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i-MAGAZINE Issue Five – July – Dec 2016 Search - IMAGAZINE.GB.COM UK £19.95 - US $29.95
KOFI ANANN [ encouraging leaders to lead ] PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH [ on his book, a portrait of my father ] ALEX BEARD CBE [ interview with the CEO of the royal opera house ] ANDY PALMER CEO [ a discussion with the boss at aston martin ] LORD GREEN [ the government minister on european identity ] AMAL CLOONEY [ interview with the human rights lawyer and activist ]
Editor-In-Chief and Publisher Vincent Abrams firstname.lastname@example.org Designers Threeshadesred, Creative Director; Paul Martin Deputy Editor Julia Pasaron email@example.com Business Editorial Advisors Dr. Stephen Fear 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
The Editor’s Letter Welcome to fifth issue of I-MAGAZINE, as you can see from our cover, Kofi Annan writes on ‘Encouraging Leaders to Lead’, Andy Palmer CEO at Aston Martin talks about what 2016 holds for the marque – President George W. Bush writes on themes from his book ’41, a Portrait of my Father’. Government minister and former head at HSBC talks to our Culture Editor Henry Hopwood-Phillips on ‘European Identity’. Neil Moffitt CEO of the Hakkasan Group speaks on ‘Developing a Luxury Hospitality Brand’, there is plenty in this issue to keep you glued to its pages, author Robert Lacey pens ‘Model Woman’, looking at the career of Eileen Ford, founder of the Ford (modeling) Agency, looking
Lifestyle Editor DL Osborne email@example.com
at one of the agencies most famous and long standing models
Contributing Cultural Editor Henry Hopwood-Phillips
Martin on how he raised the brands profile and finances after a
Asia Editor Matthew Davies
the luxury industry. Mark Sismey-Durrant CEO at Hampshire Trust
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Printing by The Magazine Printing Company Distributed by Smiths News & Menzies Contributors Tej Kholi, Robert Lacey, President George W. Bush, Neil Moffit CEO, Andy Palmer CEO, Mark Sismey Durrant, Amal Clooney, Lord Green Alex Beard CBE, Lord Watson, Baroness Scotland, Baroness Kennedy, Alice Kahrmann, Rebecca Davies, Gerry Brown.
Carmen Dell’Oreffice. We also interview Eric Vallat, CEO at Rémy
short fall before his arrival and also how he became involved in
Bank writes on ‘Challenger Banks’, as banks who plug gaps in the banking industry by focusing on niche and or specialist areas. David Vincent, Pro Vice Chancellor at the Open University writes on the ‘Privacy Paradox’, looking at how the arrival of the internet has changed peoples attitudes towards individual and customer privacy, and also with regards as to how we view businesses who deal with personal customer data.
I very much hope you will enjoy this issue, we had great fun putting it together, your feedback is always appreciated, so when you get
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CREDITS PAGE – Includes the letter from the Editor - In-Chief, Vincent Abrams. DIARY – cultural events at home and abroad through the winter and spring months of July 2016 through to June. FOUR SEASONS GEORGE V PARIS – a feature on one Paris’s most beautiful hotels.
POLITICS BARONESS SCOTLAND QC – we speak with the new Secretary of the Commonwealth, in association with 100 Leading Ladies. HELENA KENNEDY QC – interview with Baroness Kennedy, profiling her career from a working class family to a peer and barrister. KOFI ANNAN – The former Secretary of the United Nations talks on ‘Encouraging Leaders to Lead’, and ‘’using you power as a consumer’’.
BUSINESS ERIC VALLAT CEO – interview with the CEO of Rémy Martin on how he took over the brand after a short fall in profits. ANDY PALMER CEO – we speak to the boss at Aston Martin on the 2016 DB9 GT and what he gets up to in his spare time. MARK SISMEY-DURRANT CEO – at Hampshire Trust Bank, writes on ‘’Challenger Banks’’, and how they help fill gaps in the banking sector PETER GALE – Senior Wealth Manager at AAG on wealth management and inheritance planning. ALIKO DANGOTE – a profile of Africa’s richest and currently most successful business man, looking in depth at the Dangote Group and his up bringing.
LIFESTYLE NEIL MOFFITT CEO – at the Hakkasan Group on ‘’Developing a Luxury Hospitality Brand’’, and the history of the Hakkasan brand. AMAL CLOONEY – interview with the activist and human rights lawyer on her current client Mohammed Nasheed former President of the Maldives. PETER STAS CEO – at Frederique Constant on ‘Lucxury Craftmanship’, on the watch making process, guiding us through the steps. PETER SPEAKE-MARIN CEO – writes on ‘The Luxury Watch Industry’, on how the watch industry has evolved over the years. GEORGE BAMFORD MD – interview with MD of the Bamford Watch Department, a custom watch service based in Mayfair townhouse.
CULTURE JEREMY GRIFFITH – writes on ‘How to understand the human condition’, and how psychology can and should be based on a new foundation. LORD WATSON OF RICHMOND – writes on his new book ‘Churchill’s Legacy’
ALEX BEARD CEO – at The Royal Opera House on his role at the Covent Garden based institution and looking back on his career and personal life. i-MAGAZINE
contents Jul/Dec 2016
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Lord Watson of Richmond, shot by Nick Ashley for I-MAGAZINE.
contents Jul/Dec 2016
49 Kofi Annan at the World Economic Forum, Davos, Switzerland
162 Amal Clooney, launching a scholarship program for girls from Lebanon. (Eamonn M. McCormack / Getty Images)
ROYAL ASCOT Royal Ascot is Britain’s most valuable race meeting, attracting many of the world’s finest racehorses to compete for more than £6.58milllion in prize money. Our eighteen Group races, eight of them in Group One, have made legends of the finest thoroughbreds. Black Caviar, Frankel, Yeats – all are Royal Ascot winners turned household names.
Hickstead has hosted the Longines Royal International Horse Show (Patron: Her Majesty The Queen) since 1992. Having celebrated its centenary in 2007, the show - the official Horse Show of The British Horse Society - is now the venerable age of 109, and one of the oldest horse shows in the world.
In 2013, The Queen watched her horse, Estimate, triumph in the Gold Cup. A dedicated racehorse owner, she has attended every Royal Meeting during her reign and the Royal Procession is always an iconic moment to herald the start of every raceday. Anticipated and revered, these five days are made for socialising. Long seen as a spectacle of fashion and style, they are referenced the world over. Each year the meeting is broadcast to audiences around the globe, yet to experience it in person is something altogether more special.
The international showjumping classes get underway from Thursday onwards, with the highlight of this day being the new-look Amlin Plus Eventers’ Challenge, back at Hickstead by popular demand. Friday’s feature class is the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™, presented by Longines, where teams of four riders will be competing to qualify for the series final in Barcelona. It is the only chance British fans will have to see their team compete on home soil.
CHAUMONT GARDEN FESTIVAL Every year since 1992, the gardens of chateau Chaumont-sur-Loire play host to the annual ‘Festival des Jardins’, a garden festival with up to 30 themed gardens. These gardens are created by different landscape architects, designers and artists around a theme, which changes every year. This brings the chateau surroundings to life with the colour and fragrances of the many plants and flowers on display. It also promotes nursery projects and lets both the public and trade see new ideas on the use of colour and materials in flower and garden displays. Due to its continued quality and success the garden festival has gained an international reputation with visitors coming from every corner of the globe. Royal Ascot.
LONGINES ROYAL INTERNATIONAL HORSE SHOW As one of the biggest outdoor shows in the country, the Longines Royal International Horse Show uniquely sees the elite of many equestrian disciplines compete side by side: it has everything from the thrills and spills of international showjumping to the elegance and glamour of champion showing horses and ponies, to the exhilarating buzz of the country’s best scurry ponies to event riders galloping across-country.
From over 300 proposals 20 to 30 gardens are selected for inclusion in the festival. Included were contributions from the UK, Japan, the Netherlands, Germany and Italy. The displays are also illuminated under the ‘Gardens of Light’ theme allowing visitors the chance to explore the gardens by night. The chateau is also enhanced by the glow of over 2000 candles (10pm 1st July - 31st August)
ROYAL ACADEMY SUMMER EXHIBITION A long-standing favourite of the London art year, the Academy Summer Exhibition is the world’s largest open-submission contemporary art exhibition. It runs from June to mid-August. Members
interview Jul/Dec 2016
Baroness Scotland QC Secretary-General of the Commonwealth
Baroness Patricia Scotland QC: Attorney General 2007-2010
My proudest achievement is being a mother to two sons.
In the financial crisis, those companies who had a good gender balance on the board did best.
1955 Born in Dominica, the tenth of twelve siblings Emigrated to East London aged three
I’ve always adored children. I’m a committed Roman Catholic and I hoped very much that I would be blessed with children but for a long time, it looked like it wasn’t going to happen.
It’s the dynamic between the genders that engenders success. A balanced leadership team provides better outcomes.
1991 Became the UK’s first female black QC 1997 Made a Labour peer and becomes Baroness Scotland of Asthal 1999 First black woman to serve as a government minister 2007 First female Attorney General My father was the greatest feminist I ever knew. I didn’t realise it until I discovered that other women thought they weren’t capable of things. There were seven boys in my family and five girls. My father wanted us girls to be scientists. That wasn’t an entirely usual ambition for a woman in the seventies but that kind of attitude was given no truck. I remember the first time I found out that our outlook was unusual. I was about fifteen, and talking to a friend who was brilliant and wanted to be an engineer. She said “I’m not sure I can”. I asked why. “Because I’m a girl”. I thought: “What?! But that’s crazy!” It made no sense to me. When I got the bar, in 1977, only 7 per cent were women. There were virtually no black women. I remember people being absolutely astonished that I could even speak English. The assumption was that you couldn’t be British if you were black. The whole idea of women being at the bar was still looked at askance. But I was a black, female, socialist Roman Catholic. What career was I going to take where I wasn’t going to encounter problems? I had to be me, otherwise there would be no way I could get up in the morning.
For any parent, having an active career is a very big challenge. Increasingly, fathers too are torn because they want to have a very active role in their children’s lives – be there physically as well as emotionally. My advice is to concentrate on being there to do the joyful and essential things with your children – the things that are essential to them and joyful for both you and them. My children and I enjoy each others company – I’m so grateful for that. I always try to make time for them. That means that when they call at 3am, I say “What’s up?” and not, “Do you know what time it is?” It’s important to involve them in what you do, too. Make it something they can respect. My parents gave me a very strong sense of public duty. Allowing your children to see you doing your public duty and to see why it is important helps. Talk to your children, that’s my tip. Many women look at what public life involves and they just don’t want it. It isn’t that they don’t want to work hard, or work for change. They just don’t want that level of public scrutiny. They’d often rather be in the background, working collaboratively - more ready to talk about ‘we’ than ‘I’ and so they don’t like the nature of ‘I’ politics.
So it’s incredibly important that we don’t exclude fifty per cent of that talent or intellectual capital. If you want to build a company that will succeed or a stable future for this country, you have to create a balance that is fair to everybody and an environment which is attractive to women. The UK has always punched about its weight and we can’t now afford to be retrogressive and Neanderthal. I was brought up to believe that all of us have to strive to make a contribution, try and make the world better for someone else. If I’d have been a toilet attendant, I would have tried to be the best one in the world. We were also told never to be afraid to fail. The only disgrace is in never having tried. Believe in yourself and your talents. That’s what my father taught me and that’s what I would like to say to young people today. If I had the power, I would like everybody to have the equivalent of Arthur M Scotland in their lives. Interview carried out in association with 100 Leading Ladies.
But if you don’t get involved then nothing changes. Having more women involved in policymaking will, and already has, helped to change the culture.
Without my faith and my family, I don’t think I could have achieved much at all.
This isn’t about political correctness.
Because there were just so many people being negative and saying “you can’t do that”. My family were there all the time saying, “yes you can”.
It’s about what works, what’s economically smart. It’s not soft and fluffy, it’s where we need to be in order to be competitive and keep our place in the world.
In the future, the real economic driver will be talent and talent comes in a multiplicity of forms.
profile Jul/Dec 2016
President George W. Bush In late May 2014, I received a phone call from Jean Becker, my father’s longtime chief of staff. She got straight to the point.
announced that he would make another jump on his ninetieth birthday. And George H.W. Bush is a man of his word.
“Your dad wants to make a parachute jump on his ninetieth birthday. What do you think?”
A few weeks later, Laura and I arrived for the birthday celebration in Kennebunkport, Maine. The jump logistics were complete, the party was planned, and Mother was now on board. The afternoon before the jump, I sat next to Dad on the porch of his beloved home at Walker’s Point, perched on a rocky outcropping over the Atlantic. I had been painting an ocean scene and was wearing cargo pants stained with oil paint. For a few peaceful minutes, we stared quietly at the sea.
About eighteen months earlier, Jean had called to review the funeral arrangements for my father. He had spent nearly a month in the hospital with pneumonia, and many feared that this good man was headed toward eternity. He could not walk, and he tired easily. In my phone calls to Dad, he never complained. Self-pity is not in George Bush’s DNA. Now he was hoping to complete another parachute jump—the eighth of his life, counting the one he made after his torpedo bomber was struck by Japanese anti-aircraft fire over the Pacific in 1944. “Are you sure this is what he wants?” I asked. “Absolutely,” she said. “What do the doctors say?” “Some say yes, some say no.”
After some thought, I said, “I think he ought to do it.” “Why?” “Because it will make him feel younger.” The truth is that my opinion didn’t matter much. After a parachute jump on his eighty-fifth birthday, my father had
“What’s your birthday wish on your ninetieth birthday?” Jenna asked. “For happiness for my grandkids,” he replied.
“What are you thinking about, Dad?” I asked. “It’s just beautiful,” he said, still looking out at the ocean. It seemed that he had said all that he wanted to say. We sat quietly for a few more minutes. Was he reflecting on the jump? His life? God’s grace? I did not want to interrupt. Then he spoke. “Do those pants come in clean?”
“What about Mother?” “She is concerned. She knows that he wants to do it. But she’s worried that the jump will tire him out and he won’t be able to enjoy the birthday party that she’s planning for that night.”
The crew fired up the Bell 429 helicopter that was parked on the lush green lawn outside the two-story wooden cabin that served as Dad’s office at Walker’s Point. Dad was clad in a custom-fitted black flight suit with a patch that read “41@90.” His preflight routine included a final weather clearance, a har- ness check, and an interview with my daughter Jenna, a cor- respondent for the TODAY show. Even with his jump looming, he was willing to share his time to help his granddaughter.
I laughed, something I have been doing with my father all my life. His quip was typical. He was not nervous about his jump or his life. He was at peace. And he was sharing his joy with others. The morning of Dad’s birthday, June 12, dawned chilly and gray. There was a modest breeze, about fifteen miles per hour. At first, we feared that the clouds might force a change in plans. Fortunately, the veteran paratroopers coordinating the jump, known as the All Veteran Group, determined that the visibility was sufficient. The mission was a go.
“I hope they have the same kind of life I have for ninety years—full of joy.” He did have one more wish: “Make sure the parachute opens.” Family and friends gathered at the landing zone: the lawn of my parents’ church, St. Ann’s, the same place where Dad had landed five years earlier and where his parents had been mar- ried ninety-three years earlier. (As Mother put it, if the jump did not succeed, at least we wouldn’t have to travel far for the burial.) At about ten forty-five a.m., one of the members of the jump team approached me. “Mr. President,” he said, “your father is airborne.” A few minutes later, we spotted a small speck in the sky—the chopper at 6,500 feet. After the helicopter made a circle around the church, we saw several chutes pop open. Two belonged to the video jumpers tasked with chronicling the leap. The other was a large red, white, and blue chute carrying Dad and master jumper Mike Elliott, who was making his third jump i-MAGAZINE
opinion Jul/Dec 2016
with Dad and his 10,227th jump overall. The crowd cheered as the tandem headed our way. “They sure are coming in hot,” my brother Marvin said, with a touch of worry. He was right. The wind had taken the chute off course. Mike corrected with a hard turn in the final descent. Dad slammed into the ground, skidded for a few feet, and then face-planted into the grass. The crowd went silent. Would he get up? Was he hurt? No one moved until the ground crew lifted him into his wheel- chair. The grandkids struck up a chorus of “Happy Birthday” to camouflage their anxiety. Finally the sea of uniforms parted. George H.W. Bush had a smile on his face. I grabbed Mother, and we walked toward Dad. She leaned over and gave him a kiss. I followed with a handshake and a hug. “How did it feel?” I asked. “Cold,” he said. “I’m sure proud of you, Dad,” I said. “That was an awesome jump.” He pointed to his partner. “Mike did all the work,” he said. The scene captured the character of George Bush. He was daring and courageous, always seeking new adventures and new challenges. He was humble and quick to share credit. He deflected attention from himself and refused to brag about his accomplishments. He trusted others and inspired their loyalty. And above all, he found joy in his family and his faith. Nothing made him happier than being surrounded by his wife, children, and grandchildren in a place where he had so many wonderful memories. After the jump, Dad returned to Walker’s Point to eat, take a nap, and prepare for the 250 family members, friends, and Bush administration alumni attending the birthday party that night. He rewarded himself with a Bloody Mary over lunch. Then he received a call from his friend Arnold Schwarzenegger, the movie star and former Governor of California.
place to begin the story of George Herbert Walker Bush. The stunning eleven acres consist of a rugged promontory jutting into the Atlantic Ocean off the southeast coast of Maine close to the town of Kennebunkport. The land was purchased around the turn of the twentieth cen- tury by my father’s grandfather and namesake, George Herbert Walker. Known to his family and friends as Bert, G.H. Walker was a fierce competitor in all aspects of life. In his younger years, he played competitive polo and briefly held the title of Missouri heavyweight boxing champion. Later he was an ac- complished golfer who founded the Walker Cup competition between American and British amateurs. Bert Walker’s competitive drive extended into the world of business, where he earned a reputation as a hard-charging en- trepreneur. He started his own investment firm in his home- town of St. Louis at age twenty-five. After a few flush years, he moved his operation to a larger stage, New York City. There he joined forces with another savvy investor, William Averell Harriman, and became President of W.A. Harriman & Com- pany. Bert Walker wasn’t afraid to risk money, and he sure wasn’t afraid to spend it. He owned a yacht, Rolls-Royces, and homes up and down the East Coast—including Walker’s Point, the only one that remains in our family. As a father, Bert Walker doled out tough love to his sons. His youngest son, Lou, once showed up drunk for a mixed doubles championship at the tennis club in Kennebunkport. The whole family was gathered for the match. When Bert Walker, standing courtside clad in a tie, discovered his son’s debauchery, he pulled him off the court. Back at Walker’s Point, Lou was summoned into his father’s office. Bert Walker told him that his drunken performance had stained the family reputation. Then he imposed the sentence: Instead of returning for his next semester at Yale, Lou would spend a year working in the Pennsylvania coal mines. To show up drunk for tennis was rude and disrespectful, and those qualities were not tolerated in Bert Walker’s boys.
I agreed with Arnold’s assessment. George H.W. Bush set an example for many people in many ways. He is determined to live his life to the fullest—to the very end.
In sharp contrast to the way he treated his sons, Bert Walker showered his two daughters with affection. He showed particular warmth toward his younger daughter, Dorothy, who was born in Kennebunkport in 1901. In return, Dorothy Walker adored her father. And somehow she managed to inherit his best qualities while sanding off his rough edges. Eventually she passed those traits on to her son George Herbert Walker Bush.
WALKER’S POINT, the site of my father’s ninetieth-birthday parachute jump, is a fitting
Like her father, my grandmother had an insatiable competitive streak. My mother once
“Happy birthday,” Arnold said, “to the most badass ninety- year-old I know.”
dubbed her “the most competitive living human,” a title she earned in pursuits from tennis (she was a nationally prominent player in the small world of women’s amateur tennis) to tiddlywinks. She once challenged a friend to swim from Walker’s Point to the Kennebunk River Club, over a mile away. Thinking she was joking, the friend quit after a few hundred yards. My grandmother swam the full distance in the frigid Atlantic waters. In her most legendary feat, she played in a family softball game while nine months pregnant, swatted a home run in her final at bat, and then announced that she had started labor as she crossed the plate. My grandmother tempered her zeal to win with genuine humility, and she demanded that all her children do the same. She expected grace in victory, good sportsmanship in defeat, and a commitment to “do your best” at all times. She instructed her children to downplay personal accomplishments and share credit with others. And her cardinal rule was that one must never brag. In her view, arrogance was unattractive, and a per- son with true self-confidence did not need to gloat. “No one likes a braggadocio,” she liked to say. When my father was a child in Greenwich, Connecticut, my grandmother asked him how one of his baseball games had gone. “It was great,” he replied. “I hit a home run.” “That’s nice, George,” she responded. Then she stuck in the dagger. “But how did the team do?” Another time, Dad explained that he’d lost a tennis match because he’d been off his game. “You don’t have a game,” his mother shot back. “If you work harder, maybe you’ll get one.” His mother’s early lessons in humility stayed with my father his entire life. During his 1988 presidential campaign, I accompanied him to the National Press Club in Washington, DC. He was there to share his knowledge of world affairs and answer questions from the audience. George Bush knew the policy is- sues cold. His handling of questions on Soviet relations and Central America was a tour de force. As a lighthearted finale, the moderator asked, “Why are you wearing a red tie?” The question caught him off guard. From my chair next to the podium, I could see him struggling for an answer. I stage- whispered, “Because I spilled gravy on my blue one.” Dad grabbed the verbal lifeline, and the room erupted in laughter at his self-deprecating quip. Then he ruined the moment by blurting out, “That’s what you have a son for.” That was typical of my father. Proper attribution
interview Jan/Jun 2016
The position of Bodley’s Librarian is one of the top librarian jobs in the world. Richard Ovenden took the job in 2014, becoming the twenty-fifth curator of the legendary Bodleian Library in Oxford. As such, he is responsible for the largest university library in the UK and one of the major research libraries in the world holding 11 million volumes and many of the nation’s most valuable literary treasures.
Can you tell us about your journey to becoming Bodley’s Librarian?
I was a student at Durham University and became interested in early books and manuscripts there, staying on to be a Graduate Trainee. I was a graduate student at UCL and then worked in the House of Lords Library, before becoming a Curator in the Rare Books Department at the National Library of Scotland. I moved to Edinburgh University Library first as Head of Special Collections, then Director of Collections and Acting Deputy Librarian. I moved to Oxford in 2003 as Keeper of Special Collections, then becoming Associate Director, Deputy Librarian, and in 2014, Bodley’s Librarian.
What vision did you bring with you when you were appointed?
My vision is to ensure that the Bodleian remains one of the great libraries of the world -maintaining and improving our outstanding collections, providing the most informed and helpful staff, and the best and most responsive services. One of your first jobs has been to oversee the £80m restoration of Sir Giles Gilbert Scott’s New Bodleian Library. Were you fazed by the scale of the project? The project was originally my concept back in 2005, and I have seen it through to its completion as Bodley’s Librarian. The project was given strong backing by my two predecessors, but as I have lived and breathed it for ten years, I havent been fazed by the scale at all!
What were the biggest challenges?
The main challenges were seeking approvals from within the University and the city, and raising the money needed to complete the project. With universities investing so much time and money into making aesthetic changes, is there any evidence to show that building design actually enhances learning or drives more people to use the library and its resources? Building design definitely drives learning and research. Just look at how popular our older iconic buildings like the Radcliffe Camera and the Old Bodleian are. Our readers tell us this all the time – the Weston Library is very popular because of the quality of the environment – it has become an ‘academic destination’.
How do you approach the problem of coordinating large-scale transformation in an enormous academic library?
The best approach is to be patient! You must not rush the project, but allow people to bring ideas and to shape it from a variety of perspectives. But being determined to see it through is also vital.
How is the role of the library being redefined by 21st working methods?
Yes it is, but not completely. We need excellent connections to the network – both wired and wireless. We need space for collaboration. Students want to work differently depending on disciplines – scientists wants workstations with two screens for example. But spaces for quiet study and research are still in high demand.
interview Jul/Dec 2016
Baroness Kennedy QC Chair of the International Commission of Jurists
HELENA KENNEDY: Leading QC 1950: Born in Glasgow
not encouraged to think of doing anything other than teaching or nursing. And being a good Catholic mother was always held out as the highest achievement for a woman.
1972: Called to the Bar 1988: Presented a programme called Hypotheticals for Granada - Television and co-wrote the award-winning TV drama Blind Justice 1989: Presented the BBC TV documentary Heart of the Matter 1991: Made QC 1997: Made a Labour peer and Bencher in the same year 1998: Appointed Chair of the British Council and Chair of the Human Genetics Commission 2008: Appointed Chair of the Justice’s council
I was from a strong working class family, full of doughty women. My mother was a wonderful woman, who was very much her own person. I am one of four girls but I was born after the war so was ‘special’. My two older sisters were nine and ten years older than me and were thrilled to have a new baby. A boy had died before I was born so I was also a replacement son and my father had just come back from the war so I was really his first babe in arms. It meant I got a lot of loving and that gave me a strong sense of my own value. My parents measured people by what they did and how they behaved and were never impressed with status or money. They did want me to stay on at school and, I think, thought that it would be wonderful if I became a teacher. They did not know any women in any other professions. However, there was no doubt that that they feared for me when I came to London to study law. It was so outside of what they knew. My teachers at school were very encouraging and I think I was generally made to feel special. However, girls were
I feel embarrassed saying it but I liked being top of the class. My mother was the taskmaster. When I went home having got ‘nine out of ten’ she asked where the other one mark went. I think I spent my life wanting her to say, “You are terrific,” but she was careful with her praise. It kept my feet on the ground. Luckily my father constantly told me I was wonderful. I never took, “No,” for an answer when it came to the Bar. I felt it had been so hard making that leap into the unknown of studying law in London that I could not admit defeat. That gave me my drive, I think. I also felt that I had something to offer - I knew about the lives of ordinary people, whereas many of the privileged young men I studied with back in the ‘70s were unaware of what the reality of working class life was like. I understood how women were excluded from law’s making - it was all made by men with men in mind. I clocked that early on and I wanted change. The whole business of being myself has been important. I never tried to get rid of my Scottish accent. In a world in which your distinctiveness is going to matter, you hope that you are remembered for your professional skill. But being a woman, being a Scot, being from an usual background for an Upper-Middle class profession... all of those things that make you rare can be very helpful.
I have all of that as part of who I am. There has been a fallacy that professionalism at the bar requires distance. But the truth is that it just creates bad lawyering. Too many lawyers don’t understand the lives that their clients lead, or are forced to lead because of disadvantage or poverty. There’s no doubt that women are better at being empathetic. But its partly because men have it hammered out of them, not because men can’t be empathetic. I have witnessed the Queen Bee syndrome during my career and it is a rather ugly manifestation of competitiveness between women. Being the rare woman in a man’s world was something they rather relished and it made them hostile to the arrival of new generations of younger women. I’ve always championed opportunities for women to progress in male worlds. It always disappoints me when I hear women saying, “I don’t want to be the token woman,” as though to be the first woman through because public demand is insisting on it is a diminution of their talents. If they are being asked to bring women in, of course organisations are going to choose the best women possible. You’re going to see a better quality of women under those targets than the majority of the men who are in there. We’ve had positive discrimination forever and a day. The beneficiaries of it have just been men.
I learned how to harness the stuff that I knew, and instead of it weakening me, it became a strength.
We have to challenge the idea that merit is a value free zone. When people say, “We’re only going to appoint on the basis of merit”, you have to ask yourself, “Who is deciding what is meritorious?”
I have never tried to do things like the guys. I never, ever call my client by his surname in the way that men in the profession often would, because they went to the sort of schools where you’d be called Smith or Brown... I’m very sensitive to the whole business of people being talked down to or patronised.
In our supreme court at the moment we have one woman, a wonderful woman. We waited ten years, and we still haven’t got a second one. Twenty-six opinions are sought on who should be appointed to the Court. And there’s not a woman amongst them. People appoint people in their own image and likeness.
There are things about me that are quite adversarial, I enjoy the fight of the courtroom battle. Are those male traits? I don’t know, but I haven’t sought them out.
Interview carried out in association with 100 Leading Ladies.
“No. The blues are because you’re getting fat and maybe it’s been raining too long; you’re just sad, that’s all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid and you don’t know what you’re afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling? …Well, when I get it the only thing that does any good is to jump in a cab and go to Tiffany’s. Calms me down right away. The quietness and the proud look of it. Nothing very bad could happen to you there. If I could find a reallife place that’d make me feel like Tiffany’s, then — then I’d buy some furniture and give the cat a name!” ’’. - Audrey Hepburn
By Kofi Annan 7th Secretary-General of the United Nations and Chairman of The Elders
‘’Vote, make some noise and use your power as a consumer’’, how can ordinary citizens help bring about the change we need and encourage our leaders to actually lead on issues from drugs to climate change? What does the illegal drugs trade have in common with the death toll from the Ebola epidemic? Or our collective failure so far to address climate change (the climate agreement in Paris marks the beginning, not the end, of the road) or the security council’s inability to stop the violence in Syria and Iraq? In each case – as with so many other crises in our world – they have at their heart a lack of political will and a failure of leadership. Narrow, short-term self-interests have overshadowed the understanding of how, in a truly global world, interdependent are our destinies. Look at Ebola. We have known about the disease and the terrible risks it could pose for 40 years, yet we did not take effective action. Only when the death toll was mounting, borders were closing and there were fears of a global epidemic did we mobilise the resources needed. Climate change, perhaps the world’s greatest challenge, is divisive only in political circles. The scientific community reached a consensus on the need to act years before the Paris agreement and the jury on whether leaders will mobilise the political will to actually implement it is still out. The illegal drugs trade continues to threaten public health and safety and undermine governance. Yet too many countries are still unwilling to recognise the failure of the war on drugs and adopt approaches that actually work. In the economic and diplomatic sphere as well, we see this failure. Clamping down on tax evasion and using the money raised to invest in public services are two simple measures that would counteract the growing and damaging inequality in our world. This year will see the wealth of the top 1% exceed that of the remaining 99%.
The security council continues to reflect the geo-political realities of 1945 not the 21st century. But reform is selfishly blocked even though the security council’s loss of legitimacy may mean that we could eventually lose the only supra-national forum we have to resolve matters of peace and war. The expertise, experience and evidence needed to solve these and many other pressing problems already exists. What holds us back is the lack of leadership that can galvanise the political will needed to deliver solutions. The world is experiencing a crisis of leadership, not a crisis of knowledge. So how can ordinary citizens help bring about the change we need and encourage our leaders to actually lead? Let me give three clear answers. First, if you live in a country with multi-party politics, make sure you vote. It may seem obvious or old-fashioned, but it is more relevant than ever. Research shows that young people in more and more countries are not exercising their democratic right to vote.Older voters outnumber young ones in every European country. We need to hear the voice of the young who, understandably, often take a longer-term view. Second, make noise about the issues you care about. The digital age empowers individuals in unprecedented ways. You not only have access to more information than any previous generation, you also have the possibility of reaching out to many more people than was possible even decades ago.
advanced substantially thanks to a committed, well-organised and extremely vocal body of civil society organisations who kept up the pressure on political decision-makers and on the pharmaceutical industry. The same activism is needed today to press our leaders for effective, long-term approaches on drugs or climate change. We need moderate voices reclaiming the space of our town squares and especially the digital space which for now is an often unchecked playing field for those advocating unilateralism, ultra-nationalism and the politics of identity. Lastly, use your power as a consumer, which is now unparalleled in history. Every time you buy a product or service, you are supporting a company. Before you decide which sneakers to buy or financial services to use, consider its business practices. There is a wealth of information out there on how businesses behave. Through our collective buying power, we can set the agenda and drive up standards. When leaders fail to lead, I have seen time and time again how public opinion can make them follow. As we consider our resolutions for the new year, playing our part in using this collective power for good in 2016 should be high in our thoughts. As John Stuart Mill, the political philosopher, said almost 150 years ago: “Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.” This article was originally published in The Guardian
Unless you campaign for effective solutions, you leave the space to those advocating extreme positions or allow political leaders to ignore problems. The fight against HIV and Aids during my tenure at the UN
profile Jul/Dec 2016
The Brains Behind A Brand: Fiona Sanderson By Alice Kahrmann Luxury - the only industry that’s really recessionproof? Fact or fallacy; this is the issue that’s on my mind as I prepare to interview Fiona Sanderson, founder of The Luxury Channel, an incredibly high spec media platform for the world’s most exclusive brands. So what are the challenges in making a platform like this profitable? ‘Every day, we are trying to find ways in which we can keep the integrity to the programmes we make but on a less expensive budget… It’s always a big question on the web; how do you keep the image exciting and portray a luxury brand in a two or three minute window? That’s really hard.’ ‘Luxury brands are relatively new to the multi-media platform,’ she continues. ‘There are companies who are well ahead like Burberry but generally they were very cautious before they even stepped into the Internet. They were concerned that their brand would be diluted - but now they’ve realised that they’ve got to embrace it, that they can actually make products that can appear in China and these places that are buying luxury like crazy. So I suppose now it’s becomes easier; the challenge has becomes less - they understand it.’ Sanderson is clearly riveted by her subject matter, talking animatedly about the platform she has spent the last eight years developing. ‘I still think we’re the only brand that stands out as somebody who can make films that have got credibility and prove to them [the brands] that we can actually use their name and products without being diminished.’ Responsibility indeed, but does Sanderson ever worry about the lingering effects of the recession? ‘Well, because the markets have expanded into Asia in such a strong way, luxury seems to be about the only industry that’s held up; it’s had a bigger bite of the cherry.
Probably when the recession really hit, luxury did suffer but at the moment it’s doing really well.’ So the demand is as buoyant as ever; no great shock when one considers the coach loads of Chinese tourists being shipped into shopping centres on a weekly basis. ‘My next challenge is to take the brand into China and India. I’m really interested in India because that’s a really exciting market and really challenging in itself - it’s about to explode.’ It’s clear Sanderson has her eye on the ball, but on a more personal level, as a woman in an often male-dominated market, has she struggled? Hit her head against a thick glass ceiling? ‘Funnily enough, that’s one of the questions I ask when I interview female company heads and entrepreneurs; particularly in the luxury industry,’ she smiles, amused to have the tables turned. ‘I think the availability is there but you’ve got to even be stronger than a man entering into business.’ But what of the work/life balance - does she think women can have it all? ‘Definitely, I think it’s exciting times for women. We have a stronger resolve if things get tough.’ Sticking ardently to the subject matter, what mistakes has she observed the fairer sex making in the workplace? ‘I think women can be very bullish… less sensitive than men, in a funny way. We can be quite “bull in a china shop” and if we’re very determined, we can be insensitive sometimes, even to men actually.’ Sanderson is quite clearly the boss, but what of the mistakes racked up along the way? There must have been some… ‘Loads!’ she laughs. ‘I think life is a learning curve so you’re always making mistakes.’ Those mistakes have taught her well, ‘Make sure you know your mission statement and what you really believe in.
Stick to the principles of it, try not to rush ahead and do too many things. Really understand your brand; if you don’t - people won’t understand it either. So really stick to the principles of what you set out to do.’ Why does she think she has made it where others have failed? ‘Maybe I’m a bit old fashioned about it but I think there’s a lot of luck in it. It’s like making a film; you’re not the one person that’s responsible for that, it’s the fact that you have a great director, a great scriptwriter… So I think it’s firstly choosing the right team, the right people who can make your vision happen. You’ve got to be lucky.’ Sanderson attributes a lot to luck; I beg to differ; she’s clearly had her nose at the grindstone. ‘I didn’t go to university. I’ve always worked for myself, which has been good because you’ve only got yourself to learn by.’ Sanderson is used to going out to get what she wants, and usually succeeding. I wonder where she’d like to go from here - what’s next? She pauses for a moment. ‘I’d really like to be a resource where people can come and escape and revel and be excited by some really high-end talent. On a personal basis, my great love is conservation. I would like to do more for the environment…’ she trails off; the interview’s coming to an end, I can sense the entrepreneur is itching to get back to work; her eyes scanning the large flat screen television blaring out CNN; she was up working late - till 3 in the morning. I leave her to it, her voice echoing in my mind, ‘I go out of my way to help friends - make sure that they are happy… Sometimes if that’s your core value; what you achieve in life - it surpasses business and money and all those things.’ There it is; Fiona Sanderson’s final word on luxury.
comment Jul/Dec 2016
LAPADA Art & Antiques Dealers Fair By Rebecca Davies, CEO of LAPADA Each year, as autumn begins to fall, there is a ferment of activity amongst the established plane trees of Berkeley Square. Covering over 40,000 square feet -including an upstairs brasserie- and temporarily housing 108 stands, the LAPADA Art & Antiques Fair marquee is erected to welcome over 20,000 visitors over the course of one week. The LAPADA Fair exemplifies the diversity of the trade, from antiquities through to the contemporary: here, in Central London, you might find an Inuit baby anorak alongside Picasso ceramics and contemporary Asian art. Like the association itself, where tradition and a modern approach work hand in hand, the vibrant atmosphere at the fair illustrates an art and antiques scene that can very much speak to today’s consumer. In an age of mass-production, the individuality of the pieces collated by the exhibitors, often imbued with history, is more desirable than ever, and each reincarnation of the fair both reflects and fosters the resurgence of interest in such items from the younger generation, who have embraced collecting as a valid and accessible form of self-expression that does not have to be regarded as just academic or stuffy. Today good design is celebrated in the media and discussed by the younger generation, so that, for example, a black neoclassical vase might interest a contemporary buyer for its clean lines and tactile use of marble as much as it would a seasoned collector for its maker and impeccable provenance. Cross-collecting is a buzzword that nonetheless encapsulates a deeper desire for a broad approach across disciplines and time periods: rather than collecting by type of piece or period, what our audience is clearly focussed on is quality and rarity. Similarly, authenticity and integrity is important to today’s audience, and we have eighty specialists vetting the fair to ensure that every item on display is accurately described and of the correct standard of quality. LAPADA’s Code of Practice requires that its members provide clear and accurate descriptions of items for sale; moreover, each member has undergone an application process to become part of an association that the public can trust. The dealers who share their knowledge and passion with
visitors to Berkeley Square are ambassadors for LAPADA’s wider membership of 550 members, nationally and internationally, all of whom are bound by the same high standards. Looking to the future, it is this eclectic mix of covetable items from uniformly reputable dealers that LAPADA is excited to bring to a wider audience through its newly-launched independent marketplace portal, www.lapada. org. Just as fairs have become an important part of the art and antique trade’s landscape, so has the need for an online presence: the public has completely changed the way they source things, from everyday items through to luxury goods. And just as the LAPADA Art & Antiques Fair has become known as an elegant but unpretentious event, so too a site where beautiful and diverse items can be easily and stylishly viewed is essential. Both showcases for our dealers aim to make serious collectors and first-time buyers alike feel at home, though the latter holds an advantage in lack of physical restrictions. As an Association, we are also charged with protecting the interests of our members in government and to act in response to legislation that could adversely affect the trade. The British art market alone is worth more than £8 billion and it continues to make a significant contribution to the economy, in terms of the employment and the skills it generates. From shops and galleries through to fairs and online sales, the art and antiques trade form an important part of the UK’s cultural and economic landscape and it is imperative that we strive to support it. Personally, coming to the position of LAPADA Chief Executive from a background most recently in contemporary art, it has been exciting to see our antiques dealer members confound outdated stereotypes and take a truly forward-looking an approach to their businesses, whilst maintaining the love of their subject which makes the profession almost a vocation.
Rebecca Davies is the Chief Executive of LAPADA, the largest professional trade association of art & antiques dealers in the UK. The role covers a large spectrum of responsibilities, with the sole aim of looking after the best interests of the Association’s members, including: organising conferences and seminars; arranging benefits for members, including PR coverage; overseeing the LAPADA Fair in Berkeley Square; as well as managing LAPADA’s relationships with other fine art fairs in the UK and internationally. Rebecca, on behalf of the Association, is a spokesperson for the trade and lobbies government on legislation that adversely affects its members, runs promotional initiatives and gathers and analyses important industry statistics. As the representative for LAPADA, Rebecca also holds the post of Treasurer for the British Art Market Federation (BAMF). Previously, Rebecca was Managing Director at the London contemporary art gallery Blain|Southern, which she set up with Harry Blain and Graham Southern in 2010. She played a pivotal role in all aspects of the business from management and strategy to growth. She was instrumental in the establishment of further galleries in London, New York and Berlin and managed the lease acquisition and subsequent development of four galleries and two offices. Prior to this, Rebecca was the European Business Director at leading contemporary art gallery, Haunch of Venison, from 2005. Rebecca has a Masters in History of Art from the Courtauld Institute and a Bachelor’s Degree in Art History & Sociology from the University of Virginia.
