buyers are becoming more cautious following 44 consecutive monthly increases – the number of purchaser enquiries has fallen and the average number of viewings per property is up 70% over the 12 months. The London residential market is heavily segmented and price growth expectations differ depending on which area of the market is being considered. Broadly the market can be split into three: prime central housing in traditional heartlands, such as Mayfair, Belgravia and Chelsea; outer London prime housing, such as Wandsworth and Islington; and the rest. Price growth sensitivity has been most discernible at the top of the market, where growth has slowed markedly. This super prime property recorded sharp increases in prices following the credit crunch and to some extent we are seeing the rest of central London catch up. This has been reflected in the emergence of a two-speed market in London as buyers seek better value for money beyond the traditional core areas and has resulted in price growth in the outer prime markets outpacing that recorded in the core. At the same time, the market is becoming more product-led. This has manifested in a price gap that has emerged between high-value flats and larger houses, due to a preference from some groups for large lateral living spaces rather than a multi-storey home. In core central London, Knight Frank has estimated that prime houses are priced at around £1,800/sq ft but that prime lateral flats cost around £2,500/sq ft. As prices in the outer prime markets start to catch up with core areas, this is expected to act as a natural brake on price growth and, with the general election next year likely to create an air of uncertainty, price growth in London is anticipated to stall. This will be a fairly short-term effect, however,
with Savills forecasting that central London prime markets will see cumulative growth of 23% over the next five years, slightly behind the UK mainstream market (+25%). Further price growth will be underpinned by the continued supply-demand imbalance as construction fails to keep pace with population growth. London requires 52,000 new units a year over the next 10 years but Knight Frank estimates that just 33,400 a year will be delivered, representing a shortfall of almost 19,000. Although this housing gap will be greatest in the lower end of the market, Knight Frank’s analysis identified that around 1,600 of this shortfall would fall within the prime central London market. Crossrail, the new east-west railway line across London, is also having an impact on the London residential market. Areas close to the new stations, which are due to open in 2018, have seen increased development activity alongside strong price increases. Research by CBRE estimates that house price growth around Crossrail stations in central London will be up to 20% higher than would have otherwise been anticipated over the next five years. It is arguably something of a myth that overseas buyers drive the London residential market. Although international buyers have dominated in the new-build sector, domestic or UK-resident buyers have been the most active across the prime second-hand market. Analysis of residential sales from 2010 to March 2014, by Savills, revealed that domestic buyers accounted for 68% of the purchases of secondhand, prime London property and a further 20% were non-British nationals resident in the UK. Furthermore, this year has seen a fall in the number of foreign buyers looking for prime London residential property, as Sterling has appreciated and appetite for “safe haven” investments has softened. In its place demand from domestic buyers has increased to help fill the gap, driving a more sustainable rate of growth. That said, we may yet see a significant return of overseas capital, putting further pressure prices, as the recent volatility in the Middle East and Eastern Europe could
well trigger a second wave of investment inflows into London residential property. One overseas group that is expected to become more active in the London market is the Chinese. In 2013, Chinese buyers accounted for 7.5% of sales in prime central London, up from 2.7% in 2010, focusing on the sub-£1 million market. Knight Frank estimates that the number of US dollar billionaires in China will grow by 80% over the next 10 years and these investors will increasingly seek opportunities outside their home markets, with London considered to be a key target. An area where international investors are becoming more prevalent is in the development market, taking on some of London’s largest and most high-profile sites. JLL estimates that overseas developers control nine of the 50 largest sites in London, accounting for 28,000 new homes or 20% of the total planning pipeline. This trend has been constrained by the lack of opportunities of the scale required by international developers, but is expected to continue as the UK economy recovers. It is a testament to the variety in the London market that there is little agreement among our developer partners about what buyers’ main requirements are and how they have changed in recent years. What is clear, however, is that purchasers of prime London residential are becoming increasingly sophisticated and want to contribute their own ideas. In the past, buyers were often led by the developer but now they have a better understanding of what is possible and compare assets in London with their homes elsewhere. As a consequence, final specification, particularly at the top-end, is more bespoke and varies greatly between nationalities. Requirements that are considered fairly standard in the super-prime market include proximity to amenities, acoustic separation and high security. In terms of structure and layout, ceiling heights have increased in recent years, with the standard benchmark standing at 2.7m, up from 2.5m previously. The increased height often gives a more impressive feeling of i-MAGAZINE 121
space and, therefore, large lateral spaces are popular. With regard to layout, for the same floorspace, there has been a move towards fewer bedrooms than in the past. Instead, many buyers are looking for more study space and reception rooms. In many super-prime homes a bar, media room and gym are the norm.
international competitors and is broadly comparable if acquired using an offshore vehicle.
Most developers feel that the finish is growing in importance, with the interior design and storage space all helping to determine ease of sale. However, we have noted a strong divergence of views on the use of technology. While some consider computerised lighting and auto-visual systems important, others sense a backlash over technology that is considered too complicated.
The rising prices in central London residential have led to increased appetite for residential development and a growing demand for sites from funds, overseas investors, high net worth investors and hedge funds. The limited supply of available sites means this wall of money and limited supply is driving up entry prices.
Broadly, as many buyers of prime produce do not live in the property for much of the year, one developer noted that their main requirement can be classified as good functionality, supporting “trouble-free living”. Proposed changes to the taxation of residential property are having a major influence on the market. In particular, the potential introduction of a mansion tax will have a significant impact in London, which is home to 94% of the estimated 95,000 households that would be liable for the charge. There is already an annual charge on dwellings above £2 million owned by non-natural persons, which generated £100 million for the Treasury in 2013/14 - more than expected. It has been proposed to extend this scheme to all dwellings above £500,000 owned in this way, with critics maintaining that the success of this more targeted initiative has weakened the arguments for such a widespread mansion tax. In reality, it is likely that the uncertainty surrounding future taxation is having a more damaging impact on the market than any actual changes. Many believe that the market may experience a pause following the announcement of a new tax but ultimately would adapt. A recent survey of developers by JLL revealed that most respondents would prefer the introduction of all proposed measures at once followed by a moratorium on new policies for five years, rather than continue with the threat of new initiatives hanging over the market. Furthermore, minor changes to the current tax system are unlikely to be a significant deterrent to overseas investors. Research by Savills has shown that from a tax perspective London property still looks relatively cheap compared to its
Alongside this political risk, in our opinion, one of the most significant risks to London’s prime residential sector is the erosion of profit through rising build costs.
For many it is becoming increasingly difficult to secure opportunities and in order to be competitive profit on cost is becoming tighter. As well as making some sites look less attractive, this also leaves developers more vulnerable to interest rate rises. However, the predominant concern from our developer partners is that in order to increase expected profit on cost there are some developers factoring capital growth into their appraisals, which can be a dangerous position. Several developers say that the growth in London residential development has had a knock-on effect on build costs, which are creeping upwards. Many contractors capable of delivering high-quality product have full order books and no longer need to compete for work. One developer tells of approaching eight contractors for a project but receiving only three bids. This means that for super-prime schemes it is becoming increasingly expensive – and difficult – to get the quality required. In some cases multiple contractors need to be employed. With margins tightening, developers need to be sure that they can justify the growing cost. The fringe of prime central London is regarded as most vulnerable to this trend because property in these locations is unlikely to achieve the high prices that traditional areas, such as Belgravia and Knightsbridge, can command. A third potential risk to prime residential development is an oversupply of high-end apartments.
potential for an oversupply. These are not the large, lateral apartments in prime locations that have proved attractive to buyers but rather smaller units in more dense schemes. A lot of this stock has been sold to investors that are not resident in London and, as these types of buyers become more sophisticated, there is potential for them to become less interested in non-prime locations. Furthermore, it is unclear what the long term impact will be as these purchasers might hold stock for longer. Consequently, despite more units being built, there may be a reduction in market liquidity. However, other developers are much less negative. The regeneration associated with many of these large schemes is seen by them as supportive of further price growth in more peripheral markets, by improving the surrounding area and providing new – and higher – benchmarks for the sale of second-hand properties or single unit residential refurbishments close by. On balance, we remain positive about London’s prime residential market. Prices are continuing to rise. Although there is an increasing price sensitivity from buyers at the top end, growth is rippling out to the “outer” prime markets as buyers seek more value for money and consequently, these markets have seen price increases outpace those in core locations over the last year. Further growth in the medium term is expected, underpinned by the supply- demand imbalances within the market. We anticipate more moderate price rises over the next 12 months due to the atmosphere of increased uncertainty in the lead up to the General Election. However, once clarification over future taxation is received, price increases are expected to resume as the market adapts. While changes to the tax system may well have a negative impact on the market for some time, London will still look competitive relative to its peers. Mayfair Capital Investment Management is an independent owner-managed property fund management business, which invests in commercial and residential property. Since 2010 it has committed around £40m of equity to 11 residential projects in London that have a gross development value of more tha
London is seeing an unprecedented amount of development aimed at the prime end of the market –around £2,000/sq ft – and there is the
comment Jan/Jun 2015
The story so far:
Questioning the conventional narrative By Kevin Gardiner, Chief Investment Strategist, Rothschild Wealth Management
The popular understanding of the causes of the financial crisis, and of its implications, is deeply entrenched. Yet it is also likely to be mistaken. It is human nature to try to make sense of investment markets: we seek the reassurance that comes from viewing seemingly-chaotic financial events as the deterministic outcome of some underlying economic model. But the received wisdom surrounding the financial crisis and its aftermath - despite being entirely plausible and having become deeply entrenched - is, in all likelihood, mistaken. The conventional narrative runs as follows: individuals, companies, governments and banks all borrowed too much money, and have still barely repaid any of it, thus undermining the credibility of the monetary system. Together with the historically-low interest rates delivered by policymakers’ financial fire-fighting, this huge debt also threatens the pensions required by our very fast-greying populations. As the aging, debt-encumbered developed world flounders, and the euro struggles to survive, China and the rest of the emerging world, whose workers are paid so much less, are poised to compete away our share of global manufacturing, their commodity-intensive economies putting scarce natural resources under pressure as they do so. Meanwhile, geopolitical risk is moving centre stage again. We see and hear all this in the media every day. Some brilliant academic minds are backing it up, and the pundits who’ve been proclaiming imminent doom ever since the dollar decoupled from gold have been shouting that they told us so all along. A NARRATIVE FALLACY Nonetheless, this consensual account has led many investors astray, tempting them into what the behavioural finance textbooks call a ‘narrative fallacy’. It is eminently believable, but a caricature, and a potentially costly one. It implies that business can’t return to normal until all those worries have been tackled – until that debt has been repaid, those pensions have been refinanced, Western living standards have converged with China’s, and so forth. But national balance sheets; the funding of Western
pensions; the single currency project; the drivers of international trade; trends in resource depletion, and even geopolitics, are all much more finely nuanced than the caricature allows. Arguably, the financial crisis was exactly that – it had potent economic consequences, but its origins were in financial excess. It was simmering for a long time before it boiled over. It can be seen as the culmination of a series of capital market embarrassments and accidents stretching back for more than a decade before 2008, although not for as long as the gold bugs would have us believe, and for different reasons to theirs. Those financial embarrassments and the culminating crisis followed over-confident forecasts and spuriously-precise analysis, but were largely systemic seizures in liquidity, not symptoms of an underlying lack of solvency. The global economy as a whole can’t be insolvent – just as we can never collectively run out of money. This is not meant to suggest that there are no risks facing us: the conventional narrative is a caricature, an exaggeration – not a fantasy. But the structural constraints on global growth have been overstated. US households, for example, remain among the wealthiest on the planet. Their net worth is massively positive, increasing in the last year by an amount equivalent to China’s GDP and reaching a new all-time high (the wealth could be distributed more evenly, but that is another issue). The developed world – including the single currency area – is not doomed to decadence and deflation. Demography needn’t be a constraint on Western growth prospects, not least because we are not using fully the labour we have to begin with. Natural resources are not about to expire; and the geopolitical climate is, by historical standards, in reality a temperate one. Because there is little fundamentally wrong with the global economy, it has been moving back towards business as usual, doing what it does increasingly well – namely feeding, clothing and housing the average human being, and
lifting the living standards of most participants (including many of those in the already-wealthy but dispirited developed world) to new levels. It has been able to do that because the drivers of sustained prosperity are not financial balance sheets or interest rates, but the labour, natural resources, accumulated capital, technology and organisational skills at our disposal. These “factors of production” were not suddenly augmented when the capital markets were exuberant in the ‘noughties, but equally they have not now been materially diminished. Indeed, the sheer scale of the cyclical economic damage caused by the financial turmoil in 2008/9 has argued for an unusually long and sustained recovery. The main lesson from the crisis and its aftermath is therefore the importance of taking a long-term view, and of questioning the short-term consensus. Easier said than done, perhaps. But in practice, many private investors have a better chance of doing so than the institutional investors caught-up in the chase for short-term performance. Taking a long-term perspective, and questioning of that received wisdom, would have allowed investors to profit from one of the largest stock market rallies on record. We do think that the US economy in particular – which is still the most important driver of the global economy and capital markets – is best described as being in mid-cycle mode, with neither boom nor recession yet on the horizon. Our long-standing “muddle through” scenario, in which the global economy faces neither imminent boom nor bust, still deserves the benefit of the doubt. AIN’T MISBEHAVING YET The most important cyclical indicators – business surveys, retail spending, housing starts – were until recently all pointing to solid expansion and although they may have become more patchy of late, are far from disastrous. More subtly, there are few signs of the excesses that often precede recession. The last two financial accidents – the dotcom craziness of the millennium, and the 2008 crisis itself – were associated with large private sector borrowing i-MAGAZINE 123
requirements. In contrast, having boosted its free cashflow dramatically after the crisis, the US private sector is currently still running a financial surplus: its savings exceed its capital spending. If the US economy is indeed in mid-cycle, and the UK with it, then the most visible obstacle to be negotiated is the long-awaited and long-overdue “normalisation” of interest rates. There is no visible inflation risk as yet – today’s “Quantitative Easing” is not directly printing money, and there is still a lot of spare capacity in both economies – but falling unemployment and healthy corporate profits reduce the need for rates to stay at today’s emergency levels. It will be the pace of economic growth that drives the rebound, but the process will in due course be rubber-stamped by the Federal Reserve and the Bank of England, and perhaps a little sooner than money markets are currently expecting (the Eurozone and Japan are growing much more slowly, and the ECB and the Bank of Japan are still actively easing policy: they seem unlikely to tighten for a year or two yet). wHAT TO DO ABOuT IT? We do not spend a lot of time trying to secondguess the monthly twists and turns in the business cycle: experience shows that it can be difficult consistently to add value to portfolios with conventional “tactical” asset allocation. Instead we concentrate on trying to gauge the economic climate – and on the reading above, the climate continues to favour wealth- generating, growth-oriented ‘return’ assets such as equities – which should remain comfortably the largest holding in long-term portfolios - rather than wealth-protecting, ‘diversifying’ assets such as most bonds. Relative top-down valuations also point strongly in this direction. In absolute terms the big stock markets are no longer obviously cheap, but nor are they prohibitively expensive. At first sight, the US stock market looks stretched: it has tripled since its March 2009 low point, and viewed in a longer-term context its recent ascent means that buying now does not look an obviously attractive trade. However, this may be a case of a misleading financial perspective, overstating the acceleration of stock returns in recent times and exaggerating the rally (which followed, remember, a pretty large fall). Looking at total returns including dividends – an important part of the reason for holding stocks – and net of inflation, the long- term
picture looks very different. If stock prices keep pace with those rising profits, and valuations simply mark time, the prospective returns on stocks remain attractive. And those profits needn’t match the upbeat collective projections from stock analysts: the analysts are too optimistic in most years, but that does not prevent markets from making progress. Analysts’ expectations matter less than investors’ – and while the former may be too high, the latter are likely too low. When interest rates do start to rise, some volatility is of course likely across most capital markets, expensive or not. But if rates rise for the reasons we expect, and if the central banks continue to guide expectations carefully – at least, as far as they are able to do so – then those unremarkable valuations should allow stock markets eventually to stabilise and move on, in line with growing profits. For fixed income assets, however, rising interest rates represent a more direct headwind, and bonds are historically expensive to begin with. Yields are very low, and most bonds – almost all gilts, for example – are trading above par. Even if rates rise no faster than is currently priced in, then most bonds are unlikely to earn their coupon: yields to redemption include declining prices, and the prospective returns on most bonds are negligible in nominal terms, and negative in inflation- adjusted terms. And if rates rise faster, mark-to-market volatility could be significant. Arguably, in place of the risk- free returns bonds are supposed to offer, many are currently offering return-free risk.
muddle- through scenario, there are some likely consequences at the sector and regional level that might be represented in portfolios without falling victim to thematic distractions. These include: technology, and capital investment generally (both suppliers and users of it); the US housing market and financial rehabilitation; an active merger and acquisition cycle; emerging Asia’s cyclical and structural advantages; and (more riskily) a gradual improvement in economic conditions in the euro area’s periphery, and in European banks’ balance sheets generally. CONCLusION? The risks facing the US and global economy have likely been overstated, and rising interest rates are the most obvious obstacle on the road ahead at this mid-cycle phase. Stocks have risen a long way, but are not yet worryingly expensive; bond yields by contrast are historically low. The economic climate and relative valuations continue to favour return assets.
BOTTOM-uP sTOCK sELECTION Within stock markets, we are careful not to be too prescriptive in specifying regions and sectors: we choose our investments mostly on a bottom-up basis, and pay relatively little attention to market benchmarks. Similarly, we try to avoid “thematic” investment: fads and fashions can distract investors and their portfolios from their main objective, namely preserving and growing real wealth. Currently, we continue to see as many opportunities in the large developed markets, particularly in the US and continental Europe, as in the emerging world: the latter can be particularly sensitive to turning points in US interest rates, and many developed world companies are active in the emerging world in any case. And if we are right about the mid-cycle,
comment Jan/Jun 2015
Dame Margaret Barbour She has been chairman of Barbour for over 40 years and has turned the waterproof jacket manufacturer into a business with a £137m turnover. We meet the very deserving recipient of the 2013 Director Lifetime Achievement Award, Dame Margaret Barbour
“It was a dreadful situation. John had died suddenly and very tragically. He was nearly 30. We were terribly happy, had our little girl and were planning to have more children. It was a desperate shock. I don’t think anything worse could possibly happen to you.”
July 1968, and while half the world was still basking in the glow of the summer of love and the other half were protesting on the streets, in northern England, the life of a 28-year-old mother changed overnight. John Barbour, fourth generation of the Barbour family, died suddenly, leaving behind his widow, former schoolteacher Margaret and their two-year-old daughter, Helen.
John Barbour had inherited the business from his grandfather and met Margaret in London where she was teaching. “He was very modest,” she smiles. “He told me he was a Barbour salesman. I had no idea he was the heir.” The couple married, moved back up to South Shields and John became managing director in 1964. “Barbour was his passion. He had such vision for the company.”
• Fast forward 45 years and Dame Margaret is sitting in a small Newcastle photo studio, mug of tea in hand, hair and make-up done, ready for a photo shoot as we begin our interview. She is petite and pretty and her eyes have a mischievous sparkle that hint at the sharp brain and creative brilliance that has earned her the reputation of reinventing the South Shields waxed jacket manufacturer.
After his death, Dame Margaret was left with her daughter and the majority shareholding of the company. Despite having no retail experience, she knew she had to take over the reins. “I had no hesitation. A few people told me to sell the business and go back to teaching and let Granny (John’s mother Nancy) retire to the south of France. But I had no hesitation, John adored the company and was very proud of the heritage. I felt it was a mission for me to carry on where he had left off and continue the fourth-generation Barbour.
• This year she celebrates four decades as company chairman and it’s a far cry from the business started by Scot John Barbour, in 1894, to provide wet-weather clothing for country workers and naval personnel. Barbour now has three Royal Warrants, more than 2,000 products, a business that has over 800 employees worldwide (almost 500 in the north-east), 11 of its own retail shops in the UK, a presence in over 40 countries and a new store in London’s Piccadilly, opening on 6 November. Its success is phenomenal and the story remarkable. The sadness about the tragedy that led Dame Margaret to become one of Britain’s most successful manufacturing matriarchs is still palpable. She speaks willingly and warmly about her first husband and two days later begins her acceptance speech for her Director Lifetime Achievement Award by paying respect to him. In our interview room though, she sips tea and her voice lowers slightly as she recalls the tragedy.
“I had no commercial experience but I knew a bit about the business. We had been married for four or five years and he talked to me a lot about it. I understood an awful lot about Barbour and John’s passion for it.” Dame Margaret took the August off and started in September. And the new, all-consuming role, she says, helped her cope with such a devastating loss. “My life changed overnight. I managed to get a full-time nanny for Helen, my father had just retired and my parents were in North Yorkshire and helped me enormously. I don’t know how I would have coped if I hadn’t had a complete life change. It helped me with my grief. My great consolation is that Helen, who is now in the business, is the absolute image of her father – big brown eyes and thick brown hair. Incredible.”
IN AT THE DEEP END Dame Margaret threw herself into the business – working in all departments from reception to accounts. “I started working with my motherin-law (Nancy Barbour), who was chairman and supported me enormously. I had to learn everything I could about the business. I listened to what everyone was telling me. I knew about textiles from my own training but I needed to know the detail of the business. I went into the factory, I saw how things were made. I learnt the wages system. I made it my mission to understand every aspect of the business from making wax jackets to going on visits with sales agents and meeting customers. This was very important. There were two things everyone said to me: ‘Your products are wonderful but your business methods are questionable’. “As I gained the confidence of both the customers and the staff, I discovered that the potential of the company was enormous but I needed the right people to lead it. The possibilities that were there were so wonderful and the Barbour label was so respected and treasured.” • Dame Margaret talks with admiration of the strong business that had been created and built up by John Barbour from 1894. He had moved from south-west Scotland to industrial South Shields and spotted that naval people required protective clothing. And coming from the countryside, he knew the needs of country folk who loved shooting and those of farmers and shepherds, too. The Barbour family grew in status in South Shields. “They were Presbyterians and lived modestly. Grandfather Barbour was given the OBE for his work for National Savings and was mayor of South Shields. They were very philanthropic. They were a very well known, well-loved family.” John Barbour’s son, Malcolm, created the first catalogue in 1908 and the designers still revert back to this today. Dame Margaret hands me one of the delicate, original catalogues. It’s a mixture of sketches and photographs i-MAGAZINE 125
“The Barbour family grew in status in South Shields. “They were Presbyterians and lived modestly. Grandfather Barbour was given the OBE for his work for National Savings and was mayor of South Shields. They were very philanthropic. They were a very well known, well-loved family...’’ of the garments, captioned - with witty and jovial copy. “Malcolm really wanted to be a journalist and his great outlet was this catalogue. It has a real personality.” Barbour’s range and heritage, inherited by Dame Margaret, were second to none. The products had quality, integrity and a real understanding of customers’ needs. “We had these great products but our sales were very poor,” she recalls. “The managing director was not ambitious.” In 1972, Dame Margaret had to make her first very difficult decision – to pay him off and appoint a new MD. “I remember writing to everybody and saying there would be no bonuses that year. It was difficult but I knew then that we could only go from strength to strength to strength.” TEAM wOrK Dame Margaret wisely set about surrounding herself with trusted specialists. “I found myself in the position of having to employ new people. One can’t do these things on one’s own and, as ambitious as you are, if you haven’t got the right knowledge you can make horrendous mistakes. I needed the best people. I took advice from everyone I could think of, not only our customers and salesmen but also professional advice – a good lawyer who specialised in company law and a very good accountant. I was so determined to make it work.” Her restructure took four years. She took on the role of company chairman in 1972 when Nancy retired and says her key to effecting change has always been her “proficiency in relationships with people”. Her two chosen managing directors (first Malcolm Sutherland and now Steve Buck) have been key and she gave her solicitor and accountant board positions. She also replaced her factory manager and improved the quality of the products. Dame Margaret also made a fundamental change to how the factory employees were rewarded. She brought in a bonus scheme and put them into a pension scheme.
