A little while ago we welcomed Chris Lovell as our new chairman of the board – after saying goodbye to Roderick Corrie. Roddy’s departure gave us a moment to pause and reflect on just how far we’ve come in the 11 years he’s been with us. In that time we’ve gone from a handful of staff trying to prove webcasting was a good idea to the UK’s leading provider of the technology to the public sector.
It’s been quite a ride – and it felt entirely appropriate to give Roddy a decent send-off. In fact, it’s probably part of the reason why it’s taken us a while to get round to talking about it here.
Roddy’s critical, intelligent support for the company has helped turn a good idea into a thriving business; he’s a big part of the reason we’re doing so well. But things change: Roddy has new challenges to take on – as does Public-i.
And we know that Chris will challenge us – to make us think bigger and to start to consider the world outside of local government more. In fact, we’re quite sure that there is a great deal we can learn from him.
Chris is now the owner and CEO of Golley Slater, which under his stewardship has grown to become one of the UK’s largest independent, privately owned marketing services networks, but he had a rather surprising start to his career.
After leaving school, he was the drummer for the band Jaguar, which in the late 70s and early 80s was part of the UK’s hugely popular heavy metal scene. Perhaps just as surprisingly, Chris says it offered him his first lessons in the importance of good organisation and management. “I could see that we were never going to make it big because we didn’t have the right management or infrastructure. We played with Def Leppard and I saw how they approached things and were really well managed,” he said.
The lessons were well learned. After stints at firms including McCann Erikson and Radio Rentals, he started his own business, building it into a successful marketing agency before selling up and later buying Golley Slater.
With such beginnings, it is perhaps not surprising that Chris’s interests are broad: he’s also a trustee at UNICEF and the owner of his own farm. He is even involved a company that runs the seed potato propagation for Walkers crisps. Sadly, he hasn’t yet brought any bags into the office. But we’re waiting!
Joining Public-i’s board
Having been introduced to Public-i some time ago by his good friend Roddy, Chris decided he’d like to get involved in the firm last year after meeting Catherine, our chief executive. He said: “I was then convinced this is something that could go places – it was the way in which she had put a plan together and I thought I could add to that by helping her thinking.”
Chris will be looking to offer his knowledge of sales and business development to Public-i at a time when we’re looking develop our market – with such marked changes to technology and to government.
In fact, some might call these exciting times for us, but Chris makes a good point to refute this: “I think that by definition being in a tech business you have to be in the game of where that tech is being used and is developing and adapting – so by definition it’s exciting times. It has to be exciting times – if it isn’t you have to worry!”