Having an honest and forthright guest speaker at the IoD Dining Club in November was a breath of fresh air for IoD members after their COVID isolation months. Phil Jones delivered in buckets, and as one of the leading figures in the power and distribution industry, heading up one of Britain’s six electricity distribution companies, he had lots to share.
An engineer by training, his 30 years in the business with just over 15 years in charge, Phil clearly showed how success comes from a clarity of thought, openness to change, and a good deal of graft. The Dining Club is limited to 20 attendees, which enabled the IoD members and guests to really delve into the attributes of what it takes to thrive in an industry that has to satisfy a regulator on one hand (Ofgem), and on the other one of the world’s most successful owners, in Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway.
Delivering an essential service to a region of over 8 million people through a workforce of over 2,500 people looking after 96,000km of cables and 63,000 substations spread over 9,650 square miles, the challenges facing the business are immense. No more so with the drive for Net Zero clearly laid out in front of us all. But Phil spoke highly of the mentoring and inspiration that he has received from outstanding people who have been instrumental in his development, particularly in the 20 years he has been part of the Berkshire Hathaway Energy family. The message was clear how our leadership positions mean we have to set the standards, culture and priorities as well as the tempo and plan to drive our organisations forward.
With a clear passion and a long-term view, Phil Jones’s stature within the industry is clear to understand. His sharpness and drive for innovation will ensure that the lights stay on not only in Yorkshire and the North East, but that his influence reaches the Country.
Ian Dormer, IoD North East North ambassador
Pictured: Guests of the Dining Club, 10 November