David Parkin on a nice guy of business, boxing clever and working hard…just like that

David Parkin on a nice guy of business, boxing clever and working hard…just like that

GOLF is not something I spend much time playing these days but when an invitation was received from David Ansbro, the former UK and European boss of law firm Eversheds, I jumped at the opportunity. David is one of those rare individuals who combine warmth, humour, intelligence and wisdom along with a complete absence of ego, despite his many achievements. It made a round of golf at picturesque Skipton Golf Club fly by and I even played pretty well, thanks to David’s relaxed and jovial company. With his half moon spectacles perched on the end of his nose, David resembles a wise owl – perhaps appropriate given he was once chief executive of Leeds City Council, which has three owls on its coat of arms and golden statues of the nocturnal birds of prey atop the city’s civic hall. Such was his success in the public sector – he was the youngest town clerk in the country when appointed by York City Council in 1981 and went on to run Kirklees and Leeds councils and develop one of the first private/public partnerships between a local authority and business – he was headhunted by Eversheds’ forerunner Hepworth & Chadwick to launch its public sector practice. He was quickly promoted to run the Leeds and Manchester offices of Eversheds and then spent three years heading up the firm in the UK and Europe. The legal sector has always been viewed as a bear pit where only the ruthless and selfish survive, but Ansbro did things his way, valuing everyone in the firm equally – from the post room staff to the...
David Parkin on the style of York Races, a Northern Powerhouse and a Brucie bonus

David Parkin on the style of York Races, a Northern Powerhouse and a Brucie bonus

THE BBC 4 channel had a surprising TV hit on its hands last year when it put a camera on the footplate of a train travelling down the East Coast Main Line. I think I’ve come up with a sequel. I’m going to get a drone to fly over the champagne bar at York Racecourse about an hour after racing has finished at Ladies Day at the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival. All human life appears to be there, and a few other species too. If you could get David Attenborough to do the commentary then I’m sure it would be a box office smash. Some people go to the Ebor Festival to see some of the greatest race horses in the world. I go to observe the people. And I’m never disappointed. Of course my two trips to York this week were purely for research purposes. On Wednesday I was a guest of Richard Larking of Progeny Corporate Law in Leeds. Ever since I gatecrashed the firm’s Christmas party last year and danced on a table wearing a sombrero, Richard has somehow felt duty bound to invite me to all their other social events. And I’ve felt duty bound to accept. Among our number was David Knaggs, the former boss of law firm Irwin Mitchell who is better known as Lord Knaggs and now enjoying a life of leisure. Both Richard and I complimented David on his suit, a mid-blue pinstriped number made by Leeds tailor extraordinaire James Michelsberg. I was also jealous of David’s flowing hairstyle which tumbled over his collar in a manner which reminded me...
David Parkin on the perils of out of office, Uber, the madness of the Premier League and celebrating Elvis

David Parkin on the perils of out of office, Uber, the madness of the Premier League and celebrating Elvis

EVERY week I spend part of my Friday morning deleting several hundred automatic email out of office replies to this blog. Most of them have the usual message about being away from the office on holiday or on a day off and details of when the person will be back at their desk. You spot regular names – there is one person who never seems to be in the office and appears constantly on holiday. But then they do work in banking so you can understand it. Others tend to “over-share” – using the modern parlance – information in their automatic replies. One chap actually said in his message: “I am currently out of the office improving people’s lives.” Who is this impressive individual? Is it a superhero or perhaps someone who spends their holidays volunteering for the International Red Cross? No, he is actually in recruitment. Bonkers and pretentious, but no more delusional than most recruiters I have met, to be honest. They must be, none of them has ever offered me a job. Last week just as I was about to delete one out of office message, I spotted that the person had included names of colleagues working on specific “projects” that could be contacted in their absence. Those projects were entitled Contour, Rocket and Trident. Very impressive, but they sound like team names picked by over-eager contestants on The Apprentice. I used to play in a five-a-side football league in a team named Hey Nonny Nonny, from lyrics in a song in the Shakespeare comedy Much Ado About Nothing. It took us a while to work...
David Parkin on Yorkshire’s path to the promised land and his Kylie connection

David Parkin on Yorkshire’s path to the promised land and his Kylie connection

I’M always impressed by the passion that the people running Yorkshire’s accountancy and law firms have for the region as a whole. Of course, if the region in which you live and work thrives, then there is a good chance that your own business will do pretty well. But putting in the hours for the benefit of the wider region is a commitment on top of leading your own firm. Chris Hearld, senior partner of KPMG’s leeds office and chairman of the firm in the North, has long been a champion of what devolution and the Northern Powerhouse can do for Yorkshire. When I called in for a coffee with Chris this week I was keen to get his take on the latest move towards devolution in the region. I highlighted last week that council leaders in Yorkshire say they have had positive talks about a move towards wider devolution for the whole region. Is this a movement in the right direction or just posturing? Time will tell. But if local authority leaders are to continue to have the support of people like Chris and others that run the firms that employ so many people and do so much wealth creation across Yorkshire then they have to deliver sooner rather than later. I sense people in business are growing very tired of the backbiting and brinkmanship displayed by too many of our regional politicians. It’s time they put party political differences and their own political ambitions to one side and did something for the good of the whole region. I’m not holding my breath. ::: I was at one...
David Parkin on being the centre of attention for Yorkshire women

David Parkin on being the centre of attention for Yorkshire women

LAST week’s blog caused quite a kerfuffle. Not from any of the words in it, but the photograph that accompanied it. I described a trip to London to speak to the YEWTGH Club – which stands for Yorkshire Exiles Waiting To Go Home. The photograph of me with members of the semi-regular dining club for ex-pats from Yorkshire working and living in London was basically a room full of blokes sitting around a dinner table. This blog is sent out to around 8,000 people on email every week and I also post it on Linkedin which sees it get a few hundred more views and often a few comments. Last week’s column was viewed by almost 1,000 people on Linkedin, liked by 63 and attracted 19 comments – of which over half pointed out the lack of diversity amongst the attendees. It is not my club but as far as I’m aware the only people banned from attending YEWTGH Club functions are Lancastrians. Now I’m as much in favour of equality as the next…I know what you thought I was going to say there…but it is interesting that a picture of a group of white, mainly middle-aged, middle class men got such a reaction. I wouldn’t have got as much response if I’d said we were all part of a religious cult. No dear, I said cult. There are plenty of women-only business groups who nobody raises an eyebrow about. I don’t know why but reading the comments brought back memories of a Two Ronnies sketch called The Worm That Turned from the 1980s. It left a deep and...