Lancashire Times
Weekend Edition
7:01 AM 22nd November 2021

10 In 10: Fergus Bailie, CEO Of Leeds-based Bailie Group

Fergus Bailie
Fergus Bailie
Fergus Bailie, CEO of Leeds-based Bailie Group, a family-owned group of agencies and consultancies with a collective mission to improve people’s lives through the sharing of knowledge, is the latest regional business professional in the hot seat and has just 10 minutes to answer our 10 burning questions.

What does a typical working day for you involve?

I’m really lucky in that no two days are ever the same. Of the five companies in Bailie Group, each one is completely different, with its own interesting features. We also have teams in locations including Leeds, Cheltenham, Bicester, Horsham, and Cyprus to name just a few — which means on any given week I could be anywhere!

On days when I’m working from home or in our Head Office, I usually start my day at around 7am. I’m absolutely not one of those “up at 5” animals but I’m reasonably good at getting out of bed anytime that begins with an ‘s’. During the day I tend to have meetings with different teams across the Group and I try to connect with my leadership team and managing directors on a daily basis.

I try to finish at around 6pm so that I can be at home with my wife and kids for a few hours on an evening, before bed. My children are still primary school age, so I don’t want to miss out on time with them — especially when in a few years they won’t want to hang out with me! I do tend to dip into work again in the evening once the girls are asleep, as I enjoy getting things done in the peace and quiet without the distractions of Microsoft Teams calls and emails.

What makes your company special?

The teams, without a doubt. We are a people-orientated business and without them we have nothing. They show up day after day and produce amazing work that makes a positive difference to the lives of people across the UK. The quality of outcomes they produce and the dedication they continue to show will never get old for me. I also enjoy the craic of seeing and chatting to people in the office — even though I’m an Irishman, that includes the English rugby fans!

Do you have any business rules that you swear by?

My golden rule is to surround myself with people that can do a better job than me — after that, the rest is easy.

Do you dress up or down for work?

I used to be ‘suited and booted’ for work. Then I lost the tie. Soon after, I did away with the suit too. These days, I tend to be pretty casual — but if I’m meeting a client, I’ll wear what feels appropriate for the occasion.

What piece of advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?

I tend to obsess about details and overanalyse so I’d say not to worry so much — you’ll be fine, and things will work out.

…Oh, and enjoy your hair while you still have it!

What’s your favourite Yorkshire venue for an event or team away day?

Harewood House is spectacular — you can’t beat an inspirational setting, great food, and a host of activities to boot.

How do you prefer to travel for business?

I tend to ‘let the train take the strain’. Travelling by train gives me uninterrupted time to work and think, plus you can people-watch and see the world pass by. That said, I was stuck on a train in the snow once for five hours… I didn’t like that quite so much.

What’s your favourite place in Yorkshire to relax?

I love the great outdoors and we are absolutely spoilt for choice in Yorkshire.

Having grown up by the sea in Belfast I miss the coastline, so I would have to say the East Coast – Whitby is a personal favourite. Hearing the sights and sounds of the seaside instantly relaxes me.

Where is your favourite place to eat in Yorkshire, and what dish do you recommend?

The best restaurant I have eaten in is Le Cochon Aveugle — a small, intimate restaurant in York. The tasting menu there is extraordinary. The last time my wife and I ate there was the week before lockdown. We had a table at the ‘bar’ where we could sit and watch the chefs prepare each course, then slide it in front of us. It’s such an incredible place with outstanding food.

What do you miss most about Yorkshire when you are away?

York. I’ve lived in several areas in England since I moved here, and I have to say this city holds a special place in my heart. It’s a beautiful place with great pubs and restaurants, and always loads to do. Oh, and in case my wife reads this, her and the kids too!