The Pocklington School Foundation (PSF) Careers & Business Network held its latest event in Leeds recently, with the focus for the evening on family businesses. The guest speaker for the event was Christopher Oughtred, former Chairman of the sixth generation family business, William Jackson Food Group (WJFG).
WJFG is a food business which trades through five subsidiary companies and was founded in 1851 at a grocery store in Hull. Christopher is the great, great grandson of its founder William Jackson. In 2017, WJFG won the Ernst and Young Family Business Award for Excellence in the UK.
Christopher is a Life Patron and former Chair of Governors at Pocklington School and was a founder trustee/director of the Institute for Family Business. Earlier in March he chaired a Financial Times Masterclass about family business.
The networking event, which was attended by a mix of former students, current and former parents of Pocklington School, was held at the offices of Schofield Sweeney LLP in Leeds city centre. Kindly arranged by Old Pocklingtonians David Strachan, Adam Hastie and Lucy Holroyd, who all work at the law firm, the event followed on from the launch of the PSF Careers & Business Network held at School last November
Following an introductory speech highlighting the unique characteristics of a family business and the value they deliver to the UK economy, Christopher shared with guests his insights into the many aspects of working in a family business. This included the importance of earning and retaining staff loyalty, attracting new, non-family members to the business, how and why family businesses take long term strategic decisions and an innovative approach to succession planning.
Mark Ronan, Headmaster, said: “Christopher has had a fascinating career and under his leadership WJFG became a national exemplar of how to run a family business. We are immensely grateful to him for sharing his experience and inspirational story with the Pocklington School community at this event.”
“We have had tremendous interest in our Careers and Business Network since its launch last November. Events such as this are fantastic examples of the ‘Spirit of Pock’ and how our community comes together to share experiences, advice and opportunities.”
The PSF Careers and Business Network is open to everyone in the wider Pocklington School community, including current and former parents, Old Pocklingtonians, current and former staff and supporters. Its aims are to help each other thrive in a highly competitive world and, by working together, to help inspire our students, and each other, for life.
Its next event is in London on 26 April, with the focus on entrepreneurship and business leadership. Further details to be announced soon.