Grahame Chilton on life at Gallagher - people, deals, integration and the future

Team work

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Grahame Chilton on life at Gallagher - people, deals, integration and the future

Team work


In his view the business has been re-engineered and is now very different to when he walked in.

However he stressed that it was due to team work.

“I never use the word staff or employee, I go for a team-based culture,” Chilton highlighted.

“The only thing I can take any credit for is bringing together a group of highly motivated and innovative executive team members who have helped make me look quite clever.

“Most leaders surround themselves with people who aren’t quite as bright as them. I’m very pleased to say there isn’t a single one of my leaders who doesn’t have a higher IQ or higher educational standard than I achieved.”

Part of this team process was making decisions.

“Whatever the decisions we have taken whether they were right or wrong they were decisions,” he continued.

“A lot of leaders today fail to make decisions.”

Along with the executive team, Chilton has spent the years making sure there were quarterly meetings with the top 100 managers laying out a detailed view of what was expected of them.

Whatever the decisions we have taken whether they were right or wrong they were decisions… A lot of leaders today fail to make decisions

And all staff were presented to at least once a year.

“It sounds easy but with over 50 locations and over 4,000 people it is a logistic and emotional nightmare but it worked very successfully.”

His reasoning was that the integration needed to engage hearts and minds.

“People have a choice of where they work. They want to know where they are going, where their leaders want to go, what is expected of them and what that delivery should look like.”

Grahame Chilton

The ‘better together’ events roadshows around the country, from Jersey to Scotland, all came against a backdrop of an ever-changing industry from GDPR to Brexit.

“You cannot over-communicate,” Chilton underlined.

“It [the integration] was achieved by picking a great team of individuals, empowering them, backing them and trusting them along with the trust of our US parent and delivering it.”

Gallagher returned to buying in the UK this May with its purchase of Risk Services.

While the firm had made acquisitions around the world, Chilton underlined that in the UK “it was very important” to wait until it was able to build “on a secure footing”.

“I’m really pleased that we now have extraordinarily deep and secure footings and therefore it was the right time to reinvigorate our pipeline,” he observed.

“We are very close on some more [deals] and we have a unique proposition.”

Adding: “If you come to Gallaghers you know you are coming to an ethical well-run company. You know exactly how your clients will be treated over time and where you and your team members will fit in the organisation.”

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