Great news – our CEO Edwin Bessant has been announced the winner for 2019 in the European CEO Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards in the category of Outsourcing Solutions for Western Europe.
We decided to share the interview that Edwin gave to the judging panel, to demonstrate why he was chosen for the accolade…
How rewarding is running a successful business?
The greatest reward I get from running a successful business is undoubtedly the satisfaction that comes from delivering exceptional results to our clients, partners, and shareholders and of course our employees. Ceuta Group is a leading global outsourced provider of sales, marketing, branding and distribution services to the Health & Personal Care and Food & Drink industries. This puts us in the unique position of driving our client’s business growth by helping them to grow their brands globally and reach their potential without the risk of failure. We create tangible results, fast and effectively. Hearing from a client how we have delivered a positive impact to their business, gives us all exceptional satisfaction in knowing that we have made a difference.
What would you have done differently?
It’s too easy for CEOs to look back at decisions and focus on what they could have done differently. My personal ethos is never to look back, only ever to look forward – I can have an impact on what will happen in the future, but I cannot change the past. The only benefit in briefly reflecting on the past is to learn and grow from each and every experience. There have been times when I have had to take calculated risks, or make quick decisions, but with each and every one I have accepted the outcome and used it to inform my next decision. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but it’s experience that truly creates wisdom. I encourage my management and leadership team to take this approach too by focusing on solutions, not problems. We also have a robust business strategy of planning three years ahead, to ensure our business still delivers to our industry. This approach has underpinned our consistent growth and success over 25 years and ensures that we are fully prepared for the future, protecting the business, our people and our clients.
What traits do you see in yourself that have made you successful?
This depends on what your view of successful is! Success for me is being in a position to keep a wide eye on the future, not just within our market sector but externally.
I also believe it is knowing that we can deliver the best job security and exciting future prospects to our employees. It is that our clients can rely on us knowing their brands and businesses are in safe hands. And it is being in a position to support others through our CSR strategy, and personally for me to be able to give back to my local community and help young vulnerable people to get on to the career ladder.
I believe that my leadership skills have allowed me to create success through listening to my teams; being a true team player willing to participate at every level; leading by example; and staying true to my personal morals and values in every business decision I make – whether that is in the next business we will acquire, or in joining my team to take part in our next charity fundraising event!
I operate with strong supportive leadership, motivation, compassion, humility, and with a realistic, calm and measured approach. I have an open management approach that allows my leadership team to manage freely under a STEM (Strategy to Execution Management) framework and budgetary process. This empowers them to initiate, act with expediency, and deliver to my expectations. Together with their passion, commitment and energy, we deliver success and have some fun along the way.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
In 1994, I started the business from seed from my home in Bournemouth with an outstanding and supportive partner, Annette D’Abreo. At that time, I had nothing but an idea of how to fill a gap in the market. 25 years later, I am so proud to have achieved success with a business that has gained Global Leadership status with offices in London, New York, Singapore, Sydney and Amsterdam. Our ‘Brand Fostering’ service is operating across 107+ markets and we now have 12 companies and 500 employees in the group delivering our services: Category & Shopper Insights, Brand Creative, Digital Marketing, Sales & Marketing, Experiential Marketing, Logistics and Advisory.
This achievement was brought to life for me recently when Ceuta Group was featured in Prince Charles’ 70th Birthday Book ‘Our Future King’, which highlights the UK’s most inspirational businesses. I am also pleased to have gained three Fellowships, which include: Life Fellow Royal Society of Medicine & Fellow of the Prince’s Trust.
What is the most important asset when running a business?
People. People. People.
If you haven’t got the right people, with the right vision and values, you haven’t got a truly sustainable business. I believe that with the right attitude, people can be trained, supported and encouraged to learn, develop and achieve their potential, and that’s exactly what we do at Ceuta Group. We are a diverse and inclusive organisation with a strong HR department whose focus is to look after our people formally, but above all, every single person in the business knows that my door is always open to them and I actively encourage our team members to share their ideas, challenges, and opportunities with me. It sounds cliché to say that we are one big family as we are such a fast growth business, but culture drives our business, and will continue to do so throughout the growth of the business.