Adtentus MD and Heathrow CEO call on government to think again

Published by Richard Yarrick-Holmes on July 29th 2020, 8:11am

Lisa Davies told the Leaders Council that it is time for government-backed business to be looked at in a new light. Meanwhile, Heathrow boss John Holland-Kaye has urged the government to rethink their current quarantine rules.

Leadership in Focus

Lisa Davies, managing director of Adtentus, is an expert in business growth, innovation and turnaround. Speaking exclusively to The Leaders Council of Great Britain and Northern Ireland,  Davies called for a fresh approach from both business and the government.

Arguing that the government should create the platform for businesses like hers to speak to the business leaders who need help during this unprecedented period, Davies said, ‘It is the government's responsibility to create the platforms for these people to support as many organisations at one time. But this is very much about the ecosystem. We are, right now, in a non-compete moment. Our ability to genuinely collaborate, share ideas and execute new business models, services, products is the basis of the UK success.’

Davies also urged businesses to use this period as an opportunity for companies to think radically but sensibly about certain parts of their business:

‘Now is the time for some companies to sell parts of the business. To evaluate whether they are genuinely growing those divisions, brands or products to their fullest potential.

‘If the answer to that is 'no', then they should consider selling them to consortiums with careful combination of sector knowledge and innovation and let those consortiums grow those businesses so that they are able to float.

‘We’ve got a lot of water, but we need a lot more boats to make some noise.’

For Davies, people with experience should train, people with money should invest, and people with ideas, plans and strategies should be matched with supporters and investors. To that end, she suggests it may be the time to consider government backed and funded business in a new way.

She says: "I believe now is the time to consider government backed and government funded business in a new light, maybe even at a new level."

Leadership Today

The Times leads this morning with a warning from the PM that a second wave in Europe has begun. 

‘Let’s be absolutely clear about what’s happening in Europe,’ Boris Johnson said. ‘Among some of our European friends, I’m afraid you are starting to see in some places the signs of a second wave of the pandemic.

‘It’s vital that when people are coming back from abroad, if they are coming back from a place where I’m afraid there is another outbreak, they must go into quarantine. That’s why we have taken the action that we have and we will continue, throughout the summer, to take such action where it is necessary.’

As a result, travellers to Belgium, Luxembourg and Croatia may soon join Spain on the quarantine list.

Such quarantines are likely to be disastrous for the tourism sector, with The Telegraph reporting that the chief executive of Heathrow Airport has urged the government to allow passengers to be tested for Covid-19 on their arrival, which, if they tested negative, would prevent the need for them to quarantine.

John Holland-Kaye told the newspaper, ‘We need to find a way of getting ‘red countries’ opened up again. Testing is the only viable way of doing that in the absence of a vaccine. A lot of countries which are red-listed have millions of people who don’t have the disease and can’t travel. That’s holding back economic recovery.

‘I had been expecting it would take longer before the Government got to focus on testing as being the next approach to opening borders but now I think we can move fast.

‘There is a real urgency to do that. If we can get something up and running in two weeks’ time, then people travelling to Spain today could [go through the scheme] on the way back.’

Today’s Times leader, while praising the government for acting swiftly to impose a quarantine on travellers returning from Spain, has suggested that it is unnecessary for the quarantine to apply to the whole country:

‘As alarming as Spain’s surge is, the authorities there protest that the surge is predominantly in the country’s northeast. Some other popular destinations, including the Balearic islands, have rates lower than most of the UK. This is also true of the Canary Islands, 1,000 miles from the mainland and served by direct flights. A blanket rule has the virtue of simplicity, but makes little sense. A similar situation exists in neighbouring Portugal, where the Foreign Office advises against travel to the mainland, but quarantine applies equally to Madeira and the Azores.

‘Having become well practised at U-turns, the government should make one now over the islands. With adept communication, the public are perfectly capable of comprehending the difference between mainland Spain, where the risk is high in parts, and the Balearics and Canaries, where it is lower than in much of England.’

Leadership in History

On this day in 1905, US Secretary of War William Howard Taft was believed to have made a secret agreement with Japanese Prime Minister Katsura granting Japan free rein in Korea in return for non-interference with the US in the Philippines.

The agreement came to light in 1924, when scholar Tyler Dennet discovered the document and described it as ‘the text of perhaps the most remarkable “executive agreement” in the history of the foreign relations of the United States’.

However, subsequent historians have downplayed the significance, claiming that no official agreement was ever made and that both Taft and Katsura were simply restating well-known official policies of their respective governments. Taft later claimed that his agreement with Katsura was made in a private capacity and that, as the Secretary of War rather than Secretary of State, he was not an official representative of the US government. 

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The Leaders Council of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a network of the most influential figures from across the country. Through detailed case studies, news coverage, podcasts and leadership events, we strive to unearth the authentic voice of British industry. Find out more About us and our Membership Benefits.

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Authored By

Richard Yarrick-Holmes
Associate Editor
July 29th 2020, 8:11am

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