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Nick Buckles on learning in a crisis

Updated Friday, 29th October 2010

The aftermath of the September 11th 2001 attacks taught Nick Buckles about crisis management the hard way, he tells Leslie Budd.

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Leslie Budd:

What is your best business idea?

Nick Buckles:

I don’t know about idea, but a lesson I've learnt and has stood me in good stead for the last seven or eight years when I was early appointed CEO of what was Securicor, we’d just acquired a major aviation security company in the US and six months later, 9/11 happened and we did the security screening on two of the planes involved in 9/11.  And of course, you can imagine our share price significantly downturned, lots of media firestorm around our US subsidiary, and it was the toughest six months business-wise of my life.  And the Communications Director that’s still with me and the HR Director that’s still with me, we went through it all together, and day by day it just got tougher and tougher, a mini version of the BP situation really.  And really the advice that I give to other people now is however bad it seems at the time, six months down the line it doesn’t seem anywhere near as bad, and in our industry you do get lots of incidents, lots of issues, and you need, and you feel really under pressure for a huge, particularly under the media spotlight.  But the advice is however bad it seems at the time, six months down the line you’ve got over it, things have changed and you can move forward basically.

Leslie Budd:

How do you develop an established company like Securicor into a new services company to face market challenges?


Nick Buckles:

Well I mean our strategy has developed significantly over the last five years.  We would have been seen under the old Securicor brand as a blue collar security business doing cash in transit, and it was predominantly UK.  G4S now is in 120 countries, we’re 30% in government outsourcing, 20% in cash and 50% in integrated security, and we're seen very much a global business, the world’s leader and a solutions provider.  And that’s really come about from acquisitions, building talent in the organisation, and really getting the G4S brand synonymous with being a global leader, and that’s been a process that’s taken place over the last five or six years.








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