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Rethink: Episode 1 - Coping with the unexpected

Our host Kate Simms, Journalist, Producer and Broadcaster, speaks to BDO Managing Partner Paul Eagland about how throughout history, there have been many unexpected events that have impacted the world and the way economies and businesses adapted to survive. 

Speaker: Paul Eagland, BDO Managing Partner



Paul is BDO’s Managing Partner. He was elected into this role, starting his four-year term in October 2016 and has been re-elected to serve a second four-year term commencing October 2020. Paul and his Leadership Team are responsible for the overall strategic direction of the firm. Paul is also a member of BDO International’s Global Board which sets and monitors strategy for the International network. 

This podcast discusses: 

  • The worldwide impact of COVID-19 and the changes we’re now seeing around us.
  • How humans have this ability to bounce back from disasters, consider The Great Plague, Fire of London, the Global Financial Crisis and now COVID-19.
  • The role of science and technology in helping governments and businesses to respond to the current crisis, to keep people safe and be able to communicate.
  • How BDO responded by listening, understanding and communicating and the importance of gathering data to support business decisions.


Case study: Brompton Bikes shows resilience through pandemic and looks ahead to London’s ‘Amsterdam moment’

Brompton Bikes’ experience during COVID-19 reflects its ability to adapt to and manage the crisis. The company has a large supply chain and exports to over 46 countries, so felt the impact of COVID-19 as early as January. The company secured a Government-backed loan and overdraft facility as a precaution. Some staff were placed on furlough to further protect cash flow during the pandemic, although the company has now been able to return almost all its staff from furlough.

“For cycling, the virus outbreak could ultimately lead to a place like London having its Amsterdam moment.” Lorne Vary, CFO of Brompton Bikes.

Once the company had financially prepared for the crisis, the management team looked at how they could adapt to become part of the solution by launching Wheels for Heroes, which allowed NHS workers to borrow bikes for free so they could travel to work safely. The company also looked forward and committed significant capital into its factory so social distancing could be observed. Ahead of a likely squeeze on income and discretionary spend, it also launched a B75 model with a financing element, allowing buyers to repay the cost for a fee similar to the cost of their monthly commute (£30).

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