It gives me great pleasure to reflect that, with the appreciation of the unique coupled with an eclectic aesthetic becoming a hallmark of our times, the future of such art and objects as presented by our dealers can only be bright. i-MAGAZINE
comment Jul/Dec 2016
The Independent Director By Gerry Brown RBS, BP, Tesco, Enron, Lehman Brothers, Northern Rock, Polly Peck, Arthur Andersen and Swiss Air are all companies that have been the subject of major losses in shareholder value and affected the value of the pension funds of millions of people. Their governance and actions have led to major job losses and, in some cases, the Government has spent billions of taxpayer’s money to rescue them. Then let us consider some of the following issues and how they have damaged companies: • Mis-selling of services by banks, for example the massive mis-selling of payment protection insurance by UK banks, which has cost them billions of pounds and damaged their relationships. • Tax avoidance by international firms who route income through low tax domiciles in order to avoid paying tax • Anti competitive behavior such as the persistent rumors of collusion between energy firms. • Unethical behavior such as the phone hacking scandal - which threatened the stability of the entire News International group. • Corruption for example the payment of bribes in countries where the rule of law is weak in order to secure contracts. • The fines levied by regulators against pharmaceutical companies e.g. for failure to disclose the side affects of drugs discovered in clinical trials. • The massive fine against BP for the environmental damage in the Gulf of Mexico. In all these cases failures of corporate governance have damaged companies, sectors and sometimes - entire economies. As a result, over the years, various UK special investigations have been conducted, e.g. Cadbury Report, Greenbury Report, Higgs Report, Walker Report and a number of codes of conduct developed. In the USA,
two pieces of legislation have been passed - Sarbanes Oxley and Dodds Frank. Yet, no matter how many codes are developed or laws passed, it is the behavior of the leaders of companies that counts. In 2015 the problems of VW, Petrobas, Toshiba and the fines against banks, to name a few demonstrate that this issue is still far too prevalent. Yet despite many deleterious sometimes dramatic consequences, public understanding and perception of the role and importance of independent directors as the real custodians of companies remains woefully inadequate. I try to rectify this lack of understanding and knowledge in my new book The Independent Director (Palgrave Macmillan). So why do I claim that independent directors (non-executive directors in old money) are the real custodians of our companies. Firstly and foremost, increasingly they have the majority of seats on the boards of public companies. In the final analysis it is the boards that have the responsibility for the strategy and performance of businesses. Secondly they represent ALL interested parties not just the shareholders. This is particularly important since, increasingly, via their executive representatives shareholders have become focused (almost fixated) upon short-term results and it falls to Independent Directors to have concern about the longer-term health and strategic direction of the business.
seen from the FIFA scandal. Responsibility for company strategy is foremost for most IDs since this together with ensuring the strength of the senior team are the key factors that impact the health of companies. There are also critical roles to play in helping companies deal with issues of globalization and risk management as well as overseeing merger and acquisition due diligence (along with hostile approaches from predators). Finally IDs should be the eyes and ears of companies in addition to bringing best practice, experience and contacts from other sectors and geographies. It’s obviously the case that the job of the independent Director has become much more challenging and difficult this reflects the growing complexity of the decisions, which the boards of companies routinely face, for example • Should the company do business in or with countries that have oppressive regimes the policies of which may be anathema to employees, shareholders and the general public? • How should the company make sure that local subsidiaries, suppliers and so on are not behaving in unethical ways such as exploiting child labour or failing to provide a safe working environment? • What stance should the company take with regard to its customers?
Another significant factor is that the increasing mobility of executive directors (and their understandable natural interest in career progression) requires Independent Directors to retain focus upon high calibre management recruitment and/or the associated management succession.
• Will it engage in price fixing, price exploitation or dumping in order to grab market share, regardless of the long-term impact on customers?
Given all these factors, the role and function of the Independent Director crucially both safeguards and helps responsible management. Interestingly, this isn’t just the case in the corporate sector but increasingly also on the Councils of Universities, NHS Trusts, Charities & NGO boards along with numerous other public bodies. Unfortunately not in the world of global football as can be
• Is the company behaving in an environmentally friendly manner?
How safe are the company’s products?
Palgrave Macmillan publishes Gerry Brown’s The Independent Director: The Non-Executive Director’s Guide to Effective Board Presence
Asprey of London â€“ Silver Gorilla Bank Why leave anything genuinely worth protecting (letters patent; compromising billets doux; number of Zurich accounts), to a hopelessly conventional safe? Entrust them, rather, to a truly cross primate, whose glare will wither the boldest blackmailer -- and whose three-digit combination lock with thwart the most determined snoop. 22 inches of imposing sterling silver modeled by Julian Cross, leaving no doubt as to how seriously you take security. asprey.com
interview Jul/Dec 2016
As Brexit looms and talk from Chinese quarters emerges that dismisses Europe as “a land of museums and education”, Henry Hopwood-Phillips talks to Lord (Stephen) Green, former head of HSBC and government minister, about his latest book ‘The European Identity: Historical & Cultural Realities We Cannot Deny’
What’s your book’s elevator pitch?
It’s an exploration of what it means to be European. What do we have in common. How do we differ from others. How will we project ourselves on the twenty-first century stage — which will be as the nineteenth century’s was — a concert of powers.
Isn’t the real reason Europeans are not happy to entangle themselves with the EU less about fuzzy identitylevel reasons than the fact they cannot emotionally connect to a opaque institution with a democratic deficit?
First of all, it is clear that the EU is in bad need of reform. You don’t have to be a eurosceptic to believe that. But talk of leaving poses an existential threat to Britain. France is relatively homogenous and boasts a strong statist tradition, Germany has always been primarily a cultural identity with political identities layered above it quite comfortably, and Britain has the most fragile identity of the three. That’s not to say there aren’t smaller players on the same wavelength—Belgium, Spain and Italy are similar. A vote to leave the EU would be a vote to break up the UK. Scotland would demand its independence if the UK did so. The last time something of this magnitude happened was when Ireland left the union after WWI, an event I’m not sure most Britons have fully come to terms with yet. People are not making commercial decisions here, they are working out who they are.
But if sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, is identity the lowest form of politics?
I don’t believe that. You have to ask the big questions. We can get away for decades, even generations, without asking them when others have settled the account for us, but eventually we must wonder what we stand for.
The philosophies Europe gave the world seem to have mutated in the hands of our rivals. Should a future EU stand by them or should we create hybrids?
It’s a profound question and one that I could write a big book on. But look at China and the Confucianism that forms its bedrock. The common ground it shares with Europe is interesting – take Confucius and Aristotle – they’re quite similar.
In being anti-metaphysical?
Something like that. They had a metaphysic, just not a very personalised one. But compromises are still being struck today: the Chinese know they must make their own accommodation with Western ways of thinking, most obviously pluralism, for instance.
To answer your question, I don’t think the EU will mutate – though I don’t want to paint too static a picture. Everybody’s on a journey here and we’re still learning from history that’s being made.. Reading is another of my favourite pastimes. One of my teachers admonished my Year Eight class back in 1971 to ‘read with voracious appetite’. It’s a phrase I’ve never forgotten and have mostly tried to live by. Reading exposes us to the very best that’s been thought, said and done, and enables us to grasp the fullness of life without necessarily having to have lived that aspect of it ourselves.
You’ve written “Trend data shows that culture is on the wane as an element in people’s understanding of identity”. Could you go a little into what you mean here. Usually the two are considered synonymous?
Culture meaning classical concerts, art and suchlike are becoming less important factor in forming a person’s identity. Conversely, sport and other things are now more important. In parallel, Chinese intellectuals are bewailing the fact their youth cannot read the Classics any longer. This may be part of a world trend in which urbanisation, globalisation and consumerism reduces interest in the past – if so I think that is dangerous.
Perhaps the creation of world culture results in an amnesia of the units that preceded it?
You’d think so wouldn’t you but then we see the rise of very regional consciousnesses. The risk is that modern society increases (and satisfies) the appetite for immediate gratification, which is a mindset that stops in its tracks what you or I might have done, reading the Classics and immersing oneself in deep springs of knowledge and wisdom.
Doesn’t the typical ticklist of European values (compassion, rights, democracy etc.) look a tad superficial – have we lost a sense of identity as uniquely invested in the irrational?
Yes but the irrational aspects of identity don’t make a pretty sight. Identity has both the ability to create and to destroy. But it is there and cannot be ignored. One way or the other, we are not social atoms, we all identify with things, people and values.
Finally, isn’t there a risk of the EU playing midwife to a worldcitizenry rather than standing for anything in particular?
I’m all for it playing midwife. This process accelerates the consciousness involved in being on a planet that is fragile, that we need to care for. But the ‘world citizen’ need not be an exclusive identity. Saying you’re European does not cancel out German-ness any more than being a Sussex man cancels out my Englishness.
The Midnight Hour Featured Watch: Peragine Black & Black Peragine Watch Co. is a young brand out of San Jose, Ca, founded in 2011 by enthusiast Ivan Peragine. Despite being nearly four years old, the brand just released their debut collection in late 2014 after spending several years developing and real-world testing their prototypes. The collection features 4 variations of the Nayroh Grande, a limited edition release of 400 units total.
The Vacheron Constantin Reference 57260 Watchmakers and their most type-A clients have long chased the title of most complicated watch. Early 20th century industrialists James Packard and Henry Graves Jr. one-upped one another by commissioning extravagant watches, essentially keeping Patek Philippe in business during the lean years between the two World Wars. Last year, Gravesâ€™s so-called Supercomplication once again became the most expensive watch ever sold, fetching $24 million and topping the $11 million record it set in 1999.
Vacheron Constantin 37 Old Bond Street London W1S 4AB
Cartier Rotond De Cartier Chronograph The 40 mm case is wonderfully balanced, and the rectangular pushers are incredibly subtle from the front of the case looking at the watch. Inside the Rotonde de Cartier Chronograph is the same great 1904-CH self-winding movement from the Calibre Chrono. Here though, it actually fills up more of the case than with the Calibre, so it looks a little better from behind. Still, I would like to see slightly better finishing on the rotor of this Cartier movement.
Cartier 175-177 New Bond Street London W1S
Montblanc Automatic Montblanc Princesse Grace de Monaco PĂŠtales 10-11 Royal Exchange Ave London EC3V 3LL
The Alpina Startimer Pilot Chronograph Big Date When someone says Alpina Startimer, you might think of pilot watches with bold numerals and a solid, unadorned dial. (Comparatively, some of us reminisce about early-20th-century chronographs and the Alpina of yore, and others, like me, brood over their manufacture and world timer with in-house module.
Harrods 87-135 Brompton Road Knightsbridge, London SW1
Omega Sea Master 300 Vintage-inspired designs are popular right now as we’ve seen with brands like Jaeger-LeCoultre, Longines and Tudor – and Omega has done an especially good job capitalizing on its archive of great designs. Undoubtedly one of the most anticipated releases of 2014 was Omega’s introduction of the Seamaster 300 Master Co-axial, which not only rides the wave of nostalgia, but also the unwavering popularity of dive watches. The watch gets a lot of things right, and even the most cynical watch enthusiasts have been won over by its pitch-perfect blend of retro styling and dimensions and modern Omega technologies. OMEGA Boutique 12 Old Bond Street London W1S 4PW
Christopher Ward C60 Trident Chronograph As of late, Christopher Ward has been expanding into some higherend offerings, even go so far as to build up some rather interesting movements. Their latest watch goes back to one of their first pieces that caught my eye, and takes things a bit more up-market. christopherward.co.uk
Harry Winston Feather Watch
Harry Winston 171 New Bond Street London W1S 4RD
Blancpain Shakudo Watch Blancpain Boutique 11 New Bond Street London W1S 3SR
IWC Portuguese SidĂŠrale Scafusia IWC Schaffhausen Boutique 138 New Bond Street London W1S 2TJ
Parmigiani Toric Tecnica Parmigiani 97 Mount Street London W1K 2TD
Oyster Perpetual EXPLORER ROLEX One Hyde Park 100 Knightsbridge London SW1X 7LJ
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Perpetual Calendar Jaeger-LeCoultre 13 Old Bond Street London W1S 4SX
1064a Westfield Stratford City London E20
Art Investment - Rembrandt, Portrait of Marten Looten, ÂŠ 1632, Oil on wood, 92
comment Jul/Dec 2016
Art as an Investment: Beautiful rather than bountiful Art is often viewed as a valuable asset, however the market is undermined by illiquidity, opacity, patchy supply and asymmetry of information. There is consensus in the art world that art’s ‘beautiful object’ status should be its most important feature. When Francis Bacon’s Three Studies of Lucian Freud sold for $142.4m in 2013, it was a sign of the art market’s health. This may be the time to challenge the idea that art is an investment-grade asset It seems to me that the best way to understand art’s distinct characteristics is through the prism of those assets with which it is often compared (but rarely in depth). It is understandable that wider market gloom has moved the debate about art as an asset into new territory. Art, claim its proponents, is not only a source of great value, but is also impervious to the world’s economic slings and arrows. However, when looked at more carefully as an investment category, art falls short in relation to many of the other assets to which it is frequently – and favourably – compared. These include both traditional and alternative investments, such as public and private equity, gold, wine, and residential property. The combination of the market’s illiquidity, opacity, patchy supply and asymmetry of information undermines art’s profile as an asset. This is reinforced by the unique qualities of each work – including its history of ownership, trading and display – which create enormous ranges of pricing and valuation, and preclude sensible data aggregation or comparison. The market’s opacity also opens it up to unchecked manipulation. Price transparency is another huge problem facing those who would map art’s returns on a Bloomberg screen, alongside their other investments. Only 50 percent of an already small number of art trades are recorded (auction results are made public, dealers’
prices are not). To put this into perspective, Artnet, a database of auction sales, records that 1.8m works of fine art were offered at auction in 2012. By comparison, there were an average 1.5m trades per day through the London Stock Exchange alone in May 2012.
‘psychic return’, at around 28 percent. While it would be difficult to persuade a bank to lend money on the basis of this estimate (or indeed against most estimates of art’s value), owning and looking at art certainly offers something that a stock certificate or bar of gold cannot.
RISKS AND RETURNS Even if the limited, patchy and inconsistent available data on art sales could be put into a hypothetical basket of all segments of art, its financial profile is hardly compelling. Most such theoretical analyses of the art market find that the average compound return for works kept for between five and 10 years is around four percent.
There is consensus in the art world (including the art market) that art’s ‘beautiful object’ status is what should be deemed its most important feature anyway. While there is an element of posturing in cutting out the investment aspects of art, it cannot be ignored that art offers a very different type of reaction to other investments, and one that is potentially very rewarding.
Relatively speaking, this is already less than gold, wine and both public and private equity, and also lower than residential property – another market of unique goods, but with more trading volume and available data. And this is before considering the risk-adjusted return (the profits needed to make up for the peculiarities of any market). One investment professional I interviewed for my book said that, given the risks in the art market, anyone who is content with less than a 50 percent return on art “needs a lesson in investment”.
Of course, this is not to say that art isn’t an asset, per se, and that it can’t deliver superior returns. But I would advise that, rather than thinking of art as an investment of passion, would-be buyers should focus on it being a passion - which, if they do their homework and get lucky, could also make some money.
Meanwhile, art’s supposed lack of correlation with other markets is not entirely convincing. The price levels for art do not reflect its fundamental characteristics, but rather reflect the fortunes of its buyers. The art market as a whole crashed soon after the economic downturn began in earnest in 2008. Thereafter, only the top-priced works recovered as the wealthiest few emerged relatively unscathed from the credit crisis and new wealth was created outside the gloom of Europe and the US. SPIRITUAL JOY This is not to say that art doesn’t offer a different type of return, and even one with some grounding in economic analysis. In a 2007 paper, the economists Erdal Atukeren and Aylin Seckin estimated the intangible joy of looking at a work of art, which they term its
ART AND STOCK MARKETS The closest thing in the art world to investment funds are, in fact, not the art funds that have based their business models on them, but rather private dealers of art. The comparison is even more pertinent with primary market dealers, who invest in the artist and the production of his or her work. They grow profits not just through sourcing supply and stimulating demand, but by adding value to the artists they believe in. The daily business of primary-market dealers involves building the reputation of artists, their works, and galleries, as well as trading their works. These galleries can be seen as the equivalents of what are known as incubator funds, a subset of private equity’s venture funds arena, designed to help businesses at an early stage develop their potential.
The Duchess of Parma Saving Europe from tyranny: Marking the bicentenary of the entrance of Marie-Louise, Duchess of Parma into her duchies in 1816 “I love man as my fellow; but his sceptre, real, or usurped, extends not to me, unless the reason of an individual demands my homage; and even then the submission is to reason, and not to man.” – Mary Wollstonecraft A vindication of the Rights of Woman, written in the year of Marie-Louise’s birth Today, we stand united by the French tricolour flag against tyranny. Two hundred years ago, Europe stood united against it. In March 1810, Habsburg Archduchess MarieLouise, eighteen-year-old possessor of the most eligible uterus in Europe, set out against her will to marry the most powerful man on earth. Napoleon Bonaparte, now self-proclaimed Emperor, was at the apogee of his reign, having subdued virtually all of Europe. Though Marie-Louise did not know it, her sacrifice would save Europe from his tyranny. Confident that he would cement his hegemony with his union to a dynastic bride, he organised the most sumptuous wedding, held on 2 April, in the Musée du Louvre in Paris. From the moment the Emperor Napoleon I set eyes on MarieLouise, he was infatuated and doted on her. Yet at his defeat and despatch to St Helena, she set out to forge a life for herself in the Duchies of Parma, Piacenza and Guastalla granted her on his abdication. Fiercely independent, she defied conventional morality and her father’s chancellor, Count Klemens Metternich, and established herself as the most enlightened sovereign of her age, spreading consternation among the imperial dynasties of Europe. When I set out to write the tale of the life of Napoleon’s Other Wife I wanted to tell it straight, without extrapolation and without inflicting my reading of her inner self. I wanted the reader to draw her or his own conclusions. Marie-Louise’s thought processes were not so very far from our own. Politically and socially aware, Marie-Louise would have been quite at home in the 21st century. She loved literature, music, theatre, opera, entertaining, painting, dogs, horses, going out for long walks in the country, romance, sex, children, fashion, good food and chocolate, and generally having fun, though nothing could match having her loved ones around her. She was highly intelligent, witty and an excellent conversationalist when in relaxed company. She spoke eight languages and played the harp, guitar and piano to concert standard.
The theme which constantly recurs, is that of heroism. For Marie-Louise was undoubtedly a heroine of her age. She is a beacon and an inspiration still today for the modern woman. Heroism presents itself in a myriad of ways. We are inclined to proclaim the easily identifiable act, the dogged persistence and courage of a Nelson Mandela or an Aung San Suu Kyi. Marie-Louise’s heroism is founded on many of the same attributes of these giants. She was devoted to her loved ones and to her subjects, she was persistent, courageous, selfless and brave. Her heroism is about maintaining a rational outlook and preserving dignity, however tumultuous and humiliating the circumstances. It is about having the mental strength to accept change and reality. It is about shunning fantasy, self-pity, indolence and boredom. It is about the preservation of self-esteem and a sense of dignity. The lives of early 19th century women are mostly portrayed in fiction which mirrors contemporary reality. In the Western canon of literature, female protagonists are portrayed as having an inherent deficit of character which accounts for their fall from grace. Typically, they are women who are unable, often through no fault of their own, to abide by the standards of contemporary morality. Typically, their quest is for marriage as the only vehicle which will deliver respectability and security. Their inevitable fall is all-consuming. Though they may be the main protagonist in a story, they are mere accessories in the world of the story, defined by their attachment to a male. So it is refreshing to discover the life of a woman who was self-assured and assertive, who stood in awe of and was answerable to no-one. She may have had little power over her own life because of the times she lived in, yet she knew how to exploit what power she had to achieve her objectives. An exception for her age, finding herself marginalised, she understood the injustice of condemnation of unmarried motherhood, of illegitimacy and inequality of the sexes and sought to address them by introducing her own enlightened progressive legislation, and by presiding with rare leniency in an unforgiving, nervous climate. Marie-Louise’s legacy is extensive: one can barely go a hundred metres in Parma without encountering evidence of her many achievements. Surviving her are thriving institutions which she created or extended and improved, separate schools for boys and girls, and specialist schools including one for deaf-mutes,
museums, libraries, academies, diverse cultural institutions, a military college. There are public works funded from her private purse, from several bridges over often un-navigable tributaries of the Po River, to the Teatro Regio, and a modern meat market, hospitals , hospices for the destitute, hostel and boarding houses, almshouses and shelters, workhouses, orphanages revolutionised beyond all recognition, winter warehouses for citrus fruits, for wood and other goods, and the countless embellishment of churches and other historic buildings in Parma. Despite immense obstacles, Marie-Louise emerges as a formidable daughter, wife, mother, stepmother, grandmother and friend. Accused of betrayal, it was she who was betrayed, and she who demonstrated unflinching loyalty notwithstanding. Despite the emotional challenges, she instilled deep affection in all her children and wider family, never losing sight of her wider responsibilities. Heroically, she managed successfully to synthesise sovereignty with the many facets of womanhood. Compassionate and understanding, patient and generous, she refused to implement the reactionary policies favoured by all other sovereigns of her time. Instead, she stood firm and allowed no prejudice to cloud her judgment, even when she knew that her generosity might threaten her tenure. However much the coterie of loyal friends of her husband’s first wife, Josephine, sought to undermine her, her intellect and force of character ensured that her detractors never got the better of her. Her careful brinkmanship ensured her own survival and that of her offspring against the odds. This remarkable woman deserves to a prominent place not only in the history books, but also in women’s hearts.
Deborah Jay is the author of Napoleon’s Other Wife available as paperback, hardback and eBook, is about the life and times of Marie-Louise, the lesser known wife of Napoleon Bonaparte, Habsburg Archduchess, Empress of France and Duchess of Parma, published by Rosa’s Press; for more information see www. napoleons-other-wife.com. Deborah organises private guided tours to Parma. i-MAGAZINE
comment Jul/Dec 2016
The Art Market By Dr. Jan Seewald, Executive Curator at LUMAS Galleries The first work of art I owned was a small print my mother bought me on a flea market in Switzerland for a couple of Swiss francs, years ago, when I was a child. It was nothing special, made by an unknown artist, and I discovered it in a pile of many others. But when I held it in my hands I knew I wanted it. No: I needed it. It almost spoke to me and I fell in love with the piece at the very moment. Ever since then, I added other works of art to my collection, which I had laid the foundation for in my early years. The print I got years ago is still in my possession, reminding me of a beautiful day that I spent with my mother. It is a small piece of art, but it has the power to trigger in me a multitude of emotions. In my opinion, art should always trigger emotions and in order to enjoy it over a long period or time, it is vital to really ‘fall in love with a piece’. Photography has become increasingly popular over the last couple of years. Historically, prices for photographs used to be much lower than for paintings or sculpture for example, but this is changing fast. There is a rapid increase in value and in prices, especially when it comes to big names, such as Horst P. Horst, Bert Stern, Andreas Gursky, Richard Prince or Cindy Sherman. But the public interest in photography is growing stronger, which is made apparent in the growing worldwide interest in photo fairs, such as Paris Photo, Unseen Photo Fair Amsterdam, AIPAD or the newly established Photo London, which was held for the first time in May this year. I think photography will continue to grow in popularity and we have not seen the peak yet. The fact that photography is now considered to be an art form in the same league as painting and sculpture has only been a fairly recent development in art history. It slowly evolved from documentary photography and journalism to one of the most important mediums in art. Maybe that’s why photography is becoming more accessible to new collectors than other more established art forms. As a result of
this shift in perception, galleries and online platforms such as LUMAS have sprung up around the world to accommodate this growing interest. By way of example, LUMAS, founded just ten years ago, now offers more than 1,800 works by 200 established artists and promising newcomers, creating a portfolio which delivers a comprehensive look into the contemporary art and design scenes. For photography lovers, a gallery like LUMAS therefore offers a perfect place to start a collection. Even though it is tempting to consider art as a financial investment, especially in times of a heated international art market, I would not recommend collecting with a purely financial motivation when starting out. While the pieces you fall in love with might be out of reach in your first years of collecting, there are ways to work around this, so don’t let a limited budget stand in your way. There are a number of galleries, including LUMAS, who offer a large variety of works, from established masters to young talents, over a range of budgets, from very affordable prices to more expensive pieces. Having said this, it is worth determining how much one is willing to spend on photography each year, if not each quarter.
them, they need to fit the setting you provide. Many galleries still adhere to a white cube model, making it hard to imagine the works in a domestic setting. There are ways around this however, and technology is working to make the process easier, with a variety of apps and the use of smartphones to help you visualise the work in your own home. One of the most interesting recent trends is that more and more people are buying art online and there are now a multitude of outlets to be considered. That was not the case ten years ago, when a platform like LUMAS was a novelty. This move to purchase art online stems largely from caution; a lot of people visit a gallery and see something they like, but they don’t want to decide straight away and instead choose to make their purchase at a later date in their own home. However, nothing beats the actual moment when you see a work of art in a gallery and fall in love with it right there and take it home with you on the spot. And once you found the perfect place to hang it, you cannot imagine living without it.
Before actually going out and buying something, it is most important to actually find out what you like. To determine this, the following strategy always worked for me: go to museums, browse through galleries, attend art fairs whenever possible and flip through photography books: this way you will find out what you can relate to personally and what you are drawn to. Pretend you have an unlimited budget and see what you would buy. Your taste will narrow down and you will know quickly where your areas of interest lie. Another question you need to consider when buying is the purpose of it and if you want to follow a special direction for your collection. Are the works to be hung in your office or in your living room? No matter where you put
comment Jul/Dec 2016
Breaking the mould of a financial services business By Richard Stone, CEO, Share plc
In 2014 I had the privilege to become Chief Executive of AIM quoted Share plc and its trading subsidiary The Share Centre Limited, one of the UK’s largest independent retail stockbrokers. I took over the role from Gavin Oldham who had set the business up in 1990, with Gavin stepping up to be Chairman and continuing to be the Group’s largest shareholder. The business has achieved a lot since it started almost 25 years ago. It has also changed a great deal – not least due to the fact that technology, the internet specifically, plays a much greater part in interactions with customers today. In taking on the Chief Executive role my mandate from the Board has been to drive business growth. To do that you have to have a clear vision for the business, where it’s going and what you want to achieve. I have a very clear perspective that we are fundamentally a retail business - a retail business that happens to operate in financial services. In my view, too many companies in Financial Services get wrapped up in the terminology and mysticism of the sector. With that comes a sense of superiority over the customer, a sense of knowing what is best for them and if they don’t buy your services or products then the issue is with the customer and their level of understanding not with the product itself. Few, if any, other industries operate in this way or treat their customers in this manner and at its heart this is what has led to many of the product and mis-selling scandals which have dogged the industry and tarnished its reputation in the eyes of the customer. The Share Centre seeks to appeal to the mass market. The customer has always been at the heart of what we do – evidenced by the numerous awards for customer service that we have won over the years. We are there to support investors regardless of their wealth or experience. To do that successfully we have to provide the very best customer service and present our services, on and offline,
using language which individuals can readily understand and navigate. Our strapline of “Simply Easier” captures the ambition – to cut through the usual complexities and mysticisms that swirl around financial services and enable more people to enjoy straightforward investing. In addition to this, and as a function of the attitudes which prevail in much of our sector, Financial Services firms tend to be very inward focused. I felt that, in order to break the mould, we needed to become more outward facing. RECRUITING FROM OUTSIDE THE SECTOR To embody this ethos I have deliberately recruited some exceptional senior talent into the team around me from the retail sector. For anyone moving up into the role of CEO from within an organisation, recruitment is an important part of the transition. You have to recruit a replacement for yourself to start with, in my case a new Finance Director, and give that person space to develop in their role with you still around. I also recruited a new Director of Customer Experience and a new IT Director. A new NonExecutive Director was also brought onto the Board. All of the new Directors have significant retail experience having worked for businesses as diverse as Thomas Cook, One Stop (part of Tesco), E.ON and John Lewis. All have that deep understanding of the customer as well as experience from larger organisations and other sectors that will help our business grow. I selected a good headhunter to work with, and I was not afraid to recruit individuals with stronger skills or personalities than my own – the top team needs a diversity of both. You have to be bold and recruit the skills the business needs rather than falling into the trap of recruiting in your own image. My brief to the headhunter was focused on cultural fit and the need for a retail background. We have managed to attract some seriously talented individuals who are already having a major impact. Many of our senior managers have grown with the company and are strong technical special-
ists but have limited experience outside of the organisation or outside of financial services. They are already benefitting from the examples and experiences the new Directors have brought with them. Organisationally we have seen an uplift in the pace at which we operate, challenges to established ways of working, the introduction of new communication tools, and the development of strategies covering our proposition, people and IT. We’re being bolder in our marketing messages, more joined up in our approach with closer working between departments, and even more customer focused. We completed a piece of work to distil our strategy onto a single page and communicate that to all our teams, and have translated that into corporate and personal objectives. FOCUSING ON THE CUSTOMER Our strategy has three key elements: Putting the customer first, focusing on the core business and strategic partnerships and acquisitions. We have actively sought to deliver against each of these. I have already mentioned the importance of customer service a number of times. It is absolutely key to our success. I am though concerned that the principal measures we use are taken against our peers in the industry. I have therefore set an objective for the business to be successful in attaining a non-industry specific award for customer service. If we are going to break the mould of financial services companies we need to be held up as a shining example of the best in customer service not just as the best of a bad bunch when compared to other online brokers. I mentioned that The Share Centre has grown and changed a lot since it was first established. The internet has been a key enabler of that change with the vast majority of our customers now interacting with us primarily online through our website share.com. That website is effectively our shop window and we have to be constantly looking at ways of improving and enhancing the content and customer experience. However, I am very conscious that i-MAGAZINE
it is equally important not to lose sight of the existing customer base or those customers who prefer not to use the web. There are many personal investors who don’t want to share financial information online or would rather speak to another human being. We therefore do not differentiate in our charges between the different ways of interacting with us. For example, too often customers who chose, or through circumstance are forced, to call their service provider are penalised with substantially higher charges for the same service – we don’t make that distinction. We also changed our charging structure in the face of regulatory change, taking the opportunity to move to low monthly fixed rate account administration charges. We did this following a major piece of market research and customers clearly indicating to us that this was their preference. Many in our industry charge value related fees. These penalise investors who are successful or diligent by charging them more as a consequence. If you invest £15,000 into an ISA one year and then put a further £15,000 in the next year, why should your charges double for the same service? Our industry has to accept that there is no direct link between the value of the account and the cost of servicing that account – so similarly there should be no link between the value of the account and the price charged. All of the above also demonstrates the focus we have placed on our core business. Finally, we have also sought to create new partnerships with other firms or acquire customers where possible. We have done this recently with Barclays and with Henderson. TECHNOLOGY CHALLENGE One of the biggest challenges facing our sector is technology. This is particularly relevant for those businesses, like The Share Centre, who have been around for a number of years as they invariably have legacy systems which have been developed over a considerable period of time. The adoption of new technology is now a given expectation of most customers. We need to have a mobile app – not because many customers are using one for dealing shares at the moment, they are not, but rather because customers expect you to have one and expect to see you in the app store and elsewhere.
The biggest challenge technology is going to bring over the coming years is the impact it will have on changing customer expectations. For example, in the way money is paid onto customers’ accounts. In the current world, customers go online, or call The Share Centre, and use their debit card, or set up a direct debit. In these cases we as a firm are in control of when the money moves and can track it through the various stages of the process, we know what to expect and when. New payment technologies are such that the customer will be able to send money as and when they want, how they want. We won’t know it’s coming or even when or how much to expect. The customer will though have an expectation that once sent it will be on their account and capable of being used for trading. This will require some substantial changes in the way our industry interacts with the banking providers, how information flows and the detail and frequency of that data exchange. New devices and ways of interacting are evolving all the time and as a firm we have to be able to respond to those. REGULATORY CHALLENGE Whilst we can differentiate ourselves on service and on the way we present our offering, we have to accept we operate in a highly regulated industry with prescriptive rules. Those rules and regulations can increase the burden on potential customers and act as a barrier to customer engagement. For example, by increasing the level of information we demand from customers when opening accounts. These rules are also changing all the time. They are now all created by the European Union and as a result are drawn up by committees covering the interests of 28 member states with none of the other member states having a personal investor culture or engagement with the market on a par with that seen in the UK.
We don’t have a funky single word brand based on a fruit or vegetable! So we have to ensure we continue to look fresh and get across the ways in which we are different and make investing in the market enjoyable and ‘Simply Easier’. This is inevitably dependent on our marketing effort and branding. Buying and selling investments, and using a third party such as The Share Centre to look after those investments is nothing new. New fashions come along from time to time – as we are currently seeing with crowdfunding, but in essence the offering is the same. In the case of crowdfunding it is just enabling investors to access capital of earlier stage private companies. In terms of the investment process, we have been offering crowdfunding for years – enabling personal investors to access initial public offerings such as Royal Mail, as well as trading shares, funds, bonds and other types of investment Breaking the mould is not about rebranding the nature of the service we offer with fancy new terminology. Rather it is about demonstrating an ability to consistently provide high quality service to the customer while meeting their investment needs. And that brings me back to the importance of the customer! By being bold, recruiting talent from outside of our industry and with it a range of personalities and increased energy, I believe The Share Centre will continue to deliver for its customers and successfully differentiate itself from its peers.
To break the mould we have to be able to navigate our way through the imposition of new and changing regulations in a way that shelters our customers from as many of the burdens as possible. Using efficient processes and technology to help in this challenge is essential. NEW ENTRANTS Finally, we face competition and we have to stand tall in what is a crowded market. Having been around nearly 25 years The Share Centre may be considered part of the establishment.
Britain and the Middle East – an historical perspective. By Lord Hylton
Now it is time to take stock of Britain’s policy in the Middle East. In regards to the Arab Spring, the changes underway in Tunisia and Egypt, the conflicts that have taken place and are still happening in Libya, Syria, Yemen and Bahrain, deman no less than a thorough examination. THE BURDEN OF THE PAST We should remember that the last hundred years bring with them a burden of errors and misjudgements. The First World War caused us to make contradictory promises and undertakings. The Sykes-Picot Agreement divided the Arab parts of the Ottoman Empire into semi-colonial spheres of influence. The Balfour Declaration casted Britain as the sponsor of a Jewish National home in Palestine. These policy statements and our role in Egypt made this country appear to be the enemy of Arab nationalism. The old empire was being replaced by new hegemonies, thus losing for us the benefit of the work of Lawrence and others in freeing the Arabs from Turkish domination.
POLICY GUIDES Since 1945 British policy has been largely guided by two considerations - energy supplies, and sympathetic feelings for the plight of the Jewish people. The former caused us to support whoever happened to be the ruling power in an oil-producing state at any given time. Saddam Hussein was thus backed during his atrocious and long drawn out war against Iran. A blind eye was turned to his internal brutality and only when he turned against Kuwait, did he fall from grace in our eyes. Sympathy for the Jews, increased by our inability to prevent Hitler’s “final solution”, led to early recognition of Israel. And for some years that State could do no wrong. During the Cold War, Soviet support for the Arab armies ensured western approval and backing for Israeli self-defence. Israel was able to present itself as the only democracy in the Middle East, and as a pioneer in making the desert bloom. The influential Jewish diaspora used these points to bind the US, and to a lesser extent, Britain, to the interests of Israel.
The Second World War was more favourable to Britain’s reputation. We successfully defended the Middle East against Nazi aggression and Italian fascist imperialism. This benefit was, however, partly undone by our hasty withdrawal from Palestine, which paved the way for the Nakba, the disaster that befell the Palestinians, driven from Galilee and from hundreds of villages in what is now Israel. The resulting problem of Palestinian refugees, principally in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria is one that the rest of the world has managed in a fairly humane way, but has totally failed to resolve.
I suggest that we have been over-influenced by Israel, despite or because of its remarkable talents and achievements. After the 1967 war we failed to understand or appreciate the consequences of the Zionist policy of creating colonial settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. We should have objected to, and condemned more strongly, the illegal Israeli annexation of East Jerusalem. At the time of the Oslo negotiations we somehow did not grasp the complete disparity in negotiating power between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization.
The Suez affair of 1956 was a further setback for Britain. We were then seen to collude with France and Israel in resisting a popular Egyptian leader. More recently, our involvement in Afghanistan from 2001, and in Iraq from 2003, took place as extremely minor and junior partners of the USA. In neither case did our long experience of these countries modify the not always well-informed policies of the US.
We missed the importance of re-connecting Gaza with the West Bank, so that there might be an effective Palestinian Authority, with its own communications to the outside world. We completely underestimated the difficulties of building an effective Palestine, while its territory remained under Israeli military occupation, and while Israeli settlements continued to expand (with their own exclusive road network).
Yet at the same time, we were content to pay for the social costs of a status quo, which benefitted Israel. We paid, and still pay, by subscribing to UNWRA and contributing to EU aid to Palestine, World Bank loans etc. THE TERRORIST FACTOR Terrorist activity has been another factor adversely affecting our judgements in foreign policy. It began as a nationalist phenomenon – something carried out by stateless Palestinians or Kurds, both frustrated in their desire for self-determination. After the defeat of the PLO in Lebanon in 1982 and Saddam’s repression of the Kurds from the time of Halabja in 1989, straightforward nationalism ceased to be so strong a force in motivating asymmetrical warfare. It was overtaken by religious motives, in particular by jihad, seen essentially as a defensive form of war or liberation struggle. The success of Hezbollah in bringing about the withdrawal of Israeli forces from southern Lebanon (2000) as seen to justify this point of view. ORIGINS OF ISLAMIST VIOLENCE Islamist violence in fact has deeper historic roots. The bitterness left by the defeat of the Indian mutiny led to a strong anticolonial popular movement among some Indian Muslims. In the Arab countries, the Muslim Brotherhood was opposed to the semicolonial situation in Egypt and to the secular character of left wing and military successor governments. The Egyptian Muslim Brothers gave birth to Hamas (the Islamic Movement for Resistance) in Gaza, and to political parties and movements in other states with Sunni populations. Hezbollah emerged as a militant Shia resistance, aided and abetted by Iran. DEMONIZATION It is deeply regrettable that Islamist movements have been so widely demonized. For a parallel one might imagine Soviet intellectuals reviling the Christian-Democratic parties in France, Germany, Italy etc. as the religiously inspired incarnation of evil. I have met much of the leadership of the Muslim Brothers in Egypt
and of Hamas in Gaza. They both struck me as being well-educated, responsible and cautious people who genuinely care for the well being of their people. Evidence for this is to be seen in the school buses, refuse collection and street lighting, which Hamas made to work in Gaza, as soon as they gained power in the city council. THE SECULAR MENTALITY Part of the western difficulty in understanding the influence of Islam on politics probably comes from the secular mentality of policy makers and analysts. They conceive of religion and politics as two distinct and different modes of thought and behaviour, which must be kept rigidly separate. They cannot conceive of anyone wanting to combine the two, or allowing their theology to guide their politics. They see religion as something exclusively personal, which should not be allowed to spill over into collective endeavours or institutional practice. When in January in 2006, Hamas freely and fairly won the Palestinian elections; pre- conditions were immediately imposed on it. It should have been obvious that Hamas had learnt from the mistakes of Arafat and the Fatah party. Sadly the western powers went ahead with impossible demands and then failed to accept the government of national unity, which Saudi Arabia helped into being in 2007. To make things worse, a coup d’état was organized against Hamas later than year. The disproportionate Israeli offensives against Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006 and against Hamas and others in Gaza in 2008/9 were tolerated by the west, with only the mildest words of protest. DEMOGRAPHY OF THE MIDDLE EAST Another serious western and British mistake has been to pay insufficient attention to the demographics of the Middle East and its neighbours. From Morocco to Pakistan about half the people are aged under 25. Many are educated, but an alarmingly high proportion is unemployed or only has poor work prospects. At a time of rising food and fuel prices, there was therefore ample tinder awaiting any available spark. We should not have been surprised by what happened in Tunisia and Egypt, and by what is trying to happen in other neighbouring states. The results are unlikely to be the same in all cases. Monarchies enjoy real popular approval in, for example, Morocco and Jordan. We should learn to distinguish between real and artificial states. Some have a strong national identity and culture. Others are more ad hoc assemblies of tribes, with a veneer of common language or religion. In both cases there are often large submerged groups, who do not enjoy full citizens’ rights.
THE KURDS This is particularly the case for the Kurdish populations of Turkey, Iran and Syria, while in Iraq the Kurds have a large degree of regional autonomy. Taken together, the Kurds probably exceed 25 million in the Middle East, with a large diaspora in Europe. We need to understand this situation, which overlaps so many recognized frontiers. In doing so, we should not overvalue the significance of Turkey, as a NATO member and as a EU applicant. We should recognize that Kurds are ethnically and culturally different from Turks and Arabs, and religiously distinct from most Iranians. BRITISH INTERESTS The material interest of Britain, which our foreign policy should promote, lies in expanding the worldwide demand for our exports, both of goods and of services. A prosperous Middle East is therefore something that will benefit us, in the same sort of way that we gain from prosperity in India, China or Indonesia. A world, which accepts the rules of national and international law, is something for which we should strive. This means that we should work harder than ever before, for the resolution of the seemingly endless confrontations between Israel, the Palestinians, and the Arab states.
