An interview with Lee Brandon, director and chief executive officer of PRO Insurance Solutions.
Choose four adjectives to describe yourself.
I do not really like talking about myself. I hope that others find me to be open, good under pressure, have sound judgement and demonstrate capable leadership.
Which historical figure do you most admire and why?
Henry V. One reason is the British love of the underdog – how the vastly outnumbered English army (by 3:1 by the French) by inspired leadership, motivation and superior tactics completely routed the opposition, which led to a period of dominance and stability.
Who in this industry do you most admire and why?
There isn’t one person. I’m lucky enough to have met and I continue to meet so many interesting people with different qualities. I will not pick out one individual who stands above the others.
Outside of this industry what issue are you most passionate about?
The British countryside and its wildlife. I believe it’s vital that we enjoy and value both and that we preserve them for future generations. I feel strongly that wildlife needs open spaces almost as much as people do.
What qualities do you most admire in other people?
Commitment, honesty, optimism and commonsense, whilst a sense of humour always helps!
What qualities do you most dislike in other people?
People with an inflated and unjustified sense of self-importance and those with a lack of respect for others, rudeness and apathy.
What do you know now that you wish you had known when you started in this industry?
Since I started in insurance 37 years ago it’s changed so much, as indeed the whole world has changed. The important thing turning the question around is to recognise that you always have change, to welcome it, to try and anticipate it and shape it where you can and always look forward rather than back.
What was the last thing that completely surprised you?
West Ham United staying in the premiership last year. Despite having had a dire season winning seven of the last nine games including at Old Trafford on the last day of the season surprised everyone, not least me. I support West Ham – that’s why I’m losing my hair – it’s got nothing to do with work. This feat probably enables you to understand some of the qualities I most admire in people – optimism, commitment and humour.
How do you unwind at the end of the day?
When I leave the office environment I do find it fairly easy to unwind, especially spending time with family and friends. I chauffer my sons around, try to play golf or go to the gym and go out for drinks and meals with friends.
What motivates you on a Monday morning?
Looking forward to the new challenges, seeing the people again, developing the ideas you have whilst you’re cutting the grass at the weekend and just getting the job done.
Whose job would you most like to have and why?
Tiger Woods. He’s got the talent and the determination to win, playing a sport that he loves in beautiful surroundings, bringing pleasure to so many people and being very well rewarded in the process.
What is your biggest regret?
My biggest regret is losing my wife to cancer last year.
What are you most proud of having achieved?
The way my boys are growing up and the way they have coped with the last two years. From a work point of view it’s the pride from 13 years of continual growth at PRO and coupled with that, watching the way – and hopefully helping – how individuals have developed and matured and been a key part of this continuous success.
What factors have enabled you to get where you are today?
We’ve also built a great team of people at PRO. Certainly the experiences I’ve had throughout my working career and the fact that I’ve been able to learn from those has been critical. You also always need a slice of luck. The greatest factor has been and remains my wonderfully supportive family and friends – they provide the perfect balance to the pressures of the workplace.