“I have a very personal relationship with my staff, which I think you have got to have in a family business. I care about them and I support them. I have bridged loans for some and helped others buy houses. We have had several employees whose children have come to work for us, too. I have had many who have had 30 or 40 years’ service.” • Last year, Barbour launched the Barbour Academy, which trains people to be machinists and includes literacy and numeracy on a 10-week course. To date, over 11 per cent of people employed in the factory have been through the Academy and secured jobs with Barbour. “We have always ploughed money back into the business,” she explains. “The key to Barbour’s success is that we have always been cash rich because it has been owned by the family – Nancy, myself and now Helen and the children. We have had the money ourselves to finance development and that’s a female thing. We don’t need the Rolls-Royce, the helicopter, the speedboat.” Dame Margaret attributes her empathy to her gender. She puts her clarity of vision in the early days down to her ability to listen and a “personal approach”. “In the early days, people would give me their opinions and, of course, I listened and scribbled it down immediately. That’s a female thing, too. Men are more formal, but empathy is so important. A woman understands the style of life that people have and what they need from a garment.” INNOVATION AT wOrK With a new team in place, Dame Margaret immediately began refreshing the range and bringing in new styles in response to her customers’ needs. “I travelled in Europe and Helen often came with me. We had some lovely times at trade fairs in Paris and Munich. I went to every game fair to see what people were wearing and what the opposition was making.”
It was during this time that Dame Margaret personally developed what were to become three of the company’s most important jackets. “They really changed the future of Barbour,” she says. These were: The Bedale: “I lived in a country village where everybody rides and they all said to me they needed jackets short enough to ride.” Dame Margaret designed a prototype and jockey Willie Carson tested it for her. The Beaufort: “This idea came from jackets I saw in France – they had the pocket to put their bits and pieces in when shooting. You know, dead birds and rabbits.” The Border: “This has hand-warming pockets and is a bit longer.” These jackets took off immediately and Dame Margaret had the idea to also make them in blue, as well as the traditional earthy colours. It was the first time in Barbour’s history that the colours had been changed. “That was the start of the fashion chapter,” she smiles. “The Sloane Rangers took them on and the Italian market went crazy for the blue Bedales and blue Beauforts because they could wear them with jeans. Our sales shot up and we realised we should be going into the fashion market.” It sounds like a gilded time but Dame Margaret recalls that there were some tricky moments. Competitors were nipping at the company’s heels – Schoffel was producing jackets in a lighter fabric – but Barbour upped its pace, developing new fabrics and creating a new board. Helen joined as did the factory manager and sales managers for both the UK and overseas. “We got together and said, ‘now, where are we going to go?’ We realised we had got a fantastic brand but we needed to branch out.” Then followed a heritage range, a specially made tartan and jumpers. We bought a factory in Scotland and started making inner layers. “We had a tremendous three or four years working like mad, to smarten up the whole operations and to recapture markets we had lost.
international Jan/Jun 2015
Wealth Management By Simon Ainley ‘Wealth management’ is a popular term adopted by within the financial services sector that has many different interpretations. Too often large banks interpret wealth management to be the sale and distribution of their own expensive financial products with little emphasis on advice or long term planning. We believe wealth management should incorporate properly tailored, lifetime financial planning together with well structured, asset class investing. fINANCIAL PLANNING First and foremost Wealth management is about planning for the future and building a robust lifetime financial plan. It should start with a conversation about future plans and aspirations in order to define what’s important to you and how you want the live the rest of your life. Money is nothing in itself; it’s what it enables us to do that’s so important. You may be planning for your retirement, your children’s education or intergenerational planning. This is a conversation that should continue and develop over the months and years at review meetings. Life has a funny habit of changing your plans so a properly constructed financial plan needs to have flexibility to cover many different eventualities. Any wealth manager worth their salt will use lifetime cashflow software to help you build and visualize your financial future. It should incorporate monthly income and expenditure as well as assets and liabilities. It should be based on sensible and agreed assumptions, investment growth rates and levels of price inflation. This financial plan should incorporate your desires, wishes and expectations as well the unexpected and catastrophic. The aim is to build a lifetime cash flow that will leave you with neither too much money nor too little under any realistic circumstances. Some clients have clearly defined aims and just need financial help to map it all out. Others start out with no real idea but seeing their financial future presented to them in one simple diagram helps them to start thinking,
planning and dreaming. Usually we end up developing several different scenarios that may include early retirement, gifting money into trust, reducing the size of properties etc. How can we properly advise a client until we know how much they have, what they want to do and what investment returns are actually required to achieve their lifetime goals? Only when the financial plan has been developed can we consider the investment approach. AssET MANAGEMENT In my experience far too little time is spent discussing and explaining the investment approach and the sort of return that is expected. I was a founding partner of the firm in 1990 and we have been developing our investment approach since then. We like to keep things simple, straightforward, and transparently charged. The smoke and mirror approach adopted by so much of the financial services industry is fundamentally wrong. It should be completely open and honest. Investing money is not rocket science. It should be logical, repeatable and based on years of research. It’s essential to differentiate an act of investment speculation with the process of investing money for the long term. You need to appreciate that investment returns and investment risks are directly linked. The trick is to understand and be comfortable with the risks you are taking and to have a strategy that is designed to maximise the potential returns. My advice to everyone is the divide your money up into three separate ‘pots’: The first pot is for your foreseeable (and ‘rainy day’) expenditure over the next three years. Keep this money in cash via a selection of deposit accounts. The major concern in the short term is ‘volatility risk’ and this is avoided by investing in cash. ’Default risk’ (the bank goes bust) can be avoided by not keeping more than £85,000 in any one bank. Inflation risk is not really a
concern over such a short period of time. The next pot is for the 3 to 5 year period. Previously we have advised clients to invest in National Savings and Investments (NS&I) Tax Free Index Linked Certificates. Unfortunately new issues are not available at present and we are advising clients on specific structured products that protect against inflation and provide a return with little volatility. Again you should always consider the risks associated with this type of product, in this case ‘counterparty’ risk. Remember Lehmann Brothers? Finally we look at building a portfolio for the longer term, the 5 year plus pot. We spend a great deal of time discussing expectations and the rate of return required to achieve your aims and ambitions as well as protecting you money form the corrosive effect if inflation. Cost is a major factor when investing your money into Pensions and investments. The amount you get back will always be investment growth after all charges have been deducted. The effect of these costs and commissions on your investments is considerable and cannot be too strongly emphasised. Establish clearly at outset what is being provided for you and what the total fees and investment charges are. There is no need for smoke and mirrors and a decent adviser should be eager to clarify this and make everything as transparent as possible. Remember that you are paying him to make your life easier! Holland Hahn & wills: wealth Management are Chartered financial Planners based in Kingston, surrey. They have clients throughout the south east. As well as being a Chartered financial Planner and Certified financial Planner, simon Ainley is one of the few financial advisers also qualified in Investment Portfolio Management. He is a Chartered member of the Chartered Institute for securities & Investment (MCsI). www.hhw-uk.com (+44 (0) 20 8943 9229)
comment Jan/Jun 2015
Sterling’s (short-lived) Safe Haven Status By Eimear Daly,
The British pound sometimes acts as a safe haven currency, attracting capital inflow and strengthening against major currencies. However sometimes sterling looses this safe haven status and falls as a result. For holidaymakers and business travellers, this change determines the exchange rate you receive at our local Travelex counter. In this article we look at what affects the safe haven status of the currency, why sometimes it holds and sometimes it doesn’t. First let us diagnose the reasons why sterling, at times, has safe haven status. Firstly, the UK has an independent central bank that can print money and buy UK bonds, i.e. Quantitative Easing. What this means is that the UK has zero default risk as it can monetise its debt. Secondly, the Euro Zone debt crisis put into question the solvency of peripheral Euro Zone nations. Up until January 2012, sovereign default was a real concern. The zero default risk of the UK held a high premium when sovereign default risk in Europe was high. As a third point, sterling in the world’s third most liquid currency, behind the dollar and the Euro. Sterling gained as capital diversified out of the US dollar and turned away from the Euro. Signs of sterling safe haven status and sterling strength as a result could be seen from July 2011 to the beginning of February. Sterling maintained an impressive rally against the Euro, appreciating 8% against the single currency. However it wasn’t just against the threatened euro that GBP rallied. From July to the beginning of February, the pound gained against the Norwegian Krone. The Krone is a high yielding commodity currency. Sterling gained against it as low risk appetite caused capital to flow from risk assets into safe havens. UK Gilts also gained on safe haven flows. Foreign demand for UK Gilts grew at an average rate of 77% from July to
December. Moreover October and November recorded an all time high in foreign demand of UK Gilts, reaching £28.87 billion. Now let’s look at the reasons for sterling weakness. The latest minutes of the BoE MPC meeting revealed that two members voted for £75 billion in additional Quantitative Easing. This disclosure raised the prospect that more Quantitative Easing was to come. But this was after the Euro Zone entered a period of relative calm- so instead of rising, GBP fell as markets assigned a higher weight to the inflationary, currency weakening effects of QE as opposed to the default minimising effects of it. As a result the announcement caused the pound to fall against the Euro. The pound has sustained these losses against the Euro and other currencies such as NOK; NOK is a high yielding commodity currency that is separate from the Euro Zone crisis. The loss of strength against NOK shows the sterling had lost its safe haven status and not just fell against the Euro. The pound essentially rose and fell on the same reason: additional Quantitative Easing. The counterintuitive relationship between GBP’s strength last year and quantitative easing was a result of the increased sovereign default risk across Europe. In this context GBP rallied as a safe haven asset. The return to the intuitive relationship between GBP and QE was because sovereign default risk in the Euro Zone had been suppressed. The ECB’s LTRO liquidity operation has for now lowered the risk of sovereign default in Europe and GBP lost its safe haven status with it. Quantitative Easing is inflationary and this was once again seen when external default risk stabilised. Quantitative easing floods asset markets with cheap capital and pushes inflation up. Inflation erodes purchasing power. High inflation rates mean negative real interest rates, a disincentive for depositors to hold capital
“Quantitative Easing is inflationary and this was once again seen when external default risk stabilised. Quantitative easing floods asset markets...” in sterling. Real returns become negligible and sterling becomes a bad inflation hedge. We could argue two sides in this predicament. Further Quantitative Easing may be good for the economy in the long term. If the Bank of England continues its policy of monetary easing it will spur growth in the UK. Higher growth means a stronger pound. In long term the fair value of the pound could be up. On the other hand, continuing quantitative easing may be bad for the economy since quantitative easing is inflationary. If the inflation rate rises and stays high long term, sterling may be forced lower as upside price pressures slow economic growth and squeeze corporate margins. Whichever way the market reacts, quantitative easing may help determine the long-term equilibrium value of the pound, which could be lower or higher depending on how QE affects the economy. One thing is for certain; we have not seen the end of big moves in GBP.
Eimear Daly is an fX Market Analyst at schneider foreign Exchange
insight Jan/Jun 2015
Investment: right asset, right price - right time. By, Jonathan Raymond, CFA, Investment Manager, Quilter Cheviot
Investment can be defined simply as the purchase of an asset or item with the hope that it will appreciate in value, so that in the future it can be sold at a higher price with the possibility of generating some income along the way. The principles of investment can be summed up in six little words; right asset, right price, right time – whether you’re buying or selling. Snappy aphorisms aside, putting this into practice is more difficult. Of course, the key thing to remember about investment is that there are no guarantees. There is always a chance that you’re going to get back a smaller amount than you put in. However, there are simple rules that, when followed, make this much less likely. KNOw THE PurPOsE Of YOur INVEsTMENT One of the first things to do is to explore what you want your investment to do. This may sound ridiculous; you want your investment to make you money – and hopefully lots of it. The key question is how much money you want to make, and when you expect to cash your investment. Somebody starting early to save a nest egg for retirement has a very different investment purpose to someone who wants to raise funds to, for example, start a business in ten years’ time or somebody who is looking to generate income now. A simple example might be the purchase of property. Property prices and demand for rental properties go up and down, but if you’re in it for the long term, you can most likely ride out these short-term dips in the market and expect to see a reasonable return on your initial investment. However, if you’ve bought a property and hope to feel the benefit a little sooner, or require a certain level of rental income to be able to pay the mortgage, things get a little trickier. While the price of a property almost always rises over the long term, its cyclical nature
means that there are always peaks and dips. If you only plan to keep hold of a property for a few years, you are much more exposed to the market than someone who plans to sell in 50 years’ time. You are, in short, taking a risk. IDENTIfY YOur ATTITuDE TO rIsK Ascertaining just how much risk you’re willing to withstand then, is essential before you start investing. It is simply good sense to never advance money that you couldn’t afford to lose; loss of a £100,000 investment may barely register with a millionaire but might cripple the average man on the street. This is why, before purchasing an asset, careful analysis of what type of asset matches your attitude to risk is always required. It’s also important to remember that risk and return are inextricably linked. Low-risk investments bring with them lower returns, but the positive is that these gains are much more likely to materialise. High-risk investments bring with them the enticing prospect of high profits – but there’s also a higher chance that no such yields will come to pass. If you’re investing money in a high-risk asset with the promise of huge returns, then the likelihood is that you’re not investing, but speculating. And while the common saying may be that you’ve “got to speculate to accumulate”, the reality is that while there may be a chance you’ll be able to retire early, there’s probably a greater chance that you’ll accumulate nothing, and in fact suffer eye-watering losses. It’s also worth remembering that your attitude to risk is likely to change over time, and so too should the way you invest. For example, if you’re saving for retirement, there’s probably time to take a few risks and sit back and allow the market to smooth over your losses if you’re 25. This is less likely to be the case when you’re 55, and that’s why a good investment manager will always carefully analyse what investments
will work for their client according to their stated aims for their investment and circumstances. There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach. CHOOsE THE rIGHT INVEsTMENT Of course, nobody can see into the future, but applying a little clear-sighted analysis is something we can all do. And there’s one thing all investment managers know – there’s simply no such thing as a sure thing. Returning to the theme of property, student housing is a good example of an investment that might seem like (and indeed is often promoted as) a sure win. It’s axiomatic that the success of student accommodation relies on there being demand from students. At the moment, market conditions are good, but can we expect this to continue? It’s worth remembering that the expectation that virtually all school-leavers will attend university is a very modern phenomenon. And that the desirability of attending higher education has arguably lessened in recent years, as the proliferation of graduate numbers has devalued degrees through the simple process of supply and demand. This has been accompanied by a rise in tuition fees that means that young people considering attending university really do need to think about what sort of long term returns they will get on their own investment. In short, it’s possible to envisage a downturn in the demand for university places, and in turn, in student accommodation. But, of course it might also come to pass that because now there is an expectation that young people will go to university, this idea will become further embedded in our culture – meaning university becomes virtually mandatory. Or of course, we could see the beginnings of a more cyclical higher education market emerging.
“The key thing to remember about investment is that there are no guarantees. There is always a chance that you’re going to get back a smaller amount than you put in. However, there are simple rules that, when followed, make this much less likely.’’ In addition, we could see more structural changes take place. There is also the potential for the way we ‘attend’ university to transform because of e-learning or for the demand for graduates with even “sought-after” degrees such as engineering to drop because of, for example, automation. In short, widespread university attendance could well be just a short to medium term trend. Or it could be here to stay. This uncertainty is why the ‘guaranteed’ rental yield offered by many of these developers is troubling. Examples abound of investors being burned in such instances where ‘sure things’ turn out to be anything but. In recent history, the dot.com bubble is a classic example of this. Those who eschewed technology investment towards the end of the 1990’s and argued, Cassandra-like, that normal investment criteria and valuation methodologies such as price-to-earnings ratio should still be applicable were ignored. But of course, it was the cautious who proved correct. When thinking about investment, it’s important to apply the rules of common sense. If something appears too good to be true, it usually is. In that case, if we apply the time principle, then the time to buy was before the frenzy of purchasing that prefaced the dot.com boom. As in fashion, once a trend has gone mainstream, the real experts are already exploring the next big thing, which is why a good investment manager sets great store by the identification of future trends and, of course, finding ways to offset risk should bubbles begin to form, and burst. DIVErsIfICATION Diversification of investments is almost universally viewed as one of the most important
things investors can do to ensure that an investment achieves its long term aims and is protected against undue risk. In the vernacular, this means not putting all your eggs in one basket. And again, key to the subject is understanding risk, which comes in two main forms. The first is undiversifiable or systematic risk – and as the name suggests, it will rear its head when large systems change. This is associated with every company and is caused by macro issues such as inflation rates, interest rates, exchange rates and political instability. It’s not something which will affect only one company or industry; should, say, Britain go to war, the whole of the UK market will be affected. The second type of risk is diversifiable risk. This is linked to specific companies, industries and countries and can be reduced through investing in lots of different areas. An example of this is Macondo oil spill 2010, (please check year) that led to a significant fall in the share price of blue-chip company, BP, and the suspension of its dividend. Better yet, the clever investor further reduces risk by investing in areas which might react differently to the same economic fluctuations, in short, putting them in a win-win situation. To take a tongue in cheek example, the person who has invested in the UK tourist industry might be delighted when gloomy economic conditions in the UK means a boom in ‘staycations’. He’ll be less pleased, however, when the economy picks up and everyone has much more cash to spend on trips abroad. Unless, of course, he’s invested in a low-cost airline too, and therefore is set to benefit, whatever the state of the economy. The principle of diversification can also be used to lessen the impact of systematic risk. To take a crude example, if Joe Bloggs invests in both country A, and country B, and then Country A declares war on Country B, he’s not going to see his funds plummet as he has a stake in either winner. Diversification also applies when it comes to types of investment. A mixture of high, low, and medium risk assets is likely to deliver the best return on investment as it allows the investor to enjoy the potential high-yields of the riskier areas, while enjoying the slow-and-steady-wins-the-race reliability of more low-risk investments.
sEEK ADVICE wIsELY One of the major differences of investing now, compared to, say, 30 years ago is the sheer volume of information – good and bad – influencing our investment choices in the digital age. For this reason, many would-be investors seek to go down the tried and tested route of seeking financial advice.
Even here, there is no such thing as a one size fits all approach. When choosing an investment manager to work with, prospective clients should remember that not all investment managers have the same approach. Some, like the lay investor, simply cannot resist the appeal of risky investments promising tantalising returns and frequently get their fingers burnt. So when choosing to work with an investment manager, clients should be sure to assess the firm’s long-term performance. A good start is referring back to how the firm’s behaved during the pre-2007 market euphoria. Firms that plunged feet-first into the market, only to lose huge sums for their investors, should be avoided. Other issues to explore is how they promoted leveraged products such as Contracts For Difference (CFDs) whereby contracts are designed to pay the difference between the opening price and the closing price of the underlying asset. Because CFDs are traded on margin, this has a leveraging effect and increases the risk significantly, meaning losses are much more likely. Client retention is also key. Prospective customers should not be interested so much in how many clients an investment firm has, but how long they’re keeping them for. Client churn can be indicative of two key problems – poor client service and shaky investment strategies. Of course, investment managers are not soothsayers. They can’t foresee what is going to happen in the future, but they should be able to apply thorough research and analysis to predict the most likely outcomes, and then use this intelligence to tailor the best solutions for their clients, ensuring undue risk is minimised through diversification and careful purchase of assets – in short, they will use their expertise to buy the right asset, at the right price and at the right time, and then apply the same principles when it comes to the sale, repeating this process to generate good long term performance and fulfil hoped-for outcomes.
From the Age of Invention to the Age of Investment:
How to rescue Britain’s creaking infrastructure By Vincent Clancy, CEO, Turner & Townsend
It was one of the more memorable images in the opening ceremony of 2012’s London Olympics – the actor Sir Kenneth Branagh dressed in Victorian costume reciting Shakespeare.
Spending picked up from 2009 to 2012 in the run up to the London Olympics and as construction began on Crossrail, a £15 billion rail project in South East England that Turner & Townsend is helping deliver.
American viewers could be forgiven for taking the man in the stovepipe hat to be Abe Lincoln, but the character was instantly recognisable to us Brits. He was clearly Isambard Kingdom Brunel, arguably Britain’s most famous engineer and totem of the country’s Industrial Revolution. The man who built the Great Western Railway symbolises better than anyone else the great strides made in British infrastructure, engineering and technology in the nineteenth century.
But underinvestment in the country’s existing infrastructure is taking its toll. The World Economic Forum’s most recent Global Competitiveness Report ranked the UK 24th out of 144 countries for the overall quality of its infrastructure – behind Barbados and South Korea.
It was his spirit that the Chancellor invoked when he unveiled the government’s Comprehensive Spending Review this summer. Describing Britain’s past as the place “where the future was invented”, George Osborne announced plans for a slew of new investment in infrastructure. The claims were bold – he said Britain would spend more on its roads than it has for half a century and more on rail than it has since the Victorian era. Nearly three years after Mr Osborne pledged to do something very similar with the National Infrastructure Plan, cynics are queuing up to say they’ve heard it all before. The fact is investment in British infrastructure is falling, not rising. According to the ONS, in the first quarter of the year UK infrastructure spending plunged by 50% on the previous quarter, and nearly 40% on the same period in 2012. New orders fell at the sharpest rate since 1987. sTEADY DECLINE But this downward trend is not an overnight phenomenon. After the completion of the Channel Tunnel in 1993, UK infrastructure investment barely progressed for more than a decade. Between 2000 and 2007 it averaged just £2.6 billion a year – the lowest of all the OECD countries.
In May a report commissioned by the Civil Engineering Contractors Association estimated that Britain’s below-par infrastructure cost the economy £78 billion a year in the first decade of this century. It also predicted that if UK infrastructure is not brought up to the standard of other developed nations, by 2026 the annual loss to the economy could rise to £90 billion. CHOrus Of DIsCONTENT There’s no shortage of stark warnings about how Britain’s economy is being held back by its creaking infrastructure. The CBI sees it as a threat to the fledgling recovery, and Steve Holliday, head of the energy supplier National Grid, argues that Britain will become uncompetitive if it continues to fall behind its rivals in the infrastructure stakes. Perhaps the most alarming prediction about our increasingly stretched power network came from the energy regulator Ofgem – which warned in June that by 2015 Britain could face blackouts and electricity may even have to be rationed. Even if the lights don’t go out, overstretching the generation and distribution network will drive up prices – hurting the economy as a whole an making Britain a less attractive target for foreign investors.
