“Powerful, patient and pleasant”…. Eddie Bell the former Chairman of Haynes and before that, Executive Chairman and Publisher of Harper Collins uses these words to describe Paul Zisman and Europa “Most of all”, he muses, “Paul is very clever and he doesn’t shrink from telling you it as it is.”
Eddie is not a man to trifle with nor does he suffer fools gladly. His talent for shredding sloppy thinkers and consultants who had “not a lot of tread on their tyres” was legendary…he was the Alex Ferguson of business. Private Eye described him as Eddie McBastard which probably gave Eddie a degree of pleasure.
He loved the creative aspect of his jobs in publishing. But lightweight thinking and consultants with toolkits to force fit solutions drove him crazy. As they’d drive anyone with a grain of sense crazy. Rather than finding him aggressive or unreasonable I enjoy his directness. He describes himself as a bulldozer. Good.
When there’s a lot of rubbish to demolish you need a bulldozer not an MBA with a little scalpel.
Looking forward his view of our world is sanguine. The Covid crisis has been a leap into the unknown so carping at government mistakes is silly. Nowhere on earth has managed the pandemic with much skill. But, and a big but…nothing will ever be the same again after Covid. This gives us big opportunities. We should expect (and encourage) a horde of new entrepreneurs, a redesign of our social infrastructure and the unleashing of tremendous energy as we emerge from this particular pandemic.
Critical will be the closing of the poverty gap – it’s a huge obstacle to progress – and the avoidance of old-style Monaco based dealmakers who plunder and destroy businesses. Politicians all seem to come from another planet. Snappy lines like “we’re all in this together” are dangerously mendacious. We aren’t and they know it. The media as a whole are as bad at believing the most valuable currency is doom, scandal and fear.
Eddie believes we can build back better. Ultimately our ability to do so will depend on having more Europa Partners plus people prepared to throw the proverbial 600lb. Gorilla into complacent, self-serving businesses and put bulldozers and powerfully clever, patient and pleasant professionals into alliance with each other as change-makers.
Our world can and should become a better one.