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The greatest Briton: Richard Branson

first_imgThe greatest Briton: Richard BransonOn 18 Feb 2003 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article If the BBC can do it, so canPersonnel Today. We want to know which Briton you rate as the greatest peoplemanager and leader of all time. Personnel Today has invited 10 leading figuresin the field of management to nominate individuals they believe are the best,and then convince you they are right. To vote, visit the voting form where you will also find summaries of all 10nominees. The voting closes on Tuesday 4th March 2003.This week’s nominee is:Richard BransonBy Mike Broad, assistanteditor, Personnel TodaySir Richard Branson has falleninto that dangerous media category also occupied by the likes of RobbieWilliams, Chris Tarrant and Tony Blair – the over-exposed. One day they were all thedarlings of the media, up on a pedestal; the next, they were over-exposed andheading earthwards. It can be a simple trigger – one song too many aboutyourself, another contrived pause for the audience, or that last insincerepromise.The press may have tired ofthem, but that doesn’t mean they have become unpopular with the importantpeople – the public. Their songs still get to number one, they still attracthuge TV ratings and still live in Downing Street. And they still  inspire, entertain or lead large numbers ofpeople.Despite Richard Branson’s loveaffair with the press being over, he has delivered all three of these latterthings for more than 30 years, and the people love him. Whenever there is apoll for a hypothetical leader, Branson always wins – if the public had hadtheir way, he would be the Mayor of London and the Democratic Republic ofBritain’s head of state. Branson may have pulled onepublicity stunt too many (surely it was a crime against humanity for him to dona wedding dress for the launch of Virgin Bride), but I challenge you to name abetter British business leader. In fact, just try naming 10 British businessleaders, good or bad. In a square mile of grey suits, Branson is a noisymaverick, a bit of fun. But does being exuberant andbit of fun make him the Greatest Briton in Management and Leadership? To winthis title – and I am confident he will win – I have to prove three things.First, that he is a great businessman; second, a great leader and, finally, agreat Briton. His business record is no joke.While he claims to have only recently worked out the difference between net andgross, the 53-year-old has created a business empire of more than 270 brandedcompanies. He is personally worth a cool £1bn. While many have accused him ofbeing a lucky chancer, this could not be further from the truth. Branson doestake chances, but he manages the risk carefully. Look at his launches into thecola and mobile phones markets. In his war with the coke giants, Bransonensured that the costs of producing Virgin Cola were negligible, so his riskonly relates to the size of the marketing budget.  In the mobile phones market,the expensive part is setting up and maintaining the communication network. ButBranson hooked up with T-Mobile and uses its network, cutting overheads andallowing it to deliver better value to the customer. This sort of opportunism,and his habitual re-investment in his businesses, has led to the Virgin Grouphaving an annual turnover of £3.5bn. But is he a great leader?People work for Virgin because they want to work for Branson. He has imbued allof his companies with his enthusiasm, and consequently, Virgin constantly vieswith the BBC and the Foreign Office for the top spot in graduates’ employerwish lists. “Convention dictates that acompany should look after its shareholders first, its customers next and lastof all worry about its employees,” says Branson. “Virgin does the opposite. Forus employees matter most. It just seems common sense to me that if you startwith a happy, well-motivated workforce, you’re much more likely to have happycustomers. In due course the resulting profits will make your shareholdershappy.” A great Briton? Undoubtedly. Welove an underdog, and Branson always positions himself as the little man. He tookon British Airways over their ‘dirty tricks’ campaign and had his day in court.OK, he was less successful at taking on the ‘fat cats’ of Camelot – but hestill received great public support. “My interest in life comes fromsetting myself huge, apparently unachievable challenges, and trying to riseabove them,” he says.We also love a self-made man.Branson doesn’t have an Oxbridge degree, or a rich daddy. He is one of us(despite owning a Caribbean island).There have also been the biggestures. He flew to Baghdad to rescue the ‘human shield’ prior to the GulfWar, and bid to run the National Lottery franchise on a not-for-profit basis. But he is no saint. He had anearly run-in with the authorities over music bootlegging, and more recentlyjournalists made a lot of the offshore financing of his businesses to reducehis tax liabilities. While legal, it is hardly the work of a greatphilanthropist. Bill Gates is spending his time creating the world’s largestcharity, for example.But surely this just adds toBranson’s charisma; he’s a scruffy, balloon-flying maverick, who gets his kicksfrom challenging the established order and creating businesses that he can beproud of. He doesn’t have a higher calling, but who cares – the 35,000employees who have helped him create one of the world’s leading brandscertainly don’t. “Some people say that my visionfor Virgin breaks all the rules and is too wildly kaleidoscopic; others analyseit down to the last degree and then write academic papers on it. As for me, Ijust pick up the phone and get on with it,” he says. Gates may be a greatphilanthropist, and one of the few businessmen with a personal and corporatebrand as strong as Branson’s, but who would you rather have lunch with? And,more importantly, who would you rather work for?Branson’s CV1950 Born in Surrey1968 After leaving school with few qualifications, Branson launches Studentmagazine1971 First Virgin record shop in London1973 Virgin record label is launched and releases Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells1984 Takes to the air with Virgin Atlantic1993 Wins libel action against British Airways2000 Fails in bid to run National Lottery 2001 Significant expansion of Virgin companies, including Atlantic, Mobile,Money and Active Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Housing minister reveals dates for Christmas bailiff evictions truce

