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Andy McGill

Andy McGill is the restructuring partner at Smith and Williamson LLP - a  top ten professional and financial services firm in Birmingham.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN YOUR CURRENT JOB? I joined seven years ago and I’m very proud to have built a strong and successful restructuring and recovery team in Birmingham.  Having previously worked at KPMG for over 25 years, it was really refreshing to join such a forward-thinking and unique firm as Smith & Williamson.

HOW HAS YOUR COMPANY HAD TO RESPOND TO THE CORONAVIRUS CRISIS? We have needed to rapidly change our working practices with the majority of staff now working from home, as opposed to just a proportion of staff working from home before the COVID-19 outbreak.  A priority has been the maintenance of client service and the firm has been incredibly supportive of our people to ensure we all have the tools to deliver this effectively. Our people have responded well to remote working – in part because there’s a real sense of ‘team’ at Smith & Williamson as shown by plenty of virtual socials over the last few months!  We continue to adjust and monitor the way we all work to meet the needs of our clients.

HAS THE LOCKDOWN PRESENTED ANY OPPORTUNITIES AS WELL AS CHALLENEGES? It’s been a very busy period. The pandemic has had an impact on many successful businesses which have not previously had to deal with such uncertainty. Over the last few months, I have built many new relationships with business owners and directors,  helping them devise robust strategies as they try to navigate their way through the crisis. It’s my job to listen and help them to get the right answers.

HOW DO YOU GET THE BEST OUT OF YOUR STAFF? I always look back at my own career and think how would I want to be managed to get the best out of me? I try to give people the opportunity to take responsibility at an early stage in their careers and lead assignments as much as possible, while providing mentoring and guidance to support them with the kind of difficult decisions and stressful situations that aren’t unusual in the restructuring world. Exposing them to challenging tasks empowers them and helps to build confidence, resilience and the experience necessary to forge successful careers in the restructuring profession. This month, I promoted two members of my team – proper credit where it’s due is a huge motivator.

HOW MANY EMAILS DO YOU TEND TO GET IN A DAY, AND HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU HAVE TO READ THEM? A lot - and generally there’s never enough time but I somehow always manage to get through them all!

HOW DO YOU HOPE YOUR COLLEAGUES WOULD DESCRIBE YOU? I’m not your average restructuring partner - I was recently described as being “never typical”, which I believe was a compliment - I’ll settle for that!

HIGHLIGHTS OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR? I haven’t chosen an easy career path…working daily with businesses facing distress and possible insolvency can be a very stressful and demanding environment to work in. It’s a worrying & uncertain time for all stakeholders and potentially life-changing for both directors and company staff.  Achieving a ‘going concern’ solution, maximising recoveries and safeguarding the jobs and the futures of the company’s workforce is the number one goal in most situations I get involved with. When we - as a team - achieve this, that is always the highlight, regardless of the size of business or number of employees involved. I can’t pick out one from another – every single one of my clients matters.

PET HATES? Arrogance and people who take themselves too seriously. Life’s too short.

IF YOU COULD GO BACK AND GIVE YOUR YOUNGER SELF SOME WISE ADVICE, WHAT WOULD IT BE? Don’t get too stressed when your hair falls out in your 20s: you will grow into it!

HOW DO YOU RELAX AWAY FROM WORK? Exercise amd sport, music and 3 kids (not sure the latter is always relaxing…).

WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE IS SPECIAL ABOUT THE BIRMINGHAM BUSINESS COMMUNITY? Despite being the second city with a thriving business community, the professional hub itself is pretty small, meaning there is a fantastic buzz and general camaraderie with most people I get to work with.

TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOU THAT MOST PEOPLE PROBABLY WOULDN’T KNOW. I have a metal hip (like Andy Murray) from playing rugby for over thirty years, rendering my body “no longer a temple”. I now play walking football regularly (pre-COVID-19), which makes me feel especially young given an average age of 60+ among the people I play with.

YOU CAN TAKE ONE BOOK, ONE FILM AND ONE CD ONTO A DESERT ISLAND – WHAT WOULD THEY BE? To Kill a Mockingbird (it’s worrying that a book written 60 years ago and set 90 years ago is still so relevant today), Grease (to Dad dance to badly) and Bat Out of Hell by Meat Loaf (on full blast).

YOUR FIVE DREAM DINNER PARTY GUESTS, DEAD OR ALIVE? To be honest, I’m not easily impressed by famous people I don’t know so I’d go with a family party every time – I have a lovely wife, three teenage kids (they are lovely too!) & four sisters - so our extended family is huge. We are all over the place geographically so we don’t get together very often, but when we do it’s very fun & very loud!

WHAT WOULD YOU CHOOSE TO EAT FOR YOUR LAST SUPPER? A classic roast dinner followed by homemade apple crumble. Happy days.

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