There is no doubt that good infrastructure is essential for economic growth in the long-term. Keynesians see it as providing a powerful short-term stimulus too, with job creation and wealth spreading out into the wider economy as construction gets underway. But amid all the “something must be done” appeals, the toughest question remains – how to pay for it all. The National Infrastructure Plan, unveiled to much fanfare in 2010, set out a £250 billion shopping list of road, rail and energy projects. This summer the Treasury announced plans to spend £100 billion on infrastructure. Finding the money to pay for such ambitious programmes would be a challenge at the best of times – but is harder still during the current squeeze on public spending. To succeed, a project must be underpinned by a solid business case and a detailed, achievable construction plan. The Chancellor is seeking to persuade the private sector to invest heavily in infrastructure. But it is proving a tough sell; of the £20 billion target the Treasury set itself in 2011, institutional investors have so far pledged just £2 billion. PENsION fuNDs As wHITE KNIGHTs? The government is especially keen to attract pension funds, as they are known to favour the lower risk, long-term returns delivered by infrastructure projects. To this end it has created the Pensions Infrastructure Platform (PIP), which is billed as an infrastructure fund ‘for pension funds, by pension funds’. Set up jointly with the National Association of Pension Funds and the Pensions Protection Fund, it aims to provide the expertise and tools that pension schemes need to invest in infrastructure. In return for an investment in the construction cost of a given project, the pension scheme is granted a share of the profits for an agreed, long period. But progress has been slow.
“simply a long list of projects requiring huge amounts of money, not a real plan with a strategic vision and clear priorities...’’ Pension funds in Australia and Canada have long been major investors in infrastructure projects, but the model has not been so widely adopted by UK pension funds, in part because they tend to be smaller and lack the same depth of liquidity. British pension funds have tended to invest in smaller, brownfield projects rather than in major new programmes as the risk is lower. While the great Victorian rail projects were largely privately funded, in recent years publicprivate partnerships have become the norm. The PIP is far from the silver bullet it might have been. Critics in the pension industry have complained that while the PIP does make it easer for them to invest in infrastructure, the scheme is still highly illiquid. As an alternative the government could issue long-dated – but tradable – infrastructure gilts. The addition of a government guarantee would improve the credit rating of the infrastructure project and should get more investor cash flowing. Whether the money comes from pension funds, banks or sovereign wealth funds, the private sector now has a crucial role to play in Britain’s infrastructure mix. LEADErs – YOur COuNTrY NEEDs YOu But while the private sector will have to provide much of the capital needed to give Britain an infrastructure that’s fit for purpose, the leadership must still come from Westminster. A recent report by the crossparty Public Accounts Committee criticised the National Infrastructure Plan as being “simply a long list of projects requiring huge amounts of money, not a real plan with a strategic vision and clear priorities.” It is not enough for politicians merely to express their desire to see more private sector investment – they must provide the certainty and climate that will allow it to happen. The Energy Bill, due to receive Royal Assent later this year, shows how this can be done – it includes a series of incentives and guarantees designed to encourage private investment in renewable energy. Though the official announcements of new infrastructure spending keep coming – and at a much higher rate than announcements of private sector investment – the government has taken the criticisms on board.
The appointment of Lord Deighton – former chief executive of the Olympics organising committee - to support the government’s Major Projects Authority is a clear statement of intent. He insists there is plenty of appetite among the capital markets, and sovereign wealth funds in particular, to invest in British infrastructure. Infrastructure champions like him must be given the tools and freedom to drive forward investment programmes, but must also negotiate hard with supply chain partners to ensure best value and that the investment delivers long term benefits, not just to the investor but to the country as a whole. PuBLIC MONEY, sPENT LIKE A PrIVATE sECTOr INVEsTOr Equally, if the government is to be a funder itself, then it should act like a private sector funder and drive the optimum return on its investment. It should show real leadership – and make use of the historically low interest rates to borrow the required capital to fast-track a few major projects. By getting some of the large-scale projects off the ground quickly, the public sector can stoke private sector investor confidence. Where the government leads, they should follow. But gone are the days where the government could throw money at a project with no accountability; every Pound spent will be scrutinised, and must deliver a return for the taxpayer. Whether that is a quicker journey to work, the certainty that the lights will come on when someone hits the switch, or more jobs in the local community, it doesn’t matter - it just needs to make a tangible difference to the lives of people across the country. With public infrastructure projects now subject to more scrutiny than ever, it’s vital that they are delivered on time, on budget and to quality. To succeed they must be managed carefully – with independent, expert oversight built into the process. Ultimately the most likely funding scenario in future will be a “mixed economy” of public and private sector money paying for the projects identified in the National Infrastructure Plan PPP, the funding model of choice in the 1990s, is now somewhat tarnished in the eyes of the public. But as the NIP gets off the drawing board, it will almost certainly be rehabilitated, rebranded and called into service once again. HIGH sPEED 2 – THE HOTTEsT Of HOT POTATOEs Where the business case for a project is disputed, the waters can get muddied. That is the case with Britain’s best-known and most controversial project, High Speed 2. The plan to build a high-speed rail link between London and the North of England has had a tough couple of months this summer. First the projected cost rose by nearly a quarter to £42.6 billion (£50 billion including the trains).
Then the government conceded that the likely economic benefits would have to be revised down. They had been estimated at £21 billion, but this pre-iPad projection assumed that business people do not work on trains. Now that mobile internet devices are so widespread, this assumption – which accounted for two thirds of the stated benefits - looks rather optimistic. Opponents to HS2 are now training their fire on the steadily worsening cost-benefit ratio, and have some high-profile advocates in the form of Lord Mandelson and the CBI. But the overriding case for HS2 is one of capacity. Not speed, or vanity, as its critics allege. The West Coast mainline is already clogged, and pumping money into upgrading existing lines would be expensive and no real alternative to building a modern, high-speed line. In truth most big infrastructure projects hit controversy like this, as they take lots of time and money to build. The same happened with the London Olympics, the Channel Tunnel and even the construction of Britain’s motorway network. If a project fails to deliver the expected benefits after completion – as happened with the M6 toll road – it can harm the prospects for future investment. So it’s crucial that the first projects tackled on the National Infrastructure Plan succeed. Get them right, in terms of public expectation and investor return, and the confidence created will keep the private sector cash coming in for subsequent projects. IN IT fOr THE LONG GAME There’s an inherent disconnect here in that the default setting for most politicians is short-termism. It’s a rare MP indeed who will give precedence to an infrastructure scheme that will deliver big benefits in 10 or even 20 years over their own desire to keep their seat in the next election. We need more of them. Our leaders have a vital role to play in improving our country’s infrastructure. The targets they set themselves should be long-term and ambitious. The benefits of infrastructure investment are delivered slowly, in the form of new jobs, increased GDP and greater competitiveness for the country. At Turner & Townsend we specialise in helping our infrastructure clients – both public and private – deliver maximum returns from their projects. Among all the projects we have worked on, from the power sector to roads, rail and airports, one constant has become clear. Ultimately the decision on infrastructure projects is a choice between meeting ambition or giving in to anxiety. Our leaders must lead with a strategic vision for infrastructure investment that sets out not only what is to be built, but also how it is to be paid for
Sir Mike Rake The new head of employers’ organisation the Confederation of British Industry went to boarding school and is crazy about polo. sir Mike rake, 65, president of the organisation that likes to think of itself as the ‘Voice of British Business’, is that person. He went to wellington College, used to have his own polo team and played regularly at weekends. Now he just has a farm in Argentina that breeds ponies.
We’re at the CBI headquarters inside Centrepoint, the tower block at the eastern end of Oxford Street. There’s a CBI minder present - the impression I get is one of slight nervousness, these are early days and the CBI secretariat, a proper bunch, are not used to their new president and what he might say.
The young Rake was desperate to follow dad into the RAF. ‘I did all the tests and passed, and then they discovered I had various allergies. In true RAF-fashion, they said you can join the RAF but you can’t fly. As if that was OK. I could not see the point of that. I was left feeling depressed.’
Through polo, Rake got to meet Prince Charles, who made him chairman of his Business in the Community charity. Rake plays tennis at the Harbour Club in London, whose gym Princess Diana used. For years, Rake was known as Britain’s highest-paid accountant, on a salary of £3.6m a year (he received a knighthood for his services to the profession).
The room we’re in is functional and I suspect little used - Rake’s main office is at BT, where he is chairman (he’s also deputy chairman of Barclays, director of McGraw-Hill Financial, the US financial information publisher, chairman of Majid Al Futtaim Holdings, the leading shopping mall developer across the Middle East and North Africa, and a member of the prime minister’s business advisory group).
It was not just rejection by the RAF that got him down. ‘I was also depressed by the state of the British economy.’ He’s talking about 1966, when he was just 18 years old.
Put like that, Rake’s presidency of the CBI is manna from heaven for those who maintain Britain’s bosses are detached and elitist. He ticks all the boxes marked high rewards, clubability and patronage. If you were a TUC or Labour party propagandist you could have a lot of fun with the Mike Rake conference newsreel.
He’s got a friendly, heavily lined face, befitting of someone who probably smiles a lot. He’s certainly heavily built and will have to watch out for all those chicken suppers on the CBI regional circuit.
But while it would be right - there’s no getting away from the facts - it would also be unfair. Rake is also the person who says: ‘I hate golf, it’s a capitalist activity.’ Yes, I know that invites the question: What and polo isn’t?
As a boy, Rake dreamt of being an RAF pilot like his father. ‘My family were all doctors, except for my father, who joined the Air Force as a Spitfire pilot. He’s remarkable, still alive, aged 93, still plays golf three times a week. He’s a hero of mine.’
But that should provide some clue to Rake’s character. The truth about him is that he is far more complex and down-to-earth, inclusive, egalitarian and better company than the bare bones of the CV suggest.
The family moved around to accommodate the father’s promotions. They were in Hong Kong, Korea and France as Rake’s father went from pilot to commander to working for Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe.
Likewise, what the brief narrative does not say is that he is deeply concerned about the condition of British commerce and enterprise; the contribution they make to the economy and society; and that his enthusiasms go far beyond some swanky offices in central London or a hospitality tent on the side of a polo field.
The young Rake went to international schools where the family was stationed, then to prep school in Devon and on to Wellington College in Berkshire. He was there as an armed services boarder. He didn’t regard it as super-smart or superior - he was there because his father was working abroad.
I don’t know about you, but when I was 18, the state of the economy was not on my radar. It says something about the serious and calculating mind of Rake, not to mention his fierce ambition, that he was extremely worried. It turned him away from university - he had places to study medicine or zoology - and towards work, from not worrying about getting a degree but to getting on and starting earning. ‘I decided to become a chartered accountant, which I thought was better than being a lawyer. You could travel and go anywhere in the world, and it was more flexible.’ He began as a trainee at the medium-sized firm of Turquands Barton Mayhew, carrying out audits for the likes of Bowater and Ladbroke. It was tough, working during the day and training for exams at night. First time round, he failed, but he passed them at the second attempt Sir Mike Rake: Aged 18, I was depressed by the state of the British economy. By the time he qualified in 1971, ‘the economy was in even worse shape. It was the period of the Edward Heath government, so I went abroad, to Brussels.’ He chortles: ‘I stayed abroad until 1989.’
He moved around. First, he looked after Europe for Turquands and then he was poached by the bigger Peat Marwick Mitchell - now KPMG - to run its Belgian and Luxembourg auditing teams. He was also covering West Africa, travelling regularly to Burundi, Rwanda and Zaire, which he loved. His wife and four young sons lived overseas with him. Then, in 1986, Rake remarried, to Caroline, acquired five stepchildren and headed to Dubai. ‘Funnily enough, it’s like where we are now. It was in the middle of a banking crisis. Some of the banks were in the Middle East and China, and they had problems, same as those caught up in the crisis today.’ From Dubai he took in the Gulf and east to Yemen and Pakistan, and west to Saudi Arabia. ‘I did lots of travelling; it was a critical part of my life. I had a fascination with the Middle East, still do. I’m riveted by the life and the culture. I’m frustrated that so much of it is misunderstood. We don’t understand; don’t appreciate the tribal differences and their religion. We don’t appreciate the differences between Sunni and Shia, for example.’ Rake headed KPMG’s Middle East practice, and then became senior UK partner, then chairman of the entire international firm. When he quit in 2007, aged 60, he moved seamlessly to chairing BT. ‘I thought I wouldn’t get it,’ he says of the BT post. ‘Much to my shock and horror they called and said: “We want you.” They said they were announcing my chairmanship that day. I was in Hong Kong; I hadn’t even announced I was leaving KPMG and hadn’t decided whether to accept BT.’ He freely admits to knowing ‘nothing about telecoms or about BT when I became chairman. But I did know about providing professional services.’ What he found was a company in poor shape. BT made two quarterly losses in 2008, had large debts and was eating into reserves. It was making acquisitions but they had not been integrated properly.
fixed landlines to mobile. It was stuck with a massive infrastructure, all for fixed technology. ‘It created a huge stress.’ Under CEO Ian Livingston, it was much improved. ‘He did a fantastic job,’ says Rake. ‘He got on top of costs. He turned it around. Now we’re doing well for our shareholders, doing better than our competitors.’ Troubles remain. BT is a company that’s burdened by its legacy and up against fleeter footed, newer rivals. I ask him about the TV football deal. Isn’t that a desperate, defensive move? He purses his lips, and then shakes his head firmly. It’s not a question he likes, but neither is it one he shirks from. ‘No. What we did with the Olympics last year (BT was a sponsor) was part of an extremely well-thought-through strategy. Football was a follow-on to that. We took the view that Sky can use our infrastructure but it won’t sell us content at wholesale prices. Therefore, we thought we had to do it ourselves and put our money where our mouth is.’ As well as winning the football rights, BT has had ‘the fastest roll-out of fibre-optic cable anywhere in the world. We will have installed super-fast broadband across most of the UK by 2016,’ says its chairman proudly. (The roll-out - a hugely expensive state-subsidised exercise - has not been fast enough for many, especially in rural areas.) ‘Our team has done very well. We’re managing it, we’re creating competition. Sky has been a fantastically successful company, but we believe the playing field has not been level, and now we’re going to level it.’ There’s a grin on his face. He clearly loves the battle. Also, the concept of a level playing field for all is something he holds dear - it’s a phrase he uses repeatedly in the context of the CBI and British business being competitive. As well as chairing BT he had the same role at easyJet. It was a famously combative episode, for Rake and for Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, the budget airline’s colourful founder and major shareholder.
‘You walk into a business and it hits you what you have to do. In BT’s case, it was to move very quickly, and this was in the most competitive, most regulated market in the world.’
Let’s talk about Stelios, I say. ‘Let’s not,’ says Rake. His eyes narrow. He thinks for a second or two. ‘EasyJet had a fantastic management team that took the shares from £3 to £11. I’m extremely proud of my time at easyJet.’
BT was a company, says Rake, that was seeing 97% of its business disappear, from
If that sounds like a statement from a lawyer that’s because it might as well be. Stelios was,
and remains, a serious, disruptive handful. Rake knows that if he said anything near the truth of what it was like dealing with Stelios, writs would fly. For a period, easyJet was the most colourful, litigious show in town. To his credit, Rake somehow retained his focus on the business throughout it all. Rake is no stranger to boardroom high drama. He joined the board of Barclays at the start of the 2008 crash, when Diamond Bob was at the helm. With the bank beset by scandal from all angles - Libor, PPI mis-selling and dubious Qatari fund-raising - it lost its chairman plus its CEO, and many expected Rake, the experienced pair of hands, to take over as chairman and steady the ship. But shareholders were baying for an outsider to take the job and Rake would have had to relinquish his FTSE100 BT and easyJet positions to take on a task so momentous. He needed the Barclays chairmanship like a hole in the head and had almost certainly been tapped up for the CBI job by then, and thus ruled himself out of the running. So to the CBI. He admits to a certain surprise at the role he’s landed. ‘I’m a fairly passive character with a belief in natural justice. That’s been my guiding principle. I was not a CBI junkie. I’d always regarded the CBI with enormous respect; very talented people in Richard Lambert and (current director general) John Cridland ran it.’ So far what’s impressed him the most? ‘Everything. The way they help businesses big and small, how they engage on Europe. I find our views across the board are very similar.’ The EU - and our remaining a member of it - is something he feels strongly about. ‘We must stay in the EU, but a reformed EU. Some 80% of all companies and 77% of all SMEs want to remain within the EU and reform it from within. My eyes are wide open. I’m neither a Eurosceptic nor a Europhile.’ His view on the disaster that has engulfed the eurozone is firm. ‘They would not be in crisis if the Maastricht principles had been followed, which restricted the level of debt that countries could have. We would not be in this mess.’ It was the CBI’s own survey that shows 80% of businesses want Britain to remain in the EU and push for change from within. ‘It’s very refreshing to see,’ says its president.
As part of his new role he had to attend the organisation’s regional chairmen’s dinner. ‘It was the first one I’d ever attended. The two biggest issues raised by them were lack of skills and the future security of our energy supply. On the EU, I was told beforehand that the regional chairmen were a very broad church on Europe but I found less of a broad church than I expected. I think what happens is that companies are reluctant to speak out on Europe because they get damaged by the press.’ What the CBI needs to do, says Rake, is to equip its members with the facts so they can better make the case for staying in Europe. ‘The only things we want from Europe right now are growth and jobs. We understand the importance of youth unemployment as well as anyone. We need to follow the Lisbon (Treaty) agenda and achieve more EU reform.’ One recurring complaint of the CBI membership is red tape. Successive governments have failed to curb it, despite promising they would. ‘It’s not confined to Britain. All the mature democracies say they are opposed to regulation, yet they keep adding more and more. The same politicians who say we must get rid of it have people in their departments looking at how to apply tighter controls on people, different ways of taxing a lorry, new health and safety rules. We need a cultural change.’ He’s taken over at a difficult juncture for the business community. Society has developed a definite anti-business streak, much of it fed by the fallout from the banking crisis. What’s he going to do to combat this mood? ‘We must be unemotional about explaining the facts. What matters above all is that we effect employment and growth. Some of the criticisms are fair, some are unfair.’ He laughs. ‘And politicians are remarkably adept at not blaming themselves.’ ‘Look,’ he says, ‘we’ve got a lot to do to put it right. Politicians are populist, I know that. Whichever party is in government, it gets close to big business. Then as we get nearer to the election they attack big business. At times, political leaders have to assert themselves and ask if what they are doing is right.’ He shrugs. ‘All we can do is give all the parties the facts that affect jobs, employment and growth. After that, it’s up to them - but there does need to be balance.’
What riles him is when politicians say things that ‘do short-term damage to the people they say they’re trying to protect. Society needs business, big and small, and we must work together.’
We need them to come here to work.’ Neither does he want Scotland to become independent, strongly defending the union.
It annoys him that vital parts of the nation’s make-up - education and healthcare - are used ‘as political footballs. Infrastructure is the same. We need more cross-party agreement on these subjects or else nothing gets done.’
• Help win the argument over the EU so that the UK stays in and achieves reform from within
On the third runway at Heathrow, the CBI head is clear: ‘We should have done it, no question, even though it’s not the long-term answer.’
• Reduce anti-business sentiment across society
On HS2, he’s less certain. ‘I don’t know if it provides value for money. We could spend it on short-term capital projects or use it to further a long-term ambition. I don’t know which is right. But it is the case that we already have two railways and two motorways to Birmingham, and we don’t have enough cross-country railways or a motorway to the north-east, for example.’ He’d like to see more people from the top of business enter Whitehall. ‘They should be encouraged to feed back their experience. Our politicians and civil servants are bright but they don’t have business experience. I want to see more apolitical people moving across, who could work with politicians to understand the pressures they’re under and avoid major mistakes being made.’ In the past, the CBI has been something of an aloof body, akin to a semi-detached, quangolike branch of the Civil Service. Its rival, the IoD, can seem more combative and streetwise. How many of the hip, sunrise businesses of Shoreditch, for example, feel the CBI is batting for them? This might change if Rake sticks to his word. ‘We must engage with all parties, the trade unions and the third sector.’ He is, however, scornful of Labour’s energy prices freeze, which came from a focus group. ‘If we ran BT based on what focus groups say, we’d be out of business in six months. There’s something called leadership. When Lady Thatcher died, all the fortunes of the political parties fell because she showed up their lack of leadership. She believed in what she did and she went ahead and did it - and, overall, we made progress. She was a leader. Churchill was the same.’
fOur CHALLENGEs fACING rAKE
• Work with the Government to alleviate the skills shortage and raise educational standards
• Raise membership from the current 250,000 and make the CBI truly inclusive so it isn’t perceived as just a voice for big business He’s all for rebalancing the economy but not at the expense of banking. ‘The attacks on the City should cease.’ The banks, which are a cornerstone of our economy, he believes, have suffered enough and should be allowed to flourish. Education is a prime concern. ‘We need better teaching for all. Since the abolition of the grammar schools you either spend to live near a good school or you spend to send your child to public school. If you can’t spend, tough. That cannot be right.’ And is he confident about recovery? ‘I do feel the bottom has been reached, there’s more confidence around.’ He would like to see companies, not only consumers, spending again. At the moment, lots of businesses are sitting on their cash. ‘They need more confidence in the economic policy and the future. We need that confidence to return.’ He holds up his hands in frustration. ‘Some political statements can derail that confidence. We need investment in energy infrastructure, but then Miliband says he will freeze energy prices.’ What about polo? It’s a sport that he loves, simple as that. As for the farm in Argentina, it’s ‘not profit-making’. He pauses, his eyes twinkling. ‘Argentina, now there’s another country where energy prices were controlled. There was no inward investment, trade declined, the country could not compete ...’ He has made his point. Expect him to make more of them in the months and years ahead.
The Daily Mail is unlikely to approve of his line on immigration. ‘We should not be blocking immigrants from eastern Europe.
Taylor Morris i-MAGAZINE has sat down with Hugo Taylor and Charlie Morris of Taylor Morris and asked them some fundamental questions about their business.
what made you want to get into designing and selling sunglasses as apposed to any other type of business?
In simplest terms we both LOVE sunglasses. Doing something you love is one of life’s greatest pleasures.
so what makes a good pair of sunglasses?
We place our emphasis on the combination of a number of elements. We could talk for hours on this but you start with the general aesthetic of acetate and lens combination. You then progress onto how this complements the contours of the actual frame. We only use the best materials, having CR39 lenses and hand made acetate from Mazzucchelli. We like to design glasses to compliments facets of people’s personalities. Just like a pair of shoes you don’t only have one pair. You have pair to suit an occasion or mood. A good pair on sunglasses should comparable to the natural beauty of the eyes one is covering.
what do you think the game in general has to offer new watchers?
For people who have never been, it’s a must-tick on their list of things to do. You get to come to extraordinary places, the most amazing polo grounds set in some of the world’s most scenic spots. Some of my highlights are the Maharaja’s Palace, Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur, Peter Brant’s art foundation in Greenwich Polo Club. What’s wonderful is seeing some of the world’s most talented polo players, especially at the Argentine Open played in Palermo and have the opportunity to meet and talk to a diverse group of people. In general, it’s a great day out.
Can you tell us a little bit about the brand? It’s history and the background of both Hugo Taylor and Charlie Morris background of both Hugo Taylor and Charlie Morris?
We were extremely motivated to have a creative output away from our working life. We met when we were hired to re-launch Chinawhite club. We both came from very strong marketing backgrounds and instantaneously collaborated well. After a year of working day and night at the club and harvesting some serious bags under our eyes we both began to take notice of each other’s sunglass collection and realized that we both shared a major passion for eyewear. It was on a summer trip to Ibiza that we just decided to start sketching and 1 day on the beach Taylor Morris was born.
who are the glasses targeted at?
