Getting to know… Jonathan Lewis, new BLG Group Managing Director

Bibby Line Group // 18th January 2021

We took five minutes out for a coffee and a chat with Jonathan Lewis, who stepped up to the role of Group Managing Director for BLG on 1st January:

When you joined 18 months ago, what were your first impressions?

Many people who join Bibby Line Group soon say “it’s not what I expected”.  I joined as Chief Financial and Strategy Officer in July 2019, and I certainly couldn’t have predicted what the next 18 months would be.  What has rung true, however, has been the dedication to the values and culture within Bibby. 

Although we operate across multiple countries and business lines, there is a lot of commonality between the businesses in how they operate.

105 Duke Street, our former head office, held a huge amount of history.  When I entered the building on my first day, I was struck not just by the many artefacts and paintings, but also the many memories for people who had been with the business for many years.  Being trusted as part of the team to preserve this legacy is a genuine privilege.

What are some of the highs and lows of the last 18 months?

The last 18 months have definitely brought some ups and downs.  When most people answer the question “what makes where you work special?” they often say that it’s the people.  That’s never more true in my experience at Bibby. 

Highlights of showing how the teams work together so well, with a common set of values, would definitely include the move to Walker House for four of our companies, which felt seamless while involving a huge amount of work, and provided a big improvement in our working environment.  

The response to the pandemic and subsequent restrictions has also been impressive, with many colleagues moving to “WFH” within a few days, and measures being put in place for those who needed to continue to attend the workplace. 

Finally, the sales of Costcutter and Bibby Distribution announced at the end of last year were the culmination of a lot of hard work from the respective businesses and head office, and have put the Group into a better position to invest and grow. Although it’s always hard to say farewell when colleagues and businesses leave the Group, we wish them all the best for the future under their respective new owners.

Of course there have been less positive times too.  We all deeply regretted seeing HydroMap go into administration.  While there were good reasons why the group was no longer able to continue supporting the business, the inevitable impact on colleagues was the key concern and additional financial support was offered by the Group. 

Also, once misstatements in the 2018 financial results of BFS had been identified, both BFS and the head office team had the shared objective of “doing the right thing”.  From the very start, as we investigated and corrected the situation, we communicated openly with our auditors and providers of finance, who were very supportive.

What are your top priorities in 2021?

Once the sale of Costcutter completes, expected in a few months’ time, we’ll be a more focused and better funded group of businesses, able to spend more time considering the best route to create value and deliver on the Group’s purpose. We of course are supporting CSG through this transition.

As you’ll read elsewhere within this edition, Bibby Financial Services is undertaking a thorough strategic review of its business, and is already uncovering opportunities to serve customers better.

In Garic, we have a strong position in the rail sector and are achieving high levels of utilisation of our assets and depots, putting the business in a great position to consider its next phase of growth.

Bibby Marine will be reviewing how to capitalise on the innovation shown to deliver the WaveMaster vessels so that we can grow further, including in the area of low and zero carbon propulsion, while maximising the utilisation of our fleet of five floating accommodation vessels.

We will also as a group be spending more time considering how we are delivering against our other objectives, particularly around environment, community, people and customers.

What is your immediate focus?

There is no doubt these are tough times. Many of us have been affected by Covid.  We or someone close to us may have had it.  Tragically we may have lost someone because of it.  On top of that, working from home while fulfilling our other personal duties such as homeschooling and looking after our own mental health is a challenge.  Support is available, and I’d encourage you to reach out to your line manager or other trusted colleague to access that support.

I am heartened, however, by the rapid progress made on developing vaccines and rolling those out into the community, and I look forward to the time when we are able once more to meet in person. 

Also I would appreciate any thoughts or suggestions on how we can make our Group even better.  I’d normally say that my office door is always open (although we don’t actually have office doors in Walker House), but for now you can email me at  Please put “Suggestion” in the header.  I can’t promise I’ll respond to all emails, but I will promise to read and consider each one.

In the meantime, the future of Bibby Line Group, certainly in my short time with the Group, has never looked brighter.  There is still a lot of hard work to do but I have confidence we have the right teams to deliver.


Wood you believe it? Bibby colleagues take part in special ‘Plank-off’ fundraiser

4th April 2022

Throughout March, colleagues from around Bibby Line Group took part in an exercise challenge with…

Bibby Line Group colleagues respond to help Ukrainian families

10th March 2022

As colleagues across Bibby Line Group, we pride ourselves on living our values, especially ‘Do…

Get Involved: Two New GSB Central Events!

10th March 2022

Register Interest in either event: Download posters here: Beach clean Dragonboat Team Racing

BFS Supports Customers with Central London Office

28th February 2022

Our colleagues at BFS have always put their customers at the heart of their decision…

BFS appoints Helen Norris as Chief People & Organisation Officer

28th February 2022

Helen joins BFS from the British Business Bank, where she spent more than three years…

Skip to content