A COHERENT STRATEGY I believe that Britain is well placed to favour the development of the rule of law and the emergence of more democratic systems in North Africa and the Arab World. What is needed is a coherent and strategic approach, making maximum use of our soft power. Once again the need is for teamwork between all our government departments, combined with the fullest cooperation by a range of other organizations. We should encourage secular interests and political parties to cooperate with those inspired by Islam. Together they can build real civil societies, based on human rights, freedom of conscience and of speech with, if possible, the separation of powers. There is a reasonable chance that a situation of this kind will emerge in Tunisia. If so, it could mobilize that country for much needed economic development and provide a model for the other states of the region. Such an outcome would be most favourable to Britain’s interests.
We should seek to persuade the European Union that this is in our common interest. We should try to influence the United States to give just and lasting peace a far higher priority than it has yet received. We should learn from history and not be blinded by secular shortsightedness, which fails to understand the importance of religious influences, throughout the world. SOFT POWER Britain’s military strength has decreased sharply in recent years. Its soft power, on the other hand has increased, and is probably still growing. Soft power can give us valuable influence and persuade people in the Middle East to do business with us. English as an international language is an enormous asset. Already it is the lingua franca of air travel and is dominant in other spheres. The BBC World Service, Al Jazira in English, and the British Council all increase knowledge and use of English. British universities attract students from all over the world, including the Middle East. Our football teams are known everywhere and much more use could be made of football diplomacy. We should build on the London Olympics of 2012 and use all kinds of sport to increase goodwill and positive links with Middle Eastern countries.
interview Jul/Dec 2016
Eric Vallat, CEO at Rémy Martin Q
You took over at Rémy Martin at a time when its stock had taken a slight fall, What were then and what are now your priorities to bring it back to full profitability and raise its brand profile?
The situation at that time was healthy, even though it was less than the record profits of 2012/2013. I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to rely on professional teams as well as on a great range of very qualitative products. Having said that, my priorities at that time were and still are to take our value strategy to the next level, to generate even more value. To achieve this, we work on 4 axes: reinforce brand umbrella beyond products, create emotion beyond expertise, think end consumers beyond wholesalers, propose a real experience beyond purchase. Our new campaign One Life/Live Them addresses 3 of these 4 axes.
What do you think the fundamentals of leadership are?
Leadership involves the ability to draw a vision and implement a related action plan fully supported by the teams. It requires energy, ability to take decisions. This can of course translate into various management styles.
How did you first become involved in the luxury industry?
I started my career in Investment Banking as this was what most people from my business school were doing. I was not sure at that time of what to do. But after 2 years I realised I needed to work for a real product that I could be proud of, that would embody the French Art de Vivre throughout the world, and that I would love consuming myself. Plus I was looking for a managerial experience, which is why I joined Louis Vuitton as a store manager.
How passionate about are you about the luxury industry and products? And what motivates you?
Luxury means patrimony, history, know-how, passion, excellence, attention to details, creativity, audacity, people… Isn’t it exciting to work in an environment that promotes such values?
Would you describe yourself as a creative?
Not exactly. But I think I have developed an ability to work closely and efficiently with creative people. I am not a creative myself, but I am sensitive to creation, to art.
Do you still have the same passion for business as you did when you first started out in your career? And what do you think you bring to the Rémy Martin brand going forward in terms of expansion into other areas, i.e. retail outlets and for example, exhibitions such as La Maison Rémy Martin?
I am of course as passionate as I was over 20 years ago. I consider it a privilege to work for a brand like Rémy Martin. My professional experience is very consumer centric, coming from the retail world. So of course we have projects to come like La Maison Rémy Martin. But it is too early to disclose them. And by the way, La Maison is more than an exhibition space. It is our House in London where we aim to tell who we are while offering great lifestyle experiences to our members.
How important is PR and social media to your business?
Press and social networks give us a wonderful opportunity to talk directly to our end consumers, which is not always the case in our industry. And digital allows for real conversations to take place. So they are key to the business, all the more so as: • Social networks are the place where you can reach influencers, connected & knowledgeable people who have the power to say what is going to be trendy or not, what is good or not, what is cool or not. • Online press and especially social networks are a huge amplification platform where you can immediately talk to millions of people. And I would add that these people whom you can talk to are also people who share your interests, values, etc. which is obviously a fantastic opportunity for a brand
How does Rémy Martin as a business, take advantage of overseas markets? And how big is your business in other (international) areas?
We are very French. Our heart beats in Cognac, a small city of less than 20K people. But, and this is a paradox, I love that our business is worldwide. We sell everywhere and our business is well balanced between the US, China and the rest of the world. With a continent like Africa being the new frontier
Where can you see the business in the next five or so years?
I am confident in our ability to pursue the growth in the US, which has now become our number one market in volume and value.China might take longer than expected originally to recover but potential is huge with 16m people joining the upper middle class every year. And of course we will do our best to take advantage of what is happening in Africa and what will happen in Russia if the current situation resolves.
I-MAGAZINE Travel Feature
Innsbruck Festival of Early Music We live in a time in which unfortunately, the planet is no longer a big mysterious place. Everybody can go everywhere. Thus, discerning travelers are looking for a different way of experiencing the beautiful places our world has to offer. We have selected a few that we hope will give you inspiration to pack your bags and head for the airport. INNSBRUCK FESTIVAL OF EARLY MUSIC In the hills above Innsbruck, nestled in a belt of woods, lies Ambras Castle. It hosts the oldest early music concert series still running today, now opening the annual Innsbruck Festival of Early Music. With its strict focus on historically informed performances, the festival has played a crucial role in rediscovering and breathing new life into countless Renaissance and Baroque works. Taking place from July 19th to August 27th 2016, this year’s events mark the festival’s 40th anniversary; under the title TragiCommedia the festival offers a colourful programme ranging from joy to sorrow, light to dark. A prominent example of this approach will be a repetition of the first-ever Festival concert in 1976, featuring works by Antonio Caldara, Johann Sebastian Bach, François Couperin and Georg Friedrich Handel. This memorable performance will be re-enacted on August 24th in its original form. René Jacobs – countertenor at the inaugural concert and former Festival director of many years – will put in an appearance during the event’s 40th anniversary celebrations. Numerous frequent guest artists, conductors and musicians such as Howard Arman, Alfredo Bernardini, Giovanni Antonini, Il Giardino Armonico and the Zefiro Ensemble will return to Innsbruck for this festive occasion.
With regard to the upcoming opera productions, special mention must go to the festival’s successful Baroque Opera: Young project. Initiated only a few years ago, it has proved a huge success. In its 2016 edition the Baroque Opera:Young programme will be presenting Le nozze in sogno, an only recently re-discovered opera composed by Pietro Antonio Cesti (from August 19th .). While the preliminary preparations were carried out by the late Alan Curtis, the upcoming performances will take place under the baton of Enrico Onofri, concertmaster with Il Giardino Armonico. In keeping with the festival theme of ‘Tragicommedia’, the remaining opera productions contain elements of both comedy and tragedy. Alessandro de Marchi will be conducting Domenico Cimarosa’s Il matromonio segreto (Tyrolean State Theatre, from August 12th), a delightful opera buffa which was received with exuberant acclaim upon its premiere in 1792. On August 23rd, René Jacobs will mark his return to Innsbruck with a concertante performance of Alceste, a tragic opera by Christoph Willibald Gluck. Last, but not least, the festival’s diverse opera schedule also includes the original version of The Magic Flute, arranged for small orchestra. This veritable highlight for young opera lovers - and all other Mozart fans – will take place in the unpretentious setting of ‘Die Bäckerei’ art and cultural centre (August 21st). Deep seriousness and Baroque gaiety play a major role in the repertoire of both the Festival Concerts and Ambras Castle Concerts (from July 19th to August 9th ), the latter being a separate performance cycle and traditional
prelude to the actual Innsbruck Festival of Early Music. While titles like Fortuna Scherzosa, Summer Fantasies or The Early Joke are clearly inspired by sparkling musical playfulness, the concert programme contains also intense and festive works such as the Coronation Mass by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Johann Sebastian Bach’s Goldberg Variations, Wolfgang Mitterer’s performance on the historic Ebert organ at the Innsbruck Court Church (colloquially known as Schwarzmander church), a Music for the Sun King concert as well as Introitus, showcasing rare works from the Stams Abbey musical archives. Audiences can also look forward to numerous outstanding virtuoso artists, among them violinist Hiro Kurosaki, countertenor Valer Sabadus, lutenist Thomas Dunford and singer Vesselina Kasarova, who will assume a comic role in the Cimarosa opera production. The event’s fringe programme will provide ample scope for serious as well as light-hearted compositions, ranging from entertaining lunchtime concerts with young ensembles to contemplative musical church services. On August 15th, the colourful Ambras Castle Festival will once again be a spectacular summer highlight for families, and indeed everyone who enjoys celebrating in exuberant Renaissance style. All pictures credited to @innsbrucktourismus/NN Innsbruck Festival of Early Music, tel. +43 512 56 15 61, festwochen@altemusik ww.altemusik.at
Christian Kramer - Bass Trombonist.
Château Haute Germaine: In the footsteps of the Templar knights Once the home of the Comte de Martini, this beautifully restored château with parts originating from the 17th century offers a wonderfully welcoming and truly unique stay for those seeking tranquility or interested in the history of the Templar knights, who in medieval times set up fortresses in this area to support the Crusaders on their way to Jerusalem. Sitting in its own extensive 148 acres estate, this stunning seven bedroom property is set on a romantic hillside with breathtaking views down the Var Valley and the massive Maritime Alps. The terrace overlooks an ancient olive grove of 350 trees. Within a short drive, one can travel from an Alpine peak, pass lavender fields, vineyards and medieval villages and end up on the glorious Mediterranean coast. Records from the late 17th century report that the Comte de Martini acquired part of the fiefdom, including the ruined Templar Castle from the 12th century, and the small Chapel of St Marguerite, originally built in the 14th century and later rebuilt in 1602 after earthquake damage. In documents they were often called: “De La Germaine.” In 1697 Bishop Francois de Berton de Crillon, Bishop of Vence, authorised the construction of a Chapel for the Martini Family at Germaine. The Chapel was visited in 1715 by his successor Bishop Bourchenu during his pastoral tour. The original 17th century building was extended and modified in the 1960s by the famous architect André Svetchine, commissioned by the then owners , Mr. and Mrs. Spindler (it is believed Mr. Spindler worked for INTERPOL). Originally of Russian origin, Svetchine established his reputation for creating classic masterpieces along the Riviera with commissions for Christian Dior, Marc Chagall, Aimé Maeght and the re-design of both La Mauresque (main residence of Somerset Maugham) and the Villa Claudia on Cap Ferrat, as well as the famous Colombe d’or in St Paul de Vence.
Château Haute Germaine is currently owned by the Honourable Marion Lawrence and her husband Captain Robert Lawrence MC. The couple have ambitious plans for the future; they are committed to reviving the local community spirit and traditions and their entrepreneurial spirit has motivated them to replenish and harvest the 350 Olive trees on the estate, from which they continue to produce gourmet olive oil. In previous years the land on which the Château stood was owned by the Royal Grimaldi Family and they favoured the Olive oil produced here. After the sale of the land/property it is public knowledge that Princess Caroline of Monaco often knocked on the Château doorway to collect bottles of the delicious oil from the house. Following a faithful and full restoration this secluded property has been lovingly lead into the 21st century by the flamboyant couple. They have channelled their combined passions for art and design into improving the house and grounds. The decor includes classical, historical and modern pieces ranging from Roche Bobois furniture to medieval fireplaces, pillars, stained glass panels and an eclectic mix of Art from celebrated contemporary artists such as Zhao Kilin, Patrice Moreti, Simon Page and one of America’s most dynamic contemporary artists John Nieto. This artwork is displayed alongside works from local artists in their community. The property stretches over three floors and has seven beautiful individually designed bedrooms. In the grand high ceilinged Entrance Hall there is a skyscape painted by local artist Michel Marshal, who was also commissioned by Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt to paint a similar trompe l’oeil at their Château Miraval in the local village of Correns. The beautifully restored interior is matched by the equally impressive outdoor areas which boast a main formal dining area, lawns for lounging, a swimming pool, a fountain and Mediterranean garden, together with a shaded dining terrace which offers exceptional views down the Var Valley.
For those interested in history, overlooking the junction of the Estragon and Var rivers, and just 10 minutes from Château Haute Germaine, St Marguerite features the remains of a 12th century Knights Templar’s Castle and the small Chapel of St Marguerite, originally built in the 14th century. It was once the region where Templar Knights used to set up forts for crusaders. Also close to Château Haute Germaine, we find the medieval village of Le Broc, and the ancient village of Carros which dates back to the early 13th Century and is of great architectural value, grouped around small squares and alleys, perched on a rocky hill. Carros castle seems to have been implanted in an older area, called Olive, whose fortified center has not yet been located. The first parish church Olive, dedicated to St. Peter, became later the Saint-Michel Chapel whose ruins remain below the village of Broc. Other medieval village with connection to the Templar knights are Dos Freres and Biot, the latter a 2,500 year old settlement given to the Templars by the Count of Provence in 1209, and whose Templar history can still be seen in details all over the village. Last, it is worth mentioning the old Roman emplacement of Vence. The Vence location was Templars Commanderie at Saint-Martinde-Vence, just north of the town (today the site is a classy hotel-restaurant). The Commandeur of Saint-Martin-de-Vence was arrested on October 13th 1307 by the Vigan of Saint Paul. There’s a legend that Saint-Martin-de-Vence contains a lost treasure of the Templars, and the German chancellor Adenauer was a frequent visitor searching for the treasure. For further information contact Suki Pardesi on 07710 360913 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Tower - Chateau Haute Germaine
DEEPER BLUE DIVING ODYSSEY IN THE CYCLADES
Under the blue and turquoise waters of the Aegean Sea lies a hidden side of Greece, the deeper blue. Beautiful, mysterious, surprising and still widely undiscovered is the world lying under the surface of its seas. Kudos Life Experiences invites you to dive into an incredible journey of discovery and connection to this mystical world, under the guidance of Peter Nicolaides, one of the most experienced divers and oceanographers, member of the legendary Jacques-Yves Cousteauâ€™s team. This unique diving experience, available between May and October, takes place around the main Cycladic islands at the heart of the legendary Aegean Sea whilst sailing in a luxury yacht. Ideal for experienced divers looking for sophisticated and undiscovered sites, This is a diving intensive experience in non-commercial diving areas which are of particular historic and maritime significance. Divers are able to discover some of the least known maritime and wartime wrecks and enjoy jaw dropping dramatic reefs, a diversity of marine life and colours. Our scuba host, with
decades of global experience shares with our guests exclusive spots he has spent years researching and discovering turning the trip into a unique and fascinating adventure. Over an 8 days adventure, this expedition unfolds in the main Cycladi Islands: Kea, Mykonos, Naxos, Paros, Syros and Kythnos. Sailing in a luxury motor yacht, guests discover some of the least known maritime and wartime disasters in the Aegean Sea and their wrecks in depths from 20 to 60 meters. Experienced divers will have the chance ot dive and enter parts of the ANNA II, South East of Mykonos, dive around the wreck of the Oria, which was never officially recorded due to Nazi censorship and around the wreck of the Britannic, sister ship to the Titanic, which sank o 1916 off Kea island during WWI. It is worth visiting the wreck of the WW2 British Beaufighter, recently found lying on a sandy bottom at 36m depth in very good condition. This is an experience recommended only for the more experienced divers as there are strong currents in the
area and the site is unmarked by a buoy. Nearby, there is the chance to visit an underwater and amazing cave full of stalactites. Upon entering this large karstic formation between 3.5m below the waterline and 12m, divers surface inside the cave, where they can take off their diving equipment and enjoy the overhanging stalactites in this outlandish blue light! Three openings lead out into clear, deep water (35m) where groupers are often present watching all the action. When not on board, guests are introduced to Cycladic gastronomy by the award winning Aglaia Kremezi and invited to visit ancient cultural sites in the area, such as Paros, Loulida, and Ermoupolis. For further information and reservations please contact: email@example.com Tel. +30 210 7233772.
WOLWEDANS: “Nature” is the art of God In our increasingly crowded world, space is becoming ever more of a luxury, both for ourselves and for everything else we share the planet with. There is a growing appreciation for the value of wilderness, but where to find it? One place that still has an abundant supply is Namibia. In the UK we have an average population density of around 270 people per square kilometre. If you live in London, that figure is closer to five and a half thousand. In Namibia it is just three. Only Mongolia and Greenland are less densely populated. Of course, there is a good reason for those figures – ice-caps, mountains and deserts are not particularly conducive to human settlement, but they do make tantalising destinations for those looking for adventurous holidays off the beaten track. And the good news is that heading to the middle of nowhere doesn’t have to mean roughing it or hauling your own supplies. Quite the contrary applies at Wolwedans, a collection of elegant safari camps in south-western Namibia, where you can experience untrammelled African wilderness without sacrificing comfort and style. Wolwedans is situated at the heart of the NamibRand Nature Reserve, one of the largest private conservation areas in southern Africa. The reserve lies on the eastern edge of the ancient Namib, the world’s oldest desert, from which Namibia takes its name. Run as a non-profit conservation project, it is sustained by fees from the handful of small camps and lodges (Wolwedans among them) that are scattered across its 200,000 hectares. High-quality, low-impact tourism is the ethos, and strictly controlled limits on the size of each camp ensures a ratio of one bed to 1,000 hectares. This means that each guest on the reserve has literally millions of square metres of wilderness in which to roam. This is space tourism for those who don’t want to go into orbit. Getting to Wolwedans involves a five- to six-hour drive from the capital, Windhoek, or an hour’s flight by light aircraft straight into its own airstrip. Once there, you have several choices of accommodation, ranging from the original Dune Camp and the nearby Dunes Lodge, perched on a 250-metre-high ridge of rust-red sand dunes, to a Private Camp, set in splendid isolation down on a grassy plain. There’s also Boulders Camp, the newest addition to the portfolio, located some 45 kilometres away in the deep south of the Reserve. Built of wood and canvas, all of the camps share a classic safari vibe, characterised by down-to-earth luxury. Deciding which to opt for is a hard choice. A combination of one of the dune camps with Boulders Camp, staying a couple of days at each, gives you the full variety of the Reserve. For families with younger travellers, the Dune Camp - where each room has an outdoor deck allowing for safe sleep-outs under the stars - is perhaps the best option.
Whichever camp you choose, each provides a perfect base from which to explore vast stretches of pristine nature. Activities include game drives in open Land Rovers, discovering the desert’s intriguing fauna and flora and how they are adapted for survival in this harsh and unforgiving environment. Wildlife ranges from the scimitar-horned oryx to the bat-eared fox, and if you’re lucky you might catch sight of one of the leopards or cheetah that have been successfully reintroduced in recent years. For twitchers, there is everything from ostriches to the sociable weavers, colonies of which build haystack-sized nests in the camelthorn trees, while botanists will be interested by the weirdly contorted ghost tree and the ‘resurrection plant’, which appears dead but springs back to life within hours of a life-restoring rain shower. Other activities on offer include hot-air ballooning, horse riding, guided walking safaris, scenic flights across the Namib to the Skeleton Coast or further afield, and of course the time-honoured African tradition of sundowner drinks. Whether you discover NamibRand on foot, by Land Rover, in the saddle or from the air, you cannot help but admire the sheer grandeur of the landscapes. ‘Stunning’ is a much-overused word, but the scenery here, with its dramatic interplay of golden grass savannah, red sand dunes and majestic mountain ranges, is just that. And at the end of each day’s exploring, you return to solar-heated hot showers, camp-fires and highly impressive ‘bush-cuisine’ served by candlelight. After dark, the sight-seeing continues: thanks to the clear, dry desert air, the star-gazing at NamibRand is in a league of its own, and in 2012 the reserve was certified as Africa’s first International Dark Sky Reserve. A few days at Wolwedans can be easily combined with some of Namibia’s other attractions, such as the giant dunes of Sossusvlei (reputedly the largest in the world) or the Fish River Canyon (second only in scale to the Grand Canyon). Also well worth stopping at is Okonjima, home to the renowned AfriCat Foundation, a sanctuary for big cats where you can encounter these magnificent predators at close quarters before they are released back into the wild. Wherever you go in Namibia, be sure to take plenty of memory chips for your camera – you will need them. If, as the poet Edward Young wrote, Nature is the ‘art of God’, then the vast expanses of Namibia must surely rank as one of His masterpieces. www.wolwedans.com www.namibrand.org © Ronald Asprey 2016
comment Jul/Dec 2016
How social engagement can streamline cashflow By Craig Evans, Head of Business Development at Graydon Social selling creates great personal relationships with key business contacts that can improve cashflow, boost sales and improve market intelligence. Social selling creates great personal relationships with key business contacts that can improve cashflow, boost sales and improve market intelligence. Using LinkedIn to create relationships between credit controllers and credit managers not only improves cashflow – it can help with sales as well. ‘Cold calling’ is an increasingly appropriate name for the sort of out-of-the-blue intrusion that’s probably been with us ever since Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone.
will often have five or six people who are directly involved in the payment process. And reaching any key decision-makers will certainly not be made easy – they’ll be surrounded by technological and human barriers, part of whose job is explicitly to prevent such contact.
Not only is its reception usually far from warm – it’s now pretty much dead as well.
So by the time you need to chase payment or renegotiate credit terms, it’s often far too late to achieve anything by picking up the phone. Nine times out of ten, you should have started far earlier – long before the invoice in question was issued in the first place. And, besides, you should have used social media - usually LinkedIn.
One of the final nails in its coffin has been the rise of the discipline known as ‘social selling’ – interacting directly with contacts via social media to create a dialogue that evolves into a long-term and loyal customer relationship.
LinkedIn is particularly useful because it gives you multiple points of entry into an organisation, enabling you to bypass the guardians and get straight to the purchasing people who matter.
WARMTH MATTERS But, in my view, calling this kind of contact ‘social selling’ is actually to restrict its value. The benefits can extend far beyond the sales arena into just about every area of business life where strong (and warm) relationships are important.
SHARED BENEFITS If you get the balance right, it’s also an excellent mechanism for creating something close to friendship with these decisionmakers, long before they have influence over your contract negotiations or paying your invoices. The key is to ensure that the benefit goes in both directions.
Take, for example, the credit-control and management functions. As anyone who’s ever issued an invoice knows, written payment terms are all too often seen by one side as a vital part of the contract and by the other as a mild irritant that exists only to be ignored. As a credit controller seeking settlement, there are few sure-fire ways of getting your invoice to the head of the payment queue, on time every time. By far the most effective is to have a positive and open relationship with the person who ultimately decides which invoices are settled on which payment run. BARRIERS TO ACCESS But it’s often far from easy to gain initial access to this individual. For a start, large companies
That means finding out what matters to them, contributing to the debates they’re involved in, and providing them with data and commentary that can help them in their roles. In other words, creating a relationship that’s as valuable to them as it is to you.
relationship can provide a relaxed environment in which even the most commercially-minded supply chain managers are less cautious and more receptive than when talking to a salesperson. That means they’ll often be open to hearing key nuggets of company, product or market information that they can feed into their sales teams. It also means they’re more likely to take on board and share positive messages about your company than is the case in a more traditional sales setting. COMPARING NOTES Using social media isn’t all about one-to-one relationships, however. Again, LinkedIn is particularly useful for sharing experiences and knowledge with your peers right across your industry. Doing so enables you easily to compare notes about particular difficulties you may have had with individual companies and exchange ideas with one another on how to cope with them. In essence, it’s not unlike the established concept of a credit circle where members help protect one another against payment issues by sharing information on companies’ creditworthiness. Where credit circles tend to be scheduled for set times, this virtual approach means that credit controllers can get up-to-date, accurate information at the moment they need it. As an adjunct to a credit report, it can be an extremely useful way of protecting your company’s cash flow.
As already discussed calling this approach social selling was limiting. But that’s not to say that it doesn’t also have a strong sales task to perform beyond selling the benefits of dealing with you and your organisation. Good credit managers often regard credit controllers as customer experts who really know what’s going on in the market place. A strong ‘finance-to-finance’ social-media
comment Jul/Dec 2016
The Business of Philanthropy By Tej Kohli, Chairman at Kohli Ventures There is a great difference between charity and philanthropy, but it is a difference that is too often ignored. Charity is the act of giving money, any amount, but not actively engaging in the cause. Philanthropy involves giving money, certainly, but also requires personal and proactive involvement.
ness community can ensure that any funds donated are put to proper and efficient use.
The traditional image of the billionaire philanthropist is outdated. Modern philanthropy demands dedication and ingenuity. In my view, the business community is perfectly placed to contribute to society in such a way: the skills and expertise honed by businesses and entrepreneurs are ideal for philanthropic work.
Businesses of any size can contribute to society by identifying a need, one perhaps local to them, to which they can contribute in a measurable way. To that end, select a cause that aligns with the goals and expertise of your business.
THINK BUSINESS Most of us in the business community possess a wealth of contacts; many are entrepreneurial and consequently have vast stores of business expertise. These qualities, more than money alone, are the qualities which make for successful philanthropists. Effective philanthropy demands us to think in a business-like manner. It requires us to identify the cause with the greatest need and to select one which will benefit most from our efforts and strengths. I believe that philanthropy need be no different from business: it requires the same skills and principles, and the same amount of effort and focus. Successful businesses are governed transparently and professionally. The principles of governance which we apply to our businesses can only make philanthropic organisations more competitive and ultimately more effective. It may not be smart to think of charitable organisations arranged as businesses. But ultimately, by encouraging philanthropic institutions and projects to organise themselves professionally, we are able to add value where value is needed most. Andrew Carnegie said, “It is more difficult to give money away intelligently than to earn it in the first place.” Accordingly, and for real impact, philanthropic institutions must be well-managed and highly efficient, whilst philanthropists must be proactive and business-savvy. By donating our skills and expertise – by, for example, working directly with NGOs to develop charitable programmes –the busi-
DELIVERING DONATION Philanthropy is not only about writing cheques. And so, our charitable efforts need not be defined by how much spare cash you have!
Rather than simply giving money, think about donating spare office equipment; consider if and how your employees could donate their time to a chosen cause, and how you can facilitate that. And if the needs of the cause exceed the capabilities and reach of your business, connect with other businesses or community leaders to combat the issue together – there is no reason for us to be siloed. Indeed, the relationships and connections you built through charitable action may well prove valuable to your business in the future. When it comes to philanthropy, I am a great believer in first-hand experience. Bill Gates gave the example of his project to bring computers to impoverished areas of Africa; it was only when he saw the terrible living conditions with his own eyes that he realised that “digital empowerment” was low down in the “hierarchy of needs”. Only through first-hand experience can we –the businesspeople and entrepreneurs – really understand what must be done. PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH When attempting to illustrate my attitudes to social contribution and philanthropy, I always return to the work of my philanthropic organisation, the Tej Kohli Foundation. It was founded shortly after I visited Costa Rica, where I personally witnessed indescribable poverty. Since that moment, the Foundation has strived to fight against poverty and all that it entails – namely, disease and ignorance. In India we have identified a cause which will benefit most from the aid we are able to provide. In essence, the problem is that people are ignorant as to the fundamentals of eye-care; and many don’t have the means of accessing ophthalmic treatment should they contract, what would be regarded elsewhere, as a relatively minor eye infection.
Approximately one third of the world’s blind people live in India. Visual impairment is India’s greatest health problem, with 15 million sufferers. But of these people, 4.6 million could be treated through corneal transplants. The figures are staggering, certainly. But what astounded me, when I was first made aware of the issue, was that so many of these cases of corneal blindness – 60% of which are children under the age of 12 – were preventable and certainly curable. This is why I established the Tej Kohli Cornea Institute, not just to be a part of the solution, but to raise awareness about the availability of treatment. I approach our work with the same care and commitment as I do running my businesses. We work tirelessly to create a programme that facilitates free corneal transplants. We work tirelessly to grow awareness of the preventable causes of corneal blindness and promote the need for an increase in corneal donations, worldwide. As a part of the work we do at the Tej Kohli Cornea Institute, we collaborate with other eye institutes, local NGOs, grass roots organisations and directly with beneficiaries. Perhaps most importantly, we seek to teach people the basics of eye care, thereby allowing us to prevent many cases of blindness. GO BEYOND CHARITY The work we have done through the Foundation goes beyond charity. Through first-hand experience we are able to accurately identify the problems and the solutions, and are thereby able to take a targeted approach to our work. We have planned carefully and tried to find the most effective approach given the resources available. In India, our ceaseless determination has allowed us to cure thousands of sufferers of corneal blindness. Our journey has been, and continues to be, a long one. But never did I consider giving up. I dedicated my time, my entrepreneurial skills, and my contacts – all have contributed in no small a part to the Foundation’s successes, and all are qualities that the business community possesses in droves. Entrepreneurs and businesspeople have particular expertise that can help philanthropic organisations to be more corporate, efficient and effectively focussed. So, it is time for the business world to act, not charitably, but philanthropically.
interview Jul/Dec 2016
CEO at Aston Martin Q
What can you tell us about Aston Martin’s 2016 DB9 GT?
It is the latest and most compelling DB9 to date. When you look over our 102-year history and our classic cars you see that when you sell a car you get the initial depreciation and then you see the increase in value overtime. For example, I own a classic car (1981 V8 Vantage) and its value is significantly greater than that of a brand new car. We launched the DB9 GT earlier this year and quickly followed it up with a strictly limited James Bond version - the DB9 GT Bond Edition - which was to celebrate or 50 year relationship with James Bond. It really is a celebration of the DB marque. A really important model and, I believe a collectable model in the future.
Aston Martin’s ‘Second Century’, plan was announced by you, after completion of your first 150 days as CEO of Aston Martin, what have you specifically done in those 150 days??
I joined on 1st October 2014 and I presented what turned to be the Second Century Plan – the business plan - on the 30th January 2015 at a Board Meeting. During that period of four months, you come into the business with a series of preconceived ideas and a list of things that you want to do. Essentially you go through a validation. What is important is that you listen during those formative months and that’s what I did a lot of. In fact, on the very first day I came to Gaydon, our Head Office, for a few hours before then immediately going to Paris to meet with the European dealers. Then flying to the Americas to meet with the American dealers and then to China and then to Japan and essentially meeting with as many of the Asian dealers as I could. Before actually spending a great deal of time at Gaydon, what I wanted to do was to get as close to the voice of the customers as I could. Because ultimately it is what the customer think about you that really matters. Before then listening to the positioning of the Head Office and the functions within the Head office, which I did three weeks into my tenure. You do a lot of listening and validation and you try to look at history, because history teaches you about 90-98% of the future. Why did we go bankrupt seven times? Was it about the way that we were doing business that took us down there? What did we do well during that period because we made some spectacular cars during that 102 years? But also what did we do wrong essentially? We didn’t make any money or at least insufficient money that we could fund the next generation of sports cars. Given that, what I was faced with was a business issue, which is great by the way because it could have meant we were faced with a capability issue or more importantly being faced with a brand issue. Those things take an awful lot longer to fix. A business issue, when you have already got great skills and a great brand is a much quicker fix. Within the six - year plan that is now the Second Centenary Plan, I believe that we can fix it. The plan will allow us to reach positive cash flow and then each car that you launch has to generate sufficient cash to then fund the next one. That is what creates sustainability. And hopefully over time, it doesn’t just fund the next one but it funds a bit more than the next one, and that is
when you make sure your business is reliable. This is all wrapped together in a mechanism that is called Hoshin Kanri, which is of course a Japanese term, because my formative years were spent in a Japanese company. Hoshin Kanri basically means policy deployment. What that policy deployment does is that it takes that need to reach a positive free cash flow at a certain moment. Whereas the strategy that we take then link in to that policy. We have six pillars of strategy. Within those six pillars, for example, one of those pillars is customer focused luxury sports cars and the development of them. So within that you have a lot of tactics and against each of those tactics, you have an owner and you have a requirement in terms of what cash that generates and as you add up the sum of all these tactics, it even does or doesn’t reach the values that have been put into your policy. If it doesn’t, you go through a Kaizen loop and it a very mechanistic way of making a really robust model. And you run that model every three months. So that is essentially what was done during the first four months. What we found at the end of those four months is that the money that was invested in the company to date wasn’t enough to fund the full plan. We were 200 million pounds short and during the subsequent three months, basically, I was out in the City, finding the means of bringing that money in which was done successfully and we now have a fully funded plan. So the bit that is missing is the 95% which is the execution.
What plans do you have to grow the brand going forward?
To some extent it is covered in the practical execution of the six year Second Century plan. First of all let’s put it on to three pillar/ legs of a stool and a plate on top. The first pillar is the sports cars. Renew the exciting range of luxury sports cars which means renew the DB9 with DB11 but also the Vantage and the Vanquish. So that’s the first thing that we do. Our attention is to come back to a sales volume continuously capped at 7,000 units per year, which I believe we can do since we have done that in the past. It is just a question of keeping the product fresh. The second pillar is then adding what we call the DBX which is a new segment, it is an evolving segment in the luxury arena and basically competes with the luxury SUVs something like the Bentley Bentayga. But what is important it that we don’t simply make an SUV. Our brand ethos is ‘Power, Beauty and Soul’, so we have to develop a beautiful crossover. For us it is a crossover between a GT sports tourer and a SUV. And we have to imagine here what that might be. The third leg of the stool is the revival of the Lagonda brand which is the competitor to the likes of Rolls Royce and Bentley but done in its own way. We try therefore to revive the spirit of the Lagonda brand which is the finest of fast cars. On top of that if you see the seat of the stool, is that every year we will bring two small series products to market. This year we did the Aston Martin Vantage GT12 and the Vulcan. Next year we will do another two. If you think about the future, the future is that you have 7,000 sports car, plus we have DBX, plus we have Lagonda. We are no longer the very small hundreds per year. So how do you have a continuing growth in value of products like you see- on let’s say today -a DB5. How do you create that aura in the future? How do you have when you go to the Bonhams Auctions today a DB5 soft top would reach 1.5 million pounds. How do you have that rarity? That rarity is the likes of the Vulcan. 24 of 1.5 million pounds each. Those are your future classic collectable cars. It is very important that within our present and future strategy we consider what the heritage of the future is.
I-MAGAZINE focuses on business and politics and brings them together, in what ways can business affect politics to see through global and local change in a way you would be happy with?
Well, businesses generally speaking don’t like playing politics and I guess the other ways may also be true. But they are unavoidable and obviously business and politics undoubtedly link hands at some moments. Let me give you an example. We need, as a result of bringing DBX to market, we need extra factory capacity,- because our current facility isn’t capable of sustaining the volumes that we need in the future. The obvious way would be to build extra capacity here. But that’s unaffordable for us because we haven’t got enough space. So you get into the discussion of where should we build that factory capacity. Given that we are potentially in collaboration with Daimler utilizing one of their vehicles which is built in America, you have got this difficult discussion about do you built the car in America, or in the UK or in a place where there is a very willing Government to help bankroll the venture. That is where business and politics obviously cross. Because through the experience of looking for sites for DBX, 19 different countries and states knocked on our door asking why don’t you built your new car here. These are the merits, both fiscal and non-fiscal that go along with that and then you go into the discussion not only about this is the money but the importance to the UK, or the importance to Alabama, or the importance to Wales, whereabouts you place the factory. The good news is that everyone wants Aston Martin in their country.
How important is social media to the modern business?
It is increasingly vital. It comes not through the evolvement of business but because of the change of the customer. As you start to sell cars in China, you reach to a generation that- for example their decision making is driven by pear group opinion and not through believing a corporate on an advertising. Pure TV advertising for example becomes less meaningful because nobody believes it whereas a like on Facebook or retweet on Twitter is a validation or an advocation of a brand and therefore it is taken much more seriously. As that millennial generation come through and starts to become part of our buying public in the future, then how you address those people? Then you obviously address those people through social media. It becomes more and more important. To that end, I am also a Tweeter, I like Twitter, I use it and I won’t let my PR people anywhere near my Twitter account. For me, it crosses two fusions between personal and business. But I think it puts a kind of human side on both Aston Martin and me because everything I tweet is my own.
What do you get up to in your spare time?
I don’t have much spare time to be honest. I regret to say that I am a workaholic. But anyway, I love the car business so what I get up to in my spare time is probably somewhere associated either with the car business or somehow rather with my family. But even if this is time with the family, it probably involves cars. I would probably be driving my classic car around (1981 V8 Vantage) or driving my motorbike around. I have a BMW K1600, which I like to ride when I can. It doesn’t get used that much. If not, I am probably ferrying the kids around somewhere or try to spend some time with the family in general. And if there is any time left on the top of that, then I read. I like to read history, so historical events, either in historical format or in historical novel format as long as the history is broadly speaking correct then I enjoy when I have the opportunity - normally on an airplane. I like to sit down with a pair of air plugs on and listen to some Punk Rock - which is my youth - and read a book.
Would you describe yourself as a creative?
I think I would describe myself as an engineer and therefore to some extend logical fact driven looking at history somehow to plot the future. I am maths and engineering based and I am a great believer that you should root yourself in the mathematics but when you execute you need to be creative. I am not the most creative person in the world but I’d like to think that I can come up some times with things from an odd angle. And I can sometimes come up with some crazy ideas that appear to work. I am neither the most rational engineer nor the most creative creator in the world but somehow try to be a blend of both. What is important is that you have people around you that represent both sides of the spectrum and whilst sometimes a real nerdy engineer or a real wild creative can be hard to manage, as part of my management style, I try to let those people coexist within my management team and embrace the diversity.
What do you think the fundamentals of leadership are?
There is a big difference between management and leadership. I think leadership is about that. It is basically not asking people to do things that you would not be prepared to do yourself. When we go through painful restructure, for example, don’t ask people to say things you are not prepared to say yourself. That’s why I didn’t inspire to the fact that I didn’t like it when we started the restructuring program. I stood up in front of everybody and announced it- even though I would have been much more comfortable if had sat in my office and ordered someone else to do it. I think leadership is about leading from the front. And of course, you need the vision, you need the strategy.
How important is PR to the business?
For all the same reasons we talked about social media. Traditional above the line advertising becomes instantly an important part of the business. It is not going away but it becomes not compulsive by itself. Certainly as I was growing up, if ITV put an advert on the television, and it was a bit funny and it stood out, then there was a really good chance that you would be influenced to buying it, because we believed what was on TV. We become more cynical over a period of time and therefore viral is much more important to us. How do you reach the viral environment? It is PR. So PR is vital. It is so vital that I combined Marketing & PR when I came to Aston Martin to putting it under one division called Marcomms. That division reports directly to me rather than through the Sales function which traditionally would have been done in a car company.
The analogy I would make is that of Wellington at Waterloo. I love historical novels. Napoleon was a great strategist- may be one of the best. He played chess amazingly and had amazing success on the battlefield as a result. But when it came to Waterloo it was an event fight. Frankly speaking it could have gone either way. He based himself at the back of the battlefield and he essentially moved the pawns into position. So you could argue that he was strategizing and he was sending the orders and had an overview of the battle and he moved the pieces around. Wellington probably should have lost because he was late to get into position and Waterloo wasn’t necessarily the place of his choosing for the battle. Some moments without the help of the Persians, the Belgiums and the Dutch he probably would not have won. But the reality is that what probably gave him the final advantage is when he had people on various fronts, right at the age of losing, he personally went to the front and stood by them alongside and took the risk. So many times, you are in the battle of basically dyeing on the front line. Because he put himself into danger, he made himself vulnerable and lead from the front. For me, one of the icons of historical leadership is actually the way that Wellington performed his duty at the battle of Waterloo
Carmen Dellâ€™Orefice (C) 2015 By Fadil Berisha
Model Woman By Robert Lacey Between 1947 and 2007 Eileen Ford created the largest and longest lasting model agency the world has ever seen, famed for its blonde and slinky beauties whose thighs would stretch for miles. If you booked a Ford model, you got Ferrari and Porsche glamour—with Rolls-Royce prestige and prices: Jerry Hall, Lauren Hutton, Christie Brinkley, Christie Turlington, the young Naomi Campbell – and, most enduringly of all, Carmen Dell’Orefice, who first modeled for Vogue in 1947, and is still modeling today, with two new hips and two new knees, at the age of 84. Carmen Dell’Orefice was barely sixteen years old when, skinny, and flat-chested, she attracted the attention of Vogue photographer Erwin Blumenfeld, who took her round to Second Avenue, where Eileen Ford was just opening her new agency over a funeral parlor with her recently demobbed naval officer husband Jerry. “This young lady is going to be a star,” announced Blumenfeld. “Take my word, the camera loves her.” “If you say so, Blumenfeld,” replied Eileen, not totally convinced by the shy bag of bones in front of her, but happy to poach this young talent from New York’s rival agencies, which were all run in those days by middle-aged men. “I had been earning seven dollars fifty per hour,” remembers Carmen, who also remembers plumping herself out for the encounter with tissues in her bra. “Eileen doubled my rate at once. In my first week, I worked five days at thirty dollars a day. But she also told me that she didn’t mind if I took work from other agencies. She knew that my mother and I needed the money.” Dell’Orefice came from a broken home. Her father, a symphony violinist, had left the family when she was a baby, endowing her only with her extraordinary surname and her still more extraordinary cheekbones. The thin, sickly little girl—she was bedridden with rheumatic fever for most of a year—grew up with her mother in a fourth-floor walk-up beside the elevated railway on Third Avenue.
