David Parkin on a crisp deals market, a rock and roll entrepreneur and impressive work at York Racecourse

David Parkin on a crisp deals market, a rock and roll entrepreneur and impressive work at York Racecourse

THE dramatic fall in the London stock market gave gave plenty of investors the jitters this week. But that is more down to international financial markets rather than how domestic business is fairing. There appears to be some real confidence in the regional business community. A couple of weeks ago I was chatting to Will Arnold, of Leeds-based corporate finance advisers Sentio Partners and he was saying things could do with being a bit busier. I pointed out that things couldn’t be that bad, given most of his colleagues in the office were munching on bags of Seabrook Crisps, as a result of the involvement of Sentio’s Ian Marwood and Bridie Robinson in the recent LDC buyout of the Bradford-based family-owned food business. But dealmakers are always looking forward, and when a deal does finally complete, it normally is the result of months of hard work and negotiations. But looking back at August, there was the Seabrook deal, valued around £35m, which saw LDC back chief executive Jonathan Bye in an MBO and involving senior debt provided by Charlie Barker and Mike Selina from Yorkshire Bank, Alex Hartley at KPMG advising LDC on the deal while lawyers from Walker Morris and Pinsent Masons were also involved and Deloitte also advised the Brook-Chrispin family on the transaction. And then there was another who’s who of regional dealmakers involved in the £43m sale of FMG, the Huddersfield-based fleet management business. Martin Jenkins, senior partner at Deloitte in Yorkshire, led a team that advised Endless and Andrew Cope on the sale while Jonathan Jones at Squire Patton Boggs provided legal advice. KPMG...
David Parkin on what is driving Justin King and getting a chauffeur rather than On The Buses

David Parkin on what is driving Justin King and getting a chauffeur rather than On The Buses

I HAD the opportunity to host a question and answer session with former Sainsbury’s chief executive Justin King last week. Our audience were senior figures from Jaguar Land Rover dealerships across the North and, arriving at Rudding Park for the event, I quickly decided to park my car in the far corner of the car park, away from the rows of gleaming 15-registration plated Jaguar XEs, F-types, XF’s and Range Rover Vogues, Sports and Evoques. Justin King, probably one of the most successful executives in grocery retail in recent years, stepped down from the top job at Sainsbury’s last year. While saying he is weighing up his options on his next move, he is still keeping pretty busy. When he arrived at Rudding he’d come straight from speaking at a retail conference in South Africa the day before. He is currently leading an independent review into the travel company Thomas Cook after two children died on one of its holidays. Christi and Bobby Shepherd died from carbon monoxide poisoning at a hotel in Corfu 2006, and Thomas Cook received fierce criticism over its response to the deaths. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that the whole episode was a PR disaster for the holiday company, but he will be addressing more than just its reputational damage. And earlier this year he became the interim chairman of the Manor Marussia Formula One racing team. While he has always been a self-confessed ‘petrol-head’, King, given his business background, he has already been forced to deny rumours that he is after Bernie Ecclestone’s role running F1. During our chat his...
David Parkin on a silly season blueprint, reader replies and a Harrogate comedy legend

David Parkin on a silly season blueprint, reader replies and a Harrogate comedy legend

DESPITE it being the “silly season” for news, the Government chose to make two business announcements this week. Firstly it revealed its “blueprint” for how the £13bn Northern Powerhouse agenda will “transform” the North. This blueprint apparently sets out the plans for improving transport links throughout the North and Midlands and transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said it is all part of the Government “investing for the future”. “Across the north, that investment is already having a huge impact, with programmes underway to upgrade our railways and our roads. We are determined to keep the momentum going.” I don’t see very much momentum at present. Plans to upgrade rail systems across the North have stalled and the M1 motorway between Leeds and the Midlands is now virtually 50mph all the way as part of creating what is described as a “smart motorway” system. The only thing it is currently doing is leaving motorists smarting at the tailbacks and delays. Perhaps given Patrick McLoughlin’s comments, it is a good job he reserved them for the silly season. Secondly the Government appointed entrepreneur Michelle Mone, co-founder of the Ultimo Bra business, to conduct a review of entrepreneurship. Apparently she has been tasked with looking at how business start-ups and entrepreneurship can be encouraged in disadvantaged communities, including the North. Don’t worry, this isn’t the cue for a misogynistic rant about women in business. I’ve seen her speak at the Yorkshire International Business Convention and was impressed by her story of success after rising from an impoverished childhood in a Glasgow tenement block to creating the Ultimo business. But her appointment by David...
David Parkin on career advice, the BBC doing business and constructive criticism

David Parkin on career advice, the BBC doing business and constructive criticism

INTERESTING news this week that financial services firm EY is preparing to remove academic qualifications from its entry criteria for job candidates. The move, which will apply from next year onwards, follows an 18 month analysis of entry requirements by the Big Four accountancy firm. From 2016 it will no longer require candidates to have a minimum number of UCAS points and a 2:1 university degree to apply for a job with the firm. It is a welcome move by a global firm that may help bring more equality to the jobs market. According to EY’s senior partner in Yorkshire, Stuart Watson, the firm has made the changes in a bid to attract the brightest and most talented individuals and believes it will better help it to find candidates from “a wider range of diverse backgrounds”. It makes sense. When did having a certain number of A levels or even a university degree actually tell you much about the quality of a candidate? These days graduates applying for jobs tend to have a similar academic record – decent GCSE results, good A levels and then a degree. When I was recruiting graduates I would always look at what they had done outside academia – work experience, holiday and weekend jobs, hobbies and interests – anything that gave you some insight into whether the candidate might have enthusiasm, initiative and work hard. The one thing that would drive me mad would be the ‘candidate summary’ statement at the start of every CV. I can understand why recruiters would add a summary about the relevance of an individual they are proposing...