HOSPA Chief Executive Carl Weldon recently met up with Angela Vickers Managing Director of Apex Hotels who is a member of the Leaders’ Panel at HOSPACE 2012
What was it like going from Finance Director (FD) to Managing Director (MD)?
My first action was to give the General Managers more autonomy. I didn’t have a typical operational background so I deferred to their expertise in running the hotels. This provided an immediate uplift in motivation and creativity, although discussions still very much centred around financial performance and commercial viability. I asked a lot of questions in the first few months, building my knowledge in non financial aspects such as IT, Sales and Marketing. I had the perfect excuse to question traditional practices and no preconceptions to suggest alternative new ways of doing things.
I have never been one to focus purely on the numbers and have always aimed to take a wider commercial view – due to my training at KPMG – so the transition wasn’t as difficult as it might have been. I also had the benefit of eight years’ valuable experience in working at Stakis and Hilton. Of course, I was helped enormously by the owner of Apex, Norman Springford, who was still very much involved with the business back then.
How long before you felt comfortable in the role?
I measure it in terms of when I began to automatically put the customer first before the figures, and that took about a year t