We design our frames for customers who appreciate sartorial elegance. We are a British brand and this is reflected across all aspects of the business.
where can you see the brand in five to ten years?
We would very much like to have a global influence in eyewear. So much has happened in the ten months since we launched that the sky is the limit for where we can be in 5 years. So long as we keep making glasses our customer like! The passion we share for eyewear has meant that we do not merely see Taylor Morris as a product, more as a lifestyle brand.
what is the inspiration behind the brand, what feelings or era are you trying to conjure up in the mind of a wearer? Taylor Morris is also about having the right amount of edge without being pretentious. Focusing on what it means to be British - to travel the world with a spark of elegance, to be gracious and charming, to remain understated and value quality, that is the essence of the British explorer – abroad or at home. This perspective is timeless and aligns perfectly with the a new, young, international crowd.
If you could choose one male and one female to be seen in a pair of your glasses, who would they be and why?
For a guy it would have to be Keith Richards. First off we are lifelong Stones fans. There combination of rock n roll chic and smart Saville row tailoring is major influence behind the brand. He is also a fucking musical genius who has never been afraid to express himself. For a girl It would be amazing to have Emma Watson. She is always so chic and effortlessly stunning. She is our definition of modern British Beauty which encapsulates poise, intelligence and exquisiteness.
I know you have had a stand at British Polo Day Dubai, what do you get out of this type of promotion, is it a way of gaining exposure or do you actually sell glasses at these type of events?
During the infancy of any brand there is no better experience to be gained than selling your product direct to the customer. You receive such useful first hand feedback which is what will allow you to develop and continuously improve your product. We adore seeing what people think. Selling through Harvey Nichols and all of our stockits is of course an honor but getting in front of your target demographic is invaluable and good business practice. A major part of our business is to be social and achieve brand exposure. Thus far we have partnered with The BRIT awards, British Polo Day and Boodles Tennis. All of which have been marvelous for us.
How investing can be a force for good. By Rodney Schwartz, CEO The fallout from the recent financial crisis and its aftermath continues to spread. It will be many years before we were able to calculate the consequences of this crisis and its after-shocks. what is clear is that, for many commentators on both the right and left, it has raised questions about the underlying durability of our financial system and an even deeper question of whether or not investing and the financial system can be a force for good. Whatever the root causes of the crisis were, its direct costs – as measured by the sums of money invested by Western governments in the banks – can be measured in the trillions of dollars. These bailouts and subsequent equity injections by bank investors are gradually being shifted back to governments in the form of fines for past misdeeds. Huw Van Steenis, an analyst at Morgan Stanley, estimates that nearly $300 billion of fines will be paid by Western banks by 2016. Historically, the point of finance and investment has been to support the growth of great industries – and this does still take place. However, many observers have questioned whether the shift to proprietary trading and the creation of exotic instruments, which were needlessly complex, poorly understood and served little value, have overshadowed the rest. At the same time, banks that are under pressure to improve their balance sheets and capital ratios are restricting their loan growth to SMEs – much to the consternation of politicians, who are praying for a continued economic recovery. These are the headlines, which raise the question of whether or not investing can be a force for good. Underneath the headlines, however, investment and the associated techniques of corporate finance are proving that finance can indeed be – and already is – a “force for good”. This began in the 1980s, with the beginnings of the Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) which incorporated values into investing. This continued in the 90s and an array of well-known ethical businesses proved
you could do well and do good at the same time - like The Body Shop and Ben & Jerry’s. In 2000, this process was given a boost in the UK by the work of several private and government backed organisations and the Social Investment Task Force. Hundreds of millions of pounds were invested through a variety of different channels to encourage the growth of what was then described as “social investment”, or what has come to be described as “impact investment”. A ten-year period of experimentation followed, and with the formation of Big Society Capital (BSC), with at least £600 million to invest from unclaimed bank assets to invest for impact, the market is now enjoying substantial growth and appears ready to enter the investment mainstream. Great companies have emerged in this period and highlight the leverage attainable through impact investment. One example is Justgiving, the UK leader in enabling people to donate online to charitable causes. It was initially funded with roughly £6 million of loans and equity investment from angel investors. It is now a business worth £100£200 million and, through its website, well in excess of $3 billion has passed from donors to worthwhile charitable causes. From a leverage standpoint that is simply astonishing. Had the £6 million been donated to charity there would have been, at most, £6 million of positive impact, rather than that $3 billion. We have built the UK’s largest angel network for impact investors – Clearly Social Angels - and have helped dozens of companies raise capital, just over the past few years. To name just a few examples, Aduna is a company that builds sustainable livelihoods in West Africa by converting the fruit of Baobab trees into healthy drinks and beauty care products sold in Europe. Third Space Learning utilises mentors from around the world to provide online teaching support to students at much lower cost. Breezie greatly simplifies the use of the Internet for elderly people wanting to keep in touch with others, such as their grandchildren. Exosect has developed
an organic compound which reduces insecticide use by roughly 90%. These are just some of the businesses funded through our angel networks. Crowdfunding is another dimension to how investment is being harnessed as a force for good. For businesses with a strong and appealing story it can be an attractive route for capital raising. It also enables individual investors who are not High Net Worth Individuals to invest without falling foul of investor protection regulations. Sheffield-based solar energy business Solarmass raised £120,000 in funding for its innovative solar panels, and FarmDrop, which is an award-winning online marketplace that allows local food producers to sell direct, raised £350,000 in order to boost its growth. These are just several examples of how individuals have begun to use both their capital and expertise as a force for good in support of entrepreneurial businesses which generate an impact. At the same time, an institutional market is beginning to form, supported by Big Society Capital, which is beginning to facilitate much larger deals. The development of this deeper institutional market will help to ensure that the investment mainstream can access impact investments more quickly, and that they are of a size and quality which will elicit institutional interest. Larger impact-driven businesses like the HCT Group (a communityowned bus company, based in Hackney which has expanded across the UK) and the Ethical Property Company (an owner and lessor of commercial premises to social change organisations) are already beginning to benefit from this growing institutional market. For the investors in the earlier stage impact ventures these institutions can provide a source of exit. Can investing be a force for good? Yes - it already is.
rodney schwartz is the Chief Executive of Clearlyso, which raises impact investment for businesses, charities and funds. i-MAGAZINE 143
interview Jul/Dec 2014
i-MAGAZINE interviews the founder of Jessica Huie PR – JHPR
what made you want to set up a Pr agency?
I served my time as an employee in media, and had ten solid years of experience as both a journalist and PR consultant before I considered setting up for myself. I wanted to be in control of the clients I represented, and saw PR as a wonderful platform for sharing the stories of brilliant individuals. Enterprise changed my life and I pride myself on running an agency which represents inspiring people who deserve to have their stories shared so that the next generation has access to these stories.
what challenges do you face on a daily basis working in Pr?
My challenge comes from learning how to be the best leader I can for my team, and making sure that the individuals who work for JH PR share our company values. The PR industry is evolving and I think that ten years from now the current model of agencies who simply secure coverage across print and broadcast platforms will be long gone. Today you have to be adaptable and evolve, so I am constantly looking for ways in which JHPR can evolve to improve our client offering and ensure we provide a service where clients are satisfied they have received a great service. I understand with Pr you (or your team) are always chasing down avenues in which your clients can have in input on some form of media, generally, do you find this challenging hence rewarding or stressful at all? PR can be stressful but ultimately this is why it’s so important to feel passionate about the clients you represent. All of our clients are talented in their own right, brilliant innovators, exceptional business minds, inspiring individuals whose stories deserve to be told.
How important is networking, partnerships etc in Pr?
Partnerships are unquestionably key in growing any business. JH PR recently partnered with the British Library and the government’s Startup loans initiative to help us meet our objective of making PR affordable for Startups. I am passionate about how I can support the brave people who embark on an entrepreneurial journey, and host a monthly workshop at the British Library’s BIPC centre teaching startups and small business owners how they can do their own PR until they can afford to retain an expert. Networking is a tiresome term, but positioning yourself in environments with people of like-mind and shared values and objectives is absolutely key to broadening your contact list.
Are you in any way involved in mentoring programs either now or perhaps in the future for people who might want to get into business but who might face several barriers to entry?
I am not an official mentor but I try to share my time as much as possible whether it’s at the tail end of my British Library workshops or just via email. I am always conscious that I have two children waiting for me at the end of a working day who need ‘mentoring’ first and foremost, so the ongoing challenge is to share my journey as much as I can and still be a present parent.
As the owner of two businesses, you obviously have a ‘’can do’’ business personality type; do you have any other businesses you aspire to run?
I think you are a fantastic role model for women and young girls, in terms of having achieved much when statistically perhaps you shouldn’t have, have you ever thought about a political career? I.e. becoming an MP.
Thank you very much I appreciate that. I have never considered politics. My belief system revolves around our innate power as individuals first and foremost, regardless of the governing political power, and I hope to be able to make positive changes and impact on a community level whether through schools or business forums, even moreso in the future.
what are you political affiliations? I.e. Conservative, Labour, Lib Dem etc.
My vote changes from season to season!
As a business owner, politics obviously has an impact on your operations; in the past few years has David Cameron and a Conservative government been good or bad for you at JHPr?
I love the fact that the current government has placed such as emphasis on the importance of supporting entrepreneurialism, and I think the Startup loans scheme has been a great opportunity for many individuals to start a business, who may not have had access to funding in the past.
who are your business and if applicable, political role models?
I don’t have political role models but in business there are a host of individual’s who use their success as a platform to effectively contribute positive change. These people inspire me. Entrepreneurs with strong principles and value systems, the late Steve Jobs, Russell Simmons, Richard Branson, Sir Bob Geldof and of course Oprah Winfrey. Jessica Huie is founder of JHPr – www.jhpr.co.uk
I have no firm plans beyond the growth of JH Public Relations and Color blind Cards, but I will absolutely embark on other projects and possibly businesses in the future. I am excited by the possibilities and for everything that is to come.
comment Jan/Jun 2015
We are in it for the long-term. By Daniel Godfrey, CEO. The uK is the second largest asset management centre in the world, second only to the us. The Investment Association’s members manage over £5 trillion of assets, 35% of all the assets being managed anywhere in Europe. The uK industry is a big exporter too, with around 40% of those assets being managed on behalf of non-uK clients. Many people do not know what investment management is and even fewer understand what it is asset managers actually do. Communication throughout the financial services sector can be full of acronyms and jargon that can confuse people about which part of the jigsaw is which, and how they all fit together. But it is vitally important for people to get to grips with what the investment industry does and the essential role it plays for both individuals and the economy as a whole. Particularly in light of the changes in Osborne’s 2014 Budget, there is a huge opportunity, and above all responsibility, for the asset management industry to help people understand how it works and to make sure that it offers the services that they need to ensure their financial wellbeing. so, what do asset managers do? In simple terms, they take the money saved by people in pensions, life policies and directly with asset managers in accounts like Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs), and invest it with companies, governments or property developments that need capital, in anticipation of returns that are better than inflation and deposit rates. Whether you have a pension, an ISA or life assurance policy, for example, your money is being looked after by the investment management industry. Clients’ investments are held completely separately from the manager in special accounts, providing important protection for investors. why invest? As life expectancy increases and what we can expect from Governments reduces, it is critical that people invest and plan for their futures. Investment managers provide an expert service to help people build savings that help them withstand financial shocks to their dreams, and maintain a decent standard of living as they grow older.
As the trade association for the investment management industry we aim to ensure that our member firms are in the best possible position to deliver these very important objectives. We understand that there is a knowledge gap between product providers and the everyday investor that needs to be addressed and therefore, we provide jargon-free explanations about how the investment universe operates and the options available for those looking to invest, via the consumer focussed areas of our website. We aim to help investors and their advisers by classifying funds by sector so that they can assess which investment vehicles could be most suitable for them. We also participate in a number of initiatives to promote financial education, particularly in schools, to ensure that people are as informed as they can be. Our responsibility The investment management industry not only directly impacts investors through the performance of the products they are invested in, but it also plays a pivotal role in determining the health of the economy as a whole. It contributes to economic growth through the efficient allocation of capital to the companies that can use it best alongside facilitating a wide range of economic activity. Asset management collects and pools savings, ultimately from individuals, to provide capital to areas of the economy that can deliver the best returns by creating growth, jobs and paying the taxes that support infrastructure, education and the welfare state. UK equities held by UK-based investment managers on behalf of their clients account for some 40% of the value of all UK companies listed on the stock markets. Therefore, the industry plays a significant role in overseeing the way in which UK companies are run and help align boardroom and investor interests. This is hugely important because the investments that fund managers make and the stewardship they provide to companies help deliver long-term and sustainable returns. The millions and millions of real people that trust managers to invest their money are the true lifeblood of the investment management industry. Everything we do must have their best interests at heart. It is easy to say that precedent says this, regulation says that, but collectively we need to ensure that what we
are doing as an industry is what is truly right for those who have trusted us with their savings. Trust isn’t given, it’s earned, and for us as an industry to warrant this level of faith we need to clearly and effectively demonstrate our commitment to our clients through action, not just rhetoric. We need to adopt an attitude of ever-improving standards to ensure that our ultimate beneficiaries receive the highest and most competent level of service in a constantly evolving world. To perform our role as the trade body representing the UK’s asset management industry we have taken on our own initiatives to ensure that we are not only fully equipped to deal with the challenges the industry faces, but also be in the best possible position to speak on behalf of the industry as a whole. Long-termism One of the major reputational issues that the financial services sector as a whole has faced since 2008 is the image that the City’s default position is greed, and purely focussed on shortterm gain. In recognition of the responsibility and impact the investment industry has in the way companies are run and the role we can play in instilling a more long-term focussed outlook for investors and the companies they engage with, we have established the Investor Forum. The forum’s key objectives are to: •
Make the case for long-term investment approaches
Create an effective model for collective engagement with UK companies
The Forum, which has been formed following the recommendations of the Collective Engagement Working Group (a group established by the Association of British Insurers (ABI), Investment Management Association (IMA) and National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF)) and the Kay Review, is an investor-led organisation, whose governance is independent of any trade association. It is open to all institutional investors who have an interest in UK companies, whether they are based in the UK or overseas. i-MAGAZINE 147
Howard Pridding, CEO Worth almost £3 billion, the UK leisure, superyacht and small commercial marine industry is a key player in the UK economy and a sector with real heritage. With some 4,200 businesses the industry has a global reputation based on its manufacturing successes, international trade and its diversity, with British excellence as the key message at the heart of all activity. Having celebrated its centenary in 2013, the British Marine federation (BMf) is the trade association for this significant sector. Howard Pridding, chief executive of the BMf, explains: “our 1600 members represent more than 75 per cent of the uK marine industry, involved in seagoing and inland leisure boats, small commercial workboats, superyachts, hire fleets and all the equipment and services needed for those craft. The membership base is diverse, from major companies to sMEs. “Our role is to lead and promote our industry and we work with our members to achieve sustainable growth in this competitive global environment, by providing world-class goods and services. We promote the industry and act as the mouthpiece with government and the media; we also provide our members with much advice, support and assistance across all services from environment to technical, training to legal. We help our members export and provide showcases here and overseas.” The role of the Federation today is remarkably similar to that on which it was formed, just over 100 years ago. On 24 September 1913, The Boat and Yacht Builders’ and Proprietors and Allied Trades Protection Association was born, representing leisure boat building right from the start of the growth of yachting for pleasure in the UK. Over the following century the association overcame many challenges. It kept going through the tough times in the 20s and 30s, negotiating with the Admiralty for the commission of new vessels and continued to do so throughout the Second World War, whilst then trying to assist its members in winning work repairing Britain’s war ravaged infrastructure. In 1973, the Federation demonstrated its lobbying strength when the Labour Government imposed 25% VAT on boats. In the end the battle was won, a year later the rate was halved and then later still went back to the standard rate. The BMF organises the boating industry’s two leading exhibitions in the UK. “In 1954, the Federation set up the London International Boat Show, which is still running 61 years
later every January at the ExCeL Exhibition Centre in London’s Docklands. Alongside its sister show, the PSP Southampton Boat Show is Europe’s largest on-water boat show. Each September, the BMF builds the show from scratch in Southampton’s Mayflower Park. This includes creating a 300 berth marina. More than 200,000 people visit these two boat shows each year which provide vital sales platforms for the UK marine industry. Both shows also act as wonderful showcases for all types of boating and watersports activity. The BMF’s ‘On The Water’ initiative (www.onthewater. co.uk), is aimed at encouraging more people to go boating and increase the frequency of the 2.8million adults who already enjoy this exciting sport. As part of this On the Water programme visitors to the PSP Southampton Boat Show get the opportunity to ‘try a boat’ for free.” Likewise, the BMF works with partners the Royal Yachting Association (RYA), British Canoe Union (BCU), British Water Ski & Wakeboard and British Rowing to deliver National Watersports Month in May. This offers various opportunities throughout the month for hundreds of people to get out on the water all around the country, both on the coast and inland waterways. Hence, boat shows are just one of the ways the BMF raises the profile of UK marine manufacturing. “Our industry is a manufacturing success story and we want to highlight this as much as possible. We are regularly talking to politicians and have a strong relationship with Government departments across Whitehall and particularly the business department, BIS which supports manufacturing industry. It’s an important message to get out: we still build boats in the UK and those boats have a worldwide reputation for quality, good design and innovation. “Of our 1600 members, some 320 are involved in manufacturing demonstrating how important the leisure marine manufacturing sector is. British boatbuilders and the marine equipment manufacturers in their supply chain contribute significantly to the UK economy and that is why the BMF
continues to promote it.” The UK can boast leading players in many sectors of the leisure marine industry. “We have three of the world’s leading powerboat builders, Sunseeker, Princess and Fairline. In the superyacht sector we have Pendennis in Falmouth and across every sector from clothing to electronics there are globally renowned brands. International trade revenue is £1.003 billion, 35.1 per cent of the total revenue; in addition to our successful boatbuilders, UK marine equipment companies are not just selling to the UK but they themselves are individually exporting marine equipment around the world. The UK marine industry success story is not just about manufacturing. The full economic impact of the UK marine industry and spend associated with boating participation was estimated to total £6.2 billion in 2012/13, according to a report released by the trade association. In addition to highlighting the impressive contribution, the BMF’s Economic Benefits of the UK Boating Industry also revealed expenditures are estimated to support approximately 141,000 full time (FTE) jobs and more than £5.3 billion of Gross Value Added (GVA) in the UK economy, taking into account all direct and indirect effects. The estimates in this report include associated manufacturing, repair, servicing, distribution, retail, finance activities and other consumer and business activities as well as wider tourism activities and spend. A major part of this is the wider tourism spend related to boating. At £3.7 GVA it’s a significant contribution to the UK economy. This figure accounts for 3.2% of all tourism expenditure in the UK*, and supports approximately 96,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs through direct and indirect effects. Impressively, this annual contribution to the UK economy in 2012/13 is estimated to be larger than the total tourism impact of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games between 2005 and 2017 (including pre-event visits, the Games themselves and the estimated ongoing legacy effect).
Review Jan/Jun 2015
Review: The 5* Le Bristol Hotel Paris By Vincent Abrams On the left-hand side of the grand reception area of the Hotel Le Bristol, a sculpted head stares out across the sea of marble and soft furnishings. He bears himself in a cool, reserved manner, wearing just the sort of imperious expression you would expect of the last occupant of the throne of france before the revolution of 1789 overturned the royal apple cart.
French capital, roughly parallel to the Champs Elysées one block to the south. Here is a Paris of fashion boutiques and perfumiers, embassies and elegance. If the chicness of the hotel’s address – number 112 – required any emphasis, an observer need only gaze a few doors down to where the Elysée Palace, the home of the President of France, does a neat impression of a kingly residence from its position at number 55.
If he also looks a little unusual, then this is only because his head is still attached to his shoulders. For this is Louis XVI, husband of Marie Antoinette – the unfortunate fellow whose life ultimately ended with one bloody plunge of the guillotine in January 1793.
Although the building that contains it dates back to the 19th century, Le Bristol welcomed its first guests in 1925. Walking the wide expanses on its ground floor – wide but for the great stanchions of flowers that wait at every turn – I don’t find it hard to spot evidence of the hotel’s beginnings in the Roaring Twenties. They are there in the polished wood and glass of the former theatre – the kernel of the original hotel – that now serves as its winter restaurant, and in the secluded garden beyond – a haven of swaying trees and al fresco tables that is just as ideal for idle chatter over cocktails in 2010 as it was in those careless, carefree days between the World Wars.
An unusual choice of figure, you might think, to decorate the entrance hall of one of the most celebrated hotels in Paris. But then, Le Bristol is the sort of establishment where matters such as the unseating of a monarchy and the execution of a king were little more than blips in the serene progress of the finer things in life. A five-star property of gold-plated reputation, it has been welcoming the rich and the famous since it opened its heavy doors almost a century ago: aristocrats and actresses, high-flyers and heiresses – exactly the social echelon that the uprising of the sans culottes was supposed to do away with in the creation of a France of liberté, egalité and fraternité. Revolution? What Revolution? Named after the Count of Bristol, a British nobleman with a liking for travel and luxury, Le Bristol lies just over a mile from the scene of much of the Revolution’s bloodshed – the Place de la Concorde. But the corner of the city it calls home has changed somewhat since the Bastille was stormed. The hotel perches midway along the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré – the gilded avenue that slices east to west through the overtly posh 8th arrondissement of the
Alongside it, the hotel’s main summer eatery – titled, with a certain obviousness of touch, ‘Epicure’ – projects an air of sophistication that comes as standard in culinary hotspots that boast three Michelin stars. As indeed, this one does, having earned that third, crucial award last year. Even outside meal times, its calm interior stages a practised pursuit of perfection. As I sip a glass of wine in the garden, I watch the serving staff as they flit about, ironing crisp white linen directly onto the tables, so as to avoid the slightest chance of a crease. Of course, all this sweeping style does not come cheap. A double room at Le Bristol will leave you with little change from £910. Small beer to many of its regular guests, perhaps, but a considerable sum for anyone who fancies a one-night-only insight into how the other
half lives. Is it really worth the money? And what do you get for your heavy outlay? In the room, the carpet is soft underfoot, the bed vast and comfy. The large windows gaze down upon the garden square below, and flood the room with light. The ensuite bathroom offers marble as cool and pale as in the reception area – and nice touches, such as the Anne Semonin toiletries crowded around the mirror. These little flourishes are part of the hotel’s charm. A short way down another corridor, a classic iron lift, born in 1945, moves between the floors – its clanking progress and pull-across grill door redolent of a more glamorous age of travel. In the hotel’s ‘other’ restaurant, Le 114 Faubourg was awarded a Michelin star in 2012 bringing the hotel up to 4 stars more then any other hotel in Europe, (christened in honour of its address, at the foot of the new west wing), the Hot And Cold-Style Beef Fillet (€45) comes with succulent blobs of bone marrow, perched atop the potatoes. And the wine list features a slot where Marco Pelletier, the head waiter, highlights independently grown French wines each month. In my case, I plump for the 2008 Pinot Noir Domaine Albert Mann – an interesting, peppery red from the Alsace region, which manages to be reasonable value, even at €9 per glass. The view from the veranda behind – across the rooftops to the nearby church of Saint Augustin, with its epic dome, and to the no-less dramatic Sacre Coeur, brooding on its hilltop – is glorious. But for the best part of £600, you might be entitled to ask for more. Double rooms at Hotel Le Bristol (112 rue du faubourg saint-Honoré, 00331-53-43-43-00, www.lebristolparis.com) start from €950 (£910) per night.
