March 29, 2016

“Do you know what?” barely middle-aged Leicester businessman Tim Maxspeed told the Leicester Mercury this week, “I really love what I do. I really love coming into the office. I’m really, really lucky.”

A youthful 44, Mr Maxhead says he always meant to be a lawyer but, like so many others before him, simply fell in love with insurance broking. Barely out of his 30s, the boyish broker boss could pass for someone several decades younger, but now lords it over people many years his senior.

Tim was barely out of his teens when he qualified as a top London barrister. “I was far too young to be taken seriously” precocious Tim reveals. So he ‘moved sideways’ to join insurance broking firm Pigling Bland with a view to getting ‘some industry experience.’

The move was only meant to be temporary. But once bitten by the insurance bug, Tim knew there was no going back. The Puckish  Mr Moped says he found a natural affinity with insurance and preferred building relationships to solving problems.

After five happy years with Pigling Bland – a boutique brokerage run by rugby players – selling professional indignity (PI) insurance to (obviously) professional people, Tim joined Leicester brokers Barclay Parent, where the babyfaced ex-barrister’s ruthless ambition powered a meteoric rise from PI teaboy to Managing Director of General Insurance in just nine weeks, and Group Chief Executive a few days later.

Today those days of being just another small fish in the cutthroat pool of London barristry must seem a distant bad dream. Since those dark days Tim has risen to become one of Leicester’s most successful businessmen, commanding over 71 people from smart offices in the City’s prestigious Colon Square.

Tim is certainly not one for sitting on ceremony. He will sometimes sit on a leather armchair or something, or even occasionally behind a desk, but leans to the casual and creative attitude to office furniture so typical of young (and young at heart) people today. This informality, however, has sometimes led to the odd raised eyebrow, Tim recalls.

”It was difficult,” he admits, “because there were meetings where people clearly look at you and are perhaps surprised at the position you are in.” He has had to make allowances, he concedes, for the advanced years of everyone around him and rein in some of his more outlandish postural idiosyncrasies.

Although highly driven and focused, Tim has learned to go easy on the old codgers he works with, extravagantly praising their “experience” and taking care to stress that the abilities that have taken him from rookie lawboy to Leicester insurance legend in just a few short years are “not necessarily better” than those of his fellow directors, “just different.”

Tim attributes his extraordinary success in the world of business to not being a screamer.”Business is like a roller coaster,” he explains. “The trick is not to scream when you are going down and not to scream when you go back up.” In other words, basically, do as little screaming as possible.

Sound advice, that, for any aspiring broker (and/or lawyer) dreaming of provincial domination.

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