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LSBF Great Minds: “It’s important to unify people at all levels of a business,” says MD of KPMG Boxwood

London, 22 July 2016 – As part of the LSBF Great Minds series, Chris Wakerley MBE, Managing Director and Co-Founder of KPMG Boxwood, discussed his experiences of business in an interview with Dr Steve Priddy, Head of Research at London School of Business and Finance (LSBF).

Mr Wakerley co-founded Boxwood in 2000. The company has worked across a range of sectors - including retail, infrastructure, private equity and life sciences – and was acquired by KPMG in 2015.

In 2014, KPMG Boxwood achieved great success for its work with Balfour Beatty Services, unlocking £1.2 billion for the business and winning Project of the Year at the MCA (Management Consultancies Association) Awards.

Speaking about the project, Mr Wakerley said: “What we were able to do was not only work out the challenge intellectually and financially at the top, but also get down to the front line of the business and to see what goes on; to work with people to see how things can be done very differently, how things can be done more efficiently, more effectively and - the bottom line - a lot more cheaply, but also maintaining the quality.”

Mr Wakerley emphasised that picking the right people was crucial to how Boxwood became a success, explaining that his staff were comfortable working at the CEO level as well as on the front line.

However, he does not just put the success down to the people; it was also down to how the company worked “in an innovative, yet sensible and fair way with everybody”. Mr Wakerley added that it was essential “to unify people at all levels in the business about what the solution could be, and actually get it delivered.”

When it comes to hiring, Mr Wakerley said: “We always start with an underpinning education. We're looking at people with a good first degree, and a Master's or an MBA on top of that.

“Then we're really looking for that blend of experience, or something in the CV that makes it jump out - and of course personality, which doesn't necessarily mean the gregarious character. It might be the extremely thoughtful yet introverted person who has an awful lot to add.”

LSBF Great Minds Series

As well as offering programmes dedicated to fostering leadership skills, London School of Business and Finance (LSBF) also endeavours to provide students with insight and inspiration through a number of innovative resources. One of these initiatives is the LSBF Great Minds Series: a collection of video interviews with leading business and political leaders promoting debate on education, employability, entrepreneurship and the economy.

The video series started in 2011 with a conversation with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, followed by an interview with former Education Secretary Lord Kenneth Baker. In 2012, entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson, founder and chairman of the Virgin Group said that universities worldwide should become hubs to boost entrepreneurship and inspire self-starters to develop their own businesses. In 2014, LSBF spoke to Will Butler-Adams from Brompton Bicycle, Guy Hayward-Cole from Nomura Bank International, with former British Prime Minister Sir John Major, entrepreneur and investor Deborah Meaden, Google UK sales director Kevin Mathers and BBC Worldwide CEO Tim Davie.

In 2015, LSBF hosted interviews with Andrew Miller, CEO of Guardian Media Group; Jill McDonald, CEO of McDonald's UK; Kevin Costello, CEO of Haymarket Group; Amy McPherson, CEO of Marriott Hotels Europe; veteran BAFTA-winning broadcaster Jon Snow; live chats with Kevin Ellis, Managing Partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers; Guy Hands, Founder of Terra Firma and many others.

In February 2016, the series won the prestigious Editor’s Award at the PQ Magazine Awards 2016.

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