Review Jan/Jun 2015
Review: The 5* Shangri La Hotel - Paris By Marcel De Kraut Considerations on the location, the decor and the Eiffel Tower views of the Shangri-La Hotel in Paris, a 5-star hotel in the 16th arrondissement, including tea in the lounge, a drink at the bar and dinner in one of its three restaurants. LOCATION The choice of a long-ignored block of Paris’s 16th arrondissement for the Shangri-La Hotel was considered questionable well before the 5-star establishment opened in December 2010. Respectably askew from the glitter of the city’s Golden Triangle, this part of Avenue Iéna is considered by some to be a kind of no-man’s land bordered by lesser known museums. But it is indeed a worthy location. True, there are no LVMH storefronts across the street— instead, there’s the breathtaking permanent collection of Asian art at the Guimet Museum nearby. And there are no colorful Paris macaroons in bakery shop windows in the neighborhood—instead, on Wednesday and Saturday mornings one of the capital’s most appealing outdoor produce and flower market unfurls around the corner on Avenue du Président Wilson. I would understand better if people argued that it was difficult to get a taxi in the immediate area on a rainy day. I imagine it is. Then again, taxis are hard to come by in any neighborhood in Paris on a rainy day. The Shangri-La may not be central to the Golden Triangle, but a great hotel is capable of being the center of its own universe. This hotel is still developing and at this writing has yet to prove such greatness, at least not to me, but it does have a quiet grandness. Besides, the location of choice in the City of Light isn’t a street or an arrondissement but Paris itself. Anyway, the location is Paris enough that I heard a generous amount of well-spoken French in the tea room/lounge while having a cup of Pu’er chrysanthemum tea. I’ve no special affection for flowery teas, but while waiting for an appointment in the hotel lounge with a cup and a pot of it in front of me, I realized
that it didn’t matter how central the hotel was because I was the one who was centered. DéCOr The building at the heart of the Shangri-La, the former Palais Iéna, was built 1892-1896 as the home of Roland Bonaparte (18581924), Napoleon Bonaparte’s grandnephew. Shangri-La is an Asian chain (this is their first European venture) yet it has largely maintained the original patrician Parisian spirit of the ground-floor public rooms. They were and remain an ode to the marriage of aristocracy and industrial achievement. The hotel’s public spaces successfully play the Parisian parlor game of showing class through restraint. Shangri-La has not set out here to offer Parisians an Asian touch but to offer a Parisian home to travelers who may well have already been to Asia. Nevertheless, the welcome tea in the rooms, the Ming-inspired vases by the entrance, the veneers, the occasional silk vest (an awkward touch, sorry to say, on otherwise Paris service folk) and some coy feminine nods let us know that the Shangri-La chain is indeed based in Hong Kong. There’s a stolid luxury here of revisited early 19th-century themes of straight lines, dark wood, marble, bronze, gilt. The beautiful wallpaper and wall fabrics made me want to caress the walls in the corridors and in the bedrooms. The high-class amenities and gadgetry (e.g. TV integrated into the mirror) are all present as in any recent hotel of this standing. The décor edges towards clarity and minimalism rather than showiness. I can understand why some say that Pierre-Yves Rochon’s contemporary Empire décor lacks fantasy, though what appeals to me here is precisely that discretion. Several more ornate reception rooms exist at the Shangri-La for private events, otherwise the décor, like the location, doesn’t scream “Destination for stars, sheiks and fashion victims.”
In avoiding the touches of frou-frou that are sometimes merely intended to show that a hotel is as cool and contemporary as its would-be clients, Shangri-La may have erred on the side of caution. However, I do think of the decor as generally graceful. And in three visits to (not nights in) the Shangri-La I’ve yet to see much in the way of the zoo of fashionistas and vulgarity that can inhabit some of Paris’s finest hotels. That’s a good sign. EIffEL TOwEr VIEws More than half of the 81 rooms and suites have a direct view of the Eiffel Tower and the Seine, including magnificent terraces with several of the untouchable suites and some balconies with more standard rooms. The Eiffel Tower view from two of the most precious suites has already made the rounds of the magazines favored by those who can almost afford to stay there. Interestingly, the hotel’s most expensive suite, the nearly 3000-sq.-ft. Imperial Suite, whose posted rate is 18000€ per night, does not have an Eiffel Tower view. That’s because that suite is a part of Roland Bonaparte’s original private mansion, and Eiffel’s Tower, completed several years before the mansion was built, held little favor with the upper class at the turn of the century. BAr AND rEsTAurANTs The Shangri-La Hotel has three restaurants: the intimate and formal L’Abeille (The Bee), named for a symbol of the Bonaparte family, the polished La Bauhinia, named for the flower on the flag of Hong Kong, serving French cuisine along with select Asian dishes, and Shang Palace, serving gourmet Cantonese cuisine. A “well-being space,” including a swimming pool, is due to open later this year for the exclusive use of hotel guests.
shangri-La Hotel, 10 avenue d’Iéna, 16th arrondissement. Tel. 01 53 67 19 91. room rates begin at 750€ (over $1000) per night. i-MAGAZINE 153
How to reduce your Inheritance Tax liability By Carol Cheesman The thought of paying Inheritance Tax (IHT) can leave you feeling resentful. After all, it’s likely that some of your hard-earned assets can’t be passed to your loved ones without a huge chunk of it being taken by HM revenue & Customs (HMrC). However there are ways to minimise IHT – and it’s best to consider these sooner rather than later, if you want to make the most of them. The IHT threshold is currently £325,000, and will remain at this figure until 2015. If you leave behind anything worth more than this, the tax will be charged at 40% on anything extra. Generally speaking, if you are UK domiciled then you will be liable to IHT on all your assets, wherever they are in the world. If you are domiciled in another country, then you are only liable for IHT on your UK assets. So what does domiciled mean? You acquire your domicile at birth, and it is usually that of your father. So for example, if your father was UK domiciled but worked in Spain and you were born in Spain, your domicile would not be Spain, but the UK. You can, however, acquire a ‘deemed domiciled’ status – which means you will be liable for IHT – if: •
You were domiciled in the UK within the three years immediately before a transfer of assets, or
You were resident in the UK in at least 17 of the 20 tax years ending with the year in which you make a transfer.
Before you work out how to reduce your IHT bill, you need to understand what you have. Start by adding up all your assets, which include but are not limited to, properties, savings, investments, personal equity plans, ISAs, personal possessions and shares.
Deduct any debts off your total and if what is left is more than £325,000 (or more than £650,000 for a married couple) then you will be liable for IHT. So how can you reduce the amount of tax you pay on this? 1. Get married Anything you leave to your spouse is free of IHT. This is also true for those in Civil Partnerships. When you die, your tax-free IHT allowance of £325,000 can be transferred to your spouse meaning that they not only benefit from their own tax-free allowance, but yours as well. This means they can have a total tax-free allowance of £650,000. Example: Mr and Mrs Smith have assets worth £800,000 between them. Let’s say Mr Smith dies first, and leaves £200,000 to their children. The remaining £125,000 of his nil-rate allowance will pass on to Mrs Smith, leaving her with an IHT allowance of £450,000. When she passes away, with assets of £600,000, she’ll owe 40% on everything above £450k, meaning £60,000 (40% of £150,000) will be payable in tax, leaving all the rest (£540,000) to the children. It is important to note that unmarried couples do not have the same advantage when it comes to leaving assets to one another. If you own your home jointly but you are not married then your partner could be liable for a IHT bill just to continue living in the property. 2. spend it It’s your money and you can’t take it with you. Booking a trip around the world or a couple of nights in Dubai’s Burj Al Arab hotel might not be a bad idea after all!
3. Gift it The simplest way of avoiding or reducing the IHT bill on your estate is by gifting it away while you are still alive. Your Annual Exemption for gifts is £3,000 and you can carry forward any unused part of this to the following tax year. Wedding gifts from parents can be up to £5,000 tax-free, £2,500 from grandparents and £2,500 from ancestors or parties of the wedding. Anyone else can give wedding gifts of up to £1,000 tax free. You can also give gifts of up to £250 a year to as many individuals as you like. Most gifts will be tax-free providing you survive for seven years after giving the gift. These are known as Potentially Exempt Transfers (PET). If you want to gift away a property for example, it is subject to the seven-year rule. If you die before seven years is up, then IHT could arise. However, if you continue to live in the property, even after giving it away, it becomes a ‘gift with reservation’ meaning that you still benefit from it and subsequently IHT is applicable. A Lifetime Chargeable Transfer (LCT) on the other hand is usually created when a gift is made into a trust. Such transfers are subject to IHT immediately upon making the gift but at a reduced rate of 20%. If the donor dies within seven years of making the gift, then tax at the usual 40% will be due. Gifts as part of your ‘normal expenditure’ are also exempt from tax provided they do not compromise your standard of living and they come out of say, your current account rather than from savings or capital. About Carol Cheesman Carol Cheesman is Principal of Cheesmans Accountants based in Islington, London. Always client focused, Carol regularly meets with clients in person and has a hands-on approach in all of the services the firm offers. www.cheesman.co.uk
comment Jan/Jun 2015
Lord Browne of Madingley Former CEO of BP and author of The Glass Closet: Why Coming Out Is Good Business, discusses the role that straight people must play in creating an inclusive working environment Over the course of my career at BP, from trainee to chief executive, I was frequently asked whether I had a girlfriend or whether I was married. People assumed that I was a bachelor who had not yet met the right woman. It was a fair assumption, for an obvious reason: Most people are straight. But for those who remain in the closet, the unthinking assumption of heterosexuality can be highly damaging. It reinforces their feeling that being gay is something out of the ordinary, something that would put them at a disadvantage in their personal and professional lives, and something that is probably best kept hidden. The assumption of heterosexuality is one of the reasons that many people in business and in other sectors continue to lead hidden lives. I spent 18 months conducting interviews for my book, The Glass Closet: Why Coming Out Is Good Business, about the risks and rewards of coming out in business. I often asked myself whether I was writing a book about a problem-which had already been solved. But I encountered men and women who, despite living in an age of diversity targets, LGBT corporate networks and equal marriage, are still afraid of the consequences of coming out. That takes a personal toll on them, as they suppress part of their identity and devote mental energy to managing a double life. But it also takes a huge toll on their businesses, which suffer when employees are preoccupied by something other than their work. Peter Sands, the CEO of Standard Chartered, told me that he worries about the hidden costs of hidden lives. He is right to worry. People are happier, more productive, and make more money for their company when they can be themselves. Through four decades at BP, I kept my private life separate from my business life. As a young professional in the oil industry, my career was going in the right direction, and I saw absolutely no purpose in coming out. The corporate ladder was slippery enough on its own, without complicating things by throwing
oil on the rungs. By the time I was chief executive, I was worried that any disclosure would damage critical business relationships, particularly those in the Middle East. In countries where homosexuality is illegal, my public profile probably would have protected me, but my sexuality could have had unknown and unlimited consequences on BP’s businesses. Looking back now, and with the enormous benefit of hindsight, I wish I had been brave enough to come out earlier. The reactions of friends and colleagues have shown that my worst fears would not have come true. But my desire to keep my private life led me to make some terrible errors of personal judgement, and I had no choice but to resign from the company that had structured my entire professional life. I was not a victim, and I made some bad choices that had traumatic consequences. It is the responsibility of the LGBT minority to overcome their fears. Only they can decide to live a unified private and public life. But only straight people can create the environment of acceptance, understanding and inclusion, which makes that decision easier. In my experience, and based on the evidence I gathered while writing The Glass Closet, there are three things which the straight majority can do to transform the lives of the LGBT minority. The first is for straight leaders to set a clear direction from the top. Businesses must proactively make LGBT inclusion part of the agenda of leaders, rather than delegating it to the human resources department or to a company network. Chief executives who take LGBT inclusion seriously should dedicate a fixed proportion of their time to it, and ensure that positive messages are accompanied by meaningful changes in policies, rather than processes which can be ignored. An inclusive working environment has been shown to improve an organisation’s bottom line by up to 30 per cent. As I progressed through the ranks at BP, it would have been odd for a chief executive to devote resources to LGBT inclusion. Today,
it is increasingly noticeable when they do not. The second thing that the straight majority can do is create and participate in programmes which encourage straight employees to give their support for LGBT inclusion. Corporate LGBT networks too rarely have meaningful support from straight people, which means they are unlikely to have an impact. They are most effective when they make a conscious effort to stamp out ‘micro-inequalities,’ such as the assumption that every man is married to a woman, or the practice of not asking gay people about their partners in case it makes them feel uncomfortable. Small changes in behaviour can an enormous signal to someone grappling with a hidden life. Finally, straight business leaders must identify and celebrate LGBT role models. Company policies and behavioural change can create the right space for people to come out, but role models prove that it is possible and worthwhile. If closeted employees can identify with someone who has been through the closet door and succeeded, then they are more likely to let go of the fears-which hold them back. At BP, I did not have an openly gay role model, nor did I have the advantage of looking to another chief executive for precedent. Without a gay role model, I failed to be one for others. Heterosexual leaders have a commercial, strategic and human responsibility to take these steps. Implemented uniformly and consistently, they can create the inclusive environment which enables employees to be themselves at work. But individuals must then take their careers into their own hands. While writing The Glass Closet, I came across examples of LGBT people who have taken a risk, gone against the advice of colleagues, or shown immense courage in order to make a difference. I have told their stories so that they can be shared, celebrated and emulated, in the hope that they inspire others to do the same.
motor Jan/Jun 2015
Bugatti Veyron The well-thumbed road-tester’s dictionary of superlatives has been consigned to the bin and the world seems a far slower place after a few hours in the world’s fastest production road car.
reprofiled after wind tunnel tests. Unseen, but important considering the mighty torque lurking within, the gearbox oil cooler has been moved farther into the airflow for better cooling.
No mere fast, brash supercar, the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport has been created expressly to be the GT par excellence. A lot of Veyron owners apparently think the best part of 1,000bhp isn’t enough, so the Super Sport has been created to fill the niche.
Inside, the most obvious change is a new steering wheel covered in what looks and feels like Alcantara but is in fact a special faderesistant leather. The gearlever is also new, as are a smattering of carbon-fibre details and optional black anodised air vents.
It is a development of the Veyron launched in 2005, with extensive modifications to unleash even more power while retaining the original car’s poise and driveability. Volkswagen acquired the rights to the Bugatti name in 1998 and, under the direction of then-boss Dr Ferdinand Piëch, set about producing an ultra-high performance car with at least 1,000 horsepower and a top speed beyond 400kph (249mph). The result was the Veyron 16.4, with a W16 quad-turbo engine producing 987bhp (1,001PS) and 922lb ft of torque – good for 0-62mph in 2.5sec and a top speed of 253mph. It was limited to 300 units, including variants such as the Grand Sport cabriolet... and now this.
The horseshoe-shaped centre console echoes the traditional Bugatti grille, with air vents around the outside. Exquisite stitching and leather are simple yet stunning to behold. The seats are thin but really supportive, the whole interior achieving the difficult trick of being unfussy yet opulent.
Obviously, the Super Sport had to have more power. The engine is essentially the same apart from reduced internal resistance, but bigger turbochargers (four of them, remember) and Naca ducts in the roof (to feed more air to the intercoolers) hike power to 1,200PS (1,183bhp).
The attention to detail is beguiling – and shows where the money goes. It’s vulgar to talk of money, of course, but you should know that a Veyron Super Sport is priced from £1.45m to £1.62m. The five carbon and orange cars celebrating the production car speed record went for £1.72m apiece. Attention to detail is also evident in the engine bay, although you can’t see much (it’s a bodywork-off job to do any routine maintenance, other than check the oil and coolant levels).
Bugatti engineer Dr Oliver Schauerte outlined the other changes from the “standard” Veyron. The front has been revised with extra grilles to assist breathing and improve brake cooling. The brake discs are unchanged, but the Super Sport has racing-grade pads.
No test of a performance car is complete without reference to an array of impressive numbers: 16 cylinders; 7,993cc; 1,183bhp; 1,106lb ft; 415kph (258mph) – limited to protect the tyres; 0-62mph in 2.5sec; 0-124mph (200kph) in 6.7sec; 0-186mph (300kph) in 14.6sec; standing quarter mile in 9.7sec and a mile in 23.6sec; 365mm wide tyres; three suspension modes (standard, handling and top speed). And more.
More significant are changes to the chassis, chiefly a stiffer monocoque thanks to a stronger – and more expensive, naturally – weave of carbon-fibre. Revised spring rates and new dampers, which react more quickly to help keep the tyres in contact with the road under extremes of acceleration and braking, also feature.
As ever, performance comes at a price. How about a fuel economy of 7.59mpg in town, which improves to 18.9mpg on the EU Extra-Urban cycle? Then there are the bespoke Michelin tyres. When new they only have 5mm of tread and can thus easily be destroyed in next to no time, despite the four-wheel drive.
At the rear, there’s a larger twin exhaust outlet in the centre – mainly design-led, according to Schauerte. A double diffuser under the bodywork harmonises the airflow from beneath the car and produces downforce, while the trailing edge of the bodywork was
My chaperone was Bugatti test driver Pierre-Henri Raphanel, who set the official world production car speed record in July. For some reason, he never lets the car out of his sight. He also stresses that it’s categorically not a track-day car for the super-super-rich.
Image courtesy of BugattiÂŠ.
culture Jan/Jun 2015
Slavoj Žižek Henry Hopwood-Phillips examines one of today’s most lionized Leftists;
Born in 1949 to an economist and an accountant in Ljubljana, slovenia, slavoj Žižek is a cultural critic renowned for his innovative interpretations of the psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan. Žižek is quite possibly the closest thing the 21st century has to a living philosopher. Although an academic at several universities (including Ljubljana, Columbia, Princeton, New York and Michigan) the professor is far from fusty. The Slovenian’s work is full of humour and contains a blatant disregard for the distinctions conventionally made between high and low forms of culture. Terry Eagleton’s description perhaps hits on the professor’s unique qualities: “There are two jokes in particular that are, so to speak, on the Žižekian reader. The first…Žižek looks like a fun read, and in many respects is so; but he is also an exceptionally strenuous thinker reared in the high traditions of European philosophy. The second is that Žižek is not a postmodernist at all. In fact, he is virulently hostile to that whole current of thought… If he steals some of the postmodernists’ clothes, he has little but contempt for their multiculturalism, anti-universalism, theoretical dandyism and modish obsession with culture.” Žižek steals postmodern clothes, including, if one wanted to be cruel, postmodern language – academese. Make no bones about it – it is often hard work deciphering him. However, his work can be summarised as an extended critique of the West’s current liberal and globalist ideology, which is so embedded in our consciousness that it has become almost second nature. The ideology has in fact become the system. He says, “Ideology is strong exactly because it is no longer experienced as ideology… we feel free because we lack the very language to articulate our unfreedom.”
Žižek reminds us that in an age when we are encouraged to believe we are freer than any other, “Madness is not only the beggar believing himself to be a King. He is the King who really believes himself to be a King.” The current ideology is remarkably successful because it sells itself as an anti-ideology, in the same way a folk singer might adopt an anti-capitalist avatar to fulfill a market niche. It proposes no concrete positive project but rather its logic slowly shuts down the alternatives. The body politic facilitates this process by resisting political ‘extremes’, encouraging managerialism, and adopting a victimist narrative that cushions actors from their actions, arrests responsibility and incentivises stability. All values which are not already embedded in the system’s logic are dismissed alternately as quixotic or millenarian, naive or futile. Even its most serious historical opposition, Marxism, has been neutered. In such circumstances Žižek laments how the left has been “caught with its pants down”, failing to offer either a genuine alternative or even a proper critique. Even investigative journalism of a leftist bent rarely offers anything more adventurous than a “bourgeois heroism”: exposing inefficient practices such as corruption or criticising disproportionate rewards. Politics barely survives this political vacuum. It is reduced to the residue that remains when values are subtracted from life, its highest end relegated to little more than the coordination of interests. Žižek violently disagrees with this therapeutic belief-system. In this post-political age, he argues that we are “desubjectivized” in the name of liberation without being offered new values or foci for allegiance. This is the plea of many who are grasping for an identity in a market place which offers rootless, disposable, superficial and flattened modes of being.
The global order is sustained less by explicit censorship than by restriction of scope. It is not what is proscribed but what is not acknowledged that matters. Immigration is a brilliant example. Žižek describes liberal multiculturalism as “barbarism with a human face”. Authentic difference is translated through a series of legal fictions into matters of sterile indifference. Prohibition is prohibited so that actual otherness is either illegal or personalised to the point of public irrelevance so that, with a paradoxical brilliance, the more tolerant a society becomes the more homogenous it becomes. Anxiety, identity and boredom replace fortitude, pride and being. “Respect” and “difference” become articles of faith, holy particulars forming misguided substitutes for the ideas of commonality that used to constitute the locus for Man’s liberation. The global order is dependent on capitalism, which is now fleeing from its earlier liberalizing manifestations. International capital undermines national democracy and it is the latter which is jettisoned – as we are presently witnessing in Greece. Peoples, once valued as peoples using the market to fulfil themselves, are reduced to components used by markets to fulfil capabilities. Yet the market is inherently unbalanced. Like a car spinning its wheels in a ditch, we remain stuck in “turbo paralysis” (1): a permanent emergency mode. The ruling classes have drifted from being direct owners of capital to being its detached managers who ‘do time’ for companies that can provide dividends to shareholders almost on autopilot, in return for astronomic remuneration irrespective of their performance.
books Jan/Jun 2015
in association with
COTTER ON INVESTING
CAN COALITIONS WORK - A HISTORY
INVESTING FOR THE AVERAGE MAN
By Mark Oaten
As we are now under a heavy cutting coalition between the Lib Dems and Conservatives, our political protagonists can learn much from the politics and personalities of the past. Mark Oaten’s story of coalition government begins in the 1850s, with Disraeli fighting for his political life and Queen Victoria’s battle to find a Prime Minister from the Whigs and Peelites driving her to despair. At the start of the following century, the First World War threw Lloyd George into the limelight but nearly killed the Liberal party; Ramsey MacDonald’s coalition in the 1930s saw him become leader without his party, who many felt he had betrayed, and Churchill’s Great War coalition helped bring victory at war but not in peace. Decades later, two generations and parties came together with David Steel and Jim Callaghan forming the Lib-Lab pact, something Blair and Ashdown’s “project” never managed to emulate. North of the border, a deal did come off, resulting in Scotland being run by coalition government for 8 years. Throughout Europe, coalitions are the norm but recent political events in Italy and Germany have been far from normal. All these lessons from history are drawn together by Mark Oaten as he looks forward to the next election and reflects on whether hung parliaments and coalitions can ever work.
