Tim Smedley

Frequent journalist, occasional ghostwriter, book author in progress.

Financial Times

The bank boss with an environmentalist bent

Despite becoming the UK’s managing director of Triodos bank this spring, Bevis Watts maintains that he is “first and foremost an environmentalist”. Triodos’s mission is to lend money only to those who promote “positive social, environmental and cultural change”. The Dutch bank, which has €12bn of assets under management, is part of a booming trend. In 2015, the responsible lending market in the UK grew 45 per cent, according to a report by the Community Development Finance Association and PwC. Mr Watts’s CV does not read like that of the average bank executive. The 41-year-old has a PhD in recycling strategies and studied business at Swansea University primarily because it included a year abroad. His chosen destination, Sweden, was to transform his life. “I became conscious of a society that had a very different relationship with the natural environment and wellbeing, and how corporations consciously thought about it,” he recalls in his central Bristol office.
Financial Times

At Work with the FT: Joanna Jensen, founder and CEO, Childs Farm

Joanna Jensen is having to sell her stables. The former horse breeder who left a career in investment banking says her children’s toiletries business “has just taken over my life — I don’t have time to ride”. Her two daughters Mimi, 10, and Bella, seven, are more into athletics than horses, she sighs. She does, however, have her daughters to thank for the new venture — Childs Farm — which began as a homemade recipe to soothe their sensitive skin in 2010. It is now a fully fledged business with a £2.1m turnover in 2015. This year looks to be stronger still, with the products launched in Co-op supermarkets this April, a suncare range selling in Waitrose, and a new body wash for sale at Boots in June.
Work.

Arianna Huffington

 When the stress and long hours of launching and running her media empire caused her to collapse at home, breaking her cheekbone, Huffington was forced to radically reconsider the relationship between work and wellbeing. Now a leading advocate for workplace wellbeing, Huffington had recently attended the funeral of a friend when she spoke to Work. “After the ceremony all of us were asking ourselves the question – why are our résumés so different to our eulogies? Why is the time we spend during the day prioritising the things that we consider important, so different to the values that people remember us by when we die?”
Financial Times

At Work with the FT: James Thornton, ClientEarth

At ClientEarth’s offices in east London, glass walls overlook leafy London Fields. James Thornton, 62, founder and chief executive, is an avid ornithologist, so bird feeders hang outside. The 60 or so lawyers occupied by fossil fuel, fisheries and air pollution law, enjoy fittingly green offices. Mr Thornton, who started the firm from a desk in a one-bedroom flat 10 years ago, greets the FT with warmth, before locking eyes in the manner of a Zen priest — which, incidentally, he also happens to be.
Financial Times

Interview: Fiona Dawson, global president, Mars foods

At the Mars Foods testing centre in rural Leicestershire, Fiona Dawson greets the FT having just tasted new recipes. “We had salad with wholegrain, new dipping sauces, lasagne and stir-fry,” she says. Does she like the taste of Dolmio and Uncle Ben’s sauces? “Thankfully, I’m a big fan! I don’t think you could do a job like mine without loving your products.” As global president of Mars food, drinks, and multisales, one of about a dozen senior executives who report to Grant F Reid, the company president, Ms Dawson’s office is at headquarters in Brussels. She lives with her family in Berkshire, and spends about 70 per cent of her time on the road. “This is an unusual week for me to be in the UK — I was in the US last week, will be there again next week, I will be in Brussels the week after,” she says. “But when I am home I work from home — I have a unit set up with video conferencing.”
Third Sector

Mark Goldring, chief executive of Oxfam

Upon leaving university, young law graduate Mark Goldring had no idea what he wanted to do. A recruitment poster for VSO caught his eye – it read "Live now, get paid later". That felt like a good motto, he says. As an explanation for how he came to fill some of the biggest jobs in the charity sector, it seems almost apologetic. Those years as a teacher for VSO in a small town in Borneo, on the mouth of a river and deep in the forest, changed him for good. A brief stint as a lawyer (on a contrac
Third Sector

Baroness Delyth Morgan of Drefelin, chief executive of Breast Cancer Now

It comes as no surprise to see that the colour of Breast Cancer Now – forged by the merger of Breakthrough Breast Cancer and Breast Cancer Campaign – is pink. Not princess pink; more of a demure salmon-mixed-with-rose kind of pink. Baroness Delyth Morgan of Drefelin, a crossbench peer and the charity's chief executive, is also in pink – although not the branded, running-top variety. "We thought a lot about the colour and decided that people associate pink with breast cancer," she says. "If you
Work.

Rosabeth Moss Kanter

AS ONE OF the world’s pre-eminent leadership experts, Harvard Business School professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter surprised many – herself included – when she tackled transport infrastructure in her latest book, Move: Putting America’s Infrastructure Back in the Lead. A constant business traveller, both nationally and internationally, she found herself delayed time after time by traffi c jams and airport hold-ups. “To move is to thrive,” she writes. “To be stuck is to lack opportunity.” Unsurprisingly, having written leadership books for some four decades, Kanter also has something to say on the subject in Move, notably what happens in the absence of leadership and a lack of coherent direction
Third Sector

Simon Gillespie of the British Heart Foundation: 'We want to be heard on policy'

Research is the priority for the charity, but its chief executive tells Tim Smedley it also wants ministers to take heart health more seriously and stop using the BHF to plug gaps in the NHS An even higher profile for the BHF. We are a top 10 charity and well respected, but I want it to achieve even greater influence. And to get the NHS to listen to us a bit more. A clearer understanding among the population of the damage that cardiovascular disease does: seven million people is almost shrugge
Third Sector

Kevin Cahill of Comic Relief: 'There is still public trust in us as an organisation'

Kevin Cahill admits that when he joined Comic Relief in 1990 they were still making it up as they went along. He arrived from the National Theatre, where as head of education he persuaded stars such as Anthony Hopkins to speak to groups of school children about the theatre world. Glad-handing stars and entertaining the public proved a useful training ground. He joined a team of 20, licking envelopes alongside the founder Richard Curtis, and riding the wave of goodwill for celebrities trying to c
Third Sector

Ciarán Devane: Macmillan man makes a move

Through his personal loss, and then through his work, cancer has loomed large in Ciarán Devane's life. Tim Smedley talks to him as he leaves Macmillan for the British Council Ciarán Devane sits back and considers the link between his current role as chief executive of Macmillan Cancer Support and the post he moves to in January: chief executive of the British Council. The view from his office will certainly be poorer. His magnificent vista of the Houses of Parliament, from the 13th floor of the
Third Sector

Owen Sharp, CEO, Prostate Cancer UK, on the importance of being blokey

A freshly shaved, post-Movember Sharp, the chief executive of the cancer charity, tells Tim Smedley why he has led the charity to a bolder, more in-your-face approach to addressing men about their health problems Owen Sharp dreads the first day of November. Because Prostate Cancer UK is a major beneficiary of Movember, the hirsute men's health movement, for one month every year he is obliged to grow a moustache. We meet on the last day of Movember/November and he is itching to shave it off (he
Financial Times

Anna Cook, head of recruitment, Cern

When Anna Cook left her childhood home near Geneva to study in the UK, she never imagined she would one day return and work for her father’s employer. Her father was an engineer at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (Cern, its acronym survives from its earlier name Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire). It is the world’s largest particle physics research centre and home to the 27km Large Hadron Collider (LHC) housed in a tunnel that straddles the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva. Ms Cook, now Cern’s head of recruitment, had a passion for biology, not physics...