Bevis Watts, UK Managing Director, Triodos Bank
Moon Consulting has extensive experience in securing the talented candidates that drive competitive advantage in a variety of Green industries and cutting edge environmental services, including: waste management, wind power, sustainable lighting and biomass power.
It is with this sector knowledge that we meet with Bevis Watts, Managing Director of Triodos Bank UK, to find out about his route to becoming the UK head of "a world leader in sustainable banking", the challenges he has faced so far and his tips for budding business leaders.
Bevis was appointed Managing Director of Triodos Bank UK in April 2016, having previously held the position of Head of Business Banking. In between these roles, he spent three and a half years as Chief Executive of Avon Wildlife Trust. He describes himself as a "20 year environmentalist" and, given his passion for the sector and the seniority of the role on offer, the opportunity at Avon Wildlife Trust was simply ideal.
Bevis' interest in banking and Triodos' sustainable outlook were instrumental in his decision to return to the bank. Triodos is a global pioneer of sustainable banking. Their mission is to make money work for positive social, environmental and cultural change. They connect savers and investors who want to change the world for the better, with entrepreneurs and sustainable companies doing just that. Triodos are the only specialist bank to offer integrated lending and investment opportunities for sustainable sectors in a number of European countries.
Luck played a significant part in Bevis' early development. "I was fortunate in that my potential was spotted very early on," says Bevis. "I was given the opportunity to hone my leadership skills at an early stage of my career which was a huge advantage. My previous knowledge of social and environmental issues meant I understood and related to the Triodos Bank ethos from the outset," he added.
Managing Directors face many trials and tribulations on a day-to-day basis and we were interested to hear some examples from Bevis. He says, "When tasked with juggling so many duties, it's easy to forget the primary, fundamental responsibilities of your role. As Managing Director of a bank, my first objective is ensuring people's money is safe. It's useful to keep such primary responsibilities in mind when undertaking any task."
"Managing Directors are under constant pressure to deliver change," Bevis continues. "Whilst change is of course instrumental to many business objectives, you shouldn't rush into any decisions; instead choose to judge each situation and the requirement for change on its own individual merit."
Appreciating the value of Bevis' time, it would be remiss of us not to request some words of wisdom. "I put a lot of trust in my employees and distribute as much responsibility as I can," he says. "Taking a step back in order to listen and observe is vital; as is learning to take advice from your colleagues."
"The calibre of personnel you surround yourself with and the relationship you have with them is also vital to the success of a business leader. I am a strong believer in treating others as you wish to be treated and that people follow people, not strategy."
Triodos Bank has a proven and impressive track record of success in the low carbon sector and it is clear Bevis' environmentalist background has immaculately prepared him for his role at Triodos. He positively manages their financial, social and environmental risks, obligations and opportunities (sometimes referred to as people, planet and profit); the importance of which are paramount to the success of every business.
© Moon Consulting 2016
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