The Hoggett Bowers 2 Minute Interview: Will Gardiner
Will Gardiner, CEO, Drax Group plc
Will has been the key architect of Drax’s purpose and strategy, driving the sustainability agenda from the top, including response to the climate change crisis, and ensuring that they are delivering for all their stakeholders. Will is also a non-executive board member of the Sustainable Biomass Program.
What challenge did you tackle and overcome in your business this week?
Our big challenge this week was managing the exit from lockdown. Early in May, we had already announced to our colleagues that we would continue with our current working practices through May, as long as they were consistent with government guidelines. Critical workers at our power stations would continue working, safely and with social distancing, to ensure that we keep the lights on for the country. The rest of our staff would continue to work effectively from home. Having heard the government guidelines, we reiterated to colleagues that our working arrangements would not change, and that meant the week has gone smoothly for us.
We have also been working hard to support our communities and customers through COVID-19. So far we’ve supplied more than 850 laptops to school children that need them to keep on learning, as well as supplying more than 170 small care homes with free energy freeing up funds for much needed PPE.
Which ongoing business challenge is occupying your thoughts this week/month?
It is critical that, as a nation, we Bounce Forward as we come out of lockdown. We need to redouble our commitment to make the social, political and environmental changes that we were working on before COVID-19. That means levelling up the north, committing to supporting the Northern Powerhouse, and ensuring we can deliver on our commitment to Net Zero. We are working hard on providing a Carbon capture and Storage solution for the government in the Humber Region that will do both of those things – preserving 50,000 industrial jobs and creating new opportunities and industries while helping deliver Net Zero by 2050.
Best thing about working from home/remotely?
Not having to wear shoes!
Worst thing about working from home/remotely?
I miss my morning Cappuccino from Pret a Manger.
Best factual news source on COVID-19?
Worldometer – has great charts of infection rates for the world and country by country.
Who or what has inspired you this week? (They don’t need to be famous)
My daughter baking cupcakes and delivering them to an elderly neighbour who is self-isolating. He loved them.
Bestprogramme/film you watched on TV/streaming this week?
My family and I have been watching West Wing – inspiring government leadership.
Are you doingmore or less exercisethan a typical week when you commute and if more, what?
I am doing more. I am running a lot, and doing High Intensity Interval Training with my two sons (20 and 22). I am happy that I can keep up – barely.
What are you consuming more of (that you should not be) now you are not in an office environment?
I am a big cheese fan, and am very happy that La Fromagerie, an outstanding Cheese Shop in Marylebone, is delivering.
Any words of wisdom?
It can be frustrating not being able to focus on long term plans and important goals. Give yourself credit for achieving the important things you are doing to help colleagues get through this crisis. There is always time for the long term.