16 September 2015
Putting people first as new chief executive takes over
Putting people and relationships firmly at the heart of B P Collins is top of the agenda for new chief executive Ian Hopkins, who took over the role at the beginning of August.
An experienced lawyer and award-winning business leader, his mandate is for a clear focus on client care and quality of service, drawing on the firm’s undoubted heritage and depth of expertise, while also looking to build for the future.
Speaking to Insight during only his second week in the “hot seat”, Ian talked about his immediate plans and his long term vision.
“My first goal has been to understand the business inside out, spending time with the different teams and getting to know them,” he said. “I like to think I’m a genuine people person and for me, the chief executive’s role is about leadership, enthusing and motivating people; you can’t do that unless you develop relationships with them.
“Although it is early days and I haven’t had the chance to meet any clients in the first two weeks, I very much enjoy the ambassadorial role that comes with being chief executive, so I’m looking forward to getting out and meeting both clients and fellow professionals.
“I know B P Collins is very strong in the local community and maintaining those roots is very important to me.”
Plans for growth
He believes the firm’s greatest strengths lie in its specialist practices and the depth of expertise which come together under the B P Collins banner, and he has set himself the goal of building on that foundation in order to grow the practice to a £10 million turnover in the next three years.
“We have a tremendous heritage and a pedigree standard of client care, combined with a fantastic group of people and partners,” he said. “Now we need to make sure we have everything aligned so we can move forwards. I see that being largely through steady organic growth, but at the same time, if other opportunities come along then we will certainly look at them.”
Ian says he is “passionate” about going the extra mile for clients and says the practice will be undertaking a series of exercises to help the team ensure it delivers an absolutely first rate service. These include a mystery shopping exercise, together with gaining feedback from key client accounts, and a staff engagement survey.
“My mantra is that no matter what you do in the business, everyone has their part to play in our success and delivering excellent customer service,” he continued.
“It’s very important to have clarity in terms of understanding what you are trying to achieve and these programmes will help us define our strategy for moving the business forward.”
Welcoming his appointment, senior partner Chris Hardy, said: “Ian is a strategic thinker with impressive management skills. We are thrilled that he will be working hand-in-hand with our lawyers to drive the business forward and achieve the success it deserves.”
Away from the office, Ian is a single handicap golfer and says he is looking forward to exploring the golf courses of South Buckinghamshire.
With a grown-up son and daughter, each weekend he heads back to the family home in South Wales, where he enjoys spending time with wife Christine and walking rescue dog Henry in the Welsh hills.
Prior to joining B P Collins, Ian spent five years as chief executive of Debenhams Ottaway in St Albans, leading the practice to the 2014 title of Medium to Large Business of the Year at the Inspiring Hertfordshire Awards.
That same year, he was a finalist in the St Albans Chamber of Commerce Business Leader of the Year Awards, and in both 2014 and 2013, the firm was a finalist in the STEP award for Regional Law Firm of the Year.
Having qualified as a solicitor in 1987, Ian spent his early career with a law firm in Wales, where he won the Leadership for Businesses with less than 250 employees, category in the Leading Wales Business Awards.
He has a Master’s Degree in Business Administration and in 2014, gained a Level 7 qualification in Law Firm Risk and Compliance from the Institute of Leadership and Management.
A keen networker, he is also a member of the National Executive Committee of the Law Society Law Management Section.