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Corporate strategy

A Board-Level Brexit Director is now Required

Rob Peopall Aspire

A leading business consultant tells Pound Sterling Live that companies are still far too complacent over the negative implications that are yet to materialise thanks to Brexit. 

Businesses have been accused of being too complacent on the issue of Brexit by a leading business consultant.

Robert Peopall, managing director of Aspire Performance Improvement Limited, says he believes businesses are simply waiting for Article 50 to be triggered.

"If you’re an exporter you should be all over your international markets right now, and if you import you need to look for alternative suppliers to maintain your margins. Brexit will be a potential thorn in the backside of our organisations if they fail to effectively plan their Brexit strategy,” says Peopall.

The consultant believes businesses should planning now to survive Brexit.

“What’s surprising is the complacency I see from modern businesses who are simply waiting for Article 50 to be triggered. If you’re an exporter you should be all over your international markets right now, and if you import you need to look for alternative suppliers to maintain your margins. Brexit will be a potential thorn in the backside of our organisations if they fail to effectively plan their Brexit strategy,” says Peopall.

Aspire Performance Improvement Limited offer executive training, advisory and consultancy.

Set up earlier in the Spring, it was Peopall’s previous experience in steering businesses through large scale transformational change – such as ERP implementations, mergers, acquisitions and divestments – which led him to start Aspire, building on his 30 year’s consultancy experience where he worked with high profile businesses in the midst of critical change programmes.

Indeed, he was a managing partner - advisory & consulting services UK&I, for Hewlett Packard Enterprise before leaving in February this year to start Aspire.

Just a few months on he is now faced with the biggest large scale change a business could go through – Brexit - and has decided to jump in to the murky waters by offering a Brexit challenge course to help company executives to plan ahead, mitigate risks, tackle issues and take advantage of opportunities.

The course aims to effectively hand-hold chief executives through the next few years ahead, teaching companies how to become aware of regulatory changes, negotiating imports, exports, tariffs to enable business survival and more importantly drive sustainable growth.

Peopall hopes that by enabling these companies to organise, govern and determine their Brexit strategy for themselves, the course can act as a knowledge share with users encouraged to apply their own experiences blended with Aspires intellectual property.

Peopall explains:

“I’ve spent the last few years developing a standard organisational diagnostics  model which allows the client to analyse what each critical change means to them – regardless of the topic. I’m now applying that to Brexit and licensing the course as well as delivering one day training sessions onsite or offsite for clients. I hope to provide chief executives with a structured way to work through the complexities of their individual company problems.”

The course will evolve as Brexit implications become clearer and through the company’s licence-based approach attendee’s get access to all versions of the Brexit course which our team produces on a regular monthly basis helping their team to stay informed on developments.

Peopall is aware that a significant gap in the market – helping organisations to get organised, with an effective governance model now to determine their strategy for addressing Brexit – has opened up.

Peopall believes his team of 30 are well placed to assist bringing a wealth of business transformation and strategic, tactical and operational experience to help.

He says:

“Now Brexit is on the cards this allows us to use our industry experts to help clients, who may have very different requirements, on how to tackle the Union exit. We’re also trying to in-still that in every business there should be a Brexit Director supported by a team, dedicated to following Brexit, and companies need to act now to get ahead of their competition.”

The course covers a brief history of the EU so organisations understand the breadth and depth of the areas that will impact their organisations and the micro and macro-economic impact on various industries.

Peopall says, “We’re already seeing Brexit effects now e.g. currency and UK credit rating falling, cost of borrowing and inflation starting to rise – it’s all happening right now, and companies need to prepare for it.”

Brexit Director Required

Peopall believes Brexit is a true board issue which literally impacts on everything, he says:

“From the mission, the vision and the strategy. Even your functional operating models will be impacted, there will be many changes and businesses need to start preparing now given that Article 50 is likely to be triggered in March 2017.”

On a personal level, he was clearly in the Remain camp, he says:

“I was absolutely in the stay camp, I feel together we’re stronger. Winston Churchill was one of the original founding fathers of the EU in 1946 and I believe we’ve walked away from that original ideal of a strong, united and supportive EU. Issues covered in the run up to the referendum by the media overly focused on a few significant topics like freedom of movement, trade and money pumped into the EU.

“The Government and media failed to focus on the fundamental economic implications of exiting the EU like currency deterioration, negative impact on business results, increasing rounds of redundancies, inflationary pressures around the cost of food and fuel for example.

"We’re going to see more recessionary pressures building, more inflation and it’s going to become harder for people to put food on the table and take their families away on holiday.

“I’m not sure that is what the majority that voted to leave really voted for! I would ask Theresa May not to press the button until it makes absolute sense for the economy to do so and that should not be a decision taken lightly or quickly without consulting the public again once the economic implications have become crystal clear.”

In terms of businesses, Peopall is concerned at the amount of complacency within businesses today, as they wait for negotiations to happen and article 50 to become triggered.

“Organisations have to be proactive – you’re potentially missing out on opportunities if you fail to start acting now,”