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Nigel Taylor: Who is the Man behind Carillion Services?

08 June 2015

Clear, engaging and collaborative – that’s how Carillion Services MD Nigel Taylor, a lifelong Leeds United supporter – describes his management style. In this exclusive interview, PFM got a glimpse of the private man behind the business image.

During my interview with Nigel Taylor in Carillion’s Euston Square office in London, he comes across as a no-nonsense straight-shooter, albeit an unfailingly courteous one. There’s no beating around the bush; his answers to my questions are, for the most part, sharply to the point. Yet despite the fact he doesn’t appear to be the sort of man who’s prone to grand gestures, his passion for Carillion Services is clearly apparent. And there are hints of the private man: he notes with a grin that it’s his son’s eighth birthday, and that he spent the early morning helping unwrap presents.

Born in Halifax, Taylor is a Fellow of the RICS, an incorporated member of the Chartered Institute of Builders, and a Royal Engineer – an impressive list of titles after starting out as a quantity surveyor in construction and transitioning to services 10 years ago.

“With Carillion, I’ve taken FM operations and other services operations progressively to the point two years ago when we put all of it in one business in the UK. I then took that on as lead MD. I started as the MD of Carillion Services at the start of 2013. At that point we restructured, placing our energy services and local government business as well as our FM business in one place, including our property projects and non-major construction projects.”

He describes his management style as clear, engaging and collaborative. “I set a clear vision, then go for it ensuring we align our objectives. I want to ensure everybody understands what we want to achieve. Everybody in the organisation has a role to play. Sometimes people on the shop-floor feel strategy and business planning is for others but everybody has a role to play in delivering.”

As part of his role, Taylor spent eight years in the Middle East. “I’ve lived in London since I was 18 and I’m now 45. My formative years were in Yorkshire and as a consequence I’m a Leeds United fan. I get stick about that down here, given that they're rubbish – a decade of poor performance, I’m afraid. In my spare time, I spend time with my family – my daughter’s 10 and my son is eight today.”

Taylor is a sports fan, whether it’s football, rugby or golf. “I live a mile-and-a-half from the Harlequins ground, where we regularly go as a family. I’m also an occasional golfer; I used to play quite a bit before my children were born but now I play only two or three times a year.”

Skiing is another hobby. “I go on an annual skiing holiday and get a couple of lessons for the kids in the UK in advance. I also love getting out to cricket which I try to do once a year with friends. Then there’s cycling – I bought myself a good bike for the first time last year after promising myself for five years that I would cycle to work as I live in Teddington, about 15 miles from my office. And I did it for the first time last week.”

He’ll continue, he says, even though the 31-mile roundtrip provides an interesting experience weaving in-between the traffic, creating ‘a few hairy moments’. “I was pleased I’d finally done it. We have a charity event cycling the Fred Whitton Challenge route in the Lake District at the beginning of June to raise funds for our charity partner Barnardos. Our CEO is leading and I’ll be part of that – I think there's something like 130-140 miles in two days. That will be bloody hard work!”


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