Q&A with new Bibby Financial Services CEO Jonathan Andrew

Bibby Line Group // 12th January 2021


You will have seen in the last edition of Bibby eNews, Jonathan Andrew joined Bibby Financial Services (BFS) on 1st September as Global CEO. We caught up with him to find out more about him and what his priorities are for the coming months:

What attracted you to the role?

BFS has been in business for 40 years and it’s very much a people centric organisation focusing on the wider Group’s key values that I really believe it lives on a daily basis.

That’s something that is really important to me. It’s not just about the dynamics of a financial services business, it’s very much around the way in which its ethos drives the manner in which it serves its customers. This then leads onto the way in which we develop as a team to identify and serve the markets where we believe we can add value.

There is also an opportunity here to look at the way in which we exploit technology going forward and the way in which we use these unprecedented times to react and create an opportunity to best engage our people, whether that’s our customers or our colleagues, we need to understand their fundamental needs and wants.

What drives you?

What motivates and drives me is really having a sense of purpose.

To be able to develop people and to see others being successful in an organisation that has sustained performance going forward is a key part of that purpose. But also to ensure that I’m stretched personally, and in turn I expect the people in our teams to also give the best of themselves and have constructive challenges in their day-to-day business lives that make them feel fulfilled.

It’s that sense of contribution that really makes it all worthwhile for me, to ensure that we have the responsibility as leaders within our organisation to create a legacy for the future and a platform for our people to grow and thrive.

What are your priorities going forward?

Our key priority is something we’re calling BFS 4.0 and this comes from what is known as the fourth industrial revolution, or ‘industry 4.0’. The principles behind industry 4.0 are; Interconnection, Information transparency, Technical assistance and Decentralised decisions.

What does BFS 4.0 mean for us? We’re driving towards more digitised environments and developing a clear strategy for the business by deciding what we want to be doing more of and where we want to invest going forwards.

Essentially, we want to make things more simple and more straightforward and that goes for the structure of our business too, the more hierarchy you have, the more bureaucracy you have. We can become more of a matrixed organisation and that will mean we can be more functional, creating an environment where our people can communicate with each other better.

By doing all of this I believe we will be able to hear the voice of the customer loud and clear in everything that we do.

A few months in, what has struck you most?

I have been struck by the sheer enthusiasm of BFS people to contribute towards the strategy of the future. They have a clear awareness of the need for change and I have found that there is a desire to really help create and drive that change. That’s why we’ve been actively inviting people to come forward, get creative and contribute to BFS 4.0.

There are so many fantastic ideas that already exist within this business – people have picked up the phone to me directly just this week and told me how we could improve our client onboarding process, how we can remove frustrations for customers and where we can be more progressive.

Everyone who I have spoken to so far has been passionate about making sure that we do the right things, that we deliver value for our clients and how having the right tools and technologies can help us do this.

So, I suppose to sum my answer up – I have been struck by the overwhelming desire of BFS people to just get stuck in.

How important are the BLG values to you?

The BLG values are really critical. They are the fundamentals of our Group and they are what sustains each constituent part of the BLG family of businesses.

But let me be clear, it’s not about sticking posters up on the wall that say ‘this is who we are and this is what we strive to be’. To be truly effective our values must be reflected in the way in which our people react and live on a day to day basis, by the way that they have respect for each other and the way in which they are passionate about what they do each day.

How important is the relationship between BLG and BFS?

It’s fundamentally important. For a business to be successful it needs to satisfy two key stakeholders, colleagues and its shareholders. BLG is our shareholder and we need to understand what it considers to be success in terms of a return on its investment that could lead to potential increased investment in the future.

We’re very fortunate that, as a group, we can leverage knowledge and skills that perhaps exist outside of our individual businesses to the benefit of all. We can work in a more progressive way and not in a vacuum – we’re a diverse group of businesses and we can use that to our advantage by seeking different perspectives.

An example of this is with the Marine business. At first glance it seems very specialist and perhaps doesn’t have a lot of parallels with Financial Services, but Marine is a global business and we as another global business look at global trade receivables and global trade finance. There are opportunities here for us to explore and talk about customer and market dynamics across the world. What can we learn from each other? Are there opportunities we’re missing? We’ll only find this out by talking to each other.

What you do in your spare time?

People say, and rightly so, that it’s important to have a healthy work life balance. I’m very fortunate in that I love what I do for work so I suppose naturally it has become part of my

life. But I’ve also been very fortunate to live in many different countries as a result of the work I have done, for instance I spent a lot of time in Munich and while I was there I took up skiing as it was quite easy to get to the Alps…

I also enjoy sailing as well as competition aerobatics so I suppose you could say I’ve got a thing for adrenaline fuelled sports.

Last year I got into doing triathlons and I competed in eight events, it’s obviously been harder to do those this year but it’s certainly something I’ve enjoyed so I’ll look to continue that when I can.

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