When Vogue needed her for a job, the magazine would dispatch a message via a runner, since her apartment had no telephone. Her mother earned pin money as a seamstress and made her daughter’s clothes from precut Vogue patterns. “It was deeply embarrassing,” remembers Dell’Orefice today. “I still looked like a coat hanger. But we could not afford anything else. When I got paid for a job, it meant we could pay the power bill for another month—and I was able to pay for my own braces.” Eileen Ford became the young model’s confidante and mentor, while Jerry Ford (no relation to the US senator and President) became effectively her business manager, teaching Carmen how to set aside part of her income to pay her taxes. “Eileen and Jerry were truly a class act,” Carmen recalls today. “By some happy instinct—taste, nose, eye, or however you might describe it—Eileen could pick out the talent, while Jerry handled the business side. He was such a quality guy, and they had this ability to make everyone feel like family.” She fondly recalls the riotous Ford Christmas parties, complete with balloons and streamers, at which Eileen would call out a name and fling her present across the room, with everyone cheering or jeering wildly depending on whether the recipient caught the present or dropped it. “Eileen and Jerry worked hard and played hard,” she recalls, “and they were very generous to all of us. Eileen organized a huge wedding shower for every one of my three marriages—until I worked out that I didn’t have to marry the guy every time.” From the start of her career Eileen Ford prided herself on shielding her “girls” from the predatory males who lurked in the fashion business, from lascivious photographers to clients looking for extra favors. “She could be really fierce,” Carmen recalls. “If a girl came back to the office with any
story of trouble, Eileen would get straight on the phone and bawl the guy out. He would be lucky to hire a Ford model again.” Nor was Eileen afraid to direct her fierceness in her own models’ direction – making sure they got up early every morning to get to their first jobs on time. Ford models became the aristocrats of their profession not only on account of their extra sparkle and slenderness, but also for their mental discipline and punctuality. “We were known in the business,” recalls Carmen, “for arriving on time with every accessory needed in our model bags, from spare eyelashes to extra hairpieces. In those days we usually did our own hair – and our make-up too.” It all made for a sisterliness in which Eileen and Carmen became close friends, sharing secrets that ranged from family problems to locating the best plastic surgeon to keep the years at bay. “What else can you do,” Carmen liked to ask, “when the ceiling of your living room is falling in? Don’t you call the plasterer?” Shortly before Eileen’s death in the summer of 2014, the two women celebrated her ninety-second birthday at her favorite watering hole, New York’s famed Le Cirque restaurant, with her children and a small group of friends. “She was looking magnificent,” remembers Carmen—“happy and laughing, and as Escada-ed as ever.” In October that year, the New York Times’ Bill Cunningham shot a charming video of the glamorous guests at the great agent’s memorial service, a parade of beauties who lit up Fifth Avenue – and he singled out Carmen in particular for her poignant choice of clothes. Like her fellow Ford model, Christie Brinkley, Carmen had chosen to wear an elegant black trouser with a long, brightly colored silk scarf in tribute to her best friend. The vivid splash of color, declared Cunningham, showed “celebration amidst the mourning.” Extracted and adapted from Model Woman: Eileen Ford and the Business of Beauty by Robert Lacey, published by HarperCollins
The Paradox of Privacy By Professor David Vincent, Pro Vice Chancellor at the Open University The death of privacy was first pronounced in the late 1960s. The spreading use of mainframe computers threatened a world in which all personal secrets could be held by central bureaucracies. Where the great paper-based demographic and welfare systems had stored only discrete aspects of a person’s life, now machines could connect the fragments of information into a complete subject, who no longer had control over their use. The arrival of the internet, the personal computer and mobile devices from the 1980s onwards revived the prophecies of doom. In scholarly monographs and popular journalism privacy was consigned to the past. Campaigners protested; Silicon Valley celebrated. Scott McNealy, CEO of Sun Microsystems, told journalists in 1999, ‘You have zero privacy anyway.’ The sense of pessimism was deepened by Edward Snowden in June 2013. His material finally democratised the debate. Specialist commentators had long been concerned about the scope of the surveillance operations of the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) and their interactions with commercial network providers. After Snowden, everyone was worried. A recent survey of found that only 5% of Americans were unaware of his allegations. The consequence was a collapse in public trust: ‘across the board, there is a universal lack of confidence in the security of everyday communication channels – particularly when it comes to the use of online tools’ (Mary Madden, Public Perceptions of Privacy and Security in the Post-Snowden Era (2014). p. 23). Over the last half century privacy has acquired a zombie status, forever killed by the digital revolution, only to rise up with an axe through its head to be destroyed once again. The same post-Snowden surveys report no reduction in the use of the media which are now seen to be so vulnerable to surveillance. There is widespread apprehension about the security of
emails, yet the average teenager now exchanges 40-50 messages a day. The internet providers are trying to reassure their customers and increase the use of encryption, but in in spite of their apparent concern and the absence of a significant reform of the security agencies, their share prices have remained unaffected. The seeming paradox of bottomless pessimism and increasing use derives from four characteristics of privacy, which are frequently lost to sight amidst the intensity of the debate about the digital revolution. In the first place, privacy was never conceived as an irreducible possession, which was either wholly owned or forever lost. As far back as the late middle ages we find households taking their neighbours to court for infringement of their expectation that conversations should not be overheard or activities spied upon. But with un-curtained and mostly unglazed windows, flimsy interior walls, and crowded interiors, such ambitions were at best relative. Creating the opportunity of exchanging personal confidences was a matter of constant effort and ingenuity. Always there was the threat of eavesdropping, yet always there was a possibility of finding a quiet moment amidst the bustle of the household, particularly as the number of specialised rooms increased in the early modern period. The front door, which from the beginning of domestic architecture has served as a frontier of privacy, could let people out as well as in, with gardens and the countryside beyond an additional arena of secluded conversation. Privacy was and has remained work, with endless minor defeats and victories in the struggle to control personal communication. Not until the post-1945 declarations of Human Rights was privacy formally accorded the status of a human right, but even here its relativity was preserved. Clause 8.1 of the European Convention, enshrined in British law by the Human Rights Act of 1998, guarantees the right to private and family life; clause 8.2 lists
the exceptions, including the state’s overriding requirements in respect of national security, serious crime and ‘economic wellbeing’. Secondly, privacy has always been conditioned by communication. From at least the fifteenth century onwards, protected face-to-face discourse has been supplemented by devices of virtual privacy. Correspondence became a means of maintaining intimate relationships over distance, first for the educated minority, and those, like Margaret Paston, who afford scribes to write and read their messages. By the eighteenth century, as Susan Whyman has shown, the practice had reached far down into society, and with the introduction of the Penny Post in 1840, the machinery was in place for a limitless expansion in cheap, reliable intercourse. By that time the telegraph was under development, and from the mid-1870s, electronic conversation became possible. From the outset, those who engaged in forms of virtual privacy recognised that benefit was accompanied by risk. Before the creation of a national postal service, letters were entrusted to travelling friends or employees, who might or might not deliver as requested. The physical manifestation of the message meant that there was no guarantee that during or after delivery the letter would fall into the wrong hands, and the physical separation of the interlocutors introduced an irreducible element of doubt into the meanings derived from the exchange. Once the state began to provide a service to the civilian population, the danger of government espionage was readily apparent. Legislative safeguards were introduced from the 1710 Post Office Act onwards, but these only concerned the behaviour of postal employees; the state reserved the right, through to the present day, to open letters by warrant in the interests of what it believed to be national security. When it was caught intercepting mail on behalf of the Austrian Government in 1844, just after democratising
the service through the penny post, there was an immense public controversy, but the use of the correspondence continued to rise. Those engaging in the expanding realm of virtual privacy sought to manage risk by adopting a range of devices to minimise the danger of exposure. They wrote in terms that only the respondent could fully understand. With the introduction of the telegraph, which required the operator to read the message, the modern devices of codes and encryption began their development. Thus it is that those who have looked closely at the seeming exhibitionist privacy of teens and their digital intercourse have found that without instruction or conscious learning they have developed a wide range of techniques for controlling the exposure of their personal secrets. As a recent survey found, ‘one of the ways that people cope with the challenge to their privacy online is to employ multiple strategies for managing identity and reputation across different networks and transactions. As previous findings … have suggested, users bounce back and forth between different levels of disclosure depending on the context’ (Madden, 2014, p. 5). Fully to comprehend the range of meanings embodied in a single exchange between two instant-messaging teenagers presents a still insurmountable challenge to all the algorithms of the security agencies. This raises the third issue at the heart of the paradox of privacy, the meaning of surveillance. The term is everywhere deployed in the debate about the impact of the digital revolution. In many studies it is embedded in an explicitly historical context. Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon, first envisaged in the late eighteenth century, subsequently reworked by George Orwell in his dystopian 1984, and further theorised by Michel Foucault in Discipline and Punish, is held to provide the model for the present regime of oversight. Where Bentham’s prison relied upon unproven machinery and was too expensive ever to be built, now the state appears to possess both the resources and the technology to deliver his vision of inspection. However, Bentham, who derived his model from the notion of divine inspection, was collapsing five stages of surveillance: the capacity to see, the act of seeing, the comprehension of what is seen, action on the basis of that knowledge, and a change of behaviour by the observed. Too often in the debate about the surveillance of private behaviour, the final four are assumed from the possibility of the first. All five can of course occur, and in the minds of those in the early modern period who were earnestly engaged in private prayer with an omniscient Almighty, there was no doubt that they did. But in our own secular world, the
sequence has to be demonstrated. CCTV cameras deliver blurred images to untrained technicians, security agencies accumulate haystacks of information which obscure more than illuminate about the behaviours they seek to uncover. And, above all, the assumed passivity of the observed, which was at the centre of Bentham’s prison and all subsequently reworkings, has only been glimpsed in the totalitarian regimes of the twentieth century, and even then elaborate strategies of evasion were developed. Thus it is that the surveys that report steepling levels of concern about surveillance, also reveal minimal reported levels of material invasion of privacy by those, principally mothers, teachers and potential employers, who are actually in a position to affect the subjects’ wellbeing. Finally, there is in the current debate about privacy a constant danger of confusing the direction of change with the complex patterns of behaviour in the present and recent past. As the technology observer John Naughton has argued, it is necessary to view the digital revolution as one element of a constantly evolving media ecosystem, in which new developments interact with but rarely displace older forms of communication, including speech and correspondence which go back to the beginnings of civilised society. The obsessive concern amongst commentators and researchers with the internet, and in particular with its use by a narrow cohort of teenage users, obscures the range and complexity of the means by which the population as a whole, even in advanced western societies, exchange intimate confidences. As late as 2007, for instance, for UK women engaging on a daily basis in a basic form of private communication, ‘catching up with close friends or relatives’, the most common channel was ‘face-to-face conversation’ at 51%, followed at 47% by the telephone, a technology by then into its second century (Office for National Statistics, Social Trends, No. 41 (2011), ‘Lifestyles and social participation’, p. 3). Sherry Turkle has lately published Reclaiming Conversation. The Power of Talk in a Digital Age (2015), which argues persuasively for the importance of face-to-face intercourse and the threats posed by talking via machines, but lacks any comprehensive survey of the range of ways in which couples and wider social networks do in fact communicate over the life course.
there are clues in the current literature which suggest that whilst adults will express concern when asked about the security of their digital devices, that technology still only constitute a minor element in the exchange of intimacies which lie at the heart of privacy. A recent study of online users who are married or in committed relationships found that nearly three quarters ‘said the internet has “no real impact at all” on their partnership.’ Unsurprisingly, the figure fell with age, declining to ten per cent for those over sixty-five (Amanda Lenhart and Maeve Duggan, Couples, the Internet, and Social Media (2014), pp. 2-3). Even where an impact was felt, it was mostly positive, enabling couples to keep in touch when physically apart. When the mobile device was put aside, there was talk, and when the words dried up, there were all the gestures of face and body by which individuals know that they know each other. ‘After all,’ wrote Montaigne in his late sixteenth-century Essays, ‘lovers quarrel, make it up again, beg favours, give thanks, arrange secret meetings and say everything, with their eyes… And what of our eyebrows or our shoulders? None of their movements fails to talk a meaningful language which does not have to be learned, a language common to us all.’ David Vincent was an undergraduate at the University of York and gained a PhD at Sidney Sussex College Cambridge. He became Lecturer in History at Keele University in 1974, leaving as Professor of Social History and Deputy Vice Chancellor in 2003 to take up the post of Pro Vice Chancellor (Strategy and External Affairs) at the OU. Now Emeritus Professor in History, he became a full-time member of the History Department in 2010. He was a Visiting Fellow of Kellogg College 2004-11, Oxford and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and the Royal Society of Arts.
The pace of change has been so rapid since the late twentieth century as to create real difficulties of research methodology. It is impossible, for instance, to conduct a stable longitudinal study, finding out how teenagers change their privacy behaviours as they grow old, holding constant a particular configuration of communication technologies. However,
Mark Sismey-Durrant CEO of Hampshire Trust Bank
Mark Sismey-Durrant is Chief Executive Officer at Hampshire Trust Bank. He was appointed in January 2012, having previously been CEO of Sun Bank and Heritable Bank. He subsequently led a management buyout of the bank with the backing of Alchemy Special Opportunities Fund II LP in May 2014, creating a new specialist SME focussed challenger bank.
the opportunity to set themselves apart and help to rebuild confidence in the sector.
Challenger brands aim to do exactly what the name suggests – challenge the sector in which they operate. They take on the dominant players in their industry by identifying opportunities in the market and providing the specialist skills and services required to plug those gaps.
Every day at Hampshire Trust Bank we hear how funding remains a challenge for many smaller organisations and there is plenty of evidence to back this up.
As one of the few new generation challenger banks to have successfully achieved authorisation in 2014, we have experienced first-hand the long and winding road to achieving challenger status. Now, with 18 months under our belts we are well positioned for future growth. However, as you would imagine, taking on the Goliaths of the UK banking industry is not a task for the faint hearted, but by choosing which cracks to dance in, we can build a successful business. The UK banking industry remains highly concentrated, with the Big Four – Lloyds, Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays and HSBC – or Big Five counting the British arm of Santander - still dominating the market. Differentiators In order to challenge the major banks, challenger banks are differentiating themselves in three key areas. Firstly, challenger banks tend to operate in niche specialist markets and tend to focus on specific customer sectors such as SMEs, as we do at Hampshire Trust Bank. Secondly, customer service. The fact that challenger banks tend to focus on specific customer groups means they can provide a more informed customised service. We believe in relationship banking and are focused on building strong informed relationships involving regular, personal face to face contact, enabling us to understand our customers businesses and their growth ambitions. This personal service seems to have gone from much of modern banking but is highly valued by our customers. Thirdly, brand and reputation. The banking industry has suffered reputational damage since the financial crisis. Challengers have
Opportunities SMEs are the lifeblood of any ambitious economy, accounting for almost half of turnover in the private sector. In order to grow, and in order for our economy to grow, SMEs need access to finance.
A study by the Business Growth Service and Enterprise Research Centre¹ revealed that finance is the biggest barrier to growth for around a quarter (27%) of all businesses in England, with this rising to two out of five businesses in some more rural regions. In addition, the British Business Bank² states that the proportion of businesses discouraged from applying for finance remains significant and that the number of SMEs in this bracket could be as large as 160,000. This clearly needs to be addressed and this is an area where challenger banks can help. For too long, the UK market has been dominated by larger lenders who between them have controlled the majority of the SME banking sector. When times get tough, mainstream lenders tend to reduce their appetite for risk and this in particular has contributed to a shift in the UK lending market. Quite often, smaller businesses fail to meet the inflexible lending criteria of the larger banks. The scale of their operations make such selectivity inevitable. However, this creates an opportunity for the challenger banks to provide finance and support for the many great businesses that do not fit the standard box. We welcome the differences and recognise that such customer segmentation strategies create attractive opportunities for us to serve. Challenges The truth is that for many decades the banking industry has been overly concentrated. However, challenger banks are not new – there are many banks operating outside of the Big Five (HSBC, Lloyds, Barclays, RBS and Santander) and many have been around for many years. The term challenger bank has
been coined by politicians such as Vince Cable, when Business Secretary, to signal the political recognition that competition is good for the sector and for consumer and business choice. The challenge for the challenger bank sector is how to educate customers on the funding options available to them. According to Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Competition Markets Authority (CMA) research³, only 4% of SMEs switched provider last year and this proportion has not substantially changed for a decade. This is despite the fact that about 10 to 20% rated the overall standard of service they received from their main banks as poor. Few smaller and medium sized enterprises shop around. Indeed, the numbers speak for themselves with the FCA and CMA research revealing that almost 60% of SMEs spending less than an hour researching lenders, about 70% of SMEs seeking loans approaching only one provider and almost 90% taking out that loan with their existing main bank. I believe the inertia and lack of engagement in terms of switching bank accounts and seeking out the best loan deals is due, in large part, to the belief that there is little to choose from coupled with an irrational fear over the consequences of ‘disloyalty’ to the established provider. Most people stay with the same bank for life and it’s usually the one their parents chose for them. This attitude is also reflected in business, with many SMEs going to their personal bank for business banking in the belief that they will get a better deal. This inertia is what we at Hampshire Trust Bank and other challenger banks are here to change. We must work harder to help change customer behaviour by showing that there is an attractive alternative, which may be better suited to their specific needs. Indeed, business customers are less interested in finance or banking matters and more focused on what we can do to help them grow their business. Challenger banks are providing a much needed injection of innovation into the market, often by employing traditional methods which business customers really value, and in time this will help to transform it into the highly competitive industry that customers demand and deserve.
The prospects for a progressive capitalism: lessons from Nine Visions of Capitalism By Charles Hampden-Turner and Fons Trompenaars
Here is a summary of the main lesson from this book and some policy suggestions.Hampden-Turner and Trompenaars show how we need to fundamentally alter the economic strategies of the UK, Europe and the USA before bitterness festers, before they turn on the immigrants who could save them and start to blame each other for national decline. There is not much time. Lesson 1: Values, meta-values and circular reasoning There are values and meta-values. Meta means ‘about’ so that some values link other values together. For example integrity is a meta-value integrating other values. ‘Inspiring’ in the sense of ‘breathing life into’ other people and other values is a meta-value. Meta-values are linkages, so that diversity, for instance, needs to be integrated with inclusion, or a society will come apart. The individual needs to be integrated with the community and rules need to cover would-be exceptions or the rule of law breaks down. Capitalism is a versatile system of amazing breadth that can extol slavery and also help end it, bank roll fascism and halt it in its tracks. However, this cornucopia of benefits has received ridiculously narrow, single minded and selfish interpretations. We urgently need to unlock its wider and deeper meanings and allow it to accomplish more. Lesson 2: Creating wealth is not just making money We have fatally confused the making of money with the creation of wealth. We need to askourselves whether banks create wealth to any realizable degree and what price we are paying to the Kings of Capitalism for distributing our money to various industries. Banks do indeed have a role in the economy. They facilitate wealth creation by distributing money to major contributors. In this process much money is siphoned off from the rest of us. Does handlingmoney entitle banks to the lion’s
share? It is the contributors they supply, not the distributors, who actually create wealth. The Global Alliance for Banking on Values could leave everyone better off by making powerful social impacts in communities in need of this. It is possible to make the world a better place and profit personally from doing so. Lesson 3: The increasing irrelevance of politics Politicians in America, the UK or Europe have rarely stood lower in public esteem than theystand today. The chief reason for their chronic failure is that their rhetoric tears apart the fabric of our economy instead of binding and healing it. In truth, wealth is not created by managers or workers but by both working together. The ideologies of Right and Left are poisonous to an economy that needs both points of view. Each party brandishes half the answer but rejects the other half. Within each polarized extreme there are no answers remaining. You can empower shareholders but they cannot create wealth by themselves. The power of labour can do nothing by itself, it needs to be well managed so as to be the source of innovative ideas. Perhaps the biggest mistake is that British, American and French politics have one party supporting labour and the other supporting investors and top managers, when the whole point of industry is to enrich one another and the wages employees earn buy the goods which companies make. Bargaining over a finite pool of money is inevitably a zerosum game. Paul Watzlawick asked us to imagine two sailors standing up in a small sailing dinghy, holding onto ropes attached to the mast at waist height but leaning one to the left and one to the right in an attempt to keep the craft on an even keel. The cartoon is captioned ‘Two sailors trying to steady a boat that was steady to begin with’. Each believes and is right to believe that were he to lean at less of an absurd angle and stand closer to the mast then the extreme angle of his opponent would capsize the boat in that
direction. Give labour what it demands and the company is finished! Yield to management demands and productivity will dive! (There is some evidence for this). Each ideologist has trapped his opponent into leaning so far out that his behind is almost in the water, while shrieking abuse and imprecations at the absurd posture of the other. It is neither dignified nor very effective. No wonder politicians are in trouble. No wonder we call journalists hacks. What is there to vote for, the least offensive? We need politicians to help us solve problems and grow the economy. Lesson 4: Immigrants – our saviours or our nemesis? We have seen that immigrants were the making of many economies. The USA, Australia, Canada and New Zealand are all world-leading immigrant economies. The Chinese diaspora was, as early as the 1970s, the world’s third largest economy and has since inspired China. Many ethnic groups in the USA are wealthier and better educated than the country at large. The self-esteem of Jewish adolescents who reported anti-Semitic taunts was actually higher than those who did not recall such abuse. Their families and communities seem to have rallied around the victims. What is it that immigrants have that overcomes the prejudices against them? They have at least two points of view or social contexts, the one they brought with them and that of their adopted land. Too many of us have just one. Immigrants must strive to include their diverse views with our own. It is when cultures collide that we learn – not only about others but about ourselves. Values are differences and immigrants know all about the differences they encounter daily. They can encompass different points of view. Of course immigrants are not always successful. Some are crippled by prejudice or by culture shock, or bring cultural practices with them that clash with majority values (female genital mutilation, for example). Moving from one
culture to another makes you or breaks you and anti-immigrant feeling is easily aroused by the numbers of broken strangers, many in prison, some unemployed, claiming benefits or before the courts. Depending on their social class, indigenous citizens may encounter more losers than winners and generalize from this. Those who are different will not always be included. Tolerance is not enough. We should learn from immigrants. Why are Ismaili Muslims so affluent, so peaceable and so charitable to the poor? Why did Islamic banking suffer so much less than other banks in the recent Recession? Whatis the role of their banks in their communities? Lesson 5: The power of intrinsic motivation The notion that those engaged in business need large bonus payments to keep them motivated is almost certainly false, save in cases where the work is so boring and arduous that employees must be ‘compensated’ for an otherwise dull life. Getting funds to the most innovative people in your society is important work needing fine discrimination and there is no reason why bankers must be bribed with huge pay-outs for doing this. Banking offers thrills a plenty as you watch your protégés grow. The Global Alliance for Banking on Values puts concern for people and planet first and made above average profits by doing this. Simply handling money does not entitle you to the major cut. Almost everyone should be fulfilled by the work they do and if this is not happening the employer is losing out on a massive scale. We have just one life and should be filling it with everything we can. If the employee has not grown more useful, better informed and more resourceful in their work then the company’s time is being wasted along with the employee’s life. All it takes is fitting the task into a wider context with greater meaning. Lesson 6: How organized consumers and investors could turn things around There is nothing to be ashamed of in wanting to wash our clothes, clean our houses, alleviate colds and headaches, but why leave it at that? Companies employ thousands of people and we should care about the morale, the fulfilment, the equality and the satisfaction of their employees. Organized women shoppers, who are the majority in any case, could demand that companies reveal the ratio of male to female wages and invite the most equal of companies to put this information on their
packaging and advertising. If market shares began to shift women would be promoted in a hurry! Unilever for example has a mostly good record in such regards and we should ‘buy’ this enlightenment when we shop. The One Hundred Best Companies to Work For is published annually and we should make sure their sales increase as a consequence. Why not reward the companies who grow their people? They do us all a favour. The product will probably be better in any case, but there is so much more to life than eating breakfast cereal!
Pens’, from an outfit trying to get justice for those who cannot afford it? Organized consumers could have vast powers if they would just mobilize them. We could discover how many days it took a company to pay its suppliers. We could count andpublicize the number of businesses which ran out of cash as a result and perished. We could award ‘scalps’ to latepayers and ‘crowns’ to quick-payers. We could celebrate ‘the best friend of small companies’ and recommend them to others. And of course government has the power to do the same.
Published information about responsible companies need not stop there. What proportion of this product was recycled, How much more does the CEO earn than the average employee? If Whole Foods can grow to a US$ 12 billion company on a ratio of nineteen times more, then is not 350 a bit obscene? Why not reproach such greed, which is in any case a ludicrous overestimation of any one person’s powers? Of course companies would not always be truthful but NGOs have already arisen to make independent assessments, as we saw in Chapter 8 and
Political and social movements could organize mass switching from one energy supplier to another, from one insurer or lender to another, according to their treatment of stakeholders. The time and the nuisance of switching would be carried by the movements, representing thousands at a time and saving costs. Even conservatives would concede that we were aiding market forces and making competition work. Companies could have their market shares boosted or eroded according to the responsibilities they accepted.
the social responsibility of companies would become part of their strategies, where customers demanded this. It pays Nestle to assist its own coffee growers so let the company benefit twice, from better suppliers and grateful consumers. Organized consumers would be powerful stakeholders. In the Age of the Internet there is no excuse for not publishing comparative data on what companies are doing or not doing and those holding out would be beset by rumour and anonymous complaints by employees and ex-employees. Being a good corporate citizen could become essential to survival. Benefitting shareholders exclusively at the expense of others could be a thing of the past. Legislation might not be needed. Many products are much of a muchness. There is little difference between the many writing pads, ball-point pens, shoe-polishes and baking powders on offer. But the very fact that the products are mundane in themselves gives us a chance to produce them in more socially useful ways, with deserving people and achieving additional objectives. Just as crowdfunding sells the idea behind the product so social marketing can sell ideas attached to an otherwise mundane product, like package delivery. If UPS can help put its drivers through college then just imagine the host of benefits companies might confer in the process of growing their people. Why not produce ‘Just
Lesson 7: Stakeholders united in prosperityWe show that wealth is created ten times more effectively when all stakeholders work to help each other. What we suggest is that consumers help all stakeholders, the employees, suppliers, investors, the community and the environment. They could even help the government to collect taxes by listing avoidance schemes and dubious claims to have intellectual property in South Sea Islands. The pressure exerted by consumers would actually improve the performance of the companies. They would be speaking for all stakeholders. Even shareholders, as we show, would gain from such a broad alliance. It should not be difficult to generate scores for the satisfaction of all stakeholders and companies might choose to steer themselves strategically by such scores. A composite index of stakeholder satisfaction could be published for each company and would prove far more effective than bottom lines.
Generational Wealth Management - When do you plan to die? By Peter Gale, Senior Wealth Manager at Alexander Associates Group (AAG) Inheritance planning is something that used to be reserved for the ‘old rich’, who have been passing their wealth down through the generations for centuries. However, the reality is that today it is something we should not just be considering, but planning for well in advance. We spend our adult lives working hard and looking at ways to be ‘tax efficient’; keeping hold of the money we are accumulating and sharing less with the Taxman. But, when it comes to planning to be tax efficient with your legacy, it’s something that gets pushed to the bottom of the ‘To Do’ pile.
Almost everyone that I meet is able to reduce or eliminate their IHT exposure, but the complexities of generational planning, coupled with the new rules on inheritance tax, can be daunting. A combination of being overwhelmed and not wanting to think about our own demise, seem to be the main barriers to even starting the discussion. The importance of having that initial, uncomfortable conversation pays dividends. We’d suggest beginning by breaking it down into manageable topics with the top 3 topics of conversation: •
Should we be classing it as low priority? Or, should we be protecting our wealth now, so that we can provide a better life for future generations, when things may not be so rosy?
The starting point here is the mundane, but vital paperwork. Questions you need to answer include:
The topic of Generational Wealth planning becoming more common place; whether it is inheritance you may receive from your parents, or planning for the legacy you will leave behind – the point is to educate clients on the legitimate solutions to tax mitigation and the importance of robust planning.
Is there an up to date Will in place?
Has a Power of Attorney been assigned?
Are ‘Nomination of Death Benefits’ and ‘Expression of Wishes’ forms complete and, again, up to date?
We know that, in general, people don’t like to think about death – a fact that is supported when you look at the number of people in the UK who don’t have a Will. According to Will Aid’s study in July 2014, just 48% of adults have a Will and out of those, 60% haven’t reviewed them in the last 5 years. Which means that the majority of adults in the UK simply don’t have any plans in place for their Estate in the event of their death. A staggering, 70% of cohabiting couples have no Will, which means on death, their surviving partner would have no automatic right to inherit.
Are relevant policies held in Trust?
To many, our family are our most valuable asset, so it can be quite hard to believe that we aren’t making plans to protect and provide for when our family will need it most.
Trusts can provide an important vehicle to hold money and assets outside of yours, and beneficiaries’, estates and therefore, aren’t liable to Inheritance Tax. However, they are often not used, or set up, correctly. Typically, trusts fall into two types; ‘Absolute Trusts’ have specified nominated beneficiaries at the outset, which cannot be changed. Whilst ‘Discretionary Trusts’ can remain flexible, with availability to nominate potential future beneficiaries, such as unborn grandchildren. The area of trusts is incredibly complex, so it’s not an area that people should attempt to do themselves.
The huge changes in Pensions has opened up opportunities on how you can pass your pension pot down to the next generation. Previously, you could only pass your Pension to your spouse or dependants. But, the rules have been relaxed and you can now name a ‘Nominee’ to be the benefactor of your pension pot; with further ‘Successors’ available to be appointed on their death. As you can appoint anyone as your nominee, we are seeing pensions being used as part of generational planning. •
On the whole, gifting is something that people can be wary of. The main problem is that none of us know how long we will live for, so knowing how much of our wealth to gift, and when, can be tricky. Plus, there are rules and limitations surrounding gifts, which can land you in hot water with HMRC. You may be aware of the 7 year rule, which states that you need to survive for 7 years after making the gift for it to be IHT-exempt. If you die between 3 and 7 years after making the gift, and its total value is over the IHT threshold, the tax due is reduced on a sliding scale. Mr Osborne does provide us all with some allowances when it comes to gifting. You can gift up to £3,000 annually and make unlimited gifts of £250, to different people. You can also gift up to £5,000 as a wedding or civil partnership gift. These allowances are relatively low, so, whilst gifts should be part of a plan, they aren’t effective at substantially reducing your IHT liability. Gifting out of income is definitely an underutilised tool. The majority of people gift from their savings as capital, which not only affects their allowances, but often is not tax efficient. Whereas, so long as you have a sufficient revenue, regular gifts made out of income are immediately exempt from tax. i-MAGAZINE
Many of our clients are now gifting from their income into Junior ISAs or pensions for their children or grandchildren. This not only moves money out of their estate tax efficiently, but has the additional benefit of building a nest egg for the next generation. Once you have gifted, you lose control of the assets, so it is important to plan your gifts to ensure that you don’t put yourself in an unstable financial position. Therefore, consideration needs to be made regarding whether you need access to the capital, the income, the growth – or a combination of all three. The most important point to remember is make a record of the gifts you are giving, as this will be assessed on death by executors. There’s no doubt that Gifting can be a balancing act. So, there are solutions that move your money outside of your estate whilst enabling you to have access. For instance, a Discounted Gift Trust allows you to put a lump sum into a Trust for your beneficiaries, with the ability to also draw a regular income. The level of income is important as any unspent income falls back into your estate for IHT purposes. Another option for retaining control of your money and bypassing the 7 year rule is Business Property Relief, which allows company shares and other assets in certain businesses to be passed down to the next generation without attracting IHT. The assets have to be held for 2 years and still held on death to qualify, so it is often a good solution for people who are unwell or in old
age. BPR only applies to certain companies, for some it might be worth this higher-risk strategy. Therefore, professional advice should be sought to determine if it should be considered as part of your personal plan. BPR investment is also one of the few options within a Power of Attorney’s authority to mitigate IHT without breaching their responsibilities. With around 800,000 people suffering some form of dementia in the UK, and this number expected to rise year on year, Power of Attorney plays an important role in generational planning. •
The last phase is to turn to protection. We put protection in place to pay any Inheritance Tax that is due on the remaining estate. As long as regular premiums are paid, the policy will pay into a trust for the main beneficiaries of the estate. So, when does inheritance tax need to be paid? It becomes payable 6 months after death, and the estate cannot be distributed until it has been paid. For an illiquid estate this can cause significant complications that can be eradicated with a protection policy, which will ensure that there are funds to settle the IHT due immediately. It’s often assumed that life for the next generation will be abundant with opportunities for them to make their own wealth. But, what’s gone before is not necessarily an indication of what will happen in the future.
It’s another reason why we should safeguard our existing wealth for the next generation. With the recent Government changes to IHT, and the fact that none of these are actually set in stone, it’s important to plan on the basis of what we know now as fact. Amendments can always be made to stay in line with legislation as it changes. For instance, with the Main Residence Nil Rate Band tapering relief due to be phased in from April 2016, we will see an additional allowance for your main private residence – with the caveat being that it has to be passed to your children. If you don’t know or understand the intricacies of the rules and regulations around IHT, then how can you make sure you have the protections in place? Like a doctor doesn’t condone self-diagnosis, as professional Wealth Managers, AAG doesn’t support DIY solutions to IHT planning. We have seen so many clients come to us with plans in place that won’t stand up. They think they have taken the right steps, but in fact the plans they have made will cause more harm than good. Knowing what you can do to manage your wealth across the generation is half the battle. In our experience, it is better to start putting some structures in place if you want to make the most of the legacy you leave. Now is the time to have those difficult conversations and take advantage of all your options. Whilst it’s not a very nice thought, as Benjamin Franklin wrote, there are two certainties in life.
Succesful Negotiation By Steve Gates There is no right or wrong or good or bad way to negotiate, only an appropriate way which is dependent on your unique circumstances. This reality challenges every person who has any ‘one way’ of approaching their negotiations. Perhaps this is you. If it is, it’s likely that your results and the quality of the agreements you make will vary. To make sense of how different approaches to negotiation can serve us, and because each negotiation presents a unique challenge, I developed a model called the Negotiation Clock Face. FIGURE 2.1 THE CLOCK FACE If we are going to control any negotiation we first have to understand the environment within which we operate. For example, imagine you are responsible for managing a particular customer on an ongoing basis. You feel that a relationship is going to serve your long-term interests, which requires you to build some level of trust and an understanding with your customer. However, your customer has significant market power and exerts pressure on you to improve your terms. This makes your relationship difficult and transactional in nature as their behavior suggests their interests are in short-term gains only. Do you choose to spend your time at 4 o’clock hard bargaining and risk sub-optimizing longer-term opportunities or do you attempt to move them around to 10 o’clock to work on the relationship in an attempt to gain a more mutually beneficial solution? The answer to this again is “it depends.” So by understanding the different factors that can influence your negotiations, you can build a stronger awareness of whether you need to proactively change the nature of your relationship with the other party and/or the climate of your meetings during your negotiations. BARTERING: 1 O’CLOCK Bartering involves the art of trading one thing off against another and does not necessarily involve money. There need not be any relationship, trust, or even respect, simply a ritual to agree on the price. When bartering, the parties try to pretend that there is respect or trust in what each other is saying. At least when we move around to 3 and 4 o’clock there may not be much trust but there is enough integrity in place that the pretending has stopped.
HAGGLING/BIDDING: 2–3 O’CLOCK This basic means of agreeing a price demands the greatest of all self-disciplines: being prepared to walk away.
The process can involve conditional trade-off s across a broad range of issues from a pre-agreed agenda. The negotiation climate is usually constructive but still guarded.
Businesses that use tendering processes are effectively using the bidding process to attract a price-based best offer from a range of potential suppliers. However, where the nature of the contract is based on a performance-related service price alone, even against a well-specified brief, can prove a restrictive means of agreeing all terms and can lead to poor “total value” agreements.
WIN–WIN: 8 O’CLOCK The concept of win–win assumes that both parties will make decisions based
Many businesses use this 2–3 o’clock approach and build in a post-tender negotiation process with those who have effectively qualified to the final stage of potential suppliers. This allows the negotiation to move around the clock face to a win–win situation at 8 o’clock or beyond, providing for greater synergies to be realized. HARD BARGAINING: 4 O’CLOCK Hard bargaining in its purest form is not typically the preferred approach in B2B negotiations, but even complex negotiations such as those that involve the acquisition of companies frequently move to 4 o’clock on the final issues. This is typically when all the remaining issues have been exhausted and one final issue remains unresolved. It is under these pressured conditions when the skill, mindset, and confidence to hard bargain are both necessary and critical. The two most important disciplines in any negotiation consist of asking questions and making proposals. Information is power and, at 4 o’clock, power will play a part in how the bargaining range is divided. DEALING: 5–6 O’CLOCK Where you are faced with simply agreeing on terms, which provide little by way of any real incremental benefit, a deal-like climate is likely to exist and the need to be considered, conditional, and tough during your dealings is critical to you in protecting your position and the value of the deal. CONCESSION TRADING: 6–7 O’CLOCK This is the first of the collaborative approaches where both parties recognize that some level of cooperation is required if mutual interests are to progress. The more common interests that can be identified between the two parties, the greater the potential for creating value.
on the fact that, if one party offers you something of greater value than that which they seek, in return leaving you with an incremental gain, then you are more likely to accept it. If your aim is to build value, it’s difficult to argue with the theory. From 8 o’clock onwards you have the option of sharing some information in order to help the other party to help you. This of course requires a higher level of trust than when simply concession trading. PARTNERSHIP JOINT PROBLEM SOLVING: 9–10 O’CLOCK When building an agenda for a 9–10 o’clock negotiation, your mindset should be focused on forming a sustainable agreement that covers all areas, including performance, compliance and risk. Take the concept of total value agreements that are central to win–win negotiations and extend the possibilities through building more dependency between parties. Take your time working through the level of risk and responsibilities that both of you are prepared to take. Then build an agreement ensuring that responsibility is transparent and clearly stated and that risk is clearly compensated for. RELATIONSHIP BUILDING: 11–12 O’CLOCK The value of partnership in business cannot be underestimated. It often represents the optimum position for building agreements – when trading partners are interdependent and there is a clear need to help each other to realize the efficiencies, synergies, and saving as part of how they work continuously together. At 10–12 o’clock, risks will have been considered as part of the original agreement. However, if one party suffers as a result of change that could result in the trading relationship being affected, both parties are more likely to reappraise the trading arrangement and sometimes even renegotiate the terms. So what it is that drives us one way one
another around the clock face? For some is reactiveness in that we are not prepared, have few variables to negotiate around and end up in tougher conversations than necessary. For others it will be that your perception of how powerful you are affects how assertive you are in your positioning, allowing the other party to take control of the negotiation. Ultimately where you negotiate on the clock face will come down to power. So, the complete skilled negotiator needs to be able to understand and measure, as far as one can, the balance of power from inside the other parties head.
THE LEVEL OF DEPENDENCY Who needs who the most, or the level of dependency between both parties, directly influences the balance of power between you and those you negotiate with. If you don’t need to do a deal and are not dependent on the other party, your position of “indifference” provides you with a
Power provides you with options and, if understood, will enable you to control where on the clock face your negotiation will take place.
In economic terms this is referred to as supply and demand.
If you hold the balance of power in your relationship(s), you have greater scope to control the agenda, the process, and ultimately influence the negotiation in your favor. Power provides you with the opportunity to choose between being competitive or collaborative, depending on which suits your purpose and objectives. Creating the perception of power before the negotiation begins can be achieved through demonstrating indifference, outlining your options, or the other party’s lack of options. All are designed to manage expectations and suggest that you are negotiating from a position of strength. Trying to do so once discussions have begun is transparent and can prove futile. The Complete Skilled Negotiator understands the value of clearly framing the facts surrounding the circumstances of those involved so as to enhance their perceived power. History has taught us that those with power will at some point seek to exercise it. Therefore, it is vital to understand the balance of power, be clear where the negotiation is likely to take place on the clock face, and prepare accordingly. The type of relationship you have with those you negotiate with will directly influence how and where you choose to negotiate on the clock face. Those factors which have the greatest influence on where negotiations take place on the clock face are made up of the following:
greater level of power, assuming that you both know this and believe it to be true. Any need to form an agreement is usually influenced by your circumstances, whatever they may be.