first_imgHome » News » Housing minister reveals dates for Christmas bailiff evictions truce previous nextRegulation & LawHousing minister reveals dates for Christmas bailiff evictions truceChris Pincher reveals how long it will last in response to a written question from Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Olney.Nigel Lewis23rd September 202001,428 Views Letting agents will not be able to instruct bailiffs to complete evictions between 11th December 2020 and 11th January next year, the government has confirmed.The ‘Christmas truce’ on bailiff evictions in England was announced last week but the dates have only now been confirmed.The announcement was made by housing minister Chris Pincher (pictured) in a characteristically low-key manner, tacked the announcement onto the end of a written answer to a question by Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Olney.She had wanted to know if tenants under threat of eviction but not covered by the six-month notice period extension for evictions to six months would receive support.This minister said its current support package for financially struggling tenants was enough, and then revealed the Christmas truce dates.Bailiff guidance“In addition, guidance will also be issued to bailiffs highlighting that they should not enforce possession orders in places where local public health restrictions have been introduced by government through legislation,” he said, confirming the government’s previously stated plans.At the moment, this covers large areas of the UK where existing local restrictions exist including in parts of Leicester, Bolton, Greater Manchester and the North East, North West, West Midlands and West Yorkshire.More local lockdowns are expected as the government attempts to keep a lid on the rising ‘second wave’ of Covid infections in England.Bailiff local lockdowns christopher pincher evictions September 23, 2020Nigel LewisWhat’s your opinion? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Related articles BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021 City dwellers most satisfied with where they live30th April 2021 Hong Kong remains most expensive city to rent with London in 4th place30th April 2021last_img read more

Dead Bears on the Highway

first_img“Bears do really well with underpasses, as do bobcats,” Hunter said. “White tailed deer will use culverts and underpasses if they are large enough. Elk, not so much. Elk like open landscapes and large structures. Elk like overpasses.” Now, a team of transportation officials and wildlife biologists are studying the corridor. Dr. Liz Hillard, a wildlife scientist with the Wildlands Network, is one of the lead scientists on the project, studying animal behavior and how they interact with the roadway. When Interstate 40 opened through the Pigeon River Gorge in 1968, the bear population was a fraction of what it is today. With an estimated population of more than 1,500 in the area today, bears are increasingly attempting to cross the road in search of food and habitat.  “You want large parcels of land that are actually connected where the wildlife can traverse into another habitat for part of their annual cycle,” Rutledge said. “You have to not only expand your habitat but have quality habitat.” Bear, deer, and elk also pose a danger to the people driving through this mountainous landscape at high speeds. Over 26,000 vehicles pass through this corridor every day.  “This property was a top conservation priority for us, and it will provide important permeability and connectivity for wildlife,” says Michelle Pugliese, Land Protection Director for SAHC.  Dr. Ron Sutherland, chief scientist for the Wildlands Network, said he and his team are working on mapping a more extensive wildlife corridor that would extend from Everglades National Park to Quebec.  And land trusts such as the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy (SAHC) are working with the coalition to buy available properties or secure conservation easements throughout the Interstate 40 corridor. SAHC has already purchased two key parcels in the corridor that could provide safe passage for wildlife. One of them, the Wilkins Creek tract—a 187-acre parcel in the Interstate 40 corridor—was just purchased last month using funds donated from a generous philanthropist. The property is across from Great Smoky Mountains National Park, adjacent to the Interstate 40 Welcome Center, and shares a half-mile border with Pisgah National Forest. Best of all, it already has two concrete box culverts that pass under Interstate 40 which wildlife can use to cross from the park to adjacent national forests. Hunter hopes the study will answer some important questions. “Where are animals being killed? Why? Is it the topography? Is it the ridges? Are they following streams? What is it about the landscape that the road cuts through that’s causing animals to be killed with greater frequency in some areas than others?” Safe Passage “These animals did not evolve with the road there,” said Jeff Hunter, senior program manager at the National Parks Conservation Association. “They’ve been moving across this landscape for millennia. These travel corridors are a learned behavior. Adults teach the young how to move through this landscape.” With this detailed location information, scientists will have a better understanding of where a new culvert or overpass might be beneficial or where an existing structure could be modified to work better. While the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission has been doing some of this corridor work since the 1990s, there is now a push for larger-scale projects.  