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NICK’S BLOG – FULL CIRCLE: LEVELLING UP THE NORTH


A lifestyle earned into retirement

Having recently turned fifty, I find myself being drawn into conversations about retirement and life beyond the corporate. 

My grandparents, successful business people who owned the first factory on the Newcastle Team Valley, itself a government led initiative to get Britain working again following the industrial devastation of WW2, retired in their mid-fifties. 

Having benefitted from the post war bounce, my grandparents sold their business and lived a life of luxury in countries including Malta, Spain, France and America.  Lazy long lunches as the club, siestas and sundowners were the norm in their expat retirement. 

You may be forgiven if you feel yourself inexplicably drawn to a life offering such attractions.  Writing whilst gazing out over a rain drenched Sunday morning vista, I find myself in awe of such lifestyle.  Yet despite dreaming of such nirvana, I am wise enough to appreciate that the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence.

But what then?

It is said that fifty is the new forty. Having achieved this milestone I agree!  I feel as driven today as I did on my fortieth birthday until I have the misfortune of battling a hangover.  Faced with such drama, the pain associated with said hangover is a short sharp shock to the system which poignantly reminds me that whilst my mind is forty, my body is not!

Hangover’s aside, my desire to serve the business community remains as fresh today as the day I graduated.  I for one have no intention of retiring gracefully whilst nuzzling a glass of fine scotch.

No, the truth is I have interviewed far too many CEOs and business leaders who stared at me with a sense of dread and foreboding when broaching the subject of retirement.  As they stared into an abyss fuelled by the uncertainty of an unclear future, I have no intention of treading the path well-trodden as per my grandparents.

Yes, my grandparents enjoyed a privileged retirement, but such lifestyle took its toll.  Detached from professional circles and the flow of information, they seemed much older than their years.  For them, fifty seemed the new seventy. 

Returning to the North

You may have deduced that I have no intention of slowing down of retiring.  The truth is, I believe my best years are still ahead of me.  Like a fine wine I believe I am only just starting to mature.  Perhaps one day in the future I may well become a vintage but for now it is full steam ahead for me!

And so it is I gladly accepted an opportunity to join Nigel Wright Group to serve PE firms and their portfolio companies by appointing C-Suite professionals across the North.  Nigel Wright Group, with a history spanning three decades, is an example of what Geordies can create.

As a Geordie, I am passionate about the North, a geography with a rich, proud heritage and culture which runs through my veins.  Returning from an eighteen year hiatus in Asia, I learnt much about the Orient.  Despite witnessing staggering levels of GDP and economic growth in Asia, my renewed observation of the North is that is has also changed beyond recognition.  The smoke covered scars of industrialisation I recall whilst growing up during the tail end of industrial Newcastle are now no more than memories. 

New investment for the future

But I wonder whether the same entrepreneurial spirit that positioned the North as a centre of global excellence during industrialisation still exists today.  I believe that spirit is as alive today as it was over a hundred years ago. 

Long gone are the staithes, factories and ship builders along the River Tyne.  In their place I find business parks and former mills which today offer refuge to a plethora of high growth businesses.  These companies a vision of the future provide world class solutions for the Hi-Tech, Pharmaceutical, Advanced Manufacturing and Renewable Energy sectors.

Yes, I am delighted to see the North thriving and I am confident that just as history repeats, the North will once again, with the right support, be a dominant force.  But what support does the North need?

As Ambassador to the Yorkshire and North Institute of Directors, I repeatedly hear the clamour for increased private sector investment combined with a desire to attract and retain the best talent.

Yorkshire North Levelling Up conference

You ask me why I elected to join Nigel Wright Group rather than look towards retirement?  I shall tell you, it is so I may proudly say I did my bit to help the North achieve its zenith in this exciting new world.  And I will achieve my bit by sourcing and securing world class talent to drive and nurture business across the region. 

I shall also work towards my goal by promoting the North to the UK investment community in the South.  If you are as passionate about the North as I, or perhaps you are an investor in the South seeking greater financial return on your investment portfolio, then join me as I host the Yorkshire North Levelling Up conference in conjunction with the Institute of Directors on the 22nd November, 116 Pall Mall, London.  You can register by clicking here.

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North of England Salaries Report 2022

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