THE POWER OF THE BRAND AND THE RELATIVE SIZE OF BOTH PARTIES What brands bring to the broader business case in terms of their reliability, quality, and customer loyalty will have some bearing on the considerations of the buyer, as they seek to optimize their profitability, starting by objectively weighing up the balance of power within the relationship. HISTORY/PRECEDENTS History and precedents also play a part in influencing how people seek to rationalize and legitimize their position. Previous positions, all else remaining equal, serve to shape expectations. Many organizations work hard to address this through the continuous innovation of products or changing the nature of the service they offer. To achieve this, many may decide to change the people responsible for the relationship, move historical understandings or change the package, service offer, or product being supplied. COMPETITOR ACTIVITY AND MARKET CONDITIONS The unpredictability of change affects the degree to which people are prepared to commit and the level of risk they are prepared to accommodate. In other words, stability and certainty promote a basis for longer-term commitments. In our ever-changing and fast-paced world, the issue of change plays an important part in any negotiation, in terms of what is being discussed, the length of any agreement and which party is more exposed
to the influence of uncontrollable change. Although change affects risk and value it can also affect power. Your competitors’ innovation, marketing, and strategy will have some bearing on what your customers regard as their options. The very fact that your competitors are competing provides more power to your customers during negotiations. THE PARTY WITH MORE TIME Time and circumstances offer the greatest of power levers in negotiation. If you have been effective at getting inside the other party’s head and understand their time pressures, you will have more power to exert. How you choose to use this will depend on your objectives, the dependency within your relationship and the overall shape of the deal. The nature of the product, service, or contract Negotiating a complex construction deal or business merger is, by its very nature, more challenging than buying a car from your local garage. The different relationships in play and the nature of the outcomes required result in most negotiations being unique. There is no right or wrong. Your responsibility as a negotiator is to weigh up what you are trying to achieve and decide which process is more likely to cover the broad range of risks and benefits involved. PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS In every culture, relationships and trust play a part in the climate of negotiations. Building an understanding of each other’s position and needs through exploratory meetings is critical if broader agendas other than price are to be entertained. Most people prefer doing business with people they trust and respect. The degree to which trust exists will almost always influence the climate of openness and the position on the clock face where the negotiation takes place. This is an edited extract from: The Negotiation Book: Your Definitive Guide to Successful Negotiating, by Steve Gates, published by Capstone, November 2015, £12.99
comment Jul/Dec 2016
Authenticity, standing for something real By Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones For many years now we have been asking executives a challenging question: Why should anyone be led by you? We learnt that the question can stop people in their tracks! To answer it you need to think hard about what you have that is different and distinctive and which can be used as the basis for inspiring others to higher performance. In other words the question inevitably asks you to think hard about your authentic self.
Radical honesty – “I want to know what’s really going on”.
OUR BOOK WHY SHOULD ANYONE BE LED BY YOU? argues that authenticity is a necessary condition for the exercise of effective leadership – and we urge current and aspiring leaders to “be themselves – more – with skill”. The message has resonated broadly. But over the years since first we published that book, we’ve often heard this response to its framing question – “I will be an authentic leader when my organisation is authentic”. So more recently we have been investigating the characteristics of organisations which allow and encourage us to be our best selves. Or put differently: How do you build the best workplace on earth?
Meaning – “I want my day-to-day work to be meaningful”.
WHY SHOULD ANYONE WORK HERE? Different people – academics, consultants and practitioners – have attempted different answers to this question. They have referred variously to distinctive corporate cultures; to track records of high performance; or – more recently – to distinctive ‘employer brands’ to explain what draws people in and produces their best work. But depressingly low rates of employee engagement all over the world remind us that there are scarcely grounds for complacency. But our new book does not focus exclusively on the sources of disengagement and dysfunction, rather, we explore people’s positive visions for organisations and how they are attempting to make these a reality. Although individual views vary widely, of course, we found that the responses grouped naturally around six broad imperatives, which just happen to form a handy mnemonic: Difference – “I want to work in a place where I can be myself, where I can express the ways in which I’m different and how I see things differently”.
Extra value – “I want to work in an organisation which magnifies my strengths and adds extra value for me and my personal development”. Authenticity – “I want to work in an organisation I’m proud of, one that truly stands for something”.
Simple rules – “I do not want to be hindered by stupid rules or rules that apply to some people but not others”. These attributes can often run counter to traditional practices and habits in companies, and they’re not easy and simple to realise or implement. Some conflict with one another. Almost all require leaders to carefully balance competing interests and to rethink how they allocate their time and attention. Of course, few if any organisations possess all six virtues—and even if they did, it would be quite a feat for them to excel at all six. On the surface, the DREAMS qualities or imperatives may seem obvious. After all, who would want to work in the opposite kind of place—an organisation where conformity is enforced, where employees are the last to know the truth, where people feel exploited rather than enriched, where values change with the seasons, where work is alienating and stressful, and where a miasma of bureaucratic rules limits human creativity and effectiveness? And yet we find that very few organisations fully illustrate even half of the qualities of this ideal workplace. Why? Our research indicates that when companies do try to tackle these issues, they often do so superficially. They apply Band-Aids to problems when they arise and seem unprepared to address some fundamental underlying issues, which loom large indeed. DIGGING DEEP TO BUILD DREAMS Let’s begin with Difference. We recently worked with an organisation that had produced a 142-page booklet called ‘Managing Diversity’. (We wonder how many people will actually
read it.) And yet in all those pages the crucial argument that creativity (a key index of performance) increases with diversity and declines with conformity is never really made. For many organisations, accommodating differences translates into this concern with ‘diversity’, usually defined according to the traditional categories such as gender, race, age, and religion. These are, of course, of tremendous importance, but the executives in our research were after something subtler and harder to achieve – an organisation that can accommodate differences in perspective, habits of mind, core assumptions, and worldviews – and go beyond accommodation to create a place where difference is celebrated and even leveraged to add value. The consulting engineers Arup are a shining example that shows if you get difference right you are rewarded with higher levels of commitment, innovation, and creativity. What about Radical Honesty? Organisations are increasingly recognising the importance of communications – both internally and to wider stakeholders. For example, we now find communications professionals at or near the summit of organisations. This is a step in the right direction; we have learned that reputational capital is becoming more and more important for high performance, even as that capital becomes increasingly fragile. Arthur Andersen was destroyed in a month in the wake of the Enron scandal. More recently, iconic firms like Apple, Nike, and Amazon have come under critical scrutiny for their employment practices. And yet, the growth of the communications profession is actually more evidence that companies are taking a superficial approach to disseminating the critical information that people need to do their jobs. Why? Because so many communications professionals remain stubbornly connected to an old-world mindset in which information is power and spin is their key skill. Surely information is power, but companies no longer have control of it. In a world of WikiLeaks, whistle blowing, and freedom of information, their imperative should be to tell the truth before someone else does. When you do, you will begin to build long-standing organisational trust – both inside and outside your organisation. The pharma company Novo Nordisk is a shining example of how to proactively share information with all stakeholders. i-MAGAZINE
How can organisations create Extra Value? Elite organisations and professions – the McKinseys, Johns Hopkins Hospitals, and PwCs of this world – have been in the business of making great people even better for a long time now. Part of their pact with employees is, “Join us and we will develop you”. Unfortunately, they deal with only a tiny proportion of the workforce. What about the rest of us? Our research shows that high performance arises when individuals all over the organisation feel they can grow through their work—adding value as the organisation adds value to them. That means the administrative assistants and cashiers, as well as the executives and the shift managers. This is not impossible. If a company like McDonald’s UK finds it profitable to train the equivalent of six full classes of students every week to attain formal qualifications in maths and English, surely other companies can do more. What does it mean for an organisation to be Authentic? This is a big question. We have developed three markers of authenticity. First, a company’s identity is consistently rooted in its history. Second, employees demonstrate the values the company espouses. And third, company leaders are themselves authentic. Where this happens – as at the US based mutual New York Life – employees enjoy a sense of purpose, pride in what they do, and higher levels of trust. This is clearly not simple to achieve. Sadly, rather than rise to the challenge, in many organisations the task of building authenticity has collapsed into the industry of mission-statement writing. Some of the people we interviewed despaired that their company’s mission statement had been rewritten for the fourth time in three years! Not surprisingly, this produces not high performance but deep-rooted cynicism. THE SEARCH FOR MEANING IN WORK IS NOT NEW. THERE ARE LIBRARIES FULL OF RESEARCH ON HOW jobs may produce a sense of meaning – and how they can be redesigned in ways which produce ‘engagement’. But meaning in work is derived from a wider set of issues than those narrowly related to individual occupations.
It also emerges from what we have called the three C’s – connections, community, and cause. Employees need to know how their work connects to others’ work (and here, too often, silos get in the way). They need a workplace that promotes a sense of belonging (which is increasingly difficult in a mobile world). And they need to know how their work contributes to a longer term goal (problematic, when shareholders demand quarterly reporting). If these deeper issues are not addressed, faddish efforts at increasing engagement will have only fleeting effects. The BMW engineer knows why (s)he is going to work – to build the ultimate driving machine. Do you have similar motivational clarity?
But, crucially, this is not a matter of either/or. Building better workplaces is not an alternative to, but rather a means for, responding to the new challenges of capitalism, for building productivity, unleashing creativity, and winning.
Finally, the truly authentic organisation has Simple Rules that are widely agreed-upon in the company. Many organisations display a form of rule accretion, where one set of bureaucratic instructions begets another, which seeks to address the problems created by the first set. In response to this, organisations have attempted a kind of radical delayering. This at least attempts to address the problem of losing good ideas and initiatives in a byzantine hierarchical structure. But that, too, is only a superficial fix. The ideal company is not a company without rules. It is a company with clear rules that make sense to the people who follow them, and remains ever vigilant about maintaining that clarity and simplicity—a much larger challenge with a far greater payoff. Netflix, for example, is rightly applauded for its discipline in keeping its human resource practices as simple as possible. Good rules maximise discretion which, in turn, facilitates problem solving. They unleash initiative rather than suppress it.
Other organisations face a different challenge – to reconnect with their roots as a way to regain a sense of ‘standing for something real’. This has been the challenge for Barclays over recent years and for the consulting firm AT Kearney after its buy-back from the merger with EDS.
WHERE TO START … So, we are optimistic but not starry eyed. The challenges are huge. There will always be reasons not to act; to push the pursuit of ‘dreams’ down the list of priorities. The logic of capitalism is inevitable – so expect everything from disruptive new entrants and game-changing technologies to cheaper alternatives and pressures on costs.
Of course where you start is important. If you have the blank page of a start up, entrepreneurial business then you have an opportunity to clearly lay out your ideals. Supercell – the phenomenally successful Finnish mobile games company – is six years old, has about 160 employees and revenues in excess of 1.5 billion euros. Its values are remarkably close to those we describe in DREAMS. The challenge will be sustaining these with further growth. This requires vigilance!
None of the organisations in our book have it all sorted but we have tried to profile the work of those who are striving for and trying to live the ideal. Whichever organisation you are part of – and wherever you are within it – our aim is to inspire you to create a positive answer to a difficult question: Why should anyone work here?: What It Takes To Create An Authentic Organization by Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones (Harvard Business Review Press) Rob Goffee is Emeritus Professor of Organisational Behaviour at London Business School, where he teaches in the worldrenowned Senior Executive Programme. Gareth Jones is a Fellow of the Centre for Management Development at London Business School and a visiting professor at Spain’s IE Business School in Madrid. Goffee and Jones consult to the boards of several global companies. Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones are known for their earlier best-sellers Why Should Anyone Be Led by You? and Clever, both published by Harvard Business Review Press.
Aliko Dangote The $15 Billion Empire Of Africa’s Richest Man
Aliko Dangote lives as you might expect, given he’s the richest person in Africa and resides in the same country being bullied by the insidious Boko Haram terrorist group, which finds something noble in kidnapping village girls. Located on Victoria Island, a wealthy Lagos enclave that has a moat in the form of a lagoon and the far eastern shores of the Atlantic Ocean, his mansion comes with all the trimmings: massive black gate, bulletproof windows, Big Brother video surveillance, guards and a secret entryway. After I enter, a butler motions to a sitting room overlooking a patio and a blue-tiled pool. The three-story fortress is shielded from the 90-degree heat by powerful air-conditioners (themselves presumably shielded from Nigeria’s notoriously unreliable electric grid by diesel generators). Dangote, round-faced with a trimmed graying mustache, appears from upstairs dressed in khakis and a casual blue button-down. The 57-year-old can seem miscast in the role of industrial titan, often speaking so softly that he mumbles. As breakfast arrives by the platterful, including plantains, smoked chicken in red sauce, diced sweet potatoes, white fish and sausage, he sticks to coy conversation. Whether about his country’s fraught presidential election (“It’s going to be tough for both parties”) or his cement company’s long-delayed overseas listing (“Maybe next year”), he has little to say. On one subject, though, he is always articulate. “Nigeria is one of the best-kept secrets,” Dangote says. “A lot of foreigners are not investing because they’re waiting for the right time. There is no right time.” Nigeria does provide fertile opportunity for vast wealth. As evidence, look no further than Dangote’s No. 67 rank on the World’s Billionaires List and his $14.7 billion fortune–mostly from three majority stakes in publicly traded cement, sugar and flour companies. And he doesn’t arrive here alone. In another dramatic sign of his country’s emergence, Nigeria has overtaken South
Africa on FORBES’ 50 Richest in Africa ranking. Thirteen Nigerians earned spots in 2014, including a trio of new billionaires. Dangote and these other Nigerians power Africa’s largest economy. The drop in crude prices prompted the oil-rich country’s stock index to plunge 40% last year, taking Dangote’s net worth down in lockstep–no surprise, since his companies account for almost a third of the nation’s benchmark index (his $10.3 billion drop in net worth was the world’s largest last year). But the underlying fundamentals are strong. From 2010 to 2013, Nigerian GDP expanded by an average of 5% a year. (It now totals some $500 billion, or a third larger than South Africa.) Even with the oil glut, forecasters believe this year’s growth will top 5%. In fact, according to a widely cited Citigroup C -0.93% report, economists expect Nigeria to have among the fastest average annual GDP growth in the world between 2010 and 2050. There are other r easons for international interest as well. In the shadow of rising Islamic militancy, which has destabilized the Middle East and now threatens to do the same to parts of Africa, President Obama recently issued an executive order tasking U.S. business executives with strengthening trade ties to sub-Saharan Africa (the council includes heavy hitters from Wal-Mart, G.E. and McKinsey). Prior to that, in May 2014, he dispatched Penny Pritzker to Nigeria, the first visit by a Commerce Secretary in two decades. America’s foreign direct investment in Nigeria reached a continent-leading $8.2 billion in 2012, the last year for which statistics are available. Overall U.S.-Nigerian trade was $9.8 billion last year. Nigeria sells far less oil to America these days–it exported $2 billion of the black stuff last year as the U.S.’ tenth-largest supplier–so most of that trade comes through other goods and services. Keeping Nigeria successful is critical. The country is already Africa’s most populous, with more than 170 million people, and that figure will swell to 210 million by 2020. By 2050 Nigeria is forecast to overtake the United States (440
million to 400 million). Yet a majority of the people subsist on less than $1.25 a day. About half are illiterate; most are very young (the country’s median age is 18.3). And 50% of rural Nigeria lacks access to clean drinking water. It’s hard to imagine the government coming to grips with it all, even if oil prices recover. Nigeria consistently ranks in the bottom quarter of the most corrupt countries in the world, according to Transparency International, and is proving a feckless pursuer of the Boko Haram thugs terrorizing the northeast. All of which makes Dangote–well connected, wildly wealthy and ready to do business–an increasingly important player on the world stage. “Anyone doing business in Africa,” says David Rubenstein, the cofounder of the Carlyle Group and a fellow billionaire, “knows Dangote.” THE ROOTS OF DANGOTE’S rise lie 150 miles south of the Sahara in his hometown of Kano, Nigeria’s second-largest city. A dusty metropolis, Kano has been a trade center and commercial hub since its establishment in the 10th century, thanks to its strategic location on the edge of the vast desert. Egyptian perfumes, incense, inks and mirrors dominated at first, then leather goods. The camel caravans became lucrative enough to fight over; wars broke out with neighboring kingdoms. When the British arrived in the late 1800s, Kano was West Africa’s most important business center. Under British rule, Sanusi Dantata, Dangote’s grandfather, grew rich trading commodities like grain oats and rice, and ranked as one of Kano’s wealthiest citizens. Dantata insisted on personally raising his grandson–not an unusual arrangement in northern Nigerian culture–and instilled a businessman’s mind-set in Dangote at a young age. At 8, he turned allowance into startup capital. “I would use it to buy sweets, and I would give them to some people to sell, and they would bring me the profit,” Dangote says. “When you are raised by an entrepreneurial parent or grandparent you pick that aspiration. It makes you be much more aggressive–to think anything is possible.”
The country was growing up, too. Post-colonial instability, including countless coups and a civil war in the 1960s, was eclipsed by an oil boom in the 1970s. During that decade, the economy grew 18% annually, with many of the spoils going to well-connected elites. Despite the explosion of revenue, the World Bank still considered Nigeria–along with countries such as Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Chad and Mali–as “low income,” a candidate for international aid. Dangote, a Muslim, attended AlAzhar University in Cairo and studied business. After graduation, he asked his grandfather for permission to move to Lagos. A $500,000 loan from his uncle set up 21-year-old Dangote as a trader of rice, sugar and cement. He was well capitalized and a naturally talented trader. He imported sugar from Brazil and rice from Thailand and sold them locally at a huge markup. At his height, he says, he was pocketing $10,000 in profit a day. “Things were quite good,” he says. “It allowed us to create an awful lot of cash.” He also worked the politicians. According to a State Department cable unearthed by WikiLeaks, Dangote “held exclusive import rights in sugar, cement, and rice, using such advantages to do volume business and undercut competitors.” Dangote flatly denies this. Dangote’s success landed him firmly on America’s radar. A 1994 diplomatic cable singled him out as a businessman to know in Nigeria and drew attention to his clan’s homes in Kano, Lagos, London and Atlanta. The State Department report also highlighted the annual family vacation to the States. A 1995 trip to Brazil convinced him to shift from trading to manufacturing. Why continue to play middleman when he could make the stuff in Nigeria instead and pocket even more profit? His resolve was strengthened in 1999, when Nigeria held its first democratic presidential election in six years, choosing a bespectacled former military ruler and chicken farmer named Olusegun Obasanjo, whom Dangote had known since 1981. As a key part of his platform, Obasanjo pledged to protect and promote domestic industry. That’s all Dangote needed to hear. Dangote Sugar started in 2000 and quickly expanded the annual production capacity of its refinery at Lagos’ Apapa Port to 1.44 million tons, enough
to satisfy 90% of national demand. By the time Dangote Sugar debuted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange in 2007, sales had quadrupled to $450 million. The flour firm, which began in 1999 and also produces pasta and noodles, followed a similar trajectory. It began with a single mill, tripled revenue to $270 million, increased capacity eightfold to 1.5 million tons–then joined Dangote Sugar on the NSE in 2008, the same year Dangote became the first Nigerian on FORBES’ World’s Billionaires list, at No. 334. In 2005 Dangote secured a $479 million loan led by the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation–Nigerian banks didn’t have the ability, or the stomach, to put up the cash alone–and agreed to plunk down $319 million of his own money to build a cement factory. Dangote Cement listed on the NSE in 2010 as a $1.3 billion-in-sales company. The three companies today do a combined $3 billion in revenue; while Dangote Flour operates at a loss and Dangote Sugar’s net margin falls in line with Brazilian peer Cosan, the cement company is wildly profitable, with a margin of 52%–about double that of close competitor LaFarge Africa. Obasanjo, reelected in 2003, worked overtime to ensure that any Dangote challenger who entered the market did so with a significant handicap. At the time Dangote’s sugar and flour companies went public, raw sugar was taxed 12 times less than refined sugar, wheat 6 times less than flour. Dangote Cement prospered from restrictive licenses. The companies retain a vice-like grip on their industries today, controlling at least half of the cement and sugar markets and about 25% of flour. “When Obasanjo took over, he took guys with him,” says a Nigerian belonging to the country’s overlapping circle of business and political elites. “He gave them a leg up.” Last August, as the Islamic State overran northern Iraq and Boko Haram was declaring its own caliphate in Nigeria, the White House held a U.S.-Africa trade summit in Washington, D.C. A highlight was the announcement of a $5 billion fund backed by Wall Street billionaire Steve Schwarzman’s Blackstone Group–and Dangote. They plan to invest in infrastructure companies throughout sub-Saharan Africa. “We can do well as investors, and the countries will do well,” Schwarzman says. “We’re aware that operating in Africa isn’t as easy as many other places. You have to have a very strong local partner, and we were lucky enough to find Aliko. He’s done a remarkable job.”
Rubenstein, of the Carlyle Group, sought out Dangote as well when raising money for his firm’s first sub-Sahara-focused fund in 2012. Dangote ultimately invested in the $700 million fund. “His name carries a great deal of weight,” Rubenstein says. “If you say he’s an investor with you, that carries a lot of weight. He’s helped us.” The Carlyle fund has so far invested in five companies, including a $147 million deal last November for Nigeria-based Diamond Bank, a retail lender. It’s all part of Dangote’s fast-rising international profile. He’s a Davos regular, and appeared with Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria’s current president, on a panel about investment potential in Africa at the 2014 World Economic Forum. Even four years ago, he was there making a familiar pitch: “Don’t give any more aid to Africa,” he said. Invest with local partners instead. “You will make money, and we’ll make money, and it’s better for everyone.” But it is not in Dangote’s nature to rely on others to prosper. Mostly, he relies on himself. He trusts few others with real power at his companies, often making decisions with little more than gut feeling, says a former top executive. “Ultimately all the decisions sit with the boss, Dangote, rather than the senior management,” the executive says. Self-reliance and a supremely healthy ego blend seamlessly into a cult of personality at Dangote’s firms. Portraits of him hang on the walls. The average Dangote employee seems to virtually worship him. “I’m going to be a big man, I’m going to be the next Dangote,” a lab technician at the one of the cement plants says over and over again until his sentiment is recorded on paper. A lieutenant warns that Dangote will walk out of a meeting if it starts even a minute late.
This editorial was originally published in FORBES.
comment Jul/Dec 2016
A guide to investing in luxury watches By Mark Blowers, Managing Director, Blowers
Over the last decade the value of classic watches has risen by more than 5% a year, with certain pre-owned models more than doubling in value over this period. As a result, watches have become one of the most desirable forms of alternative investment to seasoned and fledgling investors alike. Yet there is one common mistake made by those looking to invest in a luxury watch; thinking you can pop into the local jewelers, buy a relatively average model from a well known manufacturer, and within a few years get back what you paid for. This is not the case. Below are a few thoughts that may help make your first foray on the world of Haute Horlogerie a pleasant one. 1. Research before buying. It’s essential to get an idea of what you’re looking for before you buy - whether it’s seeking independent advice from an expert, or joining a watch enthusiasts forum. Help and good advice is out there! 2. Some retailers with multiple stores have first class, knowledgeable staff. Yet there are many assistants who have little if no product knowledge, and have to check the very basics of a watch’s specification (even when let loose on £10,000-plus pieces). Make sure you find someone who is passionate, knowledgeable and enthusiastic - a less than average purchasing experience can tarnish what should be a very enjoyable one. 3. Consider carefully before buying from a retailer who offers a limited number of brands, which they can only sell at retail price. Instead, look for a retailer who has a great reputation, product knowledge and will help you identify a piece that will be residually strong and, equally importantly, will suit your lifestyle! Try to view a comprehensive selection of brands and models in one store so you can make direct comparisons, and choose a retailer that have the pieces in stock and available. So many retailers and web sites try to sell from brochures or library images. Many of those pieces they do not even have, so even if you
identify your “chosen one” you may find that delivery will be a deflating 6-9 months. 4. A pre-owned watch will always (with good advice) have better investment potential than a brand new watch. Always consider an independent dealer who is not tied to particular brands. They are often more negotiable on price, and usually more considerate when part exchanges are involved. Customers typically part-exchange their watches after around three years, but sometimes as often as every six months. As a general rule of thumb, it would on average take five to seven years before you begin to see an increase in value. 6. Some manufacturers have very little, if any, pre-owned market value. If you’re unsure, speak to dealers & collectors - you will soon become aware of brands to avoid. 7. It’s hard to look beyond Patek Philippe and Rolex for brands that are best at holding their value. Patek Philippe’s Nautilus, designed by the legendary Gerald Genta, is the nearest thing you’ll find in the watch world to a guilt-edged investment. Relatively few are produced and demand will always be high, even at the £16,500-plus price point. In contrast, and contrary to some people’s perceptions, diamond-set pieces often depreciate the most. The more heavily diamond set the watch is, the less likely you are to hold value unless ideally a pre-owned example can be found at very sensible levels. 8. An obvious point perhaps, but one that is unfortunately often overlooked: ensure the watch is authentic. Brands are constantly innovating to take steps to protect their watches from being reproduced. But increasing numbers of counterfeit watches are making their way onto the market, so its vital to do your due diligence before purchase. Not all pre-owned watches will come with paperwork or a serial number, but if your watch of choice doesn’t come with either of these, look further into why. Every brand has
unique measures built into their watches to confirm their authenticity. For example, since the mid-2000s Rolex watches have a coronet micro-etched into the face barely visible to the naked eye. The weight, ticking noise, hand movement and materials of a watch are the first indicators of whether it is genuine or fake. To ensure the watch you are investing in isn’t a counterfeit, only deal with a reputable, experienced dealer who will be able to fully inspect the watch on your behalf. 9. A factor likely to influence a model’s value is when it is discontinued, how many where produced, and subsequent demand. Some quality manufacturers frequently change their range and cull certain models. This is not in the buyer’s control so sometimes there’s an element of good fortune involved. For instance, the Rolex Daytona chronograph was produced with Zenith El Primero movement until the late 1980s. Rolex then produced its own in-house chronograph movement; the Daytona Zenith was subsequently discontinued, with a good example now selling for upwards of £9000. Or take the Rolex Deepsea D-Blue, which was designed to commemorates James Cameron’s historic deep-sea dive to the bottom of the Mariana Trench in 2012; rumours abound that it will soon be discontinued has led to very strong demand, with prices 10% above its RRP. All things considered, purchasing a special timepiece shouldn’t be all about investment. The experience should be fun and exciting - a glimpse into the secretive world of fine watchmaking, a considered yet passionate purchase to mark a special occasion, a pat on your, or someone else’s back or to mark a special achievement or goal, or something to pass onto the next generation... All that said, with a little time, energy and advice, something that gives you as much pleasure as a fine wrist watch could also, as a bonus, become a very pleasant investment too.
insight Jul/Dec 2016
Misconception around ambition and why it’s important to keep achieving By Rachel Bridge At some point back in the 1980s the concept of ambition somehow became synonymous with shouty people in red braces or shoulder pads, with big hair and Filofaxes, ruthlessly trampling over each other in their efforts to reach the top. And sadly over the years the image has stuck. Indeed even the words used to describe ambition are harsh – burning, ruthless, raw ambition anyone? Which means that even now, few people are willing to openly admit that they are ambitious, for fear of being seen as greedy, arrogant or selfish. The misconception that ambition is a dirty word is a huge shame because it is holding back something that could be a real force for good, if only it were allowed to be set free from its negative connotations. That’s because in reality, ambition is simply the desire to make the most of your potential to achieve something special. That might mean the desire to create something unique; reach the top of your field; start a business; become an expert in a particular area; or make a positive difference to the world. When I was researching my latest book, Ambition: Why it’s good to want more and How to get it, I was reminded time and time again of just how much a person can achieve if they really put their mind to it. To take just two examples - Roz Savage, a former management consultant who rowed solo across three oceans and ended up in the Guinness Book of World Records. Or Jack Walker, a former quantity surveyor from Glasgow who ended up with his own show in Las Vegas. Ambition marks the difference between those people who are content to let random circumstance determine their journey through life, and those who would like to have a say in where they end up. Having spent many years observing successful people, I’ve realised that the key distinction between them and everyone else is that they realise
they have the ability to make a difference – to their own lives and to those of others. So how do you get started? If you are serious about achieving your goal, you first need to make space for it in your life. Sounds obvious, doesn’t it, but in reality the reason why so many people fail to reach their goal is they tack it on as an afterthought. They never consciously make room for it, and so it quickly gets lost amongst all the other things going on in their lives. The first step should be to create a supportive environment for your goal. At a very basic level, this means that if you want to improve your chances of becoming a champion skier, you should live in a country that has top-quality ski facilities and snow for much of the year. If you want to be a professional surfer, you should move to Cornwall – or Hawaii. If you want to start an internet company and be the next dot com millionaire, you should consider getting shared office space in one of the Tech City clusters set up around the country. That’s because achieving your goal will be a hundred times easier if you can create an environment where it makes more sense to achieve your goal than not. When everyone else around you is creating amazing internet start ups / world record downhill skiing times, your big existential dilemma very quickly switches from “Should I be doing this?” to “Why on earth didn’t I do this five years ago?” If you can’t afford to surround yourself with like minded people on a permanent basis, doing it on a short term basis can be a real tonic too. Time spent in the company of people who see the world in the same way as you do can be immensely restorative. Look for relevant talks and events in your area, join an online forum or group. Volunteer organisations can be a great low-cost way of being in the company of like minded people. You also need to create some dedicated physical space for your project. It doesn’t have
to be big or grand but if you can find a place in your home that you can make your own and close the door on, grab it. That could mean a study, spare room, garage or shed. If you don’t have any of these available, then find a corner of your own and buy lots of plastic boxes with lids to keep everything in one place. Now you need to be fairly ruthless. If you have a tendency to spend your evenings slumped in front of the television instead of getting on with useful things that will take you closer to your goal, it is time to move the furniture. Put the television in the coldest room in the house where the light is harsh and the seats are hard. Put the things you need to use to take you towards your goal – the computer, the files, the toolbox, whatever it is – in a warm, cosy part of the house where the carpet is thick and the radiators are glowing. You will be far less inclined to watch TV and far more inclined to get on with planning and researching your goal. Added bonus – that’s an average of 21 hours a week freed up instantly. You also need to create space in your head for your project. This is an important one but so easily overlooked. The fact is that sometimes it can be hard to focus on what you need to be doing, simply because your head is so full of other things. You may have to consciously clear a space in your mind for it. Hugh Rycroft had developed a successful career as a comedy writer. He had worked his way up from devising sketches for the satirical radio show Week Ending to writing for shows such as Light Lunch and Friends Like These with Ant and Dec. He even wrote jokes for Clive James and Bob Monkhouse. But as Hugh learnt more about how the industry worked, he realised that what he really wanted to do was create formats for television quiz shows. He says: “It hadn’t really occurred to me that people got paid to invent game shows. And when it did occur to me, I thought I would be quite good at it because I
like games and I have a logical streak that runs through my thinking, which is quite important. That was when I thought, I can do that.” But because comedy writing requires a high degree of intense concentration, Hugh realised he needed to create space in his head to be able to think up new television shows. So he took action. He says: “I frequently turned comedy writing work down. I became known as the writer who doesn’t want to write.” It was a brave move. Trying to earn a living selling ideas for new television shows is an extremely precarious thing to do and indeed for many years Hugh earned hardly any money: “There were whole years at a time when for all the difference it would have made, I could have been on holiday. For about three years in a row I earned less than £5000.” He eventually had some success with a quiz show called School’s Out, which was presented by comedian Danny Wallace. Then came the big one – a quiz show called Tipping Point, which involves a giant version of the coin cascade machine found in amusement arcades. Tipping Point has gone on to be a huge success, clocking up hundreds of episodes. Hugh now also has a new show on television, Decimate, and has set up his own production company, Mighty. One of the simplest ways of making room for your ultimate goal is to make it part of your daily routine, so that you are working towards it almost without noticing. This also takes away the effort of wondering whether to do it, or when, or how. If you want to learn Chinese commit to learning ten new characters each day over breakfast. If you want to become a best selling novelist, commit to writing 500 words every morning before work. The great thing about this approach is it doesn’t rely on you being enthusiastic or in the right frame of mind, because the trigger to do the new thing comes from your routine
not your level of motivation or willpower. As the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.” It makes sense to get organised too. Not only will your life function more effectively, you will also feel happier and more in control of your life. And that will help you stay totally focused on achieving your ambition. But don’t mistake getting organised for doing the goal itself. Think back to when you were at school – making an elaborate exam revision timetable using highlighter pens and coloured stickers may have been fun but it was not actually the same as revising, no matter how great it looked. In the same way, creating a detailed training schedule to become an Ironman athlete is all very well, but if you don’t actually do the training it is worthless. So why does nurturing our ambitions matter? Why do we actually need to keep on achieving goals? Quite simply, because that’s the way that amazing things get done in life. One person’s ambition is the driving force behind all the incredible achievements in our society, whether that be inventing the steam engine, discovering penicillin or creating the internet. Ambition is the force that drives us on to better and greater things, whether for ourselves, for our family, or for the world. Without it we would have no progress, no inventions, no innovation, and no change for the better. As the late American preacher Dr Myles Munroe said: “The wealthiest places in the world are not the gold mines of South America or the oil fields of Iraq or Iran. They are not the diamond mines of South Africa or the banks of the world. The wealthiest place on the planet is just down the road. It is the cemetery. There lie buried companies that were never started, inventions that were never made, best selling books that were never written, and masterpieces that were
never painted. In the cemetery is buried the greatest treasure of untapped potential.” But why do we need to push ourselves to achieve our goals now? Well because life is short. Illness and death comes to us all. There is no dodging it, and what’s more, it is likely to be here sooner than we think. Martin Roberts, presenter of the television show, Homes Under the Hammer, learnt early on the importance of not wasting time. He says: “At the age of 19 I worked in hospital radio and I would go around the wards and get record requests. There was one really sweet guy who told me he would give me three words that I had to live my life by – Do It Now. If there is one thing I try to do, it is that. Because the worst thing in the world is putting things off. Whether it is a scary thing, or a difficult thing, or just something that requires a lot of work, we all procrastinate. It is what we do as human beings. If we can get away without doing things till tomorrow, till next weekend, till after the weekend, till next year, then we will, because we don’t like making decisions. But procrastination stops the majority of people being successful.” Using your ambition to fulfil a significant goal is one of the most exciting things you can do in life. It makes you feel alive like nothing else can. But it comes with a “use by” date. So if you have got it, use it. Now. Or as German theologian Martin Luther said: “How soon not now becomes never.”
Rachel Bridge is a journalist, author and public speaker. The former Enterprise Editor at The Sunday Times, Rachel currently writes about entrepreneurs and successful people for The Telegraph and The Times. Her latest book, Ambition: Why It’s Good to Want More and How to Get It (published by Capstone, £10.99), is available now.
Developing a luxury hospitality brand… By Neil Moffitt. CEO of Hakkasan Group
Taking on a brand like Hakkasan with a remit to expand was an exciting but complex challenge; a 12-year old brand that redefined an industry and had an unspoken philosophy among its people. Turning this into a sound and profitable business strategy meant understanding it and protecting it before starting to develop it. The first step on this journey was looking at and defining luxury in terms of hospitality. What permissions and proof points qualified us and was it sustainable as we grew into new markets and sectors? Was luxury an appropriate term and is it where we wanted to position Hakkasan for the future? One of Millward Brown’s recommendations in their Top Brands 2015 report was that luxury brands need to have a consistent story, which does not feel bland at scale. They highlight the importance of a strong luxury concept, which has emotional resonance at the individual level, rather than pure exhibition of wealth. I like this idea; that we create thousands of personal experiences every day. An exhibition at the V&A last year ‘What is luxury?’ also tackled this subject and contemplated both the history and future of the luxury landscape even creating an online tool, The Definery, to help classify your ‘luxury’ items against a set of defined criteria – decorative vs. practical, handmade vs. mass produced, limited edition vs. one of many. It concluded with the thought ‘Truth is Luxury’ which whilst being inadequate as a single idea plays back into a bigger concept of authenticity for luxury brands and for Hakkasan. In 2014 we worked with C_Space to find our authenticity, to Unearth, Define and Deliver our brand and articulate it in a way that would ensure consistency and understanding both internally and externally. When building out the Hakkasan brand, we landed upon a core principal that I truly believe runs through our business and creates our culture – ‘Always crafting a better experience’. Experience is our business and we choose people who are passionate about
all parts of creating that experience. Whilst FMCG brands clamber to create meaningful experiences as a way of connecting with their audience, experiences are our entire business. Joe Pine’s ‘The experience economy’, demonstrates that ‘experience’ and ‘creating memories’ is now not only a valuable commodity but an economic trend. Apparently the next stage is the Transformation Economy, which I am keeping a close eye on as we develop hotel concepts, but more about that later. The word ‘craft’ was also carefully chosen and craftmanship is cited again and again as a core idea in luxury and we craft every detail of our experiences. The wine lists are crafted in an entirely unique way, separated not by price or geography but by mind-state. The team test wines democratically every Tuesday and anyone in the company can join. Christine Parkinson is one of the best wine buyers not only in the country, but probably the world. Our Marketing and Creative teams work together on strategy and implementation – a unique set up for a company like this where ‘design’ is often siloed or outsourced. Putting the creative and comms process at the heart of the business is the behaviour of a luxury brand, not traditionally of a restaurant or hospitality company and helps set us apart from our competitors. Our stand-alone London restaurant, HKK, was developed with the pure purpose of ensuring Hakkasan continued to innovate – another mark of not only a luxury brand but any successful brand in the 21st Century. HKK is referred to as the Atelier of Hakkasan – it is Chef Tong’s workshop or experimental kitchen where he can develop his ideas and keep pushing standards across all our Asian luxury brands. Many dishes developed here make it to the menus of Hakkasan or Yauatcha around the world. We have a very clear strategy with Hakkasan, to ensure it retains global recognition and awareness and that is to only be in metropolitan cities. Any Hakkasan you visit will be reminiscent of the original in style, experience and quality. If we cannot do that, it will not happen. Maintaining the
standards of the experience is paramount to our success and to our luxury status. That rigid strategy may appear restrictive in terms of growth and development. It is. Only a certain number of cities can support a restaurant or nightclub of this scale so innovation and brand development are key to ensuring growth whilst not damaging our core brand. We didn’t want to go down the route of ‘Hakkasan Light’ or mini Hakkasans. What we developed, again with our partner agency, C_Space, was Ling Ling – a sister brand to Hakkasan that would factor in the need for growth, the millennial audience and future-proofing our success. Ling Ling was designed to be flexible and fun, bolder and more fluid, able to exist in smaller spaces or secondary cities or even as a pop up. Known internally as Hakkasan’s naughty little sister, it was inspired by the Izakaya concept where food accompanies drinks and not the other way around. It borrows from the Hakkasan DNA but reinterprets it for a new generation. We opened our first Ling Ling restaurant in Mykonos last year and the brand will be rolled out over the next few years in locations where Hakkasan would never work – whilst we have even bigger plans for Hakkasan that feed off the success of restaurants and the nightclub in Las Vegas. In 2013 we commissioned a 6-month research project with IDEO to look closely at luxury hospitality across the world, to explore the universal truths of luxury and find a defensible position for Hakkasan to play in in the competitive hotel space. Without revealing too much about our core proposition, the human-centred research led us to a interesting place around duality, which in itself may not sound very ground breaking – the idea of Ying Yang is centuries old but the idea of understanding and delivering on those 2 very basic human needs that permeate Chinese culture and Eastern philosophy was an inspiring jump off point for our ideation and design development. We worked tirelessly on how Hakkasan could own and deliver on this ancient idea to deliver something no one else is doing in hospitality.
How to Succeed in Your Newly Chosen Dream Career You have found your dream career. You are fully determined to succeed— preferably to succeed fast. But how can you succeed quickly, especially if your chosen career is in a completely new field?
