EP.3 - Robin Foale
Play • 24 min

Former banking executive Robin Foale enjoyed a hugely successful career with both Barclays and Santander.

But, given his time again, he says he would probably follow a different path.

He has been inspired by the young entrepreneurs he has met in recent years, as he coaches and mentors at universities, including Nottingham Business School.

“If I’d known then what I know now I would have backed myself a lot earlier,” he tells the NBS Business Leaders’ Podcast.

“I’d have gone off and been an entrepreneur. I like the idea of risking everything in backing oneself as a business.

”After more than three decades in mainstream banking, Robin is now heavily involved in education, including as chair of the NBS advisory board.

He is intrigued by the increasing number of young people he talks to who want to work for themselves. He is also impressed by both the quality of their ideas and the strength of their self-belief.

The most important attribute they will need if they are to be successful as leaders is integrity, he tells podcast host Mike Sassi.

During a fascinating conversation, he goes on to talk candidly about the dark days of the 2008 international financial crisis – and how he stood down from one role because he feared he was being asked to compromise his own integrity.

Robin is now a director of the Reliance Bank, that was founded by the Salvation Army.

He believes customers increasingly want to use more benevolent, compassionate organisations, including social enterprises. 

In his own industry, he sees the closure of High Street branches continuing. But he is certain the large volumes of data we give our banks every day mean we can still have a detailed – even personal – relationship with the people who look after our money.

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