An interview with Nick Frankland, CEO of European Operations at Guy Carpenter
Q. Choose four adjectives to describe yourself.
A. Clear-sighted, organised, hard-working and team-focused.
Q. Which historical figure do you most admire and why?
A. Admiral Lord Nelson for his brilliant tactical leadership, quiet heroism and dignity. Trafalgar was a defining moment in British history and an astonishing victory against the odds – Nelson epitomises English greatness.
Q. Who in this industry do you most admire and why?
A. Sir David Rowland for his initial vision as the architect of Lloyd’s “Reconstruction & Renewal” and then absolute commitment in driving through its successful implementation. In the process he arguably saved not just Lloyd’s but the London Insurance Market as we know it.
Q. Outside of this industry what issue are you most passionate about?
A. I am aligned with Prince Charles in my overwhelming desire to see our national heritage being properly recognised and preserved. Considerably more protection and support should be provided for the buildings that represent our history – from Roman remains to the mills of the industrial revolution. A positive example of this is the redevelopment of St Pancras station.
Q. What qualities do you most admire in other people?
A. Above all, I admire honesty, integrity and commitment in people. Such people you can rely on. The best relationships and teams are built on trust, co-operation and shared values – all underpinned by honesty and mutual appreciation.
Q. What qualities do you most dislike in other people?
A. I dislike rudeness and unkindness but more than anything, I dislike being let down. There is no room for compromise in integrity.
Q. What do you know now that you wish you had known when you started in this industry?
A. That clients should never be taken for granted. Clients are a broker’s lifeblood. Every broker needs to guard against the Achilles heels that are complacency and laziness.
Q. What was the last thing that completely surprised you?
A. Benazir Bhutto’s murder was hardly a surprise, but the shock of it actually happening certainly took me aback.
Q. How do you unwind at the end of the day?
A. I commute by car most days and listen to a noisy CD as my initial therapy! Once home a chat with my wife, a walk with the dog and losing myself in the arts and sports sections of the broadsheets, a good book or some terrible TV tends to do the trick.
Q. What motivates you on a Monday morning?
A. I actually rather like Monday mornings for the promise that lies ahead. A bracing run round Hyde Park also helps to get the circulation going!
Q. Whose job would you most like to have and why?
A. Richard Branson has a fabulous time. He has created successful businesses out of his passion for music and flying. He has also built a superb hotel group in some of the world’s most stunning locations – Necker, Majorca and the Atlas Mountains.
Q. What is your biggest regret?
A. Not having enough time to fit everything in around the day job. Not enough time to spend with my family, to visit Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands, to play Pebble Beach, to complete my great unfinished novel.
Q. What are you most proud of having achieved?
A. I started in the reinsurance business in 1980, straight from university, thinking I had at most six months in me. I had turned down a job with the literary agent Ed Victor for a princely salary of £4,000 but thought that the publishing world would claim me back. Now, 27 years later, it feels like quite an achievement to have built a fulfilling career here in reinsurance, an industry that underpins the national economy.
Q. What factors have enabled you to get where you are today?
A. I have benefited from working at five great firms: Sedgwick Payne, Winchester Bowring, BMS, Carvill and now Guy Carpenter. Each has taught me many things and made me better at my job. But more than anything, it has always been the sheer joy of meeting and working with so many talented people and learning from them along the way.