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Life as an MD: 15 years at BGL and going strong
Matthew joined the group in 2001. Since then he has held director positions that have landed him in at the deep end of a rebrand, led him to build teams from scratch and - importantly - hit major profit milestones.
Way back when, I’d been working in Peterborough for two years and was planning a move back up north when a position came up at Budget Insurance. After gruelling interviews and the nod from Peter Winslow, I ditched the dream of moving home and joined Budget as a Marketing Director.
At the time, the whole group had less than 200 people and we were all based in Bretton, in Peterborough. It’s crazy to think how big we’ve become. Four sites in Peterborough, one in London, Paris and Sunderland it goes on and on.
An opportunity came up later after the Group acquired Dial Direct and Bennetts, and I was given the chance to be Managing Director of Bennetts. It was a big move from Marketing Director to MD as it meant I was out of my comfort zone and now responsible for every area of the business, but exciting things were happening, and it was worth the risk. It was there that I worked on re-branding Bennetts and getting it to be the UK’s number one bike insurance provider. After getting the backing behind us, a hefty budget in hand and a lot of anticipation from the Group, the new brand went live and within two years, the business had a big leap in profits.
I always just say it must’ve been the good weather that got people out on their bikes. It also could’ve been the Bennetts Babes, the squad of lycra-clad ladies who promoted us at events all over the UK.
In 2006, Matthew Donaldson (our current CEO) was appointed to COO and I found myself with another exciting opportunity to move over to Frontline as MD (collective name for Budget Insurance and Dial Direct). At the time, our main aim was to increase profitability and develop a new low commission strategy. We had two years' of great results where we doubled both profits and customer numbers.
I ran Frontline for around three years, and then I started to question my direction of travel – did I really want to continue as MD or did I want to return to my marketing roots…. I love marketing, it’s just what I do, it’s my passion, and after six years of being an MD, I wondered if it was time to pursue my passion once again. An opportunity came up to join one of our other brands, Junction, to work alongside some top consumer brands. From there I spent two years developing the commercial, marketing and ecommerce strategies and plans for the UK affinity car and home insurance market.
In 2012, BGL Group launched the UK’s first online only Life Insurer – now known as Beagle Street. I jumped at the opportunity to be involved and here I am, MD of Beagle Street, having travelled around the BGL Group. This Group offers you so much in that it encourages you to move around and build a longstanding career, while developing personally and professionally too.
I’ve had some great highlights in my career with milestones that I’ve been determined to hit, as well as surprises that have happened along the way. I wish anyone joining the BGL Group to have an exciting career with us.