THE ZULU PRINCIPLE By Mark Oaten
By John Cotter
This book is written for people who want to make their own investment decisions, either now or in the future, in full or in part. John Cotter has worked in the investment business for nearly 40 years and one of the main reasons for writing this book is that even now, 40 years on, he often does not understand many of the investment reports and papers that are put in front of him written by experts. He is not questioning their knowledge or expertise just their ability to communicate it in terms the average person can understand. The only people, who can understand, by their very understanding, confirm they were already well informed in the first place! This book covers all the areas that the average stock market investor should consider. The stock market can be a dangerous place and the risk involved can put people off the whole concept of stock investing. It shouldn’t. Successful investors are those who manage risk and use mechanisms that reduce it to a level they are comfortable with. A life without risk is a life without reward. The stock market is an area that is only rewarding in financial terms, but when the investor takes control of his or her own money it can be fun, interesting and immensely satisfying. Throughout the author gives his own opinions not only on the different investment vehicles you can use but also on the ways in which you can improve your performance as a “self directed investor”.
THE LANDLORDS HANBOOK By Leon Hopkins
THE HOW AND WHAT! From this book, readers will learn when to buy shares and, even more importantly, when to sell. Other aspects of investment are covered - such as creative accounting, portfolio management, overseas markets and the investor’s relationship with their broker. This book is designed to help readers make extraordinary profits from ordinary shares.
EVERYTHING A LANDLORD SHOULD KNOW To be successful landlords must grapple with finance, tax and business decisions, with human relationships, and with a mountain of rules and regulations that have become increasingly demanding. ‘A Concise Guide to Being a Landlord’ provides a succinct guide to dealing with all of these demands - with sections dealing with issues ranging from finance to
books Jan/Jun 2015
licensing, gas safety to tenancy agreements, finding suitable tenants to taxation. Drawing on the experience of thousands of landlords, this guide cites a host of examples of both what works and what doesn’t, with pointers to common mistakes and miscalculations. Landlords are reminded of what the law requires, and the penalties for failure to comply, and the business decisions that face them. But above all, the guide sets out the ingredients for successful investment in the buy to let market.
CHOOSE YOUR WEAPONS By Douglas Hurd
A BOOK FROM A FORMER FOREIGN SECRETARY When writing his magnificent life of Robert Peel, Douglas Hurd found himself caught up again in a debate that has always fascinated him - the argument between the noisy popular liberal interventionist approach and the more conservative diplomatic approach concentrating on co-operation between other nations. The argument has run for two centuries - and is at the heart of heated discussion on both sides of the Atlantic today. Hurd concentrates on personalities and circumstances. He begins with the dramatic antagonism after Waterloo between Canning (liberal, populist, interventionist) and Castlereagh (institutions, compromise, real politics) - the last occasion on which ministerial colleagues fought a duel. A generation later comes Palmerston vs. Aberdeen, from which Palmerston, the noisy interventionist, emerged the victor. Salisbury and then Edward Grey wrestled with the same dilemma in the context of imperialism (Salisbury) and the European balance of power (Grey). Finally Eden and Bevin, from wholly different backgrounds, combined with the Americans to create a post-war compromise, which served its purpose for half a century, but is coming apart today as the old questions resurface in new and savage forms in an era of terrorism and racial conflict. investor alive - the only member of the Forbes 400 to have earned his fortune entirely through investing.
LIES, DAMNED LIES AND IRAQ
Middle East. With a valued western ally, and Israel, in tow, a pre-emptive strike is launched on the basis of a false prospectus. The whole adventure falls apart when the truth becomes apparent. After a short interval, the Prime Minister resigns, and his Chancellor steps up to take his place. This is not a reference to Tony Blair, but to the calamity, which Sir Anthony Eden brought upon himself at Suez. Substitute America for France, and there is certainly a sense of deja vu about the Iraq debacle. There were, of course, voices in government - particularly amongst the Foreign Office Arabists - who could see the dangers facing both the Blair and Eden governments as they rushed into the military and political mire that is the Middle East. But headstrong leaders are able to force their way through the advice offered them, and through the constitutional checks and balances, which offer restraint against the temptations of impetuosity. Sometimes, when obduracy meets reality, moderation is the outcome. On other occasions, self-delusion is the order of the day. It is a short step from deluding oneself to trying to delude others. This book is an attempt to find a way through that delusion, through the smoke and mirrors of spin and propaganda. The objective is to show - using the words of the principal participants - just how the case for war was misrepresented. Let those who embarked on this illegal and immoral war be condemned from their own mouths
THE CEO’s Strategy Handbook By Stuart Cross
HOW TO CREATE AND SUSTAIN PROFITABLE GROWTH The economy is facing turbulent times and all businesses are affected. So why do some continue to thrive while others struggle to survive? Why for example is Apple delivering record growth when, at the same time, HP and Nokia are both having to undergo fundamental restructuring? And why in the UK has BSkyB continued to grow in such difficult market conditions when other TV companies, such as ITV, have struggled so much? The answer is simple - strategy! The CEO’s Strategy Handbook is a practical guide to help CEO’s and senior executives smash through the myth that strategy is difficult and complicated. It is a tool to help companies find new ways to drive substantial, profitable growth. With the economic recovery still stumbling forward, this book is a well-timed initiative for those CEOs who want to act differently, grow their business and lead from the front.
By Peter Kilfoyle
THE MISREPRESENTATION OF WAR
Stuart Cross has helped many blue chip companies to develop and deliver high-growth strategies including Boots, DFS, Avon Cosmetics and Morrison’s.
A charismatic, public school educated Prime Minister from County Durham takes the country to war in the
Book Review Part II i-magazine-paginated-23-12-2014.indd 164
Baroness Shirley Williams During a discussion marking the death of Margaret Thatcher in April 2012, the journalist and broadcaster Andrew Neil turned to shirley williams, the Liberal Democrat peer and former Labour Cabinet minister, and asked her why Thatcher had beaten her in the race to become Britain’s first female prime minister. It was a pertinent question because for many years shirley had been everybody’s favourite to gain that particular accolade. Five years the younger of the two, Shirley’s early years were gilded in comparison. Born in 1930 to eminent parents, especially her mother, the writer Vera Brittain, and given every opportunity to shine, Shirley not only inherited her parents’ restless ambition but also their intelligence, winning a scholarship to Oxford aged seventeen. Going up to Somerville College in 1948, she immediately turned heads with her magnetic personality and all-round brilliance. Actress, journalist and esteemed public speaker with her marvellously husky voice, she became the first female chairman of the University Labour Club, convincing many of her contemporaries including Robin Day, later the renowned political broadcaster, that she was destined for Downing Street. Ten years trying to enter Parliament while Labour languished in opposition in no sense silenced her supporters, for less than eighteen months after her election in 1964, she had climbed the first rungs of the ministerial ladder. A year later she was promoted to Minister of State for Education, enabling her to help usher in comprehensive education, Labour’s big idea at that time, and one which she passionately supported, before helping to quell the student unrest of 1968-69 with some judicious reforms. In a government which generally disappointed, she emerged as one of Labour’s rising hopes, a point noted by The Times during the 1970 election when it singled her out as a potential prime minister in the making. Had Labour gained re-election, Shirley would almost certainly have won promotion to the Cabinet. Instead she was elected to the Shadow Cabinet and the National Executive
Committee, Labour’s main policy-making body, at a time when the party was seriously divided over the Common Market and left-wing extremism. In this context her credentials as an ardent pro-European moderate- she was one of 69 Labour MPs to defy the party whip by supporting the Heath government’s application to join the Common Market- were slightly tarnished, so that by the time Labour returned to government in 1974, she had lost some ground in the Cabinet pecking order. Compelled to accept the new department of Prices and Consumer Protection in an age of mass inflation - she called it a ‘bed of nails’ -there was little she could do aid shoppers and consumers from rocketing prices. A truer test of her ability would come at Education between 1976-79. A national outcry against the deficiencies of comprehensive education, real or imaginary, had persuaded the new Prime Minister, Jim Callaghan, to call for a great debate on education and a restoration of standards in the classroom. He looked to Shirley to deliver a programme of far-reaching reform, but up against the vested interests of the local authorities and teaching unions she was unable to make much headway. It is true that the Government’s minority status in the Commons and economic retrenchment did little to help her cause, but, equally, to her detriment was her tendency to procrastinate. According to David Owen, the Foreign Secretary 1977-79, she wasn’t at ease with responsibility and decisionmaking, while to Bill Rodgers, a friend from Oxford days and co-founder of the SDP, her brilliance as a public performer couldn’t mask her shortcomings; taking responsibility, managing a team, taking a risk and being unpopular. By the time Shirley had moved to Education Thatcher had become leader of the Opposition. Although a competent Education Secretary in the Heath 1970-74 government, she seemed very much Shirley’s inferior lacking her charm, imagination and magnetic powers as a speaker, but compensated with her dogged determination and raw courage. Fully alive to the importance of a leader’s image, especially a female one, in a mass media age, she modernised her wardrobe, lowered her voice and
books Jan/Jun 2015
projected the image of a meritocratic housewife, despite being married to a millionaire. Such cosmetic tinkering was anathema to Shirley, but now in comparison with Thatcher, the crumpled dresses, dishevelled appearance and chronic lack of punctuality told of a disorganised lifestyle inappropriate for political leadership. More important than the style was the substance. Although Shirley enjoyed the limelight, especially her countless media appearances at which she excelled and sitting on influential committees, she was much more ambivalent about being primus inter pares, let alone maximus optimus. Aside from the fear of an intrusive media prying into her personal life in the aftermath of her divorce to Bernard Williams, she lacked the inclination to get one over her rivals and make unpopular decisions , not least disciplining those dissenting from the party line. This may well have had something to do with her being a woman in a man’s world but such inhibitions never bothered Barbara Castle or Margaret Thatcher. Had she really gone all out for the deputy leadership of the Labour Party in October 1976 against the left-winger Michael Foot she very probably would have won and the party might well have been spared some of the travails it endured over the next two decades. Shirley fought gallantly against the inexorable left-wing tide but found herself increasingly isolated and left Labour in 1981 to co-found the SDP. As Britain grappled with the savage recession of the early 1980s her consensual approach seemed preferable to Thatcher’s hard-nosed monetarism, but while the latter was prepared to take tough decisions, not least sending the fleet to the Falklands, Shirley once again vacillated. Not only did she fail to stand in the Warrington by-election of July 1981 when all runes appeared favourable, she later, as MP for Crosby, refused to contest the SDP leadership despite many people’s favourite to win. Within a year she was out of Parliament never to return, an anti-climatic ending to a career which promised so much.
Andy Warhol By Adrian Townsend
Artists often act as soothsayers, fortunetellers, harbingers of the future and so it was that Andy warhol foretold our culture’s everyday obsession with celebrity. For we are all now living in the very era prophesied by his mantra: “In the future everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes,” an ideal embodied by Twitter, You Tube and Facebook. Warhol loved fame, notoriety, every crass aspect of mass media, his life was devoted to a self-professed esthetic of shallowness and surface glamor, his time devoted to tracking the lives of the rich and famous and constantly making art from it all. With his cable TV show, daily diaries, portrait films, endless Polaroid snaps of everyone and anyone, albeit everyone good-looking or well-known, Warhol was the absolute precursor of all social media, indeed that very term in itself might serve as perfect description of his own practice. Part of the reason why Warhol is so important and expensive today is precisely because he was the first artist to understand, enjoy and exploit contemporary fame, prophesying the way this pervasive visual gossip was going to eventually hijack the mainstream. When Warhol died in 1987, the full madness of our current celebrity mania hardly existed and yet this was exactly Warhol’s own taste and intention. In fact, the magazine he had established, Interview, was the most obvious direct parent to all the celebrity publications of today, with their emphasis on the deliberately ephemeral. For Warhol, as for every artist in history, the portrait was, obviously, central to the whole notion of fame, its representation being the thing in itself. From the era before painting the only antique busts that exist are of the most powerful and famous, whether Caesar or Plato. Likewise, before the arrival of photography it was only the famous or rich who could afford to have a painting of themselves, hence the snobbery of the family portrait, for if one of your ancestors was painted in the 18th century they obviously had to be of a certain status. And it did not take long for certain important portrait photographers to become established, who though relatively more democratic and affordable, were still reserved for the higher echelons of society.
Even in today’s culture, fame and its visual embodiment are inseparable. A quick search through Google images is perhaps the postmodern equivalent of a marble head of Socrates. Warhol was fascinated by two things: fame and the ‘image’; and the long and complex relationship between the two, throughout history and in his own “age of mechanical reproduction”. The strong relationship between Warhol’s iconic portraits and the icons of the Polish Catholic Church, where he spent long hours of his youth, is now well established, the iridescent gold-ground of his Marilyn coming directly from the gold of the Orthodox icons. But Warhol was also influenced by the tabloid image, the rougher and smudgier the better. He played with the different status and resonance of these representations, the slippage between the thing represented and its inky blur, the Byzantine saint and the Daily News front-page sinner. Warhol was always using images, collecting, collating, cutting them out from the passing media slipstream, but he was also always making images, taking photographs, shooting films, capturing his entourage and his acolytes. His portrait subjects were divided into several distinct categories; those of his close friends, those of attractive acquaintances he found appealing, those of very famous figures he never knew or met, such as Marilyn or Queen Elizabeth II, and the very rich who commissioned him to create their portraits. There were also as many media and techniques to his portraits as there were varying subjects, including line drawings, 16mm films, videos, Polaroid photographs, formal photographs, paintings, silkscreens, and every other sort of printmaking process, the one often being transmuted or adapted into another. Warhol took the portrait tradition and transformed it through mass media and mass production, jamming the hierarchies, juxtaposing the rare, the rich and the ordinary. His use of the silkscreen technique meant that all his later ‘paintings’ could just as well be considered ‘prints’, and the distinction between which works were made ‘by his hand’ and by his assistants, by his ‘factory’, equally ambiguous.
Portraits, of one sort or another, were among Warhol’s earliest work, his seventh print in the official catalog raisonné was of Liz Taylor back in 1964 and his last print-portrait was of Queen Elizabeth II, to be offered at Bonhams in July. This is part of a portfolio series punningly entitled ‘Reigning’ rather than ‘Raging’ Queens in 1985. These were four different images of four different queens, including Beatrix of the Netherlands, Margrethe of Denmark and, most dramatically, Ntombi of Swaziland. As always with Warhol, his intention is slippery, somewhere between a wink of complicity and a bow of reverence, leaving it uncertain whether he is making images of these queens because he respects them, loves the idea of their regal power, just likes the way they look, or realizes that they’ll be snapped up by their loyal subjects. By contrast, we know well why Warhol’s portrait of Kimiko Powers exists; because he knew her and she paid him to create it, part of the long traditional bond of artist-collector commissions. Powers was, as her name deliciously implies, a powerful figure in the world of both traditional Japanese and contemporary art, having assembled major collections in each field. Along with her husband, John Powers, she was one of the earliest and most influential supporters of Pop Art. Warhol was a good friend of the couple and obviously happy to ‘immortalize’ Kimiko, creating a flattering and instantly elegant image, based on a series of Polaroids and cleverly playing with the contrasts between flesh tones and background, reversing the yellow and pink of her features. Warhol was, of course, a commercial artist working in design, fashion and advertising for many years before he crossed over into the world of fine art. His importance remains in having blurred the distinctions between the two, transforming a disadvantage to an advantage. And it is in his portraits above all that Warhol combined these two esthetic domains, deploying all his graphic skill, his eye for engaging line and color, his ‘creative director’ talents to make images that would not only appeal to his immediate clients, but also to absolute strangers in the years to come. For as he put it just before his premature demise, “Isn’t life a series of images that change as they repeat themselves?” Adrian Townsend is an art critic and writer. i-MAGAZINE 167
Robert De Niro i-magazine-paginated-23-12-2014.indd 169
i-MAGAZINE interviews the legendary actor robert De Niro
Do you feel pressure to be a wise godfather figure to all these younger actors who look up to you?
I don’t feel pressure. I like if anybody has interest in what I have to say, especially if they’re younger. If they like me, respect me, I’m honoured and I’ll give them my opinion.
You made eight films with Martin scorsese, starting with Mean streets in 1973, but you haven’t worked together since Casino in 1995. Is a reunion likely?
Oh yeah, we’re working on something now. It’s called I Heard You Paint Houses. We’ve been trying to get it going for a couple of years and now we’re just trying to set a time. It’s about a guy called Frank Sheeran who was in the Teamsters [a US union] and claimed to have killed Jimmy Hoffa [the controversial union leader who disappeared in 1975. It’s based on a book by Charles Brandt who was Sheeran’s lawyer. I’d play Frank Sheeran and Pacino would play Hoffa. Joe Pesci would be in it too.
when you were starting out, which actors did you look up to??
James Dean, Montgomery Clift, Marlon Brando, Geraldine Page, Kim Stanley, Greta Garbo.
And what about now? which actors from younger generations inspire you?
The actors I respect are Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio, Daniel Day-Lewis is a wonderful actor. Jennifer Lawrence (De Niro’s co-star in Silver Linings Playbook) is wonderful. She’s got a great energy.
You’re associated with some of the most memorable dialogue in cinema. Are you plagued by people saying: “You talkin’ to me?” when you walk down the street?
It happens rarely. When it happens, you laugh. People throw a line at you and they’re trying to be funny so I laugh. It’s OK.
Does acting still excite you as much as it did when you were starting out?
It’s different but it still has as much excitement. When you get older you have a different attitude about certain stuff. There are certain things that I might have been concerned about then that I’m less concerned about now. You realise that you don’t have to expend all that energy to get where you want to get. You relax and back off a little and you might actually get more of what you’re looking for with less effort.
If Obama could accomplish just one thing within the next two years, what should it be?.
He should do whatever he feels he has to do. He obviously doesn’t have to worry about being reelected so he should just stick to it. Whatever he does will be in the best interests of people because he’s a good person and his heart’s in the right place.
Are you happy to continue working at this rate or do you have plans to call it a day at some point?
Jeez, I don’t know. You see some actors saying they’re going to retire and then they come back again in two years. I would never say that because… I might not want to do something for a while and then something would come up and I’d get excited again.!
so there’s no point trying to determine the future?
Yeah, exactly. i-MAGAZINE 171
food Jan/Jun 2015
HAKKASAN Picture courtesy of Hakkasan Hakkasan, 17 Bruton Street Mayfair, London A cross between an edgy, black-suited nightclub and a moody restaurant, Hakkasan’s brand of glitzy, gilt-edged Chinese cooking still rocks the West End. Once you’ve descended into the darkness, the dining room immediately works its ‘electrifying’ magic with smouldering incense, seductive spot lighting and a throbbing soundtrack providing the backdrop to some turbocharged Cantonese flavours. Exquisitely presented dim-sum platters are a hard act to follow, but visitors are regularly blown away by the stunningly beautiful crispy duck salad with pomelo fruit, the silky roast silver cod with Champagne and Chinese honey, and the bank balance-sinking seared Wagyu beef with white asparagus. Drinks also add to the ‘genius of the place’: glamorous cocktails keep the slinky bar at fever pitch, while the wine list is a ground-breaking collection of classy bottles.
Buddha Bar Buddha Bar 145 Knightsbridge, London 0207 768 1295 Descended from the acclaimed nightspot chain founded in Paris, Buddha-Bar’s glitzy second coming in London promises a similar blend of high-life vibes, pulsing world music and fashionably westernised pan-Asian cuisine. Spread over two floors, the interiors fuse colonial, baroque and oriental influences, with Swarovski crystal dragons, a huge Buddha in bronze mesh and a construction of 207 small brass deities stretching up into the double-height ceiling. In the dark seductive bar, try a killer cocktail such as bubble wrap with red berries, rose cordial, elderflower, vodka and Champagne. or snack from a flexible roster of sushi and sashimi, soft-shell crab, foie-gras gyoza and miso-cured venison tataki.‘Firing on all cylinders’, trumpets a fan.
MARCUS at The Berkeley 57-59 Charterhouse Street Smithfield London EC1M 6HA 020 7336 6484 With a new 10-year contract at The Berkeley in the bag, Marcus Wareing has revamped and rebranded his flagship dining room as MARCUS, but don’t come here expecting a radical shake-up. Tables are still dressed with spotless linen and aristocratic wines are still expertly decanted – although the austere maroon colour scheme has given way to soft greens and chestnut browns, and (smart) staff have been instructed to adopt a more upbeat American attitude (with varying levels of conviction).
Marcus at the Berkeley
Menus have also been refreshed, so it’s now possible to have a couple of courses if you don’t fancy a tasting-menu blowout – though, as before, the food is about precision and playfulness, matching formidable technical prowess with bold Anglo-French flavours: deeply flavoured Anjou pigeon accompanied by a pair of deep-fried legs for handheld nibbling; a subtle riff on clean-tasting scallops with cauliflower and cucumber; a beautifully balanced dish involving sweetbreads, lettuce, pea and ham that looks set to become a classic; or a clever spin on warm chocolate with salted caramel ice cream. We’ve always been fans of Wareing’s achievements at The Berkeley and this reboot shows he is evolving with the times – although we’re not sure it’s actually an improvement on what went before. Sommelier’s Award 2013 – MARCUS has a classic selection but an exceptionally good one, sommelier Michael Deschamps has managed to put together an awesome range of wines without succumbing to the temptation simply to buy anything that looks expensive. As well as some terrific wines from classic French regions, there are flashes of inspiration from Spain and California as well that give it real personality, as well as bling.
food Jan/Jun 2015
Tom Aikens In early 2012 Tom Aiken’s flagship restaurant, which originally opened in 2003, was relaunched with a more casual dining room format. Out went the linen tablecloths, and in came a wooden floor, bare tables and rough hessian napkins. Various sayings about food are printed on some of the dining room walls. On the tables are what appear to be precariously balanced, thin glass flower vases, which are apparently more robust than they seem. There are a few gimmicky touches: menus appear in envelopes, the wine list tucked away as pages pasted into old hardback books. Lee westcott is head chef here; Tom Aikens is apparently present at most services, though he was elsewhere tonight. A three course meal was priced at £50. The more rustic décor has not extended to the culinary technique. Tom Aikens has always had a tendency to the elaborate, with many elements on a plate, and this style has continued. We began with some nibbles. A little salad of tomato with black olive crumbs and basil puree was very carefully judged, the tomatoes having unusually good flavour, the olive crumbs adding a textural balance to the puree, the flavours the essence of traditional Mediterranean but the technique modern (17/20). Also excellent was a little bowl of duck with black truffle foam, with rich flavour yet the foam bringing some lightness (easily 17/20). Also pleasant was both raw and braised celeriac with truffle crème fraiche, garnished with fresh thyme. This was pleasant but lacked the wow factor of the other two nibbles (15/20). A little basket of four breads appeared next, served warm. The breads were all made from scratch, and with considerable skill. A bacon brioche was light and sweet but with a string hint of bacon, a cep roll tasted distinctly of ceps and had good texture, a rustic bread had good flavour and a buttermilk bread was delightfully light (18/20).