Here are a few tips that will help you along (and remember you are taking inspired action towards your success every single day) You absolutely, unequivocally believe in your success. Please don’t confuse ‘believing in your success’ with a know-it-all attitude. There will be many situations when you will have no clue about your next step. Your job is to dive in and figure it out. Your job is to find the ways and resources to make your success happen. Your job is to keep going when nobody else believes you can make your dreams come true. Your job is to turn all the odds around and prove the non-believers wrong. Once you are sure about yourself and develop a positive attitude, you can focus on the practical aspects of your speedy but sustainable success. Know you are and what you want. Share this knowledge with anybody who is willing to listen. For example, if you want to publish a book (especially if you have already managed to write one), don’t keep this information in the drawer. (Remember point 1: you believe in your book, right?) Mention your desire to your friends, talk about it at dinner parties, and write about it on Facebook. Ask for suggestions, connections, and advice. You might be surprised how quickly this approach can connect you to the right people. Maintain this clarity in all business related situations, especially networking opportunities, and you will succeed. Somebody who is clear about his direction and confident he will succeed is such a rare commodity that coming across this way will make you stand out in any crowd. This approach can be applied in your own business, as well as in a new position as an employee. Surely you always know what is your next desired step? If not, go and figure it out! Keep your message simple and ALWAYS include the benefits you bring to your customer (whether the customer is an internal customer within your organisation or a private client).
If your customers do not understand what exactly it is you are doing, they are likely to lose interest really fast. Make the way you talk about your business/job enticing, exciting, and personal. People love hearing personal stories. If you have transitioned from doing something you didn’t like to something you love and took many risks in doing so, you will have people’s vote in no time! Most people dream about having the courage to change their lives but never get around to making changes. You might become their hero just by being honest and sincere and sharing with them the changes you made. Concentrate on your priorities. When starting in a new field or job, dealing with all the new information can be overwhelming. You may feel that you “ought to” do more and keep all your options open by moving in many directions at once. While not closing doors is certainly important, make sure you remind yourself what your priorities are. Is it the income? Is it the brand recognition? Is it the perfect outcome of your new project? Is it successful people management? Whatever your priorities are at the moment, focus on those. You can manage the rest, but never allow yourself to be driven by details and miscellaneous activities. If at all possible, delegate those and remain faithful to your ‘big picture’. Allow your priorities to guide you as they shift. Starting in a new job or business can be exciting. Inevitably, though, there will be many bumps and detours on your journey. If you ever feel that you can’t cope on your own as you manoeuvre through those, hiring a coach is the best thing you can do for yourself. Your coach will be there to support you, believe in you, and provide a different perspective when needed! What Is Your Biggest Challenge on the Journey Toward a Career Change? The fears surrounding a career change are the same fears that surround any other big change. The only difference is that our ability to make a steady income might be compromised or so
we are made to believe. But putting the money issue aside, what are the biggest worry triggers for us when looking into a career change? The fear of failure: What if I make a change and I don’t become successful? Theoretically, if you choose wisely and make a career transition toward something you really want and like, I have to assume you will enjoy doing it, right? And how could you ever not succeed in something you do with love, passion and enthusiasm? Of course, the ride to what you define as success might be bumpy, but if you do something you feel strongly about, even those obstacles will become something you overcome with ease. Often, we underestimate the power of our emotional connection to a new career, since we dislike our current one. If you pick something you like and put your heart into it, you will succeed sooner or later. The lack of motivation: Is it really worth it? Only you can say whether the career change you desire is worth fighting for. From my experience, just the sheer fact that the idea occurred to you means that not all is well in your current working situation. If you lack motivation, imagine yourself having the same job as today in five years. Is that thought enough to spur some action? If the motivation is not quite there, start by just doing your “homework”: explore the possibilities and check what is happening in the field of your interest. Always keep an eye on the industry/ job/business you are keen on. When you finally wake up one morning and feel ready, all this knowledge will become very handy.
To enquire about Natalie’s coaching services, please contact her via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
How To Stand Out: Proven Tactics For Getting Noticed By Dr Rob Yeuung
What is it that helps some people to stand out? Why are some people inspiring, entertaining, memorable and celebrated – while so many others are entirely forgettable? Working as a leadership consultant and coach, I work with people who want to stand out for a variety of reasons. Many executives want to become more inspirational public speakers. Entrepreneurs often want to get better at pitching to both clients and investors. Individual job hunters often want to get better at selling themselves at interviews. But what does science tell us about how we can all stand out? CONTENT IS KING There’s a myth often promoted by out-ofdate trainers and consultants that body language and tone of voice matter much more than what you say. But trust me. I have a doctorate in psychology and I read around a hundred research articles a week. And modern studies conclusively show that your impact is mostly determined by what you say rather than how you say it. So whether you’re presenting an update to the board, giving a speech at a wedding or talking about your own achievements in a job interview, make sure you prepare and practise what you want to say. When it comes to presentations, I usually encourage my clients to set aside at least 3 to 5 times as much time for preparing and practising as for the presentation itself. Write out your speech – whether long-hand or in bullet points. And then rehearse it out loud enough times that you get familiar with what you want to say. EMOTIONS HIT HOME There’s sometimes an unspoken assumption that the world of work should be rational and logical – that there’s no room for such things as feelings and emotions. But the truth is that nearly everyone is as emotional as rational. Most people in the country rationally understand that overeating and being overweight are bad for them. But emotionally, around 60 to 70 per cent of people are classified as either overweight or obese. Clearly, they feel lazy or enjoy their comforts too much. That’s a clear triumph of feelings over logic.
The same is true in many decisions in the workplace too. True, people may use facts. But when it comes to forecasting and projections, remember that these are only educated guesses. There’s a huge element of gut feeling involved too. So if you want to win people over and make an impact, remember that any speech or message you wish to deliver should have both a logical point and an emotional quality too. Think about the single emotion you wish to infuse through your message. Do you want to be uplifting and inspirational? Do you want to engender anger that will make people want to tackle an injustice? Perhaps you want to make people feel shame that they haven’t done something – or fearful should they not act. Emotions are far more primal and persuasive than facts. Ignore them at your peril. WORDS CHANGE MINDS Are you a mostly factual speaker or do you use metaphors and analogies too? Business school and employer research suggest that people who use a variety of language tend to be more memorable and persuasive. For example, analyses of speeches by business leaders as well as heads of state – ranging from British Prime Ministers to American Presidents – shows that the most charismatic speakers make careful language choices. Consider drawing parallels whenever you need to be impactful and memorable by using metaphors and analogies. Compare your company to a rocketing space ship or the sinking Titanic. Explain how something works by using examples from the animal kingdom, sports or medicine perhaps. Repeat your message in a couple of different way and it will penetrate people’s brains more deeply. BODY LANGUAGE MATTERS Content matters most. But that doesn’t mean that body language doesn’t matter. Clearly, things like your pacing and vocal variety (i.e. not sounding monotone) can help to make you more interesting and memorable too. But work on these only after you have rehearsed your content a couple of times. As a rule of thumb, more movement and energy
help to make you look more engaging. So think about taking a few strides around a room if that’s possible. Use your hands for gestures to punctuate points. Allow yourself to smile, laugh or frown if it’s appropriate. Studies – for example by researchers such as David Greatbatch at the University of Durham – show that people who use vocal tricks tend to be rated as more influential and charismatic than people who don’t. So think about changing the volume of your speaking. Get louder occasionally or consider dropping your voice to a conspiratorial whisper as if you’re imparting secrets. Speed up or slow down sometimes: allow your excitement to bleed through when you want to show that something might be fun but consider slowing down when you want to emphasise key points or highlight how important something might be. FEEDBACK, FEEDBACK, FEEDBACK One of the most robust findings in psychology is something called the “above-average effect”. Essentially, most people think that they are better than they actually are. That’s true for university professors: the vast majority think that they work harder and produce better quality work than their peers. School and university students think they are more talented than their contemporaries. Employees, middle managers and senior executives all think that they are smarter, more creative and more emotionally intelligent than their colleagues too. The problem with the above-average effect is that most people tend to overestimate their strengths and underestimate their weaknesses. But the cure is simple: ask, ask, ask for feedback. The best way to get feedback is to ask people you know for written feedback. Studies and experience show that people tend to be more honest when they get to write things down. People are far more likely to tell you what they think you want to hear when speaking to you face-to-face. Dr Rob Yeung is an organisational psychologist at leadership development consultancy Talentspace and author of How To Stand Out: Proven Tactics For Getting Noticed (published by Capstone) @robyeung
The reality behind a MBO Everyone enters a corporate deal with a set of hopes, expectations, aims and ambitions. Then begins the job of transforming the vision into a reality. One year in, we examine the reality from two perspectives – the investor and the management team involved in the 2014 MBO of bChannels, a deal supported by private equity house WestBridge Capital.
THE INVESTORS VIEW Valerie Kendall, a partner at WestBridge Capital: We were introduced to bChannels, alongside a shortlist of other potential investors, by Wendy Hart from the Oxford office of Grant Thornton. bChannels chose their adviser well as Wendy’s constructive, inclusive and practical approach set the positive tone for the whole transaction. The Information Memorandum clearly demonstrated the bChannels growth story and the strength of their client relationships, so we asked to meet the management team, headed by Matt Rowland-Jones and Phil Gowing, who presented the business and its potential to us. Then began what I think of as ‘the dance’ - the most enjoyable part of my role. Both parties are doing their utmost to impress the other while also deciding if they can work together, if the chemistry feels right. It’s like a courtship as we investors try to impress and demonstrate our capability to the management team, while concurrently making a buying decision about them. Behind the charm, both parties are asking some deeply probing questions - not just to establish whether the company can grow as forecast but also to work out whether the teams share the same values and would work constructively together. Matt and Phil ‘danced’ very well, although they were especially cautious having been bitten twice before by unsuitable investors. We tried to be sensitive about this, particularly in terms of how we structured the investment and locked-in the team’s current value. For us, there is much work to do before completion, particularly in the area of due diligence. Client interviews reinforced the high regard in which bChannels was held and also the scale of the opportunity, with our due diligence advisor commenting it was the most positive customer referencing exercise he had ever undertaken. That said, we didn’t feel the business model was sufficiently developed so we worked with the management team to help them
rethink the growth plan and understand the financial implications of growth. bChannels had been starved of cash historically, which meant that internal resources were stretched. Although we were keen to invest, we thought it necessary for them to appoint a Finance Director ahead of completion. The team demonstrated their commitment by doing so and the new FD was then able to support the team through the transaction. What many people don’t realise is the huge amount of time we invest into getting a deal over the line. To succeed, this commitment has to be undertaken wholeheartedly and can be the point in the process where relationships are forged or flounder. It’s quite risky for us, in terms of expenditure of substantial amounts of time and expertise, because a business could heed our advice and then choose to walk away. Matt’s behaviour through this period was exemplary. His open, pragmatic and collaborative approach was a breath of fresh air. Relationships are key. It’s imperative to have the human dynamics right if you are to work together. We are conscious that the teams we back are experienced so we allow them the freedom to run their business effectively. We see our role as supporting the management team put the building blocks in place to deliver the growth plan. This is about refining the company’s strategy, challenging the team on delivery and ensuring the systems and infrastructure are robust. Fast growing companies often have challenging periods and we aim to make enough of our time available to help teams when they need support. All key ‘points of change’ require thought and planning. We were delighted with the structured approach bChannels took to the opening of a new office in Kuala Lumpa. Looking forward, we need to ensure the skills around the board table are diverse and complementary. As such, management development and succession is on the agenda as a component of our growth plan for bChannels.
We hope that Matt and his team recognise when we can add value and know that our support will always be available to them individually and collectively when needed. (Box out – What’s been the greatest challenge?) DEFINING THE BUSINESS MODEL Matt was the only dedicated sales resource within the company. We knew we had to broaden this and introduce an account management team if the business was to grow. We wanted to recruit people who would help bChannels expand within its existing client companies across different geographic areas. Getting the right people has proved difficult though – finding individuals with sufficient gravitas, technical knowledge and a commitment to go the extra mile for the client has proved challenging. Understandably, bChannels has not been willing to compromise on tis client relationships. ACCELERATING GROWTH We made some assumptions about how quickly we’d grow client accounts. It has taken a little longer than expected because of the challenge of finding the right recruits and the need to culturally embed individuals within bChannels before putting them in front of clients. Aggressive salesmanship is certainly not part of the bChannels culture – instead the company is much more collaborative and supportive of its clients. CULTURAL INTEGRATION When we invested, bChannels was a UK business with a handful of staff in the USA and Australia. Since then, we have grown the account management team, opened an office in Kuala Lumpa and seen almost all the growth come from overseas territories. This has created a challenge because in the newer offices, there was a less developed foundation of time-served managers and, as such, the teams were less experienced. We’re fortunate to have a forward thinking HR team at bChannels who’ve helped us address this by sending several of
the Oxford team on secondments to the overseas offices to share their knowledge, skills and experience. Conversely, many of the new overseas recruits have been to Oxford to immerse themselves in the culture and get their knowledge up to speed. (Box out – What’s gone better than planned?) THE RELATIONSHIP Both parties have invested time into the relationship and there is mutual respect, trust and confidence. This feels good and makes difficult discussions much easier. THE NEW FD They trusted our advice and persuaded the incumbent owner to effect this appointment before the transaction. The appointee, Mark Truby, has proven more than capable in the role and we’ve been extremely fortunate. He has a rare mix of commercial nous, attention to detail and interpersonal skills that allow him to exert his influence on the business quietly and effectively. THE CHAIRMAN It’s not typical to keep an incumbent chairman but we did in this instance because everyone at bChannels loved Tony Stratton - both as a person and because of his experience of having successfully grown and sold an international marketing services business.
Working closely together the financial reporting has been transformed; KPIs have been set and used effectively within the business; there’s far greater clarity of management information; the service offered to clients has been enhanced; delivery capability has improved; and bChannels has greater geographic coverage now with four offices, in three time zones. Basically, it’s a much more robust and professional business than before WestBridge Capital invested. We’re delighted to have helped the management team create a solid platform for growth, whilst maintaining and reinforcing the core values that make bChannels unique. THE MANAGEMENT TEAM VIEW Matt Rowland-Jones, founder and CEO of bChannels:
This taught us that the quality of investors is critical. Restructuring is certainly not just about accessing growth capital – it’s about what else the investors can bring to the table and how they interact.
He’s very hot on staff development and the dynamics of building successful teams, and we’re delighted that he enjoys mentoring the individuals within the senior management team. THE CULTURE The cultural values at bChannels are palpable. Positivity, engagement and infectious enthusiasm. However, the thing that makes bChannels special is the overriding focus on exceeding customer expectations.
It becomes a vicious circle. You’re trying to deliver impressive results for investors while also being preoccupied with corporate and financial concerns. In looking for short term answers, it’s quite easy to take your eye off the real growth ball.
The team genuinely behave as a team. For example, instead of everyone telling us how brilliant they are, they talk about their colleagues’ successes and how well their clients are doing.
We have learned from past experience that there are variations in the way investors wish to become involved. Some management teams prefer a detached investor who brings an experienced eye to board meetings but is otherwise happy to sit on the side lines. We found ourselves more comfortable with a participative investor who wanted to make a strategic contribution and work with us collaboratively.
In fact, bChannels is a perfect example of how to engender a positive culture in a fast growing global business. DID THIS MBO TEACH YOU ANYTHING NEW? I’ve worked on dozens of MBOs over the years but this has really brought into sharp focus the importance of relationships. Our relationship with Matt and his team is open, honest and empathetic, so we really enjoy working together. Looking back over the past 12 months, we all deserve a pat on the back because the business has been transformed.
The level of involvement and the presence of WestBridge Capital is just right. They’re there for board meetings and strategy days but they don’t interfere with the dayto-day operations. They committed to a certain level of engagement in the purchase agreement – two people on the board, for instance - and this works really well. The best bit is we genuinely feel that they’re on our side and can call them whenever we need some advice. (Box out – What’s been the greatest challenge?)
Unfortunately, we’d previously had two unhappy experiences with outside investors before we reached a deal with WestBridge Capital.
The motivation of investors is an essential consideration. Some are not completely aligned with the objectives of the business they’re funding. If their overriding aim, for example, is to achieve an investment multiple within a fixed time scale by any means and then exit, this may conflict with the management teams’ longer-tem objectives.
This is so refreshing and emanates from the top – from the emotional intelligence of Matt and his charismatic chairman, Tony who are so good at developing people and keeping them engaged in the business.
Finding the right investment partner is not just an additional task you can tackle in the evening or over a couple of lunches. It takes time. It took us almost a year to find the right investor but it was time well spent.
Our business is essentially a service business and growth is achieved by employing more good people who can service a greater pool of clients. We needed capital to optimise our growth but lacked the fixed assets to secure bank borrowings. Having had previous investors who merely attended monthly board meetings and slapped our wrists if we didn’t hit target, we wanted an investor who’d be more empathetic and constructive – someone who’d sit on our side of the boardroom table and work with us collaboratively. Ultimately, you have to ask yourself, ‘Can I work with these people?’ If the relationship isn’t good, any challenges you face tend to grow rather than diminish.
GETTING THE FINANCIAL DATA RIGHT We struggled at first to provide the right level of data and analytics to WestBridge Capital. Providing too much unnecessary information can be counter-productive and if you give too little, it can look like you’re trying to hide something. BOARD DYNAMICS We’ve had four new people join our board – two from WestBridge Capital, a new Finance Director and a new non-executive director. Like any team, it takes time for everyone to get to know and trust the new players and for them to make their full contribution. DRIVING GROWTH Growing turnover has been harder than we expected. It’s far easier to spend money than generate it! But we’ve worked together on this which bodes well for the future. (Box out – What’s gone better than planned?) THE CHEMISTRY This kind of relationship didn’t exist with our previous investors so it’s great to get it right this time. We welcome the added-value WestBridge Capital has provided through insight, without being over-bearing or interfering. OVERSEAS GROWTH The growth of our overseas business has exceeded expectations. WestBridge Capital suggested we hold a board meeting in the USA so they could meet some of our team and clients. It was a great idea and injected so much enthusiasm and positivity into our team. It also showed WestBridge Capital how our clients feel about us. VISION The partners at WestBridge Capital have a huge amount of experience and insight. They can rise above the detail and see the bigger picture. It’s the hugely valuable ‘incisive bits’ that bring the greatest value. Personally, we love their style. Valerie steers very deftly, with precision and charm. Her involvement is proactive, not formulaic or prescriptive. She doesn’t micro-manage which means we all know where we stand.
Amal Clooney Amal Clooney was a prominent international human rights lawyer long before she acquired a famous name from her husband, Hollywood actor George Clooney, she discusses the plight of her client, Mohamed Nasheed, the former president, Democratically elected, of the Maldives, islands in the Indian Ocean.
Let me ask you a basic question that many in America, when they hear stories like this, it’s tragic, but then they say, “Why is this America’s problem?”?
I understand the question. I mean, Maldives is not usually the top of anyone’s political agenda. And it may be on the short list of holiday destinations. I think there are two reasons. First of all, U.S. values are at stake. You know, in the president’s (Barack Obama’s) State of the Union address, he said American leadership in the 21st century means rallying the world around causes that are right. And he gave an example, the U.S. supporting Ukraine’s fight for democracy. And that’s what we’re asking for too in this case. Maldivians have the right to democracy, and their democracy is under threat at the moment. There’s another reason that is also not very well known. Just last month, the European parliament issued a report saying that at the moment, the Maldives has the highest per capita rate of recruitment to ISIS in the world. And this is really shocking. So the figures that have been released by the State Department say 200 fighters have gone from the Maldives to Iraq or Syria.
Because there are thousands of tourists going every year. And I think if people know what’s going on, they might find that they don’t want to support that regime either, you know? If you’re a woman lying on the beach in the Maldives, you might want to know that a kilometer away, another woman is being flogged. And you might want to find your own way to protest that.
Is this a country that you feel as if it is enabling ISIS and is serving as a breeding ground for ISIS??
The President has made speeches saying that there’s only room for Islam in the Maldives and Sharia punishment should be imposed. You’ve had fighters who’ve gone to ISIS come back to the country and not be prosecuted. Also last year, you had a rally on the streets of Malé where people were waving ISIS flags and the police did not crack down on those and no arrests took place. So you certainly have a regime that could be doing a lot more to minimize the terrorist threat.
Because of your last name, you were attacked by one of the Vice Presidents at he time, that helped in the coup. He said, ‘your only up to being just part of the Hollywood fictional world that is trying to make up things about the Maldives’. What happened to that gentleman?
So his attack was that I didn’t let facts get in the way when I was saying that Nasheed had been subjected to an unfair trial and that there were political prisoners in the country. What has happened since then is that he himself was arrested, follow, you know, because the president is now increasingly paranoid I think and is going after members of his own party, having dealt with the opposition in its entirety. He announced it from the jail cell and penned a very different op-ed to the one that attacked me and said, “What are these lawyers talking about?” That he now says, and I believe this is a direct quote, “I join the swelling ranks of political prisoners in the Maldives, including President Nasheed.” And he also adds, you know, “Any casual observer of the judicial system in the Maldives knows that it’s impossible to get a fair trial here.”.
Is this a case where your connection to celebrity, is it an asset or a liability in something like this?
I think that it’s easy to dismiss criticism on that basis, like, you know, I think the kind of attacks that I got from that Vice President just smacks of desperation and is easy to dispose of. So it’s not something that’s worrying. I think on the other hand, if in representing this client and trying to just secure his release and the release of other political prisoners, if people are made aware of the situation in the Maldives, I think that’s a good thing.
The Maldives are known as an idyllic vacation destination, but they now have become a top recruiting ground for ISIS. Now this former president Nasheed was thrown into prison in what he describes as simply a coup. And he was sentenced to 13 years there. Amal - You have an increasing authoritarian regime where protesters are being rounded up and arrested, where lawyers are being attacked, TV stations are being closed down, and every opposition leader in the country is now either behind bars or being persecuted by the government. So my client is one of them. And he was subjected to a political show trial, as is now being recognized by the UN and others, when in Washington earlier this year, I was meeting members of the administration and with members of Congress to discuss the imposition of targeted sanctions against members of the regime.
Luxury Craftsmanship By Peter Stas, CEO at Frederique Constant
Swiss watches are expressions of craftsmanship. Developers and fine watchmakers work passionately on their creations. It is their selection of materials and their craftsmanship that determines the qualities of a beautiful Swiss watch. In addition to classic watch qualities, Swiss watches include vision and creativity. There are three important elements that create a beautiful watch. It all starts with the movement, as it is the movement that determines what will be displayed on the dial. Secondly, the finishing of the dial of a luxury watch is a form of art. Look at details like the galvanized background, the applied indexes, and the fine printing. Finally, the overall design balance is essential to make a watch appealing to the eye. By definition accessible luxury refers to items of luxury, which are available at an accessible price, however to some the idea of accessibility seems alien when the subject of luxury is discussed. Take for example the undiscerning buyer who might have the financial wherewithal to purchase an expensive product without understanding the finer details about its intrinsic qualities. This sort of person merely understands luxury products as expensive items, which are largely unavailable to most. With this in mind, why should anyone want a luxury item, which is available to a greater number of people at an accessible price? The answer to this question lies with the discerning buyer of luxury purchases, who understands that luxury products are not just about their prices alone but mostly about the quality of the item being purchased. Quality refers to the constituent materials used in making the product, the finesse and extent of the craftsmanship involved and the reputation of the brand behind the product. With items such as luxury watches, it is widely known that the best items in this niche are largely made in Geneva, Switzerland, an area renowned for its watchmaking practices and innovations, which have held the attention of those who understand the nature of timepieces for centuries. However, some brands have taken advantage of this
reputation to develop expensive products on a purely commercial basis which limits the purchase of such items to a very few, including buyers who view the cost factor as the sole criterion for identifying items of luxury.
company held this positioning for 25 years and Frederique Constant watches have never deviated from it, so people know what the brand stands for. Unlike some other brands that have changed their strategy or tactics over the years, becoming less credible.
These practices are usually justified as being due to the rarity of the watches in question, the number of items made for a particular collection as well as cost of precious materials used in their manufacture. Still a watch buyer should always be able to relate the cost of a product with the value of the item being purchased. At Frederique Constant, our focus is creating luxury timepieces with an intrinsic value usually greater than the offer price of the products being sold. Intrinsic value involves the quality of product both in terms of design, materials used in manufacture and adherence to Swiss watchmaking standards as well as traditions. Frederique Constant timepieces are exclusively manufactured by hand while the processes involved are regulated with the latest precision equipment available in the industry backed by years of research & development. We recruit passionate watchmakers from time-honored watch making schools whose reputations are an intricate part of Swiss watchmaking history. Unlike a number of other brands worn for the name recognition and price tag alone, you will rarely find a Frederique Constant watch in the hands of an individual who is not a connoisseur of finer points of watches and life in general. Frederique Constant offers watches as an accessible luxury while maintaining a perfect and delicate balance in terms of pricing, quality and availability. Making watches with a beautiful design and of quality is our passion. Lovers of the brand, and what it stands for, are partners in this shared passion for fine timepieces. Frederique Constantâ€™s continued growth can be attributed to its long term Accessible Luxury strategy. Frederique Constant offers beautiful watches at an accessible luxury price for younger people and watch enthusiasts who donâ€™t necessarily have thousands of dollars to spend, as well as the more value-conscious customer in all kinds of categories today. The
THE LUXURY WATCH INDUSTRY by Peter Speake-Marin CEO
The watch industry as we see it today is a constantly adapting animal. Born essentially from an innovation one century ago and forever adapting to its place in the world. An explosion of creativity in the first half of the 20th century in design and mechanics surrounding this innovation of the wristwatch gave birth to what has become a billion Swiss franc affair. Glitches during its lifespan have caused momentary panic, the invention of quartz in the 70’s, the financial crisis following the decline of Lehman Brothers in 2007, but with every knock, the industry bends, drops and recoils but inevitably finds its footing and moves forward, always changing, not always learning. Running parallel to the empirical corporations that umbrella so many brands is the new world of Independent Watchmaking, named as such because they are not found under the corporate umbrellas. Sometimes born of entrepreneurs with an eye for opportunity or a love of horology, and more in number if not production quantities born of a new generation of living watchmakers. There has never been another period in watchmaking history where the tools have so effectively existed to grant small makers the possibility to live their watchmaking dreams and on occasion nightmares. The irony being the tools required are a result of modern technology and opportunity, making a product that in the most basic mechanics is centuries old. The tools that permit this new generation touch both the watch and those watching. For the products, CAD, ‘computer aided design’, has revolutionized development. Its precision, adaptability, user friendliness and speed has transformed the development and manufacturing process. Apart from CNC ‘computer numerically controlled’ machines there are new systems of manufacture that allow complex forms to be literally grown, eliminating the need for tooling. The technology is moving faster than
the imagination to be able to use it, but it will be exploited, as the maturity in design and use of these technologies is better understood. Communication, the singularly most important tool in selling any idea is more potent today than it ever has been. The web; forums, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, websites. Coupled with digital photography and animation, all have resulted in greater knowledge, sometimes inevitably corrupted, but presenting to the growing world of enthusiasts, collectors and tourists a new world of horology. Fueled by interests linked in watchmaking as diverse as mechanics, art, design, celebrity and on occasions philosophy. The watchmaking world is a brave and diversifying new world. There slowly appear paradigm shifts in this world, the massive ownership of markets by the large companies slows down, product is produced faster than it is sold through to the final consumer. ‘Exclusive’ loses value when you can by this name in 500 retailers around the world as well as on the internet, grey market and on occasions from suit cases. Special is not always special. People begin to buy differently and many companies scramble to find solutions to satisfy number expectations.
us. Horology is a drug to a growing market of takers. From those that create to those that buy, and the infinite number of links in between. I am constantly fascinated by the adoration and desire that surrounds watchmaking, and the number of people who are associated to it on all of its copious levels. 30 years ago this year, I walked into Hackney Technical college in London to start (slightly tardily) a course in horology. 30 years on, I have lived every dream I had as an adolescent and many that formed on the journey that ensued. I have helped no small number of people live their dreams on the way. My journey has taken me through virtually every sector of watchmaking, from antique to modern, simple to complicated, designer to manager, consultant to founder. In addition it has lead me around the world, help nurture a love of Asian art, introduced me to extraordinary people of many origins. Clients have become friends, fiends have become family. Horology is the study of time, time is the measure of life, and nothing is and ever will be more precious. PSM
The problem, or the challenge, in the luxury world is the core reason why people buy what we as watchmakers and manufactures make in the first place. Watches are luxury, luxury is that which brings quality to life, that which makes us human. The anchors being found in exclusivity, aspiration, innovation, technical execution, branding and much more. When this becomes industrialized, it slowly and inevitably corrodes value. Those that make the volumes write their own stories, looking at numbers and not people and why we buy into this wonderful world of watchmaking in the first place. This industry will always exist, its sine wave path will continue to greet us and entertain i-MAGAZINE 137
Evgeny Lebedev i-MAGAZINE sat down with the billionaire owner of the Evening Standard, Evgeny Lebedev and asked what motivates and inspires him, his future plans and his leadership style.
Where do you live and spend most of your time?
I live in London throughout the year. This is where I’ve lived since I was 8, and though I travel a huge amount and have a place in Italy, there’s no doubt that I’m a Londoner first and foremost.
How important is philanthropy to you if at all? are you involved with any Charities or Foundations?
Philanthropy is vital. I think it immoral for people with material comfort not to be involved in philanthropic or charitable work, and I have made it central to the journalism my newspapers undertake too. Luckily, a little bit of exposure to some of the inspirational work done by philanthropists and charities is enough to persuade most people to get involved. I saw at first hand, and then helped to steer, the extraordinary work of the Raisa Gorbachev Foundation, named after the wife of former Soviet President Mikhail, a family friend and truly great man. Under my ownership, the Evening Standard has raised millions through its Dispossessed Fund and other campaigns on literacy, apprenticeships and gangs. Through the Independent titles, we’ve raised record amounts for child soldiers in Africa (with Unicef), elephants in Africa (with Space for Giants, of which I’m now Patron) and homeless veterans (with ABF The Soldiers Charity and Veterans Aid). We’ve got plenty more in the pipeline too.
Why did you decide to purchase the Evening Standard? What about it made you think it would be a good investment going forward?
I decided to purchase it after an enjoyable meal with Lord Rothermere (now co-owner) and Geordie Greig (who we made Editor) in 2009. I wasn’t certain that it would be a great investment. After all, it was losing around £30m. But I love journalism and love London, so this seemed a natural fit. And I had the sense that if we dared to be radical, we could make sure the paper didn’t just survive, but thrived. With a circulation of 900,000 after going free, and a forecast profit this year, the Standard is a journalistic powerhouse in our City – and I’m hugely proud of what the team have achieved.
I-MAGAZINE focuses on business and politics and brings them together, in what ways can business affect politics to see through global and local change in a way you would be happy with?
Businesses can lobby politics, of course, and politicians care deeply about businesses because they both employ millions of voters and generate the economic growth that gives governments money to spend on our behalf. I think the task for business is to show politics both which way the world is going – in short: ever more inter-connected through travel and technology – and that business is above all a force for good. Politicians can get on the right side of history, and make an ally of the future, by looking at the business that are generating profit and demand, and working with them.
What are your views on Vladimir Putin?
Putin is notoriously and repeatedly misunderstood by the West. In Britain, for example, we have a multi-party system where power is diffused: that is what we think of as effective democracy. In Russia, power is more concentrated, and people are happy for it to be exercised by a strongman. That is what Putin is: a hugely intelligent and, yes, ruthless strongman who believes in Russian greatness and wishes to restore pride to a people wounded by defeat in the Cold War. That’s not
to say that he is intent on starting a new Cold War, as some in the West would see it. Rather, he plays by different rules to the West, and rightly sees that the 21st Century belongs to the East. That’s why he’s striking up such a strong partnership with China and India.
Do you think Russia will one day join the European Union?
Unlikely in the near future. I am a great believer in bringing Russia and its European neighbours closer together, not least through culture. But right now there is a great deal of hostility, and it will take time for that to pass.
What do you think the fundamentals of leadership are?
Having a vision of where you want to get to, and motivating people to get there. Obviously you need to have real authority; communicate effectively; make decisions swiftly; back your instinct and intuition; and reward people for hard work and loyalty.
What is your leadership style?
Warren Buffett’s maxim, “Hire well and manage little” is very attractive – but there are times when you need to get involved personally, with great attention to detail. I do have a close circle of advisers on whom I rely, and they are the people who tell me things I don’t want to hear. I try to motivate people by getting a clear picture of where they want to be in one, three and ten years. I think people who work for me would say I am tough but fair.
How important is social media i.e. Twitter to you personally and in modern business?
It’s essential. In ‘Why I Write’, Orwell said “my initial concern is to get a hearing”. Every writer and most businesses want to get a hearing. Social media allows you to reach millions instantly. I use Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and have made social media absolutely at the heart of what my media do. i-MAGAZINE 135
Review Jul/Dec 2016
‘GIN’ By Dave Broom
My father, he drank whisky; my mother, she drank gin. This may sound like the start of a country and western song, but it was, kind of, the truth – the first bit anyway. My mother didn’t really drink; a small sherry before dinner perhaps. Once, however, she did confess to me that “the drink I love the most is a gin and tonic, but, you know…” The sentence didn’t need to be finished. Women didn’t drink gin. Its taste may have been wonderful, but people would have tutted. Strangely, though, gin was behind her getting married. Her first date with my father was also the first time she had ever been to a pub. When my dad asked her what she would like to drink, she panicked and said, “Gin and It”. She had heard about it, maybe seen it mentioned in a movie, but had never tried it. My mother’s first drink was the British equivalent of the Martinez, served in a pub in Glasgow’s East End. That gives me a certain sense of pride. The fact that they married soon after and a couple of years later I came along also means that, in some curious way, I have gin to thank for my existence. Her relationship with gin was a throwback to the gin-fuelled mayhem of London in the eighteenth century; it also carries the chill of Scottish Presbyterian disapproval (and, trust me, there is nothing as fearsome) and the disreputable whiff of the excesses of the Bright Young Things in the twenties and thirties. Gin was flash, too strong, and uncouth. Being assailed by all sides simultaneously has long been part of gin’s burden. My own love of gin began later. In the Scotland where I grew up, men drank whisky. Gin was also seen as an “English” drink, one for snooty golf clubs and a certain social class; a signifier of status, class, and attitude. This was, of course, in the days of gin’s decline. Years on, I had my first Martini. It was made for me by Desmond Payne at the Beefeater distillery, in those days a lonely, echoing place that seemed only to be
kept warm by one man’s passion. I inhaled the scents of the botanicals, marvelled at the stills, nosed the new make, sipped the drink, and thought, “Where have you been all my life?”. Gin was still in the doldrums. Distillers were flailing around, lowering strength and adding flavours. Then along came Bombay Sapphire and people began to become interested in gin once more. Equally significantly, it coincided with the London cocktail revival, when people of my age could drink classics; a small band of sisters and brothers in the wasteland crying, “We love gin”. Soon after, Charles Rolls flew me to Plymouth in a two-seater plane with two cases of gin in the back (quite why we were taking gin to the distillery I never quite worked out). What followed was the realization that every person worth talking to in Scotch whisky had gin as their first drink. I became a confirmed gin drinker, fascinated by its complexities, revelling in its history, loving its underdog status. Now, at a time when 20 new brands seem to appear every week and new distilleries are on every corner, all of that seems like a weird dream. Was there really a time when gin wasn’t loved, when it was stigmatized, when Martinis were vodka drinks and bartenders thought Negroni was an imported beer? Was there a time when saying you would like to write a gin book would see the publisher politely changing the subject? Here’s to the new world of gin!
the more outré botanicals now being pressed into service? What the experience does give you, therefore, is a greater understanding and engagement with the world. These aromas aren’t artificial but natural. The way in which a gin changes on your nose mirrors exactly the progression of aromas from the still. You pick up the most volatile first, the heaviest last. You are smelling time. Relax and delve into its complexities. Rather than just being “gin”, you now experience that initial burst of citrus: lemon, orange, grapefruit, or a combination. But where are the coriander seeds? How does the juniper express itself? When do the roots and spices emerge? This is a retronasal experience, meaning you detect more aromas when the gin is in your mouth. Now you can notice more clearly how one aroma blends into another, how they rise and fall. The key is balance, not abrupt shifts from one to another. Think of how it’s textured: thick, broad, light? Go back to the glass. Have the aromas changed, or simply flown off ? (they should have persistence). Finally, is it juniper, citric, spicy, floral, or herbal? Having an understanding of each gin will give you an idea of how best to enjoy it. Pictured: Blackberry Gin and Tonic. Dave Broom’s book ’Gin the Manual’, is Published my Mitchell Beazley £14.99
Tasting gin requires a recalibration of the senses. Other spirits – rum or whisky, for example – often work on allusion, as in having an aroma that smells like, for instance, “heather”, “honey”, or “tropical fruit”. There is no such creative latitude in gin. The aromas that you are picking up are coming from the botanicals. It’s on the one hand more analytical and precise, but on the other more immersive because nosing and tasting a gin transports you to a new aromatic landscape. Let’s face it, how many of us really encounter orris or angelica on a daily basis, never mind
Review Jul/Dec 2016
Hakkasan Hanway Place Hidden at the back of one of the bustling streets of central London, lies a hidden gem with a glittering red sign emblazing the word ‘Hakkasan.’ A michelin star restaurant created by Syra Khan and Alan Yau, founder of Wagamama and Yauatcha. The entrance is sweetly scented with incense, which intensity wraps you in a warm welcome as you descend the stairs to enter the heart of Hakkasan, which feels like a vintage yet modern Chinese restaurant on its home continent... or the set of a John Woo film. The first thing you notice is the elegance of Hakkasan, which is unexpected for a restaurant on Hanway Place just off Tottenham Court Road, which I’ve always had admiration and been intrigued by anything from the continents of East Asia. After you’ve admired the beauty of Christian Liagre’s design of Hakkasan, what smacks you next in the face is the diversity of the staff members and how you are treated as if you’re a celebrity. This to me was an unforgettable experience especially for my first food review, which I hadn’t even sat down or even looked at the menu yet. I was escorted to my seat, which was cosy and perfect to me, because it gave me a view of the kitchen. Don’t ask me why but if I can’t see the kitchen I find it unnerving, it’s a pet peeve for me not being able to see the kitchen in an environment serving you food. I embraced the moment as I took in the beauty of the place and for a rainy Sunday the floor was vibrantly brimming with life. Broken out of my trance with water on ice being brought to me, without even asking. Only to notice that I had one of the highest paid actors sitting behind me before the smooth red menu was brought before me and the concept of Dim Sum Sunday explained to me by the lovely gentleman serving me called Pratesh. Dim Sum Signature Sunday’s is a warming special 6 course meal for 2 people including dessert and two of Hakkasan’s classy cocktails as well three glasses of Louis Roederer Brut Premier NV Champagne. Which for £58 quid a pop is literally a steal and one of the best I’ve seen especially for such a fine dining experience, or to impress your other half.
The first dish brought out being the crispy duck salad, when arrived the presentation was immaculate, as if the dish was sacred and not meant to be devoured. But falling to temptation, I managed to tackle the beauty of this dish. This starter was light and refreshing for the course that remained ahead. The flavours were delicate and sweet along with its pine nuts and shallot enhanced the flavours as they tangoed on the tips of the taste buds of your tongue. My only issue was the duck wasn’t crispy but if the duck was too crispy, it would have taken away the moisture, which made the duck succulent with every mouth-watering bite. The next two courses consist of a variety of eight different beautiful hor d’oeuvres bought out on two different platters. One of them is steam with the other being fried and baked, which can be brought out separately or together. Which is a great option because you can enjoy bother delicious platters while conversing and enjoying your company along with the diverse flavours presented before you. The platters of these two unique and wellpresented platters and come out different for your eyes to gaze upon before you savour them bit by bit, piece by piece. The hor d’oeuvres are brought out accompanied by three sauces being soy sauce, sweet chilli and chilli oil, which each piece complimented each sauce, no matter what way you decided to devour it, except for one, which was the Celery Prawn Dumpling which out of the eight, was the stranger in a strange land. But it was a different flavour from the rest, because it had an after taste.
it arrived on the table, the vegetables were perfect with the flavours of juices they were cooked in drizzled over the vegetables. While the sea bass shimmered with its sweet aroma as it glistened with it’s honey glaze. It truly felt like a criminal offence to demolish such a beautifully presented dish, but the crime was well worth it at that and mouth-wateringly delicious. Now unbeknownst to me, came a surprise, dessert is also on the menu in the Dim-Sum Sunday meal deal with the addition of an after-dinner cocktail. While the dessert menu is fairly limited but the offers upon the menu are fantastic and even better it comes with recommendations on which after dinner cocktail would best suit and accompany your dessert. Being a bit adventurous I mixed and matched it up with an Apple Tarte with an apple sauce, blackberries and a dollop of ice cream, which the French originated dessert seemed perfect for the typical British day of rain. Although I wanted to remain in the atmosphere of East Asia, therefore I went with a Fitzrova Plum cocktail, which even though not in Hakkasan’s recommendations, was literally a tantalising duo that was out of this world, this combination went together literally like Laurel & Hardy. Hakkasan Hanway Place 8 Hanway Pl London W1T 1HD Tel: 020 7927 7000
Arriving on the table with due short notice came the starter which was Salt and Pepper Squid, which was pretty much, what it was in the title, out of all the dishes this is the only one that didn’t feel or seem to have anything special about it unlike everything else. Then came the dish I had been anticipating, Grilled Chilean Sea Bass glazed with honey with egg fried rice and vegetables, which was absolutely divine and beautifully presented for the two of you to help yourself to the large portions of your main courses. Everything tasted fresh the rice was al dente and steaming when
Review Jul/Dec 2016
GAUCHO Steak. We all love it. Well, at least most of us do anyway. In recent years, London has gone crazy for it. In the past, the only restaurants dedicated to just steak were those belonging to the average chain Angus Steakhouse; now it has become serious business. Now it’s serious business. Gaucho really was one of the first big players and led the way in high end steak dining. In the Piccadilly area alone there’re now around seven steak restaurants (maybe more) and that is a lot of choice for a relatively small area. But while quality, price and cuts are very different offerings from each, they all have their own roles to play in making London one of the best places in the world for food. Competition for Gaucho is stiff these days. With the likes of STK (riddled with bad reviews from the critics) and its party vibe, plays home to the well healed crowds from Essex. MASH, a Danish steak restaurant is the go to birthday party venue and of course Hawksmoor – is where you go when you want to splash the cash, and eat some of the best steaks in London. And then you have Gaucho. The group is now a huge group which spans both across the UK, and also Internationally. The edge that Gaucho brings to the table is that it’s an Argentine steakhouse. When it comes to a well known brand in London it really is the name on everyones lips, and referred to as ‘very good steaks, but expensive‘. At least that’s what everyone has been telling me before I came here that evening. We arrived, I managed to walk in to the glass door – second time this week. Down the glammed up staircase, you then have to wonder if you’re still in a restaurant, or in some sort of club that Katie Price designed. There is a lot of cowhide in here. A little too much for me. It’s very glam and the very busy staff, or at least some of them communicate via those little headsets which means getting attention can be difficult. Bread course was much better than I had expected. Warm loafs and rolls, with a bowl of sea salt, cracked pepper and a lovely oily herb mixture – a second bowl wasn’t refused.