Adding underpasses or overpasses would not only help animals safely cross major roadways but would also reduce the money spent on accidents and prevent future human injuries. A full-grown bull elk can weigh upwards of 900 pounds, causing more damage to cars and injuries to drivers than bears and deer.   The study includes a GPS collaring program of 11 elk in the area. A satellite confirms the elk’s location every hour, allowing researchers to understand their movement patterns along these roadways, specifically where they’re crossing. “We’ll also learn how these roadways might be barriers to movement,” says Hilliard. “We’ll even be able to figure out seasonally and what months elk are more likely to be in roadways. “As it continues to get warmer, many species are going to want to migrate northward in this hemisphere and uphill to higher elevations,” Sutherland said. “So, keeping movement pathways open is how we let not just animals, but plants migrate to keep up with their acceptable climate conditions.” Although Interstate 40 runs 2,560 miles from the coast of North Carolina to California, a 28-mile stretch through the Smokies is the deadliest and most dangerous. The Smokies section of Interstate 40 winds through the Pigeon River Gorge and alongside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Cherokee and Pisgah National Forests. It’s one of the wildest spots on the map, and also one of the most heavily traveled by vehicles. The corridor is the intersection of wildlife habitat and human safety. For now, the Interstate 40 connectivity project will continue to collect data and study the best ways to implement solutions. The project is also a proactive attempt to prevent a similar situation from happening with the growing elk population. Elk had largely been eliminated from the landscape by the late 1700s until the species was reintroduced to Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 2001. center_img “In the western United States and Canada, they’ve been doing habitat corridor work for a long time,” Rutledge said. “Now it’s heading east.” Hunter and Hillard are part of a coalition of stakeholders working on identifying hotspots where wildlife vehicle collisions are more likely to occur and finding solutions to prevent future damages. While the exact cost of wildlife crossings depends on the location and a number of other factors, building a new structure can cost millions of dollars. Researchers are looking at ways they can improve existing structures, such as adding fencing, to help keep costs down.  Looking to the future, a more connected landscape will be important as climate change affects more habitats.  The Interstate 40 project is only one part of a larger issue concerning habitat connectivity on the East Coast.  “We have to be sure that we can put some funding mechanisms in place,” said Dr. Liz Rutledge, a wildlife specialist with the North Carolina Wildlife Federation. “Usually, that requires public support to get accomplished. This could be used as an example of how you can do conservation and habitat work in other areas of the state for other species. It’s a model of how you develop a network.” Bear collisions with vehicles are increasing, especially in places like Interstate 40 adjacent to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. What can be done to keep the roads safe for motorists and wildlife? While most road crossing projects focus on larger animals like bear and elk, there is less research being done on the smaller animals that are equally important to habitats and ecosystems.   “If we can connect animals into a broader network of habitats, then they are much more likely to survive,” says Sutherland, “especially as more and more people move into Southern Appalachia.” Plans for the Eastern Wildway show a wildlife corridor connecting protected places like the Adirondacks, Shenandoah Valley, and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Especially in an era of climate change, the ability of species to move across the landscape enables them to adapt and survive. “Nobody wants to see a species become inbred in a given park,” Sutherland said. “Maintaining the connections between these places allows genes to flow back and forth and allows populations to maintain healthy levels of genetic diversity.” From an ecological perspective, Interstate 40 probably never should have been built in its current location. It’s one of the most dangerous stretches of interstate anywhere in the U.S. It also bisects some of the most biologically diverse public lands and creates a major barrier to wildlife movement.  Appalachia is the most important wildlife migration route in the country. this map shows the major animal migrations across the united states; animals rely on the wildlands of Appalachia more than anywhere else, which makes wildlife corridors even more important for this region. / map courtesy of the nature conservancy’s migrations in motion Down the Road “It’s harder to think about how we get box turtles, snakes, or salamanders across an I-40,” Sutherland said. “A chain linked fence doesn’t work very well to guide small animals to a wildlife crossing. It might work well for bear and elk, but a salamander would go right through it.”  Once the data has been collected, researchers will work with transportation officials and other stakeholders to figure out how to blend the science, engineering, and economics. The coalition is looking at a variety of funding sources, from state and federal government funds to private donations.  “Interstate 40 acts as barriers to animal movement, whether it’s reducing habitat connectivity or just increasing animal mortality,” she said.  A report issued by the Federal Highway Administration estimated that over 300,000 vehicular accidents in the United States are caused by wildlife every year. These collisions result in more than $8.3 billion annually in car repairs, medical bills, and law enforcement services. last_img read more