The wine list had around 250 choices, ranging in price from £24 to £2,300, with an average price of £68. The mark-up level averages a little over three times the retail price, which is fairly normal for London. The mark-up of the more costly wines is somewhat erratic, so those with means will find one prestige wine well below its current retail price, for example. Example wines included Pinotage Cloof 2008 at £34 for a wine that you can find in the high street for £9, the lovely Joh Jos Prum Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett 2010 at £58 for a wine that retails at £19, and Cuvee Frederich Emile Trimbach 2004 at £104 for a wine that you can find for £31 in a shop. Langoustines were roasted and served with langoustine powder, herb mayonnaise and a garnish of black olive crumbs with a few leaves. The langoustines were cooked beautifully, the olive and herb flavours going well with the shellfish, the mix of textures working well (18/20). Also good but slightly less impressive was lobster, served cold but cooked to a tender state, served with pickled cucumber and yoghurt granite; for me the pickled cucumber could have benefitted from a little more vinegar, though this was still a good dish (15/20). John Dory came with cauliflower milk skin, sweet roast cauliflower, cumin and brown butter. The fish was again skilfully cooked, the cauliflower carefully cooked, the controlled flavour of cumin lifting the dish (17/20). “Ark chicken” from Devon (referring to a shelter for free range chickens) was cooked sous-vide and served with thinly sliced pasta, egg yolk, citrus endive and roast pine nut butter. The egg yolk worked well with the bitterness of the endive, the chicken having good flavour, though I am unconvinced that any British chickens have the quality of flavour as the best ones from France (16/20).
A coffee dessert had coffee sponge cake, ice cream in coated in coffee granules, coffee jelly, coffee granita and coffee crème caramel with espresso syrup. The jelly rather lacked flavour, but all the other elements were bursting with coffee flavour (17/20). Dark chocolate parfait was served as chocolate in various forms: chocolate ganache, chocolate roll, chocolate cake, chocolate ice cream and chocolate gel, balanced with mint syrup to offset the richness of the Valrhona chocolate (17/20). Petit fours were as elaborate as the preceding courses. A little tin of passion fruit and grapefruit jellies were accompanied by a tray loaded with tempting mignardises. Amongst the collection were two different nougats, orange candy with dark chocolate, salted caramel, marshmallow, honeycomb, lemon chocolate, white chocolate with hazelnut and (of all things) chorizo, carrot cake, white chocolate with raisins, three different chocolate bars and three different tuiles. The salted caramel and carrot cake in particular were terrific (18/20 overall). Service was extremely slick, the waiters knowledgeable about the dishes, the topping up faultless. The bill came to £117 a head. This did not actually seem that much to me given the tremendous amount of work that had gone into the dishes. I preferred this meal to the last one I had at Tom Aikens in the old dining room. Tom is a controversial character, but even his worst enemy could hardly deny that he can cook. The complexity of his style may not be to everyone’s taste, but I think that compared to years ago his style has actually become (relatively) pared back. The technical cookery techniques used now have real relevance to the dishes, adding a texture here, an extra flavour note there, rather than just showing off culinary wizardry. This was a very impressive meal.
Polo Europe As polo spreads across Europe, ever further from its traditional English centre, where can you find the most important fixtures?
Polo is now played in almost every country in Europe, from france and Germany to less obvious polo destinations such as the Czech republic and Norway – both fledging polo nations with newly formed clubs and steadily growing membership numbers. while the more established hubs of polo naturally have the most prestigious clubs and internationally important tournaments, the rest are steadily catching up. The global polo season follows a strict chronology. Starting with the European season, the world’s best players come to England in early May. They then move on to France and Spain in August, before returning to Argentina in September, and then on to the US (Palm Beach) in January. The Palm Beach season is feeling some heat, however. Polo in the UAE is positively exploding as Emirati patrons seek to attract the best players in the world, enticing them with ever-increasing pay packets and ever-improving fields to play on. Argentina is indisputably the breeding ground of the best players in the world The January to March season is made all the more busy by the increasing popularity of snow polo. Tournaments are now played in St Moritz, Courcheval, Kitzbuhel, Klosters, Megeve, Val D’Isere – to name but a few. However, the highest level of polo in Europe is played in England, France and Spain. The English high goal season runs from May to late July, with the Cartier Queen’s Cup at Guards Polo Club near Windsor, and the Veuve Cliquot Gold Cup at Cowdray Park, West Sussex. Both 22 goal tournaments, these are hotly contested, with up to 20 teams paying an entry fee of approximately £25,000, the patrons of whom could be paying anything up to £3,000,000 to play the English season – sometimes more. After the Gold Cup, players move on to Europe. Traditionally, this would have been Deauville in France, but the club there has faced some serious competition, and what was once the epicentre of European polo is losing traction.
Chantilly, near Paris, now boasts 10 pitches and ever-increasing standards, but the real player on the high goal scene is Sotogrande in Spain. Lured by fabulous weather, state-of-the-art pitches and, of course, golf, yachts and nightlife, Santa Maria Polo Club is seeing the world’s best players spend the month of August there in growing numbers. The tournament level has been raised to 22 goals, matching the UK, and the Gold Cup final at the end of August is now seen as the third most important in Europe. BrAND APPEAL On paper, sponsorship of the sport can be a hard sell. The spectators at a league game of a major tournament are usually in the low hundreds. Even a big final might only attract 5,000-10,000 people. Why then would a sponsor want to invest in a sport with such limited attendance? The key lies with who those in attendance are. They are captains of industry. They own investment funds, property empires, media conglomerates, banks, shipping companies – the list goes on and on. Add into that mix glamorous film stars, models and famous musicians – there is always a smattering at any major final. How else can a sponsor reach these people in such a direct way? Then, of course, there is appeal by association. Because people who play and watch polo are so used to the sport being associated with luxury, high-end brands, they assume that any new sponsors are also high-end. The appeal rubs off. As a corporate hospitality venue, a polo tournament has no equal. The genteel surroundings of a polo club, lunch in a beautiful marquee, all to the auditory backdrop of galloping hooves and the crack of a mallet on a ball. Companies can entertain guests, and more importantly have a conversation with them. Many an important deal has been made at the side of a polo field.
EFG, Coutts and many more. All brands synonymous with cachet, service and quality. Normally, to stage a polo tournament one needs a fairly large area – a polo field alone is some 15 acres. Add to that the need to park lorries, have pony lines and grandstands for spectators and suddenly you need at least 20 acres. This generally means that polo clubs are in very rural locations, making a car a necessity for city dwellers who want to come and watch, and if they want to have a drink it becomes a less attractive proposition. Perhaps because of this, there has been a huge rise in ‘city’ polo events, and not just on grass. Members of the British Royal Family, particularly Prince Harry, enjoy playing polo Bringing polo to the people is the ethos behind Polo in the Park in Fulham, London. Polo was played there until 1953, but the pressure of housing and finances forced the sport out of Central London. Hurlingham Park is not a big area, so the obvious solution was to make the pitch smaller and reduce the number of players. The game is played three a side, using a soft ball, and the crowd is right next to the action. The result is a brilliant spectacle attracting 25,000 people over three days. The organisers also hold polo in Abu Dhabi, in the grounds of the Palace Hotel, and similar events are springing up in other major cities, like Sydney in Australia. Beach polo is also enjoying huge growth. Also played three a side, using a large inflatable ball, tournaments are played in Bournemouth and Cornwall in the UK, Sylt in Germany, Belgium, Ibiza and, as from this year, Tarifa. Outside of Europe the Julius Baer tournament in Dubai and Beach Polo in Miami are also popular fixtures, with brilliant after parties.
Hence, Cartier has been sponsoring polo for 30 years – and over the years it has been joined by Rolex, Jaeger Le-Coultre, Piaget, Porsche, Maserati, Audi, BMW, Land Rover,
interview Jan/Jun 2015
i-MAGAZINE interviews polo player George Meyrick
You are known as ‘’the best polo player in England’’, what kind of pressure does this bring? And does it affect your performance at all?
Throughout your career, which horse has been your favorite to play with?
That’s nice to hear, but it’s not true. There is a group of us - and we are all doing our best to be right at the top of polo in the UK. There’s always pressure on us when we play - wanting to do our best for our patron, our team and of course country.
Marmalade - an English thoroughbred.
How did you first become involved with Polo?
My father and Grandfather played and I started through the Pony Club.
was it (and is it) an easy sport to get in to?
It’s important to be able to ride well before starting playing. For children there are plenty of opportunities in the Pony Club and through schools’ polo and then universities. Many of the polo clubs offer taster sessions and lessons for adults. It’s definitely easier to get into than get out of – I don’t know anyone - male or female - who hasn’t found it extremely addictive once they’ve started!
Do you have any business or political role models?
I admire anyone whose passion and commitment has grown a business from scratch. Bill Gates is obvious, but more because of the way he is using these skills to distribute his amassed wealth through his philanthropic donations, which are having such an enormous impact on the quality of life of so many people in poorer countries.
Looking towards the future somewhat, what would you like your legacy to be?
How popular can you see the game of Polo becoming in the near future?
By all accounts it’s growing hugely in popularity. There is far more television coverage, Polo in the Park, British Polo Day, the O2 Arena and London Global Champion’s Tour in Horseguards Parade, are all new additions to the calendar, and spectator numbers are increasing every year. I think people are beginning to appreciate the game itself rather than the image of polo. It is an extremely competitive, adrenaline-fueled and fast game, which combines team play, ball skills and equestrian skills, danger and of course the performance of the horses, who are the real stars of the show.
I very much hope not, and if so we need to try to change that perception. The game has become much a more professional and serious sport in recent years. There are only a handful of day where it’s celebrities, champagne and everyone looking glamorous. Most of the time, it’s a far more relaxed atmosphere (off the pitch at least!) and people come to enjoy the sport itself in some of the most beautiful surroundings such as Cowdray Park, Windsor Great Park and Cirencester Park.
Do you have any other passions aside from Polo?
Art – especially Old Masters and Old Master drawings.
Do you think Polo will always be seen as an ‘elitist’ sport and closed to the majority of ‘possible spectators’?
To be part of a group of English players who could show they can hold their own with the Argentinean players
Do you support any charities?
Travelling around the world as I am lucky enough to do, it’s impossible not to be moved by the contrast between ourselves in the polo community and the lives of locals in those countries. So yes I do – usually children’s charities such as Hope and Homes for Children and Save the Children, although as yet I haven’t chosen one particular one to focus
Are there any particular Polo events that you really look forward to playing in or spectating at, perhaps more than others?
The British High Goal tournaments – the Queen’s Cup at Guards and The Gold Cup at Cowdray are the most exciting to play in. Of course, I would always rather be playing than spectating but the best tournament in the world to watch is the Argentine Open at Palermo. i-MAGAZINE 181
Cartier World Cup on Snow Polo, the daring sport that takes place on horseback, although has also been played on camel, elephant, and bicycle, and is played on grass, has an interesting history that dates back to around the time of 600 BC. By the time 800 rolled around, polo had swept Asia, and by 1850, British officers added polo to their sports repertoire establishing the first club in Europe in 1873 with fixed rules. By 1899, polo had reached st. Moritz, switzerland, and in 1985, a polo tournament was played for the first time on the frozen st. Moritz Lake. We traveled to St. Moritz at the end of January 2014, to experience the 36th Cartier World Cup on Snow (January 24 - 27, 2014), and what an incredible luxury experience that was! First of all, the scenery was breathtaking from the majestic snowcapped alps surrounding the lake, and the people watching was par excellence as St. Moritz is a fashion hotspot for jetsetters where even the dogs at the event were fashionably attired.
The game is played on a field measuring 300 yards (274.2 meters) in length with a width of 160 yards (146.24 meters). When the game is played on snow, the ball that they use is larger (normally weighing 130 grams (4.5 ounces) and is 7-8 cm (2.7 - 3.1 inches) in diameter and is made of brightly colored plastic. The object of the game is for the teams to hit the ball with a long mallet called a stick held in the right hand while riding horseback to their goal. The horses wear special plastic coverings over their hooves for protection against the snow and heavy bandages on their legs to protect them against injury from the players’ sticks.
wild as John Paul Clarkin of Team Brioni scored their last goal just as the bell rang! By the time the Cartier trophy was presented to the players, the wind was so strong that the ceremony had to be delayed for a few minutes, as it had blown down the players’ tent, however, that did little to stem the enthusiasm of the appreciative fans who waited until the very end of the day before leaving with dreams of next year’s Cartier Polo World Cup on Snow.
Now that you have somewhat of an understanding of polo, let the first chukka begin! The day was bright with sunny skies, cold, and so windy that the St. Moritz ski slopes closed for the day, yet that did not deter the polo fans that came to cheer on their favorite team for the Cartier Trophy, and naturally, we were there cheering alongside them.
If you have never experienced polo, either on grass or on snow, you are in for a rare treat. Before we begin, we would like to explain a few rules of the game and the terminology involved. In Europe, the game is divided into 4 rounds called chukkas lasting 7.5 minutes each for the first three chukkas, and 7 minutes for the last chukka. There are two opposing teams with four players on each team.
Each team is handicapped according to the skills of the players, and to ensure that there are no ties, Team Brioni began with a ½-point lead. Imagine players galloping on horseback across the frozen lake over compacted snow with the wind whipping as they battled to score their goals. With adrenaline racing and no thought to the weather, by the end of the first chukka, Team Cartier had scored 2 goals.
Each player has a minimum of two polo “ponies”, actually horses that are 14.2 to 16 hands high at the withers, as the polo pony can only be used in a maximum of two chukkas, and may not be used in two consecutive chukkas. In addition to the players, there are two umpires also on horseback on the field, and a referee in a tower watching the match.
The excitement continued to build as Team Brioni went on to score 2 goals, Team Cartier scoring 1 goal and leading by a ½ point. By the end of the third chukka, Team Brioni had scored 3 goals to Team Cartier’s 2, with Team Brioni now leading by a ½ point. In the final chukka Team Brioni scored 3 goals to Team Cartier’s 1, with the crowd going
British Polo Day Abu Dhabi By Rosie Kempson
Every March, the British Polo Day Global series - presented by Land rover - comes to Abu Dhabi’s Ghantoot racing & Polo Club, the private royal club of His Highness sheikh falah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. This year’s event – which took place on Saturday 22nd March – saw some of Britain’s top young players and polo enthusiasts flying into the UAE courtesy of Virgin Atlantic and once again proved to be a glamorous affair. His Highness Sheikh Shakhboot bin Nahyan al Nahyan and His Excellency, British Ambassador Dominic Jermey joined the who’s who of Abu Dhabi society in an evening of fast-paced polo, fine dining and philanthropy. World-class polo players entertained a crowd of noted VIPs, including the Marchioness of Milford Haven, world renowned artist Sacha Jafri and Help for Heroes Founder Bryn Parry. British Polo Day Abu Dhabi began with a Champagne Taittinger reception followed by the Hackett Camel Polo Cup, featuring members of the elite Cavalry & Guards regiments of the British Army. The JaegerLeCoultre Cavalry team clinched a close victory over the Guards with a 3 – 1 win, with the final two goals scored by British Polo Day Co-Founder Tom Hudson. Major General Carey Wilkes, the great-nephew of Land Rover Founder, presented this prestigious cup. Following this, the British Exiles played Ghantoot Polo, partnered with Oxford Group Holdings. This was a thrilling, high-scoring match in which the home team, Ghantoot, won 8 – 6. His Highness Sheikh Shakhboot bin Nahyan al Nahyan, himself a famed show jumper, presented the Land Rover Thesiger Trophy to the winning Ghantoot Polo team. Fittingly, the trophy was a majestic sculpture designed by George Bingham of His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan, based on pictures that Sir Wilfred Thesiger had taken more than fifty years ago. Juan Zavaleta from Ghantoot Polo was also awarded the Holland & Holland ‘Shot of the Day’ – a new prize for 2014 – and Daniel
Riedo, the CEO of Jaeger-LeCoultre, the Official Timekeeper of British Polo Day, presented the Best Playing Pony Prize. Following the polo, VIP guests sat down to a delicious Argentinian style dinner prepared by Gaucho, paired with a wonderful selection of wines from Justerini & Brooks, rounded off with Nespresso coffee. In keeping with British Polo Day’s ongoing commitment to philanthropy, this year’s event was in support of Abu Dhabi charity WAHA (Women and Health Alliance) and British charity Help for Heroes. The evening’s post-dinner auction included lots such as a stay in the Six Senses Zighy Bay in Oman, a stunning Isis Wing gown from the Egypt collection by Zaeem Jamal, two Virgin Atlantic Upper Class flights, a week in one of 3RD HOME’s luxury residences and a four-night stay at Royal Mansour Marrakech which raised over AED 100,000 in total for both the charities. Philanthropy lies at the core of British Polo Day and we seek to raise money for worthy causes in all the countries we visit. Since 2011, British Polo Day has raised over US$1,230,386 for charity: one of the company’s proudest achievements. Commenting of British Polo Day Abu Dhabi, Dominic Jermey, Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the UAE said “The British Polo Day series of events have grown over the years to become one of the leading polo events of today. The event is celebrated in more than 10 different countries and as UK Ambassador to the UAE I am proud that the UAE is one of them and the only such country in the Middle East”. British Polo Day returns to Abu Dhabi on 21st March 2015, with the second leg of its UAE tour taking place in Dubai on 27th March 2015. As part of British Polo Day’s new partnership with Abercrombie & Kent, guests and VIPs visiting Abu Dhabi will have the benefit of a bespoke tailor-made holiday delivered by Geoffrey Kent and his team of luxury travel experts. Given that British Polo Day events are strictly invitation-only, Abercrombie & Kent offers
select clients a rare opportunity to attend these prestigious occasions and enjoy exclusive access to private residences and historic landmarks – of which there are a great deal in Abu Dhabi. Indeed, Sir Winston Churchill famously said that a polo handicap is ‘a passport to the world’ and, with Abercrombie & Kent, British Polo Day offers opportunities to enjoy the spirit and sport of polo in across the world. Following the two UAE events in March 2015, the British Polo Day Global Series moves on to Morocco, USA, Great Britain, Russia, China, Australia, Mexico and India – with a number of other new events in the pipeline. Officially founded by Edward Olver and Tom Hudson in 2011, British Polo Day has grown to become an unparalleled platform for elite engagement in emerging markets, championing British luxury heritage on a global scale. The only international polo network of its kind, the British Polo Day Global Series has, to date, staged 34 events in 14 countries and currently represents over 30 top British luxury brands including Land Rover, Hackett, Holland & Holland and D.R. Harris & Co to name a few. British Polo Day is in an unprecedented position – it has no rivals. It offers a unique proposition – a company that is ascendant in the worlds of polo, luxury and travel. This is not a business based solely on polo; but instead uses the international language of the horse to bring commercial opportunity to its partners. British Polo Days are global lily-pads - stepping stones into emerging markets, with exquisite international appeal. British Polo Day is the only business of its kind to be personally supported by key figures in government, aristocracy, diplomatic realm, military and culture. The company has hosted 12 Royal families, 100 independent billionaires, over 10,000 of the global elite and leading business figures including Elon Musk, Vinod Kumar and Sir Richard Branson.
Anyone who’s ever watched a polo match or flipped through a fashion magazine knows Nacho figueras. Or, more specifically, they know his face. The Argentinean athlete basically embodies “tall, dark, and handsome.” But while there’s no denying that he’s a total hunk, he’s also one of the most successful polo players of all time and a dedicated family man. To put it bluntly, he’s not just a pretty face.
Tell us a little bit about what draws you to working with Polo?
I’ve been with Ralph Lauren for 13 years. I met Mr. Lauren when he felt it would be a good idea, through Bruce Weber, to start using a polo player for the ad campaign. I grew up admiring the logo obviously, since I grew up playing polo, so at the time I thought it would be great to do some things for Ralph on the side, so that’s how it started. It’s been 13 years, and the rest is history. You know, I also say that I don’t think that I work for a brand, I work for a man that I respect very much. And what I like most about him is that he’s not just a successful businessman, but he’s also a great man and a great father and a great husband.
what do you find is the most challenging thing in your career as a polo player?
It changes a lot. When you’re young, you don’t look at things that you do when you’re getting older. I’m a little bit past the middle of my career now, and just recently I had a very bad accident, where I broke my hip. It just happened, and it was one of the hardest things that’s happened to me. When I was laying down, and knew that something bad had happened, and not really knowing what I was going to feel like after, that was a tough moment.
what are some of the most important things you’ve learned from playing polo?
First of all, horses teach you a lot. I think horses bring out a lot of great things, mainly responsibility and the fact that they care about you no matter who you are or where you come from. A horse really gives you everything. And then teamwork, obviously, and hard work and dedication and focus. I think mostly every sport at a high level requires a big effort and a lot of discipline, which is always good.
And your son is now playing, right?
My son is 13 now, and he’s playing quite a bit. He’s getting to play more and more.
You travel so much with your career — what are some of your favorite places that you’ve been?
New York is definitely one of my favorite places, I’ve been coming here for a long time and it’s very special for me. Punta del Este in Uruguay is a beach that’s really fun and great, and I love going to new places and meeting new people and seeing different cultures. Last year, I went to China and I thought it was great, I’ve been to Dubai. I like the mix. I still have never been to India or Japan, which I would love to see.
when you go to New York, what are some of your favorite things to do while you’re here?
I go to the Hamptons a lot, so I love the beach and the kids always have a great time. In the city itself, when we’re here with the kids, we love the park and go to the museum and the theater. It’s such a great place.
who are some of your favorite designers to see during fashion week?
Well, obviously Ralph, I’m very biased. As I said, I respect him very much and I think I’m very much influenced by everything he does and the lifestyle that he dreamt up some 40 years ago. You know, he had a vision and a dream about a lifestyle which is very similar to a polo player’s life.
when you’re going to fancy events, how do you get ready or pick out your outfits?
I’m a really lucky guy, I have a good wardrobe of suits and things, and I have a wife that gives me a direction if I’m doing something wrong.
while you’re a star yourself, you often find yourself hobnobbing with other celebrities. Do you ever get starstruck?
No, I’m a really lucky guy because I live a great life and I do what I love, which is wonderful. So no, not really. You know, I always find that when I meet these great people that are successful for whatever reason, you find that they all have a very similar footprint. They’re all humble and great people and I think that’s the best part about my opportunity to meet so many people.
what are your goals, or what’s next for you?
I have a very big breeding operation, which is the thing that I love doing the most, and a big passion of mine. So, the goal would be to see that breeding operation get to be very successful. I’m still getting to the point where it’s mature enough for things to start happening, so just seeing that through. And then, using polo as a platform to help others is something that’s very important to me. When I’m not playing so much polo professionally, I’d like to see if I can pay more and more attention to philanthropy. Interview ran in association with refinery 29 – ralph Lauren Magazine
Audi Showcases the Audi International Polo, held at Guards Polo Club, Windsor Great Park The Audi International Polo at Guards Polo Club, near windsor, is the signature event of the English polo calendar and one of the world’s greatest polo spectacles. It is billed by its host venue, the renowned Guards Polo Club, as “The biggest polo day in the world”, and the 2014 event did not disappoint. Two of the world’s best teams, England and Argentina, battled it out for the prestigious Coronation Cup in what proved to be undoubtedly the game of the season at one of the social events of the summer. The match was attended by a strong crowd including VIPs - Thandie Newton, Dominic Cooper, Douglas Booth, Eddie Redmayne and Gemma Arterton. All rose as HRH Prince Charles arrived in the Royal Box overlooking the Queen’s Ground to loud applause. The spectators were treated with a sporting spectacle worthy of the occasion. Argentina boasts the two highest-rated players in world polo, Adolfo Cambiaso and Facundo Pieres – both are 10-goalers, the highest rating a player can achieve in polo. As a result Argentina is unquestionably the strongest team on the international circuit. Even for a team as accomplished as England, which won the 2012 and 2013 Audi Internationals at Guards against South Africa and the USA respectively, the encounter was sure to be a stern test - the ultimate test. England acquitted itself impressively. The game started with what would prove as a closely fought encounter. Captain Luke Tomlinson led the way with the first score of the match and his team-mates Ollie Cudmore, Mark Tomlinson and James Beim followed the example. By the end of the first chukka, England had stormed into a 3-1 lead.
