What leaders think
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The Hoggett Bowers 2 Minute Interview: Michael Lewis

Michael Lewis, Chief Executive Officer, E.ON UK
Michael Lewis, Chief Executive Officer, E.ON UK

Michael joined E.ON UK as Chief Executive Officer in 2017, having worked in the energy industry for over 25 years. At E.ON, our vision for the future of energy is ambitious. We have the chance to lead the energy industry through a transformation to a smart, sustainable and personalised energy world, working with and for the benefit of our customers.

What challenge did you tackle and overcome in your business this week?

We’ve been ramping back up to full service post lockdown over the last three to four weeks as we want to ensure our customers can rely on us being back to business as usual. This has brought some big IT challenges with it. Things have improved significantly this week as we have had a laser beam focus.

Which ongoing business challenge is occupying your thoughts this week/month? 

Apart from the restructuring of our business following the acquisition of npower (which has been on my mind continuously for 18 months), the big challenge is how we build back out of COVID-19 towards zero carbon. This has been a big focus for Government and we are looking to help shape the right policy environment so we can get people back to work and make some big progress towards building a more sustainable economy.

Best thing about working from home/remotely?

No commute. Hardly any travelling. No nights away in hotels. It liberates so much time for other things and takes a lot of stress out of the day.

Worst thing about working from home/remotely? 

Whilst working remotely has been much easier and more productive than I ever thought it would be, I do miss the informal conversations and the day-to-day interactions with colleagues. There is definitely something missing from the work day.

What is the most significant change to the way you work as a consequence of the lockdown?

Using Teams or Zoom by default. I even use my telephone less than I did pre-lockdown. It seems to have replaced telephone calls as well as face to face meetings.

What changes are you most likely to keep and what will you definitely not continue, post lockdown?

Definitely more flexible working. This will clearly be necessary in view of social distancing, but it’s also been desirable – it’s all about getting the balance right in the future. Enough time in the office to get the right level of colleague interaction, but making sure we make the right decisions about ‚ where ‘we work as much as‚ how‘ we work.

Who or what has inspired you this week? (They don’t need to be famous)

My children. They both received their degrees this week – both in line with expectations thankfully. II’s been incredibly difficult for young people studying for exams during lockdown, and I know from personal experience how much stress (over and above the normal) it has caused for families up and down the country, as schools and universities changed their teaching, lecturing and assessments almost overnight. This cohort has certainly endured and come through an incredibly difficult and stressful time.

Best programme/film you watched on TV/streaming this week?

Once Upon a Time in Iraq. It is a fascinating insight into what went wrong from the perspective of the people who were there and who witnessed the events. It is a real eye opener.

Are you doing more or less exercise than a typical week when you commute and if more, what?

Definitely more exercise, but different. I used to go to the gym a couple of times a week. Now it’s a long walk every day, and even longer at the weekend. The weather has certainly helped, but it’s also had the added bonus of getting to know the countryside around Warwickshire much better.

What are you consuming more of (that you should not be) now you are not in an office environment?

Less coffee, more tea. I never liked the tea at work so I always drank coffee in the office. Now I can make my own tea I never drink coffee – but far too much tea.

Any words of wisdom?

I’ve had time to read much more during lockdown and one of the books I’m reading is the Daily Stoic – 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance and the Art of Living. There is a huge amount of wisdom in there, so my word of wisdom would be to read that book.