If ceviche is on a menu, order it – It’s one of the most satisfying things to eat. Ceviche may sound simple on paper, but I can assure you is rather tricky to execute well. Here we went for the black scallop ceviche. Thin slices of scallops, pitch black squid ink, celery, red onion, chili and lime. It certainly wasn’t the worst ceviche I’ve eaten and there is lots of room for improvement here. They got a little carried away with the squid ink and the scallops struggled to cut through it all with its fresh flavour of the sea. The potent onion, chili and lime mix on the other hand was rather lovely. If I had my own way I’d had forgotten the squid ink altogether and opted for something that looked and tasted much more refined. Much more refined of a dish was this pan seared scallops with a watercress puree, smoked pancetta and confit red peppers. The scallops themselves were marvellous mouthfuls. Cooked perfectly, cut through like butter and not overshadowed from anything else on the plate, meaning you could really taste that flavour of the sea they oozed out. They were particularly well browned in the pan too which meant for a nice meaty edge to them. Watercress puree was pleasant enough but really to tame to add anything but some moisture and the crispy pancetta and sweet pepper went very nicely. It looked lovely on the plate too and I’d happily eat this again. Here it is, the steak. Looking succulent and juicy. It’s why you’re reading this review, so how was it you ask? It was very good. I may have got a little carried away with the ordering of 400g, but I blame our waiter for that, he’s very convincing. If I order steak it’s always normally rib-eye. Referred to as bife de ancho in Argentina I believe and was a very well marbled piece of meat. Have it cooked medium-rare and it will arrive near perfect. It’s not easy to cut through, but don’t let that put you off – this is after all a hefty, very meaty piece of beef. Once in the mouth it breaks down very quickly and feels as if it simply melts way. Full of flavour, and a nice hit of smokiness from the grill was made even better once dipped in to that home made bearnaise sauce. A side of tomato salad and
special of the day, asparagus with hollandaise sauce was a lovely, if not a slightly healthier option than the chips I’d normally order. Another ridiculously huge slab of meat, was the tira de ancho. Spiral cut rib-eye, slow grilled and topped with a chimichurri dressing. As a piece of meat it was a very different offering to the bife de ancho. Again cooked perfectly but much more more meaty, takes a little longer to break down in the mouth but what it does bring is more flavour. Its rich flavour just seemed more locked in, smokiness more absorbed into the meat and the chimichurri sauce makes for one hell of a difference. I’d have loved to have seen a little more of that sauce though, a small pot of it for drizzling over would be nice. Side of mushroom sauce had flavour, but arrived cold. Order a side of the potato saltenas topped with a spicy tomato sauce and aioli. Completely unhealthy but every bit enjoyable. By this point I had to discretely undo a button, wishing my suit was elasticated. Sadly I think I may just have to start exercising instead – sauna, hot tub, steam room all counts, right? With buttons undone we brought ourselves back to the meal with a quick pick me up, an espresso martini – it was stunning. Expertly well made, looked far too good to drink and slid down the throat like gold most probably would if I could drink it. We were recommended the dulche de leche cheesecake, and it didn’t disappoint. A glass of sweet wine unexpectedly appeared with it, and by this point all the cowhide and metal poles around the room seemed like a good idea. Cheesecake managed to keep me seated and its thick, but light texture and lovely sweet caramel notes were a delight. GAUCHO 25 Swallow St London W1B 4QR Tel: 020 7734 4040
George Bamford, founder of the Bamford Watch Department ‘’If you can imagine it, you can create it.’’ In 2003, George Bamford founded the Bamford Watch Department, with the intention of infusing watches with a sincere uniqueness, with a soul. 13 years later, George himself tells us how his childhood affair with building and pulling things apart has become his adulthood career. Nestled in the heart of Mayfair, Bamford Watch Department occupies an elegant five floors townhouse that is affectionately referred to by the Bamford’s as “the Hive”. When asked why, George Bamford smiles: - We call it the hive because my wife and I are called Mr. and Mrs. B. We bought the building two years ago and refurbished it to be a watch space. We have five floors dedicated mostly to watches but also to our grooming line, which is actually a collaboration with my mother. You started playing with watches very young. You seem self - taught. How has this journey been for you? I fell in love with watches in 1995 through a 1954 Breitling Navitimer. That was a light bulb moment for me in terms of love for watches. It is full of scratches because I couldn’t put it down. I was fascinated by its engineering. I used to pop it open all the time to see how it worked. I guess there was always an engineer in me to the point that my parents had to put a latch on my bedroom door otherwise I would come down to the kitchen in the night and pull all kind of things apart: the TV, the juicer… As a kid, I was always either putting something together or pulling it apart. And this is basically what it is with watches. At some point, I started trading. The Breitling was my baby but I’d go to flee markets and trade maybe a Monaco for another time piece and do that many times over.
Was this moment maybe the time when you realised that you could make a career out of your love for watches? Not really. I think that moment came when I found my Holy Grail of watches. The kind of watch I call a Holy Grail is that one that you think “if I make it, I will get that watch”. My Holy Grail was a Rolex Daytona. It was given to me by my parents on my 18th birthday and made me feel on top of the world. For months I’d take any excuse to show it off. I was “shooting the cuff” everywhere. One day I turned up at a dinner party and realised that everybody at that dinner party had the same watch, a Rolex Daytona, either white or black dial, in steel or gold but everybody had a Daytona of one kind or another. I think only one person had a different watch, but still a Rolex. It gave me such a sinking feeling! It wasn’t right anymore. I put it back in the safe after that dinner and only took it out again last year. I was that crestfallen. This event made me wonder how I could get back individuality, that feel of special back, how to put a soul into a watch that is unique to its owner. This is how it all started as a business. Over the years I have personalised many watches in many different ways. For example, I remember a watch that a lady bought from us to give to her husband in their wedding date and chose to have it personalised, among other ways, by including a heart in the calendar that will show on their wedding day. For another client we matched the colour of the dial of her watch to a 50s shade of Chanel of red lipstick, a bit of which she had from when she was very young. There is a particular part of your work for which you are very well known, the coatings that you have developed. Could you share with us how you came to develop them, and how they work?
Well, I am known for black coatings, but in the last years we have developed incredible coatings made of titanium and graphite particles. We have the MGTC light grey (military grade titanium coating) that comes in black (shiny and matte), light grey (matte only), dark grey (shinny and matte), and Element 79 (gold coating in shiny and matte), and our GPC (graphite particle coating) that we produce in Forest green, Desert sage, Flat earth and Polar white, and Every coating is unique and when applied to a watch, the watch is sent to be tested under very different conditions. We had one tested at the top of the Everest which is currently being tested in the jungle. This is what I mean when I talk about infusing individuality into every one of the watches that I make. Not all the watches I make are one off pieces but the runs are always very small; I never make more than 25. Is there a watch that symbolises the uniqueness that the Bamford Watch Department offers? Actually I think there is. We have four engravers, ex-gun engravers that work for us in the design of watches. Together with a friend of mine that is a tattoo artist we created something pretty special on a rose gold Rolex Daytona. With engraving, we created the illusion of tattoos, so my family crest is at the back, my son’s name and my wife’s are at the front and as my daughter is called Star, there is a star engraved on it too. On the sides I have my mother, my father and my sister, my brother’s initials… I have my whole family but you can’t really see it as all these details are disguised in the intricate design of the engravings. This is pure individuality. It took over a hundred hours of engraving. This watch describes our business. bamfordwatchdepartment.com Tel: 0207 881 8019.
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
How to really understand the human condition By Jeremy Griffith I think most would agree that the following three statements provide an excellent summary of our species’ plight, and from where its solution must come. Firstly, Charles Darwin’s anticipation in his Origin of Species that “In the distant future I see open fields for far more important researches. Psychology will be based on a new foundation… Light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history.” Secondly, psychologist Maureen O’Hara’s diagnosis that humanity is either standing on the brink of “a quantum leap in human psychological capabilities or heading for a global nervous breakdown”. And thirdly, Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson’s observation that “There is no grail more elusive or precious in the life of the mind than the key to understanding the human condition.” Finding the explanation of our so-called ‘good and evil’ stricken human condition has been the central quest in our human journey of conscious thought and enquiry — and the reason it has is because it alone can bring about a new psychological foundation of understanding and resulting quantum leap in human capabilities. Traditionally we have used the excuse that the divisive selfish, competitive and aggressive aspects of our nature are relics of our animal past, where the instinct to survive and reproduce genes dictated behaviour. But this reason that biologists, including E.O. Wilson, have been perpetuating cannot be the real cause of our divisive behaviour because descriptions of human behaviour — such as egocentric, arrogant, inspired, depressed, deluded, optimistic, pessimistic, hateful, immoral, guilt-ridden, evil, psychotic, neurotic, or alienated — all recognise the involvement of our species’ fully conscious thinking mind. They demonstrate that there is a very real psychological dimension to our behaviour; that we don’t suffer from a geneticopportunism-driven ‘animal condition’, but the psychologically troubled HUMAN CONDITION that Darwin and O’Hara were referring to. Clearly, a fresh approach has been needed — an analysis of our human situation from a basis that recognises the psychological dimension to our behaviour — because when that approach is taken, the explanation of our selfish, competitive and aggressive behaviour is relatively straight forward. Surely when we humans became fully conscious a psychologically upsetting battle must have broken out
between our already established controlling instincts and our newer self-adjusting mind. A simple analogy will help reveal this real, psychological origin — and the resolution — of our seemingly highly imperfect human condition. Imagine a stork; we’ll call him Adam. Each summer he instinctually migrates north with the other storks to breed. Since he has no conscious mind he doesn’t think about his behaviour, he simply follows his instinct’s instructions. But what if we gave Adam a brain that was capable of conscious thought? Adam will begin to think for himself, but many of his new ideas will not be consistent with his instincts. For instance, on his migration north Adam notices an island full of apple trees and makes a conscious decision to divert from his migratory path for a feed. It is his first grand experiment in self-adjustment. But when Adam’s instincts realise he has strayed off course, they criticise his deprogrammed behaviour and dogmatically try to pull him ‘back on track’. They, in effect, condemn him as being bad. But what can Adam do? He can’t stop thinking and regress to simply following his instincts, so inevitably a war breaks out with his instincts for the control of his life. Ideally at this point Adam’s conscious mind would sit down with his instinctive state and explain the difference between the gene-based and nerve-based learning systems — that while instincts, acquired over many thousands of generations of natural selection, can give species orientations, the nerve-based conscious mind, which is able to understand the relationship between cause and effect, requires understanding of the world to operate. But Adam doesn’t have this self-understanding. He’s only just begun his search for knowledge. So, tragically, while searching for understanding, three things unavoidably happen: Adam defensively retaliates against the criticism, he tries to deny it, and he desperately seeks any reinforcement he can find to relieve himself of the negative feelings. Since ‘ego’ in the dictionary is defined as ‘conscious thinking self’, Adam becomes ego-centric; his conscious mind becomes preoccupied trying to validate itself through achieving as much compensatory
power, fame, fortune and glory as he can. He has unavoidably become angry, alienated and egocentric, which are all the aspects of the psychologically upset state of the human condition that we fully conscious humans suffer from. This story has parallels with the pre-scientific Biblical account of Adam and Eve taking the fruit from “the tree of knowledge” (i.e. becoming conscious searchers of knowledge), but, most significantly, this story has a totally different outcome. Whereas Adam and Eve were “banished” from the Garden of Eden for having become “sinful” selfish, competitive and aggressive villains, this story explains that Adam and Eve, we humans, are actually the heroes of the story of life on Earth! This is because the conscious mind must surely be nature’s greatest invention, and since we were the species burdened with the task of championing the intellect over the ignorant, unjust condemnation of instincts, we must be the heroes of the story of life on Earth. We humans had to persevere with our search for knowledge and suffer the psychologically upset state of being angry, alienated and egocentric until we could develop the scientific method and through that vehicle for enquiry find the redeeming explanation for our upset condition of the difference between the gene and nerve-based learning systems — the key insight that reveals that we humans are good and not bad after all. As the words of The Impossible Dream from The Man of La Mancha so beautifully articulate about our paradoxical predicament, humans had “to march into hell for a heavenly cause”. And best of all, through this clarifying insight all our psychologically defensive angry, alienated and egocentric behaviour — that has been destroying both ourselves and our world — is made redundant. Humans are redeemed. The great burden of guilt has been lifted from the human race, and the old insecure, upset life that went with it is finally over. The human condition has caused unmentionable suffering, and held us back as a species for millions of years. But we now have the capacity to take our power back and start living to our species’ fabulous real potential — and thus transform ourselves and our world. Jeremy Griffith’s new book FREEDOM: The End Of The Human Condition is available now.
Ferrari FF Need For Speed (and space, and ride, in all conditions) What do you get if you put a Ferrari in Courchevel? The answer, a nasty car-crash, is precisely what the Ferrari Four – the FF, the marque’s sexy answer to Volvo, has sought to avoid. Whilst it may look like somebody has taken a cleaver to a coupé’s posterior, the style, known as ‘shooting-break’, can trace a lineage within the firm back to the iconoclastic 1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB. Officially replacing the rather understated 612 Scaglietti, the FF looks like its meaner, cooler, less dopey big brother. Its headlights, raked back, glower, scowl and frown at any who would scoff at its hatchback hind. And mean business it does. With a 6.3L V12 engine producing 651 BHP, and a price tag of around £230,000 - so far so Ferrari. But what distinguishes the FF is the science beneath the stats.It’s the first of Ferrari’s series production models to be given four-wheel drive. Weighing 50 per cent less than conventional systems, it
features a hydraulic coupling running from the front of the engine to direct the drive to front wheels via half shafts. The electronic systems then monitor wheel slip, yaw and steering angles. Engaging one of two forward gears, each a fraction higher than second and fourth gears produces torque vectoring, a sort of traction control that doesn’t just use brakes to improve grip, but engine power too. In layman’s terms, the result is a much better translation of power into speed and grip – better even than cars that can boast of superior power-to-weight ratios. This opens up all sorts of environments previously out of bounds to the FF. This technical perfection carries dangers of its own too though. The chassis can feel slightly numb. Although there’s no understeer, there is little that feels cheeky or infectious about the ride. Like a remote-controlled ballerina, if perfection has been obtained, something more has been lost. Like a lion in the zoo, there’s something a little sad about an electronically democractised six litre V12; lassoed like Gulliver by such effortless engineering.
motor Jul/Dec 2016
If the ride has sandpapered corners, it’s the interior that really betrays the FF’s intercontinental-cruiser ambitions. At 1.95 metres wide it’s wider than a Ranger Rover and there’s certainly legroom for people who do not share my vertically challenged frame. Aniline leather has been stretched over an interior that includes video entertainment screens, leaving only the F1-inspired carbon-fibre steering wheel to remind drivers that the car could outrun almost every car on the road.
Finding a 400m runner who can win the 100m and 5,000m in all conditions, is an incredibly hard thing to do. Yet Ferrari has managed it, it ticks all the boxes. I can’t help but think, however, that like the glutton, now I’ve got what I want, I’m not sure I really want it.
This is a car with four seats, a 450L boot and a red button that starts an engine that can hit 208mph. This is not the sort of car that sits in a very large field of competitors. The nearest is perhaps the Bentley Continental. But that sits quite firmly in a more sedate, grander, cruiser tradition. It’s heavier and slower. It makes no concessions to testosterone.
opinion Jul/Dec 2016
‘The Great Compromise’ Britain in Europe double bill: Lord Green and a vision of European identity.
Stephen Green, also known as Baron Green of Hurstpierpoint, looks like a vicar. His fixed gaze, peppered temples and epicene mannerisms would be well framed by a cassock. Which is perhaps all very well given Lord Green is in holy orders. But that’s his least-known hat. Green cut his teeth in banking—exiting the game after five years as HSBC’s chairman—before applying his skills to a world of red boxes as Minister of State for Trade and Investment in 2010; his introduction to the House of Lords following shortly after. I suspect, however, it is Green’s belief in God rather than the remainder of his impressive CV that underpins the book he’s just released. In 1954’s Church Going Philip Larkin famously wrote And what remains when disbelief has gone? …each week A purpose more obscure. About a world that had failed to fill its Godshaped hole. And now that existential angst has stopped being a folie a deux sanctioned by couples in gloomy Parisian cafes and started to energise Islamic extremists and melt the social glue of advanced states, Green dares to tackle the stickiest of subjects: whether Europe has an identity and if so, how it should manifest itself. I’m not sure Europeans are insecure about having an identity per se; they just don’t emotionally connect to its most obvious symbol, the EU, because of its opacity, its democratic deficit, and a scheme of enlargement that shows little historical sensitivity. “It is clear the EU is in bad need of reform”, Green replies, “you don’t have to be a eurosceptic to believe that”.
But he also believes talk of leaving poses an “existential threat” to Britain. His explanation as to why revolves around the nature of the two other main players, Germany and France. He reckons the former is primarily a cultural identity with secondary layers of political allegiances that the EU nicely ices like a cake, whilst the latter boasts a strong statist tradition. Britain, on the other hand, is considered “fragile”. “A vote to leave the EU would be a vote to break up the UK”, Green believes. He conjures up the last time Britain was amputated: the departure of Ireland after World War One. “And I’m not even sure Britain has truly come to terms with that episode yet. Too many people in Britain are talking as if the EU question is a big, clever, commercial venture. It’s not. These are peoples working out who they are”. Identity politics gets a bad rap. At its lowest rungs it feels like bribery to achieve the acquiescence of minorities and at the other end of the scale, substanceless platitudes—with the middle stuck sandwiched by its hypocrisies. But Green is adamant we have to ask ourselves the big questions. “We might be able to get away for decades, even generations, without asking them (because our forebears have settled the account for us) but eventually a day of reckoning comes”, he warns. What an extraordinary century though. Each power that mounts the stage supports a strange mutation of a European ideology. Old formulas and truisms regarding the relationship between liberality and power stand shattered. Is it a world we risk being left behind in? I wonder whether Europe should change or stand fast. “I don’t think the EU should ‘mutate’ – though I don’t want to paint too static a picture either”, he protests. “This is a journey, we’re still learning”.
It appears we must re-learn everything from the lowest levels up too. Green makes a fascinating point about the latest data showing that culture is becoming a much less important factor in forming identities. Sport and other less historically-conditioned activities seem to be replacing it. “Perhaps the processes at work in globalisation reduce an interest in the past”, he notes. I expect him to diplomatically leave it there but he adds “If so, that’s dangerous”, and outlines how a culture of instant gratification corrodes deeper forms of understanding. The new ticklist of ‘European’ values (compassion, rights, democracy etc.) runs the risk of seeming universal and superficial though. There’s a sense of losing identity’s roots in the particular, in the irrational, here. Isn’t this really just an attempt to sell the EU as the midwife to a world-citizenry. “I’m all for the EU playing that role”, Green admits. “We live on a small, fragile planet and need to accelerate the consciousness that recognises this”. He does not believe identities need cancel one another out. Drawing a chain, he explains “A world citizen’s identity should not be negated by his Europeaness, his Europeaness should not be annulled by his Germaness, and his Germaness should not be invalidated by his Bavarian roots”. Layers that complement one another replace the exclusivity that bugged past conceptions of identity. Perhaps Green is really a paragon of a very particular English genius, or at least one we’ve self-identified with since the seventeenth century: the great compromise. To resurrect identity as a real issue (from a cage of utilitarianism) whilst simultaneously defanging it is Green’s great party trick. Much like the Anglican Church, to his followers he will be seen as the conductor of an inspired compromise, to his detractors, the orchestrator of a fudge.
books Jul/Dec 2016
Book Review HOW TO TALK FINANCE By Ted Wainman One of the first pieces of advice people will give to someone who is starting out in their own business will be to make sure you understand your numbers and finances. It isn’t easy, and in fact, many people make it to board level in huge organisations still secretly feeling out of their depth once the finance terminology starts to flow, but help is at hand from this new plain-English guide. The author, Ted Wainman, built a successful career with some of the world’s leading accountancy companie, like Ernst & Young and JPMorgan, but identified a gap in the knowledge of many top executives when it came to finance. He then decided to set up his own business and now travels around the world providing in-house courses and coaching to help professionals in businesses of all sizes understand what the finances of their businesses really mean. His clients range from huge blue-chip corporations to SMEs, from 25 different countries and from diverse industries such as banking, manufacturing and charities, but the principles are all the same, and Wainman is keen to stress that strong financial control lies at the heart of any successful business. Learning finance from a book may sound daunting, but Ted Wainman has clearly developed an ability to make the complicated seem simple. In How to Talk Finance he manages to make even the most complex jargon seem surprisingly engaging, with real life examples from top brands to bring the theory to life.
SUPERMAN COMES TO THE MARKET By Norman Mailer With his Hollywood good looks, boundless enthusiasm, and mesmeric media presence, John F. Kennedy was destined to capture the imaginations of the
more than 70 million Americans who watched the nation’s first televised presidential debate. Just days after beating out Richard Nixon by the narrowest margin in history, Kennedy himself said, “It was the TV more than anything else that turned the tide.” But one man begged to differ: writer Norman Mailer, who bragged that his pro-Kennedy treatise, “Superman Comes to the Supermarket,” had “won the election for Kennedy.” The article, published in Esquire magazine just weeks before polls opened, redefined political reporting with Mailer’s frank, first-person voice identifying Kennedy as the “existential hero” who could awaken the nation from its postwar slumber and conformist Eisenhower years. Both Kennedy and New Journalism had arrived. Now, TASCHEN reimagines and interprets this no-holdsbarred portrait of Kennedy on his path to the White House, publishing Mailer’s essay in book form alongside 300 photographs that bring the campaign and the candidate’s family to life. These images were captured by some of the great photojournalists of the day—including Cornell Capa, Henri Dauman, Jacques Lowe, Lawrence Schiller, Paul Schutzer, Stanley Tretick, Hank Walker, and Garry Winogrand—providing a fascinating look at the man who declared the ’60s “a time for greatness.” .
DIGITAL GOLD By Nathaniel Popper In which all that glitters is not gold—but the usual crowd of crooks and speculators is still part of the package. What is digital gold? Easy: it’s a kind of electronic money that permits its users to conceal their identities from even the nosiest hacker—or government agency. As New York Times reporter Popper notes in this oddly entertaining if eminently geeky narrative, the vision of that digital gold comes to us courtesy of dystopian sci-fi writer Neal Stephenson, whose 1999 novel Cryptonomicon glossed over the practical difficulties of getting such a currency accepted at stores and restaurants everywhere, especially when jealous banks and governments wanted nothing to do with it.
books Jul/Dec 2016
Of particular interest are Popper’s notes on how China, that land of the enshrined command economy, wrestled with whether to declare the manifestation called Bitcoin legal or illegal. Eventually, the government decided that the “virtual currency exchanges needed to register with the Ministry of Information,” with all the ominousness that phrase entails. Popper deftly traces the growth of Bitcoin from experiment (complete with a mysterious, elusive inventor) to open-source technology and from easily dismissed plaything to something that the world’s leading banks were alternately studying, trying to thwart, and trying to leverage—says one champion, sagely, “I think whatever Jamie [Dimon, of JPMorgan Chase] does or doesn’t do will be as relevant as what the Postmaster General did or didn’t do about email.” The story acquires urgency when the crooks come a-calling, hacking into the hackers’ digital dream world to make off with hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of coins that had actual value in the real world. Readers may not be any less confused about the actual workings of Bitcoin, which remain murky, when finished with this book, but they will certainly know enough to make intelligent choices about whether to buy in or steer clear..
LEADERSHIP BS By Jeffrey Pfeffer Too many leadership failures. Too many career derailments. Too many toxic workplaces filled with disengaged, distrustful employees. Jeffrey Pfeffer, a professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the author of Power, offers an incisive dissection of the multibillion-dollar leadership industry and presents ways to fix its many problems. In Leadership BS, Jeffrey Pfeffer pulls back the curtain, showing how leadership really works and why so many leadership development efforts fail. In this forthright and persuasive critique, Pfeffer argues that much of the oft-repeated wisdom about leadership is based more on hope than reality, on wishes rather than data, on beliefs instead of science. In an age when transparency is considered a virtue, Pfeffer makes the case that strategic misrepresentation isn’t as harmful as you think, that breached agreements are a part of business, that immodesty is frequently a path to success, and that relying on the magnanimity of your boss is a bad bet. Using research findings from social psychology, sociology, and sociobiology, and filled with practical, actionable advice, Leadership BS encourages readers to finally stop accepting sugar-laced
but toxic potions as cures and to understand the realities of organizations and human behavior. To make real change, Pfeffer argues, we need to get beyond the half-truths and self-serving stories that are so prominent in the mythology of leadership. In calling BS on so much conventional wisdom, Leadership BS offers both a provocative, scientific examination of how leadership actually works—and how it doesn’t—and a prescription for leaders future and present.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS By Anne-Marie Slaughter When Anne-Marie Slaughter accepted her dream job as the first female director of policy planning at the U.S. State Department in 2009, she was confident she could juggle the demands of her position in Washington, D.C., with the responsibilities of her family life in suburban New Jersey. Her husband and two young sons encouraged her to pursue the job; she had a tremendously supportive boss, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; and she had been moving up on a high-profile career track since law school. But then life intervened. Parenting needs caused her to make a decision to leave the State Department and return to an academic career that gave her more time for her family. The reactions to her choice to leave Washington because of her kids led her to question the feminist narrative she grew up with. Her subsequent article for The Atlantic, “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All,” created a firestorm, sparked intense national debate, and became one of the most-read pieces in the magazine’s history. Since that time, Anne-Marie Slaughter has pushed forward, breaking free of her long-standing assumptions about work, life, and family. Though many solutions have been proposed for how women can continue to break the glass ceiling or rise above the “motherhood penalty,” women at the top and the bottom of the income scale are further and further apart. Now, in her refreshing and forthright voice, Anne-Marie Slaughter returns with her vision for what true equality between men and women really means, and how we can get there. She uncovers the missing piece of the puzzle, presenting a new focus that can reunite the women’s movement and provide a common banner under which both men and women can advance and thrive.
Lord Watson of Richmond CBE FRTS, shot by Nick Ashley for I-MAGAZINE.
book Jul/Dec 2016
The Ramifications of Churchill Lord Watson of Richmond CBE FRTS
I have written a number of books over the years but never has one excited me as much as the one I have recently completed. It will be published around the world by Bloomsbury in September. Entitled Churchill’s Legacy: Two Speeches to Save the World, it tells how in 1946, months after being thrown out of office by the British voters, he electrified the world via two speeches which revealed the threat to freedom everywhere posed by Stalin, and what to do about it. The first speech he gave in Fulton, Missouri with President Truman sitting beside him. The second he gave six months later in Zurich. The commotion they both caused lifted his spirits. After losing the 1945 election, or as he put it to King George VI, “having received the order of the boot by the British People”, he confided to his doctor, Lord Moran, that it would have been better if he was dead. His intense depression, his “black dog”, as the condition was known, threatened to strangle him. After these two speeches, he was back with a vengeance. The Lion had recovered its roar. Churchill’s personal resilience and his power of political vision were inexorably intertwined. Together these two strengths fused into an explosion of persuasive power that changed the world. What he achieved in 1946 has not been sufficiently recognized. It matters to do so now because we also live at a time of great peril. The vision and wisdom of Churchill is sorely needed. It is hard to recall the despair and danger that dominated the international scene at the end of the war. True, Hitler had been beaten. True, Japan had surrendered. But chaos had ensued. The Soviet Union had 300 divisions of the Red army facing a divided and isolated Berlin. The
Americans were going home. Britain was bust. Lend Lease had stopped. The French economy was bankrupt with a Communist takeover all too probable. Italy was pandemonium and Spain a Fascist autocracy. Could the USA be persuaded to defend Europe? Could they also be persuaded to restore its economy? It was these two questions that Churchill sought to answer. At that moment in 1946, no one else could. He started with defence. Sitting gloomily at his country house, Chartwell, a letter was put before him. It was an invitation from an obscure college in Missouri, inviting him to receive an honorary degree and make a speech. It had a footnote in President Truman’s hand, recommending this college in his home state and promising to travel with him and introduce him. Churchill was galvanized and motivated. The Americans would listen to him and so would the President. The counterpoise to Churchill’s depression was his optimism. “We are all worms”, he opined “but I am a glow worm”. He accepted the invitation and went to Fulton with the President. Showing Truman the text of his speech on the train ride down to Fulton, his verdict was that it would kick up ‘one hell of a shindig’. He would later deny that he had seen the text in advance. Later, he wrote personally to Churchill to tell him that each day his prophecies were born out of events. Churchill’s image was stark. An iron curtain was falling upon Europe, behind it, Stalinist dictatorship was expunging all hope of democracy and… Stalin wanted more. America had the power and the atomic bomb to make him pause. Britain and the USA had to stand together. Churchill succeeded in winning America’s commitment to defend Berlin and Western Europe. He had provided the answer to the first question with his first speech.
France had been stopped. Churchill’s pleading for a loan—at least for Britain—failed to stir the conscience or the generosity of Washington. But, he was half American. By instinct as well as analysis, he knew what Europe had to do to win US aid. And in Zurich, in September 1946, he told them what was needed. He warned the audience that he would startle them all by calling for a “kind of United States of Europe”, led by a partnership between France and the hated, defeated Germany. deGaulle was as appalled as the Roosevelts had been by Churchill’s attack at Fulton on ‘good old Uncle Joe’. Churchill was shaking every shibboleth. But his speech in Zurich changed minds. Jean Monnet persuaded deGaulle to change his policy on Germany abandoning his plans for occupation and endless reparations. This changed the US view. Europe was putting the past behind it. George C Marshall constructed his plan for Europe’s recovery acknowledging his debt to Churchill’s call for European Union. A new world including a new Europe was emerging from despair and destruction. In his Zurich speech, Churchill used a powerful image. It was of an old man imprisoned for decades in a Spanish dungeon. He had no hope. Then on an impulse he pushed at the door he had always assumed to be locked. It opened. Churchill opened a door in 1946—a door which let in both light and hope. The convergence of his resilience and political vision released the courage and energy needed. Churchill had done it in 1940. Now he had done it again. We too are in a confinement of fear, suspicion and uncertainty. The answer is not to build walls or pull up drawbridges. It is to think afresh, to risk initiatives—to push open the doors we imagined closed!
The second seemed beyond reply. The majority view in congress was that Europe wasn’t worth American treasure. Lend Lease to Britain and
Lord Robert Winston Professor Robert Winston has spent much of his career working in gynaecological and reproductive medicine. His research has contributed to improvements in the areas of endocrinology and IVF.
Not too long ago, The European Court of Justice banned the patenting of embryonic stem cell research. What impact will this decision have on stem cell research in the EU?
I’m not sure [the judgement] is very important. Does it matter? Probably not very much. Can it be enforced? Probably more difficult, because other countries won’t adhere to that anyway. America won’t. Also, there’s a confusion between patenting and invention. They are different. You can’t patent a gene because it occurs naturally, and the European Court was absolutely right to argue that. What you might be able to patent is the way that you’ve detected the gene, because you’re using a technology there, which you’ve invented. And in the same way with stem cells – you may not be able to patent the stem cells, but I don’t see how you can prevent someone from patenting the technology - which enables you to use those stem cells. I think that would be a colossally difficult thing to enforce. Patents aren’t bad. In 1990, Alan Handyside and I invented the screening of embryos for genetic diseases. At the time we both agreed that we probably shouldn’t patent something which might be humanly useful. It was a massive mistake. We should have patented it. We wouldn’t have made a profit, but we would have prevented people using it to exploit women who don’t need the treatment, because we would have licensed it. So patenting offers a method of control, as well..
Do you think there is a place for religious faith in science?
Yes, of course. Why shouldn’t there be? Are the two mutually incompatible? No, of course they’re not. But there are people who say that scientists can’t be religious. Well, they’re wrong. There are vast numbers of scientists who hold a religious view, or who go to church, or who, in extremis, pray – and sometimes when not in extremis. I don’t think they’re incompatible. They’re different views of the world.
Do you think that it is possible to have a set of guiding ethical principles? If so, what would they be?
The idea that ethics are written in stone is not true. The classic example of that is the finding by [Nicolaas] Hartsoeker, who in 1694 showed, under a microscope, that a sperm had a little man inside the head. Therefore, people thought that to destroy the seed was like killing a person. If you think about it, the ethics were impeccable, but it’s wrong because the science is wrong. So our ethics have to depend on our best knowledge, and our knowledge changes. The central ethical principle of all human ethics is very clear – the sanctity of human life. And pretty well everything stems from that. It will become more and more interesting in the future. [For example,] if we believe that consciousness is an important definition of our humanity – which it may well be – then what happens when we develop robots that have consciousness? The continuum of philosophical thinking should give us pause before making didactic judgements about ethics.
A senior research fellow at the University of Dundee said in 2008 that people should be allowed to sell their kidneys for £28,000. However, there are critics who fear that payments of this nature would create a market for organs. What is your position on substantial fees being paid to organ donors?
Well, I think that there is probably no reason why they should not be paid, providing you can be absolutely sure that people who are giving the organs are doing so without risk to themselves, and without coercion. I think it’s much more difficult to justify the donation of a kidney, for example, than it is for an egg. You have lots of eggs [but] only two kidneys, and there is an inherent risk in removing a kidney. On the other hand, we don’t see it as an ethical dilemma for a brother to donate a kidney to a sister. And yet, the brother is putting himself at risk. One has to be very careful about making hard and fast rules because there will be different circumstances for different individuals. Essentially four principles are involved. First, in any medical procedure, whether you are
the recipient or the donor, there is a need for practitioners to respect the autonomy of the individual in front of them. The second issue is: Are you likely to do harm? Third: Are you likely to do good? And lastly: Is this a fair solution? We probably should be doing much more to look at alternatives to transplantation, because no amount of donation of eggs, kidneys or hearts is going to really solve the ultimate problem.
Sometimes medical progress seems to be a double-edge sword – some therapies have unintended medical consequences and there are costs and outcomes that society isn’t prepared for. Is progress necessarily always something to strive for? Are there some areas that medical science really shouldn’t be exploring?
That’s what my book [Bad Ideas] is about. It says that all scientific advances have a downside, starting with the flintstone hand axe, two million years ago. Actually, once we’d invented that we changed our evolution. Without the hand axe, we wouldn’t have antibiotics. We wouldn’t have the motorcar. We wouldn’t have global warming. And we wouldn’t have an epidemic of obesity. I would argue that pretty well every human invention ends up not being used for the purpose for which it was actually designed – we find some other better use for it. Secondly, most human inventions are not made with any particular purpose in mind, anyway. [In Bad Ideas] I say, “Nearly all technological advances have threatening or negative aspects, which are usually not fully recognised or predicted, at the time of the invention.” I also say, “Many human discoveries have a beneficial application, which are not envisaged when the discoveries are made.” And that, “The announcement of any new discovery is almost invariably exaggerated, in its value.”We need to recognise that no government, however democratic, can ever be trusted to use science wisely, because it follows, from those sorts of principles, that it won’t be. And that we need to be as literate in science as we can be, because ultimately if we are really to use science wisely, we have to be able to control the technology to benefit from it maximally.
Alex Beard CEO at The Royal Opera House Q
What attracted you to the world of Opera and classical music? And what exactly do you do in your role as the head of The Royal Opera House?
I was lucky enough to grow up surrounded by music. My mother was a flautist and my surgeon father an enthusiastic chorister. I was first taken to the opera (Die Walkure by Wagner) at age 11 when a babysitting option fell through for my mother, and was blown away by the atmosphere, forces at work and extraordinary visceral power of the whole experience. In my twenties I worked at the Arts Council in a number of roles, including as the Secretary to a commission of enquiry into the Royal Opera House chaired by the philosopher Mary (now Lady) Warnock. It was during that process that I first developed the ambition to work in an opera house, with my dream being to come to Covent Garden at some point in some capacity. I had the most wonderful time at the Tate family of galleries during the nineties and noughties, including being part of the team that launched Tate Modern and working closely with Nick Serota over almost 20 years, but when the opportunity came to apply to succeed Tony Hall here at the Royal Opera House I just had to go for it. I love music (although am a lousy musician myself) and have catholic tastes from Baroque to contemporary classical music, but I also love jazz, folk and soul music. I came much later to classical ballet, although I’ve always loved contemporary dance. I saw my first ballet at the age of 43 - Kenneth MacMillan’s Manon, with Alina Cojocaru in the title role - and absolutely loved the immediate emotional force and the extraordinary combination of athleticism and artistry of the dancers. My job as Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House is to set the overall direction of the organization, working closely with the Board and my executive colleagues, to ensure that we deliver on our promises, and to secure the resources to enable the artistic vision
of our Music Director Sir Antonio Pappano, Director of The Royal Ballet Kevin O’Hare, and Director of Opera, Kasper Holten to be realized at the highest possible level for the benefit of audiences here in London, across the UK in cinemas and live screens, and across the world in cinemas, online and on tour.
What are your future plans for the Royal Opera House in terms of making people more aware of what can be found there? And how will you go about making opera and classical music more mainstream? By mainstream, I mean attracting a broader range of people and indeed exposing those who would not normally consider visiting.
Opera and ballet started off more than 400 years ago as art for rarified audiences in the closed world of the European Court. Over the last few centuries access to these wonderful art forms has been extended across the continent with the creation of opera houses and lyric theatres in pretty much every major city. Our duty is to continue this journey, bringing the highest quality lyric theatre to a wide range of audiences in both our Covent Garden theatres, in cinemas and at big screen relays across the country, and to inspire growing interest and engagement through talks and events streamed online across the world. We are making changes to our Covent Garden home to improve the welcome and experience for all our audiences, to invite a new daytime audience to be inspired by the creativity of our staff and artists and to create within the shell of the current Linbury Studio Theatre a new world class theatre for chamber ballet and opera. We will have improved entrances and foyer spaces, impromptu daytime concerts, and a wider range of learning events all giving context to the most wonderful performances by The Royal Ballet and Royal Opera presented here in our theatres and screened across the world. This Open Up project begins early in 2016 and will be complete in 2018.
We are also committed to broadening interest and engagement with our art forms for people of all ages, irrespective of background. We have one of the largest learning and participation programmes of any arts organization worldwide. To give just a few examples, Chance to Dance works with children in Lambeth, Southwark and Thurrock to develop ballet skills; we work with 27 schools in Thurrock to deliver a high quality programme of creative activities across all art forms; a national Nutcracker project aims to encourage children across the country to develop creative responses in dance to one of the classics; the Youth Opera Company works alongside the world’s finest artists presenting work on our Covent Garden Stage; World Ballet Day brings ballet companies from across the world to inspire audiences with a 24-hour view of life behind the scenes in ballet studios. I could go on, and on ...
Do you prefer modern or classical art?