Argentina is not known as the best team in the world for nothing, though, and it was inevitable that it soon found its form. Cambiaso and Pieres lived up to their star billing by repeatedly combining in a series of fluid, lightning-quick attacks to which England had no answer. The sheer quality of Cambiaso and Pieres ensured the South Americans were always destined to prevail. Argentina ran out 13-8 winners and its beaming captain Pieres was presented with the Coronation Cup by Prince Charles. England nevertheless played brilliantly and could take pride in a battling performance, which provided staunch opposition for Argentina and was a step up from the 2009 fixture between the two countries at Guards, which the visitors won 12-5. Pieres also received the Garrard ‘Most Valuable Player’ award, while Cambiaso picked up the Gaucho prize for the ‘Best Playing Pony’ with Yum Yum winning the plaudits. Despite England’s brave defeat, the guests were in full celebration mode at the conclusion of the game and headed to the after party.
opposition in games at Beaufort Polo Club, near Tetbury, and Chester Racecourse Polo Club. The game at Beaufort, against Hong Kong, was a turbulent affair, England coming out on top by 10 goals to 8½ in a tough, tense tussle which saw rising star Jack Richardson make his debut for England, and George Meyrick leap off his horse after bravely taking a blow to the face. England also prevailed in the game at Chester, beating a Rest of the World team, which included three of Argentina’s brightest prospects by 7 goals to 4½. In both games, three of England’s players were under 25: Richardson, Meyrick and Max Charlton. The pair of victories indicated that the future of the sport is extremely exciting indeed. None of this would be possible without the support of Audi, which in addition to backing the development of the England team, provides a wonderful platform to showcase the best international polo talent on the UK stage. With the sport in great shape, the 2015 British polo season cannot come a moment too soon!
The exclusive after-party saw celebrities, polo players and guests let their hair down together in an atmospheric arena with champagne flowing as the DJ played. At the end of a long, eventful and funpacked day, guests were chauffeured back home by an impressive fleet of stylish A8s - all of which of course kept below a symbolic 38mph (the top speed of a horse) before leaving the Guards grounds. The fixture at Guards was the highlight of a three-game Audi International summer series with England team members facing tough i-MAGAZINE 189
Caribbean Beauty With Polo... On my first day at the Apes Hill Polo Villas I was awakened from an afternoon nap convinced that I was in the middle of an earthquake. The floor and walls seemed to be vibrating. Through the open doors of my veranda, beyond a wall of fuchsia bougainvillea, I could hear the sound of shouting in the distance. As I got my bearings, I realized that the voices were calling out polo plays in a mixture of spanish and English and that the ground was shaking because there were eight horses running at a full gallop, only yards from where I had been sleeping in the balmy breeze. Wearing a sundress and sandals, I stumbled over to an immaculate fern green field. The players and their horses were attired in a Crayola-box array of colors, and the play was fast and agile, with quick changes of direction and an abundance of passing—the kind of match that is a thrill for spectators because of the whole team’s involvement. The horses’ coats gleamed as brightly as their polished tacks and they charged for the ball as if they were running the Kentucky Derby (the majority of them are, in fact, former racehorses that the Apes Hill staff has trained to play polo). After the daylight had faded over the beaches of the west coast, the revelry continued in the salmon-hued, plank-floored clubhouse, where the players drank Banks beer and I enjoyed a rum punch sprinkled with nutmeg. Almost everybody knew everyone else by first name, and though there were no celebrities in attendance that evening, Prince Harry of Britain had been a recent visitor. This is polo in paradise: The island of Barbados, only 166 square miles in size, boasts five pristine fields, stables holding more than three hundred horses, and some of the world’s best players, who come for the combination of competitive-but-unstuffy tournaments and the chance to relax on exquisite beaches afterward. Sitting in the airy clubhouse adjacent to his world-class golf course is Sir Charles Williams, the founder of the Apes Hill Club resort and the man most credit with the recent efflorescence of Bajan polo. He describes himself as “possibly one of the luckiest men in the world.” Sir Charles’s ancestors emigrated from England to Barbados in 1652, and he has lived on the island and played polo his whole life, captaining the Barbados Polo Club for
more than thirty-five years. He describes the rough-and-tumble origins of polo in Barbados, when it was a pastime of the British cavalry who were based on the island in the late 1800s. The island became independent in 1966 but chose to be a Commonwealth realm, not a republic—Queen Elizabeth II of England is the head of state of Barbados. With tourism beginning to replace the receding sugar-cane industry in the 1970s, Sir Charles—who was knighted in 2000 for years of service in construction, agriculture, and other business ventures, along with his contribution to sports in Barbados and the Caribbean—saw the opportunity for polo to become a stabilizing force in the Bajan economy. “We had to work to change the perception on the part of the government that polo was only a rich white man’s game — that it could reach a wider audience. Now it is one of the premier planks for sports tourism.” His philosophy in building Apes Hill was to “aim for the best, and I feel we were wise to do it.” His only regret is not building a second polo field—it’s in the works. Among the island’s most popular tournaments is the yearly Battle of the Sexes, one of the few polo games in the world that pits men against women at the medium-goal level. At the opening match at Holders field, the island’s oldest and the home of the Barbados Polo Club, games kick off with the playing of “God Save the Queen” and a prayer by the local reverend, Father Andrew Hatch. This time, Father Hatch said a special prayer for the safety of the men, one it looked like they might need after the first chukker, when the women were beating them tidily. Though the fairer sex ultimately lost by two points, Rosie Ross, one of a small number of female players in the world to achieve a two-goal handicap, was named the MVP. As the sound of flashing cameras was replaced by that of popping champagne corks, she told me succinctly what she loved about playing in Barbados: “Stunning fields and awesome horses.” This was a sentiment echoed by Jack Kidd, who has been playing professionally for the past twenty years, and whose family has a long association with polo in Barbados—they bequeathed the field at Holders. Kidd graciously offered a tour of his family’s nearby seventeenth-century plantation house, Holders House, where a mahogany center-staircase
branches off toward bedrooms decorated with coral-patterned fabrics and priceless antiques. Kidd, who has recently opened a polo school at Holders in partnership with the Apes Hill Polo Club, has traveled everywhere in the world that polo is played but thinks the quality of the Bajan horses just gets “better and better” and that the island is “one of the most special places in the world for people to come and relax—it’s perfection.” After hearing such raves about the island’s ponies, I decided to try one for myself. Neil Dickson, the resident instructor at the Apes Hill Polo Club, was happy to help. Dickson coaches tourists and locals alike—from absolute beginners to experienced players—and after cantering around the field alongside me, to make sure I was a good enough rider, he sent me off to hit some balls. My horse seemed to know what to do without my having to tell it anything: It recognized the subtlest shift of my weight as a signal that it should move left or right, and it positioned me perfectly next to the ball. Within minutes, Neil had taught me how to do a proper neck shot and showed me how to make my back shots travel twice the distance. After we finished, I collapsed, exhausted and happy, on the deck of my villa, where I watched dun-colored lizards dart around the perimeter of the plunge pool and black hummingbirds, heads daubed with iridescent blue, drink from the hibiscus flowers. Part of the mission of the Apes Hill Club resort, which comprises 470 acres, is that two thirds of it will remain open space. The variety of flora and fauna at the resort is spectacular: There are fields of grazing cattle, ravines filled with vines and waterfalls, and green monkeys scampering across the roads. I wanted to drink in the scenery, but knew I needed to rest. There would be another set of chukkers in an hour, and I expected to be awakened once more by thundering hooves. Andrea Walker is a writer and editor based in Norwalk, Connecticut. She has written for The New Yorker, Bookforum, and the Times Literary Supplement. She plays polo with the Yale Polo Club in Bethany and Hamden, Connecticut.
One of Mayfair’s Best Kept Secrets By DL Osborne The next time you’re in the vicinity of Mayfair or Piccadilly make sure you visit The whiskey shop or better still attend one of their fascinating monthly tasting seminars.
modern. They’ll happily regale their own personal stories and passion for the product. What intrigued me was the unusual blends and learning about the incredibly rare single malts.
Neatly situated opposite the Ritz, this beautifully laid out, award winning flagship store offers a collection of around 400 unusual whiskies, super premium and exclusive whiskies alongside some of the old favourites we’re all familiar with.
Light and airy, clean lines segue into darkened woods effectively creating a warm and inviting place and whether you’re shopping for an usual gift or perusing a wee dram, this shop brings people together over good conversation. It’s enticing to say the least. Also of interest is that the image of whiskey is changing.
Whiskey deserves the investment of time in gaining a little knowledge in order to understand its complexity and taste. Scotch makes wants you to find out more about it. A little like traveling on a journey to broaden your knowledge. It’s also a lot of fun in the convivial atmosphere they offer here. I’m a discerning novice. I didn’t particularly care for the drink until I discovered this shop. The experts on hand at 70 Piccadilly listen to your tastes and guide you into this somewhat ancient world which is becoming increasingly
Once seen as the domain of gentlemen and the archetypal crusty grandfather, armed with a cigar next to the fire; we see here that people of all backgrounds today are embracing the amber coloured nectar, as much of a cliché as that is. At the tasting I attended it’s evident that young women are becoming fans too. A passing group of twenty-something southern belles from Tennessee eagerly gate-crashed the gathering of their own volition. A lively discussion ensued; breaking down the perceptions
of the whiskey drinker as they were unable to resist their strong and knowledgeable opinions as to the greatness of American whiskey over Scottish and Irish. They represented the next generation of whiskey drinkers. The Whiskey Shop accommodates this shift by opening its door to a broader market; think China, Russia, Korea and the Middle East. I left The Whiskey Shop with a new found friend: exotically named Bowmore. A single malt of exquisite flavour from a distillery on a far flung island off the west coast of Scotland, some two and half centuries old. One day I will visit this place to experience the Master Distillers Tour. Life is a wonderful thing and without a doubt The Whiskey Shop reminds us as such. They have created a haven against a lot of the mediocrity we face today. The whisky shop 70 Piccadilly London w1J 8HP +44 0 207 499 6649
interview Jan/Jun 2015
i-MAGAZINE interviews Hilde M Tonne Executive Vice President at Telenor
I have decided to ask you questions based around Telenor’s ‘strategy’ for 2015-2016. How are you going to go about implementing, in your way ‘’internet for all?
Telenor will continue to focus on growth and value creation. To achieve this, we focus on three strategic ambitions: Internet for all, loved by customers and efficient operations. These three ambitions are related. We believe that in order to deliver internet for all and being loved by customers we must operate efficiently. We will enable people to use internet by making data networks available and affordable, and we will stimulate use by making larger customer segments aware of how mobile internet is beneficial and relevant for them.
How important is customer service to Telenor? And in what ways does Telenor go over and above the average customer interaction?
In Telenor we put a lot of efforts into developing services, products and user information in a manner that reduces the need to contact customer support. However, when the customer do contact the customer service it is extremely important that we not only meet the customers’ need, but that we also can serve them better than they expect. For instance, in Norway we have “Automatic sales tips”. When a particular customer calls the customer service the customer agent will get information about the customer’s usage habits and which service this customer should have. In addition, we monitor the customer satisfaction by encouraging the customer to rate a call to our customer service with NPS (net promoter score). Closed Feedback Loop (CFL) is also an important tool we use, where we take inputs from our customers and use the feedback as basis to steer how we change, prioritize and manage our operations
How do you keep your employees passionate?
In the big picture I think it is important to involve, have a clear and open dialogue, clear strategy and let everyone see how they personally deliver. A leader must also never forget to challenge the employees, because this is what makes a day interesting for them.
Do you plan on expanding your mobile operations into the uK, Africa and or usA in the future?
Telenor is focusing on growing in the three regions that we are already in; Nordics, Central Eastern Europe and Asia.
what attracted you to work at Telenor?
Telenor has an extremely exiting history, moving from a fixed provider in Norway to becoming an internet service provider with a strong footprint, both in Europe and Asia. Telenor also has a unique culture, which is flat, transparent and always sets the people in the center. I believe that these intangible assets have given us access to markets, such as Myanmar, and made us no. 3 Telecommunications Company in Fortune magazine’s 2014 list of World’s most admired companies. It is extremely motivating to be part of such a company and culture.
where can you see the company in five to ten years time?
Telenor will continue to develop value in our positions in the regions were we are present, and in five to ten years’ time I see the company as one of the big operators in Asia and Europe. Our focus on customer satisfaction will help us having some of the most satisfied and engaged customers in the industry. Among our stakeholders we will be recognized as a dependable corporate citizen that
has reduced digital divide in the markets where we operate. We will be a company that empowers and inspires our employees with a well-established culture based on collaboration across the internet ecosystem.
Do you support any charities?
The telecom industry has the power to transform society, which is why corporate responsibility is an important part of how Telenor operates. This is not something we do on the side, but it is tightly integrated to how we run our business. To ensure effective corporate responsibility we believe that it is essential to identify and work with strong partners and through well-functioning networks. We have therefore established good working relationships with numerous global and government agencies, non-governmental organizations and industry partners. For instance, earlier this year, we entered into a five-year global partnership agreement with UNICEF to support child rights, child survival and development leveraging mobile connectivity with a focus on our markets in Asia.
How would you describe the ‘culture’ of Telenor? Or how does it go about promoting and maintaining its culture to its employees?
Telenor has a flat, transparent and people centered culture. With our framework “The Telenor Way” we ensure to maintain the culture across the world. The framework links the different elements of our culture and defines and structures how we do business through Vision, Mission and Values, Code of Conduct, Governing Documents and Leadership Attitudes.
How do you maintain your environmental responsibilities?
Telenor Group strives to reduce the environment and climate impact of its operations and provide solutions to customers to reduce their CO2 emissions and energy costs.
The characteristics of leadership By Lord Alan Watson of Richmond CBE FRTS, Chairman of CTN Communications for the past 20 years I have spent much of my time counselling capitalism. In practice, this has meant counselling capitalists—most of whom have been or are CEOs of very large, often international businesses. To do this successfully my necessary self-discipline is discretion. A consultant’s task is to speak truth to power. To do this effectively, I need the trust of the people I advise. Often they will not agree with me. Often I have to say things they do not wish to hear. If I break their trust in my discretion it becomes much harder for them to take my advice and I would not give them advice if I did not want them to follow it. So please, do not read this article in search of gossip or scandal. What I wish to share with you is my experience of the challenges of leadership and my perspective of the characteristics of great leadership in the contemporary corporate world. It is vital to understand that the measure of greatness is not always solely success. Today, many CEOs don’t have that long in the top job. Many crash and burn before they are able to consummate the strategy they have for their company. Some fall from power because they are revealed to have no strategy at all. Others are simply submerged by crises with which they cannot cope—and many have terrible luck. Or an industry can be caught, vice-like, by the rapidity of change not foreseen—witness supermarket retailing. Or again a company can be rocked from its foundations by catastrophic accident—witness the oil business. Let me take three examples from my experience to illustrate how it is that great leadership is not invariably rewarded or finally defined by the stock markets, the analysts, the quarterly results, by the share price, or the media—but may nevertheless be vital in ensuring the survival of a business. Banking, and specifically the alleged greed of bankers, is held to be the villain of the recession. Thus when the former CEO of Barclays opined that the time for remorse was over, so was he. The successor CEO has yet
to be finally rewarded by the market but his actions open the way to sustainable success and moral regeneration for the bank. When disaster hit BP’s drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico, the challenge facing the company’s new leadership was to anchor a new safety culture in the business, optimising the efficiency of a smaller company, contesting the continuing challenges in the US courts and other uncertainties for BP. Thus far, Bob Dudley has not been much rewarded by the markets or the media, but he has given BP the opportunity and the space to recover. Take the case of Tesco. Following a decade of triumph, Sir Terry Leahy stepped down—knowing when to move on is one of the greatest skills in the CEO talent pack. In retrospect, many have discerned the dangers that faced Tesco. However, there was no denying Sir Terry’s achievement and the huge financial success of the company. Within months of Phillip Clarke taking over he recognised that Tesco was not quite as the world had thought. It was challenged by a brutal conjunction of two kinds of competition—the German discounters and online shopping. The first profit warning, the imminence of a second warning and suddenly Philip Clarke had run out of time. Was his tenure an unmitigated failure? I THINK NOT. He had identified the erosion of Tesco’s position, and prioritised investment to the benefit of the UK consumer. Time will deliver its verdict but what is clear is that Clarke’s time at the top highlights one of the key characteristics of real corporate leadership—namely courage. Clarke’s accomplished successor Dave Lewis from outside Tesco takes over a business with its key strengths preserved. Empowering the brand to new levels of success will be the measure of Lewis’s leadership. Currently I am writing a history of Winston Churchill in 1946. Rejected by the electorate in 1945, he was used to operating at an altitude of power—exciting, exhilarating, adrenaline pumping through his system—he is then suddenly brought down to Earth. He is in despair. But in 1946 he discovered fresh vigour, not by resting, although holidays and luxury always buoyed him up, but by throwing himself into
the task of alerting the West to its need for a strategy to defeat Stalin’s post-war ambitions. Churchill’s speeches at Fulton and Zurich in 1946 exposed Stalin’s threat and countered with a vision of Atlantic Unity led by a partnership between the US and UK, and European Unity led by France and Germany. It was an astonishing tour de force—vociferously deplored at the time both in the USA and Europe. wHAT rELEVANCE DOEs THIs HAVE TO COrPOrATE LEADErsHIP? What Churchill’s leadership dramatically demonstrated was the necessary conjunction of courage, resilience, and judgement. Churchill was always physically courageous but also psychologically brave. He did not allow his “black dog” moods to devour him. Second, he had resilience. “We are all worms” he once admitted “but I am a glow worm”. Third, he had judgement. In a brilliant review of Henry Kissinger’s new book ‘World Order’, the Financial Times editor, Lionel Barber, sums up the challenge facing US leadership with crises erupting across the Middle East and Eastern Europe. The US “must somehow find a median point between over-confidence and introspection” in managing peace. As Dr.Kissinger puts it, striking the balance between confidence and introspection is difficult but the option the US does not have is “withdrawal”. Striking this balance is the heart of judgement for leadership in politics and in business. And when the judgement is struck, then the courage to act and the resilience (in the time available), to persist. Corporate leaders, whether or not they win the plaudits they want in the time they have, will ultimately be evaluated by their contribution to the survival and sustainability of the businesses entrusted to them. It is my privilege to help wherever I am able.
Alan is currently working on his new book about sir winston Churchill in 1946. smiting the Crocodile will be published in 2016 on both sides of the Atlantic. i-MAGAZINE 197
Four Emperors and An Architect How Robert Adam Rediscovered the Tetrarchy. what was it about spalatro (as split was then known) that attracted the young robert Adam in July 1757? Today split is an intriguing tourist destination with its sparkling blue sea and fringe of islands offering a safe and practical base from which to explore the Adriatic. But in Adam’s day it had only ever been visited by a handful of antiquarians interested in the story of Diocletian’s Palace. Diocletian’s father was a native Illyrian scribe working for a Roman family near Salona which suggests his son must have had a rudimentary form of education. Entering the army Diocletian gained rapid promotion and by the age of 40, was commander of the Emperor Carus’ personal bodyguard. Such a position of trust and authority must have influenced his surprising acclamation as emperor following Carus’ unexpected death on the field of battle in 284AD. Diocletian was to prove a skilled and pragmatic ruler; one of his most innovative moves being to divide the Empire into four parts, each area governed by a trusted colleague who was also given the title of ‘emperor’. This arrangement of four emperors ruling simultaneously was subsequently known as the Tetrarchy. Each Emperor had his own capital city in which he built a magnificent palace but what distinguishes Spalatro from the rest is that Diocletian built this particular palace specifically for his retirement. Here, his mausoleum, temple and peristyle survive intact while his royal apartments (which do not exist any longer) are mirrored in the elaborate basement chambers below. No wonder Adam became an enthusiastic fan, planning to visit Diocletian’s palace on his way home to England when staying in Venice. During his two and a half years in Rome, Adam had made many useful friends, his reputation was of the highest and he must have looked upon the necessary permission to visit Spalatro
(required by the authorities in Venice) as just a formality. Time was of the essence and, becoming impatient with the delay and confident of his welcome in Spalatro, he set off for Dalmatia in high good spirits with three friends. Enthusiastically he hired a ‘felucca’ and crew, stipulating that it should have a double awning to shelter the deck from the hot sun, his own bedding and plenty of food and wine. The journey took ten days; the delighted party sailed into Spalatro on July 22nd 1757. On their arrival, they were dismayed. Nothing turned out the way they had expected. Not only were they very unwelcome, but the military then proceeded to put every possible obstacle in their way. To their horror they found that, being a garrison town, there were no lodging houses in Spalatro and only after much ‘string pulling’, did they finally find a house but it was empty and required hired furniture. Digging into the foundations of the palace and drawing its details aroused such suspicion from the garrison that Adam finally suggested that the army allocate an officer to oversee their daily activities. Permission, when it did finally arrive, was not favorable to Adam for the authorities, unknown to him, regarded him as a possible English spy. Their progress on site was slow and difficult and after five frustrating weeks they left. Difficult as his visit to Spalatro had been, Adam was determined to profit from his experience and seven years later in 1764 he published the Ruins of the Palace of the Emperor Diocletian at Spalatro to great acclaim. A well-researched and deeply thought-out folio it remains to this day one of the most important architectural publications of the eighteenth century. Publications of this type were a useful form of publicity and had been used by several of his contemporaries with great success. In Adam’s case he was able to suggest some
of the ideas he had found in Spalatro to new patrons, several of whom were young, enthusiastic and open to new ideas. An interesting example is the case of Kedleston Hall, in Derbyshire, where a youthful Nathaniel Curzon had only recently come into his inheritance. Here Adam transposed the plan of Diocletian’s palace onto a Palladian English country house. The rectangular peristyle becomes the Great Hall (although not open to the air as in Spalatro) and the circular vestibule becomes the Saloon where even the oculus dimensions of each individual dome are the same. Spalatro is not the only classical source used by Adam at Kedleston. He also added a triumphal arch, similar to that of Constantine in the Roman Forum, to the southern façade of the house, an unheard of innovation at the time. Curzon was fully aware of the provenance of such innovations and when writing a description of his house in 1769 gives the antique sources for what is one of the grandest sequences of rooms in the country: The Hall and the Saloon were after the Greek Hall and Dome of the Ancients, proportioned chiefly from the Pantheon in Rome and Spalatro’ Adam had always wanted to visit an original Roman/Greek site, but, during his two and a half years in Rome, he had not had the means of travelling further than Naples to see the newly excavated Herculaneum. So the opportunity to visit this ancient palace must have seemed the perfect finale to his two year visit. While in Rome he had already invested considerable sums of money in a collection of ancient ‘marbles’ and together with the numerous drawings he had made there, this visit would crown his experience of antiquity and give him an invaluable reserve of ideas on which to draw once he had set up his own practice in London. Alicia salter Book obtainable from fouremperorsandanarchitect.co.uk
Published on Dec 28, 2014