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From Site Selection magazine, January 2020

London Calling

Mark Arend


My go-to source for insights into all things political and commercial in the UK did not disappoint.

Perhaps you, like I, have been wondering what the recent Conservative landslide in Great Britain means for companies – perhaps your company – with headquarters or operations there. For three years now, the Brexit cloud of uncertainty has hung over the country like the coal dust fog of yesteryear did. Do companies move operations to the Continent (as some did)? Do they stay put and weather the storm? What will happen with Northern Ireland? Scotland?

There’s lots still to be sorted out, but we do know Boris Johnson is now firmly ensconced at 10 Downing Street and that Brexit will happen. Now what?

Time to call Vince.

I last reached out to Vince Tickel, my close friend of 42 years, when the Brexit referendum passed in June 2016. The UK was (and is) sharply divided, but Vince had the perspective that no one on the U.S. side of the pond could have proffered. He’s Group Chairman of Vistage UK, the British branch of the world’s largest executive coaching organization; Chairman of Academy Group One, a London network of managing directors and CEOs; and CEO of Triangle Properties Ltd.

“Boris won with a majority that makes this Conservative government the strongest since 1983,” says Vince. “We were all dreading Corbyn becoming prime minister. Boris is regarded as a loose cannon, but at least his cannon is pointing most of the time in the right direction. Corbyn would have put a hole straight through the hull.” Great visual, that.

On Brexit now moving forward: “The exit deal isn’t completed, but at least Boris knows that you can’t negotiate anything without ‘No’ being on the table. So my sense is a proper deal will be done with the EU under the banner ‘We’re not going to hurt each other,’ but it will be a game of drama over the next year.”

Looking ahead, “Three years of political paralysis is ending, and we have a government that can govern, so business is more upbeat that it has been for a while,” Vince relates. “My view talking to UK business CEO’s is that we are very much open for business. They are positive about the future, and the UK is a good place to do business. But now is the time to maximise the value, not in a couple of years when the dust has fully settled.”

There’s lots of dust to settle in the U.S., too, these days. We hope the information-packed State of the States report in this issue helps make sense of location options in the year ahead. And we wish you and your organization good health and prosperity in 2020.

Mark Arend
Editor Emeritus of Site Selection magazine

Mark Arend

Mark Arend is editor emeritus of Site Selection, and previously served as editor in chief from 2001 to 2023. Prior to joining the editorial staff in 1997, he worked for 10 years in New York City at Wall Street Computer Review, ABA Banking Journal and Global Investment Technology. Mark graduated from the University of Hartford (Conn.) in 1985 and lives near Atlanta, Georgia.


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