I love both. Every classic work was in its day a contemporary experiment. Some of the contemporary work of today will be the future classics of the repertoire.
If you could own ‘any’, two pieces of art in the world, what would they be and why?
I would probably go for a Callum Innes, maybe one of the monologue series shown at Frith Street Gallery in the mid to late 2000s. I am a huge admirer of his distinctive technique of using turpentine to create intricate and formally rigorous paintings that repay viewing after viewing after viewing. Above all they’re just beautiful. The monologue series was a bit different to most of his paintings in that they were created in a single sitting. My second choice would be Breakers on a Flat Beach by JMW Turner. I love the sea and sailed a lot in my teens and twenties and Turner above all artists manages to catch its essence.
As the previous deputy director of The TATE, what was your favourite single piece of art during your time there?
I’d have to pick one of the installations in the Turbine Hall. Doris Salcedo’s Shibboleth (also known as ‘the crack’) was a wonderful piece: very simple in conception, amazingly challenging to realize and deeply affecting. Are you a fan of modern architecture? Or do you have more classic tastes? If classic, which of the architectural periods do you prefer i.e. Georgian, Victorian etc. I’m a fan of good architecture, and that can be found in all styles throughout the ages. But so can bad. Erich Mendelsohn and Serge Chermayeff’s de la Warr Pavilion is one of my favourite buildings. Built in 1935, it has a timeless elegance.
Which sports have you enjoyed in the past and also enjoy today?
I love cricket, and still play reasonably regularly including an annual tour of Ireland with the journalist and political commentator Peter Oborne’s White City All Stars. It will be our 32nd consecutive tour in 2016. I play tennis once a week, and try to keep fit in the gym. When I finally hang up my cricket boots, I look forward to learning to play golf, but hopefully not for a few years yet. I’m also a long term Chelsea fan, and enjoy watching pretty much any game with a ball.
I-MAGAZINE is all about promoting British values, politics, lifestyle and brands, who is your favorite ‘British’ clothing designer and why?
It has to be Vivienne Westwood. Her work is witty and intelligent, draws on a huge range of classic references, is beautifully made and is continually reinventing
itself. And my wife Kate wore one of her wedding dresses on our big day!
What role (if any) does the Royal Opera house play internationally?
We are one of the great opera houses of the world, drawing talent from across the globe to our stages, reaching a hugely wide international audience through cinema screenings to over 40 countries, a growing online digital presence and regular tours of The Royal Ballet (we were in the US this year) and less frequent tours by The Royal Opera (most recently to Japan this September). We help to represent British creativity to the world, and bring the world’s finest artists to Britain. Internationalism is in our every pore.
What is your favourite cuisine?
If I could only eat one cuisine ever again I suppose it would have to be Italian. But I love food from all over the world.
What do you get up to in your spare time?
Spending time with the kids, cooking whether just a quiet dinner for me and Kate, Sunday lunch for the family or for a big dinner party, playing sport, watching films, going to the theatre, travelling and reading. But there’s not that much spare time! What do you make of the current and previous political incumbents i.e. The Conservative Party, do you think their policies have been conducive for your business over the previous five years? The Government understands and appreciates the importance to a healthy society of a vibrant cultural life, and of the vital role that creative learning plays in the development of each and every one of our individual potential. But
there is increasing pressure on time within the school curriculum, partly as an unintended consequence of the English Baccalaureate, a vital need to work with teachers to build confidence across the arts in the schoolroom, and of course the need to sustain investment across the arts funding system at a time of great economic pressure. We will do whatever we can to work with politicians of all persuasions to meet these challenges. The Chancellor clearly wants to help, as can be seen by the recent introduction of the theatre tax credit.
What do you think the fundamentals of leadership are?
Establishing a clear vision for the organization, building a strong and diverse team with people better than you, having the confidence and resilience to enact and see through change, while not being afraid to admit mistakes, learn the lessons and move on.
What is your leadership style?
I try to have a clear story of where we are going and why, to delegate, to listen, and to set an informal but reasonably fast paced tone. We have an amazing team at the Royal Opera House - it is the most remarkable privilege to work alongside people of the quality of our Music Director Sir Antonio Pappano, Director of Opera Kasper Holten, and Director of The Royal Ballet Kevin O’Hare.
What is your favorite restaurant?
It depends on my mood. Local favourites include the Delaunay, Spring, Barrafina and the Opera Tavern. The River Café would probably be my choice for a significant anniversary splurge, no expense spared.
food Jan/Jun 2016
Boyd’s Bar & Grill
Chai Wu Restaurant
1 Poultry London EC2R 8EJ
8 Northumberland Ave London WC2N 5BY
Mention Coq d’Argent to most foodies and it will likely trigger three thoughts: first, it is the restaurant in the City (and therefore also the restaurant of suits), second, it’s big, really very big, and third, it’s owned by D&D, a group that food bloggers have not for the most part taken to their heart. Indeed, in the past ten years, there has only been two blog reviews of the food at Coq D’Argent and one of these meals was taken as a competition prize. As part of our ‘City Eating’ series, a meal at Coq d’Argent is of course a must.
The last time I went to 8 Northumberland Avenue before this week, I drifted straight past Boyds Grill & Wine Bar and downstairs for a conference on offshore finance. I don’t think such an oversight would be possible today. Boyds, which has just reopened following a complete overhaul, draws the eye like a solar flare.
Harrods, 5th floor 87-135 Brompton Road Knightsbridge London SW1
Coq d’Argent, for those who don’t know, sits above Bank station on the top floor of an office development, rubbing shoulders with the Bank of England, the Royal Exchange and The Mansion House. The top floor location also affords them an enviable roof garden as well as two heated terraces allowing us to comfortably dine al fresco for the first time this year. Smokers will also appreciate this arrangement. Drinkers meanwhile also have cause for celebration. D&D advertise offering fine wine at reduced prices with which they ‘hope to encourage customers to enjoy something rather special with their meal’. We were interested to see how they would live up to this grand sounding mission. As it turned out, we were beyond impressed. Dom Perignon 2002 which retails at Majestic at £110 was on the wine list here at £118. And in the Bordeaux section of a really quite impressive wine list, Mouton 1995 for example is priced at £380 a bottle where as wine-searcher. com shows an average price of £463. This is similarly true of several other top names from their wine list that we price checked. Put another way, it’s cheaper to visit Coq d’Argent to drink fine wine than it is to buy it on line and open and drink at home. We think this could be the best value wine list in London beating even Bob Bob Ricard’s generous offering. Time now to consider the food. We notice that on the menu there is a ‘10 year celebration menu’, the 10 years in question being those that Mickael Weiss has been head chef at the restaurant and it’s composed of ‘the most popular dishes of the last decade’.
Clad in fifteen varieties of marble and dramatically cut through with glowing copper bar counters, Boyds - a space which has previously served as a coffee room and a Ministry of Defence computer lab - presents an intentional clash of styles. Customers can perch at the bar, commandeer a sofa or head to the formal dining area, with the same menu available throughout. Like Stevie Parle’s Craft, one of last year’s best received new restaurants, the menu at Boyds emphasises local, seasonal British produce, from Sussex Wagyu beef to Nyetimber sparkling wine, made on the edge of the South Downs. ‘It’s Champagne really,’ confided a waiter, ‘only you can’t call it that. The French don’t have a sense of humour about wine.’ Even allowing for the irreverence apparently inherent in British winemaking, there’s also plenty for a continental oenophile to enjoy - much of it by the glass, thanks to an ingenious vacuum machine which dominates the bar back. One of the highlights of the wine list is a selection of Margaux from Chateau Boyd-Cantenac, a vineyard closely related, as you might imagine, to Boyds’ owner Charles Boyd. Restaurant press launches seldom involve a proper opportunity to attack the menu, which can be a blessing or a curse depending on the event and one’s plans for the next morning. I visited Boyds for a ‘meet-the-producers’ event styled after a farmers’ market, where the half-dozen companies supplying the restaurant with fresh fish, cured meat, outstanding British cheese and local fruit and veg vied for attention with migrating platters of food lifted from the regular menu.
It’s a peculiar experience, walking through the empty menswear floor of Harrods in search of noodles. But, weaving through the rails, you’re met by delicious wafts of sesame oil and the imposing wooden façade of Chai Wu, Harrods’ latest culinary offering. Restaurateur Eddie Lim’s behind this one, he’s already got Mango Tree and Pan Chai in the food hall several floors below, with Chef Bihu Xie (a Chinese cookery specialist) and Ian Pengelley in charge of the menu. A department store might not seem conducive to a relaxing fine dining experience but the design here is well grounded, cleverly balancing Chinese philosophy by drawing on the five elements – fire, water, wood, earth and metal – with great slabs of marble, in a muted colour scheme that centres on the impressive sushi bar, laden with super fresh fish and micro salads. The smartest part is the wooden partition, which craftily screens the shop floor from diners. Curiously it brings to mind the Fushimi Inari Taisha structure in Kyoto, which was built to appease the patron of business and wealth – wrong country, yes, but a promising omen nonetheless. Fittingly, the menu’s not strictly traditional Chinese but blends ingredients and styles from across Asia. The trickiest part of the menu is working out what to order. There’s sushi, delicate seafood dim sum, charcoal grilled steak, steamed seafood or the signature dishes, such as Beijing duck, dover sole with black bean sauce or roast duck with black truffle. Pick one or two areas of the menu and run with it to avoid confusion (and ease the pressure on your wallet.) In true Harrods style, ingredients are extravagant. The gold leaf on the sea bass dim sum is perhaps an unnecessary addition, but I’m very content to have caviar on the lobster and black truffle with the prawns. The wok-fried lobster is a treat, sticky with spicy honey and served with its bright coral shell menacingly arching skyward. Although the ingredients are top notch, the real value is in the theatrics. The duck is carved in a flash table-side, sushi expertly rolled at the counter to order and billowing smoke announces the arrival of the bubbling sashimi. If you can bear the expense, order the wagyu beef. Priced from £70, it’s a pretty pricey piece of meat but is undeniably delicious, served straight up, sliced and simply seasoned with chunks of sea salt. Finish with the green tea fondant, it’s not overly sweet thanks to the fresh passion fruit and is satisfyingly gooey.
Boyds Bar & Grill.
Built in 1928, this luxurious landmark hotel off the Champs-Ă‰lysees lies 1.1 km from the Arc de Triomphe and 2.1 km from the Eiffel Tower. The bright, sophisticated rooms and suites, styled after Louis XVI, offer free Wi-Fi, TVs with satellite channels and CD/DVD libraries, as well as espresso machines and room service. Elegant suites add sitting areas and private terraces.
31 Avenue George V, 75008 Paris, France
The property has a renowned restaurant serving breakfast (fee) and classic French cuisine, an ornate afternoon tea lounge with original art, a chic bar and a business center. There’s also a wellness spa with fitness classes, an indoor pool, whirlpool, sauna and steam room, In October 2015, Mediterranean-style restaurant Le George joins the acclaimed Le Cinq and La Galerie as the latest culinary offering at Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris. Executive Chef at Le Cinq, Christian Le Squer, who currently supervises all of the Hotel’s dining outlets and who has held three Michelin stars for twelve consecutive years, has handed over the reins to Marco Garfagnini, who leads the kitchen at Le George. Chef Marco, who hails from Carrara in Tuscany, has created a balanced and healthy menu that offers light and modern Mediterranean-style food inspired by traditional cuisine; a journey between the French Riviera and northern Italy. There is a strong emphasis on fish and elegantly prepared flavoursome vegetables, which are complemented by a comprehensive choice of vegetarian dishes for health-conscious clientele. The menu has been designed for sharing, with dishes available in half portions to encourage an interactive dining experience. Highlights nclude the Chef’s signature specialities as well as new creations, such as Breton lobster risotto, ricotta cheese tortelli lemon and fresh mint, roasted Dublin Bay prawn citrus and mustard sauce, john dory caramelised with veal juice, pan-fried sea bass with clam juice and semi-confit apple with ginger, mascarpone cream and milk ice cream. The pasta will be freshly made twice a day, and the risotto prepared to the minute. Marco Garfagnini: Cuisine “From the Heart”
A Tuscan native from Carrara, Chef Marco learned his trade abroad, in Paris, London, New York (at the famous Beci NYC) and Cleveland. Upon his return to his home city in 1998, he opened his own restaurant with his wife and just one year later, at the age of 29, he was awarded his first star. Carrara, located at the foot of the Apuan Alps on the Ligurian border, owes its global reputation to its white marble, but is no less rich in culinary traditions that draw on the nearby sea – a great source of inspiration for Garfagnini. In 2002, he was among the five finalists for the Best Chef in Italy title and in 2005 he was named Young Italian Chef of the Year by the renowned Italian Gambero Rosso guide. In 2005, José Silva, General Manager of Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues Geneva at the time, was impressed by Garfagnini’s flavourful, elegant cuisine and asked him to join the team at the Swiss luxury hotel. Eight years after opening his restaurant Ninan, Garfagnini was looking for a new challenge, and took the helm at the Italian restaurant Il Lago at Four Seasons, where he was awarded another Michelin star in 2013. At the same time, Garfagnini opened and supervised the rooftop restaurant Izumi, a Japanese-fusion concept of innovative Nikkei cuisine that met great success with dishes comparable to Nobu. Four Seasons Hotel George V also offers an exclusive Parisian experience with the opportunity to participate in a floral arrangement class hosted by Jeff Leatham, the Hotel’s acclaimed Artistic Director. Renowned throughout the world for his spectacular floral creations, Jeff has truly revolutionized floral art. His talent extends beyond the Hotel and he is regularly called up to choregraph the most prestigious events. He has contributed notably to the reopening party
of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, as well as collaborating with Kylie Minogue and more recently, he created the flower arrangements for Tina Turner’s wedding. Even Oprah Winfrey herself has become a huge fan and invited him in 2012 to participate as a guest on her famous television show about dream jobs. Jeff Leatham organizes a floral art workshop quarterly within the Hotel. It is a rare occasion to meet the famous artist surrounded by his favorite flowers and to discover his truly unique way of creating a flower bouquet. The two hour lesson takes place in one of the Hotel’s salons and begins with a floral art demonstration followed by the opportunity to put into practice and create a bouquet. Jeff is delighted to share his passion for flowers in the place he has called home and where he has spent the last 14 years living in perfect harmony. Each month, he concocts a new theme and creates his designs on the spot thanks to the 9000 flowers that are delivered each week from Holland. “More than a class that teaches how to arrange flowers, it is a magical and unforgettable moment where our guests have the privilege to be able to assist. It is a unique moment in the company of one of the most ‘rock & roll’ florists in the world,” declares José Silva, Regional Vice-President and General Manager of Four Seasons Hotel George V. Jeff’s workshop is free of charge and open to all Hotel and restaurant Le Cinq’s guests upon reservation with the Concierges on 01 49 52 71 07. Address: 31 Avenue George V, 75008 Paris, France Phone: + 33 1 49 52 70 00
Russia and The World By Lord Soley of Hammersmith
We are living through a dangerous period in world affairs. We are rightly shocked by the extreme violence of ISIL in the Middle East and the serious threat it poses in the region. Together with extreme acts of terrorism this is a real and present threat to everyone. While we have to stay focussed on the Middle East we must not ignore the threat to world peace and stability posed by Vladimir Putin’s Russia. How are we to manage our evolving relationship with Russia and the ever-present potential for continuing conflict in and around the former states of the Soviet Union? This is a matter which demands our attention. We should start with an attempt to understand the Russian position, and this demands some understanding of its recent history. Russia had a particularly tragic 20th century. Two world wars costing millions of lives, a revolution that went terribly wrong and a brutal dictator who exiled millions and created famines that starved millions. Then in the late 20th century the entire empire collapses into economic and political chaos. Not a happy period for any country and particularly galling for one which saw itself as a world leader. Sadly, Russia has never experienced a free and stable society based on the rule of law and democracy. From the Czar to Putin, authoritarian government has been the norm. Add to this sorry history a President who is a strong nationalist and who feels that Russia did not get the understanding it needed from the West and you have a potent mix for misunderstanding and misjudgement that could take us back into a cold war or worse. It is important to acknowledge that the EU and the USA made mistakes in dealing with post-Soviet Russia. We did sound unduly triumphant in relation to the former USSR. We did underestimate the importance that Ukraine holds in the hearts and minds of the Russian people and not just to the Russian government. We did underestimate the fear that many Russians have of attack from the West. Two world wars and Napoleon‘s invasion echo down the years in the Russian mindset and play on fears of attack from the West. All of this leads some people to excuse Putin’s behaviour. I and others beg to differ. It is not just the military force used in the Ukraine
conflict that causes concern. Military force was also used against Georgia, and with great brutality in the Chechen Republic. The annexation of Crimea – after the Ukraine had given up all its nuclear weapons in exchange for a commitment from Russia, the US and the UK to respect its borders – has done great damage to the post-1945 consensus that borders should not be changed by force. Add to this the already shaky commitment to nuclear non-proliferation, and one has to wonder how many states will now feel that withdrawal of nuclear weapons puts them at risk of invasion. Why should any country with nuclear weapons give them up when Ukraine found the promise to respect its borders to be worthless? A question incidentally that should trouble the SNP in Britain when they call for unilateral nuclear disarmament. And how many states contemplating acquisition of nuclear weapons will take the view that possessing nuclear weapons is more likely to protect their territorial integrity then giving them up in exchange for ‘guarantees’?
It might be felt that the events I describe are unduly alarmist. Let me be very clear. I do not think Putin wants war. Neither do I think Russia poses a comparable danger to that posed by Nazi Germany. Analogies of that type are alarmist, but a number of commentators draw an analogy between today’s international order and the world situation in 1914 and here I too think there are some worrying similarities.
Such foreign policy issues have to be seen in conjunction with growing repression in Russia, the destruction of a free press, rampant corruption and above all, its utter contempt for the rights of opposition politicians, journalists and activists.
The real danger here is that Russia is left friendless and angry. Russia wants to be a European power but spurned by Europe she turns to the East for friends. Sadly, that doesn’t work either. Modern China has no need of Russia and the Ussuri river clashes between China and Russia in 1969 when China claimed that the treaties were forced on a weak China by the colonial power, Russia, leave the ever present danger of China reclaiming the lost territories.
In Britain we have good reason to question the policy of a Russian government that refuses to co-operate with an investigation into how Polonium 210 could be obtained from a nuclear plant, taken across Europe to the UK, used to poison someone and then leave a trail back to Moscow. You don’t have to believe that Putin is personally responsible but you do have to believe that he has a duty to citizens in Russia as well as in Britain to co-operate in finding an explanation and bringing the culprits to justice. There is a perfectly valid argument that says the EU should have been more circumspect about expanding its membership eastwards without giving sufficient attention to Russian concerns and the same applies to the expansion of NATO. But people who use this argument need to remember that most of the former members of the USSR have vivid memories of being occupied and on a number of occasions brutally repressed when they tried to achieve their independence. It is not just Russia that is fearful of attack.
Now, as in 1914, we have the dominant world power increasingly challenged by rising powers. Referring to the US and the West generally as “decadent”, Putin makes no secret of his anger at US supremacy and calls for a change in the world order. And yet Russia is too weak to challenge western political and economic supremacy. Does this mean that Russia and the US are likely to clash militarily? I don’t think that necessarily follows although it would be foolish to rule it out altogether. Nobody wants war now and nobody wanted war in 1914 when we stumbled into it.
The world is even more unstable now, much as it was when the last great power, Britain, was being challenged by other rising powers resenting British dominance culminating in the 1914-18 war. The US is currently still the dominant power but there is a real desire by many nations to challenge Western dominance. Russia is a weak but angry power with its own internal instability problems. A wise leader might try and modernise government and move it towards a more European destiny. That is not in Mr Putin’s psychology and that makes the situation dangerous. All of this provides a depressing background to our relationship with Russia. So what is the way forward? Can we restore some stability to this dangerous situation? NATO will remain our focus for defence policy and we must now improve the way that organisa-
tion works with the EU to ensure that Russia understands the commitment we give under Article 5 of the NATO charter. At the same time we must also use all our efforts to build relationships with the people of Russia – this is part of what is sometimes called ‘soft power’ and it is not an easy option in the face of Russian government policy. Following the intervention in Ukraine it was important for the West to react but we should not kid ourselves into thinking that sanctions are a good answer. They are just the least bad alternative in a difficult situation. Sanctions play into the Russian mentality of ‘the West is out to get us’. They also play into the image of ‘long suffering Russia’. “We are strong. We can take it”: so goes the conventional refrain, at the same time emphasising Putin’s policy of making Russia self-sufficient. In what he often describes as the largest country in the world Putin can call for self-sufficiency, even as it sounds a somewhat unrealistic target in the modern high tech world we all inhabit.
Ironically, the soft underbelly of Putin’s nationalistic fervour is the well-educated Russian people. Many of them do know what is happening in the outside world. They may be marginalised and at times seriously persecuted but that doesn’t mean they are without influence within Russia. Despite the curbs on the internet Russians are able to communicate with people in other countries, and slowly but surely Russia is changing. How else can we move forward? When the former Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe, Sir Richard Shirreff asks “Where is Britain?” and a House of Lords EU committee says that Britain has not been “as active or as visible as it could have been”, we have to ask ourselves as a nation what is our role and why have we lost so much influence in Europe? And from there we have to ask how can we rebuild Britain’s influence? Our role in the EU is crucial and in the current unstable situation it is a crisis that demands
statesmanship, not manoeuvring for Party advantage. If the British government sends out conflicting signals on our membership of the EU we must not be surprised if we lose influence as a result. We used to have quite extraordinary influence in Europe and not just because we played such a crucial role in the war and in the post war period. We also had governments determined to be engaged and to lead the debates in Europe. That is no longer the case and consequently we have been on the side-lines of the crisis in Eastern Europe. If we wish to see a revival of British influence then the government has to lead in Europe and work closely with our partners. British history and experience is too important to be lost in the present unstable world. Leadership in Europe should not be left to Germany alone, and Germany more than most would welcome a strong partner creating a foreign and defence strategy that allows Europe to respond effectively to President Putin’s Russia.
interview Jul/Dec 2016
Nicolas Bos President at Van Cleef & Arpels The French Maison Van Cleef & Arpels is recognised all over the world for its exquisite and poetic jewels. For their latest collection, they have turned to the seas for inspiration. The ever-changing spectacle of waves, the peaceful shores, foaming waters and changing colours have all been transformed into the high-jewellery collection entitled the ‘Seven Seas‘. Nicolas Bos, President and CEO of Van Cleef & Arpels, talks about the new collection, inspirations for the distinct jewels and the signature style of the Maison and his vision for the House.
What guides the style of Van Cleef & Arpels and its creations? What aspects of design, style and identity have remained steady over the years?
The maison stands out for a recognisable signature style – treatment of movement, asymmetry or transformability – and the unique sources of inspiration that are nature, poetry, couture, ballet and imaginary worlds. Van Cleef & Arpels is noted for its remarkable and innovative techniques, the exceptional quality of stones and virtuoso craftsmanship of its Mains d’Or (Golden Hands). Together, these features give birth to the uniqueness of the maison that seems to lie in timelessness and elegance. We have also developed more accessible collections such as Perlée, Cosmos or Alhambra that also encapsulate the high jewellery savoir-faire of the maison. In terms of watchmaking, the maison is quite singular in its expression of the passage of time with unique poetic complications and extraordinary dials, including iconic timepieces such as Cadenas, Charms and Pierre Arpels.
Let’s talk about the Seven Seas collection. What criteria did you follow while choosing the seas – Black Arabian, Mediterranean, Red, Adriatic etc.?
For each of the seven seas, we thought about what they represent in the collective
unconscious: symbols, colours and shapes. We have been trying to interpret each of the seas in a high jewellery way. For instance, we have used white and gray cultured pearls for the Rivage Noir et Blanc Bracelet, inspired from the architecture of Bulgaria, in the Black Sea chapter. For the Adriatic Sea, we have used turquoises to symbolise the lagoons of clear water and verdant shorelines in the tranquility of a summer’s day.
What is your personal favourite sea theme from the collection? And what sea do you prefer to go for a vacation to?
I particularly like the chapter inspired by the Black Sea, which triggers imaginations of a mysterious fairy tale. On a personal note, my favourite destination remains the Caribbean Sea for its wild beaches and warm waters.
This is the first time I have seen such a variety of pearl jewellery in one Van Cleef & Arpels collection. What prompted this?
The use of pearls has appeared to us as an evidence for this collection: they come from the oceans and recall the shell they are extracted from. Pearls have the extraordinary ability to illuminate the design, when alternated with other precious or hard stones. Besides, they add a very feminine touch to the jewellery. Many pieces like the Flamant Corail (drawing below) necklace are very rich in decorative elements. What challenges did you face while creating a piece such as this using various colours of gold, hard stones, precious gems and coral? The Flamant Corail features a gradation of pink sapphires and diamonds. The challenge with this piece, as with all our nature-inspired creations, was to give an impression of movement and lightness. We did a three-dimensional work on feathers. The supple connections give the necklace flexibility and comfort. It sits perfectly on the neck. The detachable central motif can be worn as a clip or on the necklace. When it is placed slightly towards
the side, it gives the piece an asymmetric look and the impression as though it is in flight. I have also noticed that different techniques have been used for the Seven Seas pieces: beads, tassels, paving, the mystery setting, carved stones and suspended briolettes. Does the process of creating each new jewel fundamentally differ from each other. Each technique that we use at Van Cleef &Arpels brings a special aesthetic to the jewellery. It changes the way you see it as well, besides the way you wear and feel it. I would say that it also stirs different emotions; techniques reveal the beauty of jewellery.
The jewels in the new Seven Seas collection are lighter and less extravagant. Why did you step away from the usual style for your high-jewellery?
We have been willing to create a collection that would make you want to wear it on holidays. Just like the idea of cruise collections in fashion, we have created our pieces to be less formal and easy to wear. The different shades of blue are a gateway to the oceans and take you on a journey where the infinite horizon is the only point of view. Having said that, all the pieces of the collection are set with stones that adhere to the strictest criteria. We call them Pierres de Caractère, as they instill a very special emotion in anyone who looks at them.
As President and CEO of Van Cleef & Arpels, how have you been innovating and enriching the brand’s identity?
The House’s identity is fantastically rich and diverse and, at the same time, very strong and coherent. Our mission, along with the design teams, experts and craftsmen, is to write new chapters in a story that started over a century ago. Our aim is to try and make these chapters relevant and enchanting for today’s clients.
LONDON CRAFT WEEK 2016 The second edition of London Craft week (3-7 May 2016) allowed the public to take part in an unusual journey of discovery around some of the best artists and craft masters behind both famous luxury brands and small exquisite makers known only to a few privileged connoisseurs. Central London, particularly Mayfair become a beehive of exciting discovery, a true “behind the scenes” revelation for visitors to the more than 100 events organised. Iconic brands such as Vacheron Constantin, Gieves & Hawkes, Backes & Strauss, Loewe or Turnbull & Asser put together exciting events that gave the public the opportunity to take a peak into the skill and finesse behind every item that these luxury brands produce. Speaking to Guy Salter, Chairman of LCW, he commented on its spirit: “The aim of London Craft Week is to experience craft not just as static objects or as brand-led fashion, design or art, but to understand the full context in which they were made, why they are special, meet the creators and see their remarkable skills up close”. Juan Carlos Torres, CEO of VacheronConstantin explained why they got involved with LCW from the very beginning: “For all of its existence, Vacheron Constantin has constantly combined the works of the finest artists. These dedicated artisans all play their part in building a reality that could never shine so brightly without the human hand. However, their manual skills are threatened and it is our responsibility to protect such age-old expertise and to ensure that it endures. This is why, we are proud to be Founding Partners of London Craft Week. By supporting sustainability in craftsmanship, not only will it help build professions, but it will help the crafts become better known, understood and ultimately preserved.”
Highlights of this exceptional week include the visit of Professor Wang Dongling to the British Museum, in which Great Court he created, live, one of his masterpieces. Professor Wang Dongling is widely recognised as China’s greatest living calligrapher. Equally impressive was the miniature painting demonstration organised by the Prince’s School of Traditional Arts and presented by master Farkhondeh Ahmadzadeh at the Arts Workers’s Guild, a historic setting that rarely opens its doors to the public. Visitors had the chance to learn how to prepare paper by staining and sizing with traditional dyes and methods, watch the tutor demonstrate methods for making watercolour and gouache paints using natural pigments, and gain techniques such as colour application, outlining, shading and applying detail. If what you like is quintessential British style, then the event co-hosted by Vacheron Constantin, Vitale Barberis Canonico and Gieves & Hawkes at Nº 1 Saville Row, was definitely for you. Their new Métiers d’Art Elégance Sartoriale showcase dials which reproduce the cloth that best symbolises the concept of Elégance Sartoriale: Prince of Wales check, herringbone, windowpane, pin strips and tartan. The watches were presented surrounded by tailored suits made by Gieves & Hawkes in Vitale Barberis Canonico matching fabrics. One could say it was an encounter between “a custodian of time and a custodian of style”.
George Atanasias invited guests to find out about the five-steps process behind creating a bespoke shirt, from the initial design and measurements to final fitting. Turnbull and Asser have been making bespoke shirts for 130 years and their clientele include Winston Churchill, James Bond and Katharine Hepburn. Another lesson in craft and skill was given by Backes & Strauss, the world’s oldest diamond company, which put together for this occasion a Diamond Polishing & Cutting Atelier at their flagship store in Mayfair. Master craftsman Pieter Bombeker came from Antwerp especially for this occasion. He demonstrated the art of diamond cutting and polishing offer visitors an extraordinary opportunity to gain a behind-the-scenes insight into the high-skill-intensive processes that transform the hardest natural material into a polished gem. Master Bombeker unveiled the essence of Backes & Strauss, renowned internationally for its pioneering cutting expertise seen in the Hearts and Arrows pattern present in each of their Ideal Cut round brilliant diamonds. Last but not least, I think is worth mentioning the lively discussion between Designers Hussein Chalayan and Alice Temperley “The Making Behind Fashion”. A debate about the ever-present and important art of craft in fashion, hosted by Selfridges, which covered issues ranging from the importance of honouring craft traditions to embracing new techniques and ideas.
VIP guests had the chance to meet with Vacheron Constantin’s Master Enameller and Watchmarker and Gieves & Hawkes gave them the opportunity to meet with one of their Master Tailors. Hosted by Turnbull & Asser, Royal Warrant holder Steven Quin and pattern cutter
HRH Princess Michael of Kent with Philip Hewat Jaboor at Masterpiece London 2015. Image credit Andy Barnhan.
Classic Cars Alternative Investments By Robert Johnson The buzz around classic car investment has increased dramatically since 2013 with many reports that classic cars have performed better than gold and traditional share portfolios. There’s no doubt that some speculators have made a tidy profit out of buying & selling classic cars - we have seen actual gains of +400% in some instances - and they have latterly become recognised as an investment “asset class”. Sounds like a simple way to make some money? Not entirely. In the noughties, what would now be considered investment-grade vehicles were typically being bought by one type of person - classic car connoisseurs. The post-credit crunch collapse of house prices and stock markets saw many people looking to place their money in tangible assets and for people who like cars, classics seemed to be as good a place as any - at least they could get some enjoyment out of them. By 2011 values began a steady ascent which was supported by increased media interest and the publication of HAGI’s (Historic Automobile Group International) classic car indices for investors. Both shone a spotlight on the rising value of collector cars as an asset class. Values continued to rise across almost all segments of the classic car market until the tail end of 2014 when we saw some prices begin to plateau. CLASSIC CAR PRICE INCREASES Two main factors have supported the increase in classic car values - the growth of the global HNWI population and the “cult of the classic car”. There are a lot more wealthy people in the world than there were ten years ago and classic cars are no longer a niche interest but a universal phenomenon nourished by globally recognised events such as the Goodwood Revival and the world-wide popularity of TV shows like Top Gear. The market is now truly global with many active participants although many of the emerging” markets still have an awfully long way to go before they start to influence values in general. Media hype has also played its part. Reports in the media of record prices paid at auction have enticed speculators into the market who drive prices up even further, encouraged by auction houses & dealers. All these factors have combined to create a sense of urgency in the market and the mentality for buyers to get in while they still can.
REASONS TO INVEST IN CLASSIC CARS Ask any classic car enthusiast why you should invest in classic cars and they will almost certainly tell you that your main motivation should be for the enjoyment and love of cars. The appreciation of passers-by, a plethora of great events to attend and the joys of ownership all add up to an instant return on investment. If you do happen to make a profit from the sale of a classic car it will not attract capital gains tax and trying to predict which vehicles might go up in value is all part of the fun. THE REALITY - IT’S COMPLICATED. If you are intent on investing in classic cars purely for profit, be warned - it’s complicated. Trying to predict what will increase in value is not nearly as easy as some would have you believe. The media, the bloke down the pub and your local classic car dealer will make it sound very easy to make a fast buck and that the rise in the prices of classics is perpetual but in our experience luck and long term ownership are the hallmarks of highly profitable classic car sales. You might avoid CGT but if HMRC consider that you are selling cars for the purpose of making a profit they will expect you to pay income tax on those profits. There are no hard and fast rules on getting your investment strategy right - at the moment some Fords are outperforming Ferraris in the investment stakes. Go figure. INVESTING IN CLASSICS WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW. Buy the right car. Not everything is going up in value at a rate that will give you a return so choose carefully. The three key factors that will dictate the potential for growth in a car’s value are rarity, desirability & originality. Far too many classics are described as rare, original (and desirable) when they are not. Buying the right marques is also important. Market segments. Broadly seen as affordable classics (£0-£100,000), mid-market (£100,000 - £500,000) and collector cars (£500,000+). Each segment performs differently with price corrections now being seen in the mid-market and affordable classics seeing growth Cost of ownership. Be under no illusion, it’s not cheap to keep a classic. A £30,000 increase in value over a decade could easily be absorbed by bills.
Restoration. Restoration costs are invariably more than anticipated. It’s easier and safer to buy a restored car. Finite reserves. One of the things investors are attracted to is that there are only a finite number of collectible cars - which isn’t true. Think of the classic car market as a wave which will pick up the values of cars from a certain era and eventually leave them behind. The key demographic in classic cars is 40-65 year old men - if a car was cool when they were young then it’s likely to be desirable. The cars that are hot picks now won’t necessarily be flavour of the month a few years down the line. Price vs value. Prices and values are two entirely different things - prices can move up very fast even when the transactional prices do not. The Ferrari Testarossa has been a very good example of this in the last 18 months. Strong values are here to stay and we don’t see prices ever returning to pre-recession levels but there are still opportunities out there. Short term gains require a very good feel for the market but we believe the best bet is over the long term where the correct advice, vision, a true love and understanding of cars and some luck can still produce dividends. An easy way to invest your money? Not really, but it can be fun.
About the author Classic & Sports Finance was founded by Robert Johnson and his team in 1999 in reaction to a demand for a dedicated finance institution to assist in the purchase and funding of historic, classic and race cars. As the market’s only dedicated historic car funder they have assisted enthusiasts fund over £100 million of vehicles since 2008 alone, providing international expert advice on purchasing and funding of special cars. Well respected for their market knowledge and commentary the business is established with a worldwide reputation for being at the forefront of the classic car movement.
1961 Ferrari 250 GT California Spider SWB
Is there such a thing as too much beauty? The Grand Tour, Geneva Region, Switzerland “It’s said to be between heaven and earth’’, it’s true, says DL Osborne Orson Welles said Switzerland’s accolades amount to 500 years of peace, brotherly love and the invention of the cuckoo clock. He was a cynic. What Switzerland symbolizes for the 21st century traveller is remarkable. Within this landlocked nation, her incredible natural beauty and peace allow you to be yourself because her prosperity and cleverly developed democracy make it a happy place to be. Switzerland Tourism’s ‘Grand Tour’ offers a range of the most scenic and idyllic panoramic routes. The itinerary runs over 1600km, five Alpine passes, 11 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and 22 lakes. Hire a car, enjoy the train, jump on a boat or use all three, nothing is left unattended. The Swiss Travel System offers a wide range of travel tickets and passes exclusively for visitors from abroad and have affiliated 115 hotels and off the beaten track charming guesthouses. The short flight from London to Geneva with Swiss International was effortless. I arrived in the beautiful historical city of Lausanne in time to explore its striking gothic cathedral and the renowned Olympic Museums brilliant interactive and thought provoking depiction of the games. The winding cobblestone streets and interesting shops make it a perfect base for intimate cityscape trekking before heading out on your adventure. My tour started roughly 9 km from Lausanne at Point i Cully. A place of beautiful vistas, lazy boat rides and fresh fish for sale on the water’s edge. Hiking, a village, an intimate and respected ‘Cooley Jazz Festival’ and the Lavaux Panoramic Railway are not to be missed here. One of Switzerland’s best-kept secrets is its wine. I headed to the stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lavaux which houses 10,000 terraces of vineyards in various geometric patterns dating back to the 11th century. Roughly 40% of wine produced in Switzerland is consumed by the internal market. Switzerland’s love for its cultural heritage is exemplified here. I chose to wander on foot through its vine trails that stretch for 30 km from the Château de Chillon to the eastern outskirts
of Lausanne in the Vaud region. This peaceful gradient of tiny villages and vineyard plots harness a distinctive micro-climate; and there are several wineries to stop off on route. I had lunch with Patrick Fonjallaz, a most gracious and engaging estate owner whose family have produced wine here for centuries. This winery has an elegant and gorgeous setting that you’ll want to return to. Over a couple of glasses in the cellar, surrounded by magnificent giant casks, Patrick explained local wine traditions and warmly divulged the secret of the ancient Chasselas grape. It’s proudly attributed to the Geneva region and is best produced by the Swiss, creating a big and plump, more mineral Chasselas. Lunch is served on his leafy sun-drenched terrace overlooking Lake Geneva. Locally sourced fish and an exquisite array of local produce reflect the passion this kitchen has for seasonality and freshness. Lavaux feels unhurried and genteel, oozing tranquillity and harmony. The musical impresario Prince wrote a song about Lavaux, no doubt inspired by this regions exceptional beauty; it cannot be overstated. If one could live here, you surely would. It was now time to be go beyond adventurous and be brave. Lake Geneva disappeared in between the valley as I headed by train into the mountains on the GoldenPass Line to reach the highest point of the Canton Vaud. I transferred onto a cable car and arrived at the thrilling and breath-taking Glacier 3000 Les Diablerets.
lake, red chocolate box train’s wind their way around the mountains as the wonder of Mont Blanc sleeps in the distance. I had a game of golf at Villars Golf Club which has two decent nine-hole alpine courses and a club house that falls nothing short of an idyllic spot to lose a few hours over another superb lunch. My last day was spent on two contrasting railways; the ultra-modern GoldenPass Panoramic and the luxurious vintage Pullman Belle Epoque. From Montreux to The Pleiades in Les Rochers-de-Naye, very few words are needed: this is sensational, awe-inspiring iconic scenery. By late afternoon I’m exploring Montreux’s wonderful architecture with its very pretty long promenade that’s strewn with modern artworks. Swans parade in front of the award winning bronze of Freddie Mercury who gazes over his beloved Lake Geneva. A perfect ending to the day. In a mid-eighteenth century Britain, European conflicts didn’t stop tourism, it excelled. The Georgian travellers of the ‘Grand Tour’ arrived in Switzerland because it was an adventurous destination and the heroic journey amongst travel literature boomed. This account touches upon the surface of what Switzerland’s own 21st century Grand Tour has to offer. The recurring theme here is timeless elegance and the Swiss are very clear about themselves, their history and its tourism.
Whether it’s relaxing outdoors in the mountain lounge or simply taking in the wondrous scenery of 24 summits over 4000m, there’s plenty to do here for all ages: whizz down the Alpine Express’ self-propelled toboggan, cross the exhilarating ‘Peak Walk’ suspension bridge, hike or a take a glacier snow bus ride. Lunch in the panoramic Restaurant Botta faces a shimmering Matterhorn and serves top notch Swiss fayre and of course another fine selection of Swiss wines.
It is no exaggeration to say, this country takes your breath away. It really has got the capacity to do this. Be adventurous: Switzerland offers something outstanding and unique and something of the majestic sublime.
The following morning I jumped back on the GoldenPass Line to Villars-sur-Ollon situated in the heart of the Vaud Alps. Set against a backdrop of spectacular beauty at 1300m, this area is the epitome of picture-postcard Switzerland. The walking trails surround a sparkling blue
Article published in association with The Swiss Tourist Board, who arranged for DL Osborne’s stay in Switzerland.
Please see: grandtour.myswitzerland.com/en/ Swiss International Airlines operate several non-stop flights per day to Geneva and Zurich from London City and London Heathrow.
Published on Jun 14, 2016
Kofi Annan, President George W. Bush, Rebbeca Davies (CEO at LAPADA), Andy Palmer (Aston Martin CEO) Lord Green, Amal Clooney, Alex Beard (C...