As part of a our new interview series, Emma Peterson, Director of Recruit121 and Finance Awards Wales, talks to a whole host of professionals in and around Wales’ thriving Finance Sector. This week Emma caught up with Business News Wales: Mike Fowler, Group Finance Director of Leekes.
Tell me a bit about Leekes Retail and Leisure Group.
The Leekes Group is a fourth generation family company that has been in existence for over 120 years. It started as an ironmonger in the Rhondda valley and has grown to £100m group turnover, employing over 1,200 people across the three divisions: the home department store retail company, the Vale Hotel, Golf and Spa Resort and a property development business.
What are your future plans for the group?
There are ambitious plans for further expansion across all three divisions of the Group including the development of 29 further bedrooms and a quality restaurant for the Vale Resort at the Grade 1 listed Hensol Castle and further residential development in the property division.
What are the advantages of doing business in Wales?
We have benefited from long standing loyalty from both our talented pool of employees and important customers across the group.
What was it about the Finance Awards Wales that made you want to get involved?
The finance sector is increasingly valuable to Wales and I believed it was important to support an event that recognised the exceptional talent we have and their achievements.
What was the standard of the applications and nominations?
The standard of the applications has been consistently high and exemplifies the degree of talent and potential we have in the Welsh Finance industry.
How important is it for Welsh businesses to nurture future talent?
If Wales is to continue to expand as a centre for inward business investment, it must ensure that it has the required skill base across all employment sectors.
What would your advice be to someone looking to enter the industry?
I think the most important attribute for a finance professional is commercial acumen. Any aspiring finance professional should therefore try to ensure that it he or she joins an organisation that will enable them to acquire as broad a range of experience as possible. In order to acquire those commercial skills, analytical attention to detail is often the most important skill set.