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The Yorkshire Family Business Forum 2021

Linking in with Yorkshire Family Business Day 2021 this family business forum for the Yorkshire family business community seeks to celebrate the sector and provide insights, learning and best practice to enable family firms to survive for generations to come.

Paul Andrews was joined by David Kerfoot MBE DL, Jason Rockett (Potter Space) and Fergus Bailie (Bailie Group).

David Kerfoot MBE DL, High Sherriff of North Yorkshire

David founded The Kerfoot Group jointly with his wife Elizabeth in 1980 using £300 capital which grew to sales of over £80 million on a global basis exporting to over 50 countries. The company processed, packed and distributed vegetable oils on three sites in the Port of Goole with a subsidiary in Poland and a sales office in New York. The Group was sold to French agricultural giant Avril in 2015.

David is a passionate social entrepreneur and has a long history of community service. Currently Chairman of the LEP for York, North Yorkshire and the East Riding, Chairman of the Pendragon Community Trust which he helped found 12 years ago to build a facility for the multi disabled, trustee of a food bank and founder of an initiative called Smile for Moldova which supports people in the poorest country in Europe. He is also a patron of the Samaritans and a lifelong activist in the Prison Service as well as being a trustee of Breadline. He is a Deputy Lieutenant of North Yorkshire and High Sheriff of North Yorkshire for the year 2020.

Jason Rockett, Managing Director of Potter Space

Jason is the new, non-family Managing Director of Potter Space and brings a wealth of property experience to the company, having operated at a high level within the sector for more than 25 years. He joins from Gentian Development Group, prior to which he was at Scarborough Property Group and, more latterly, Sheffield United.

Jason spent over ten years with the Scarborough Property Group, ultimately as Development Director responsible for the growth and management of a £350 million+ development portfolio within London, the South of England and Wales.

From a standing start with Gentian, he built a diversified £25million+ portfolio of completed projects and created a development pipeline of more than £50 million.

Prior to that he was CEO of Sheffield United where he was responsible for the growth and diversification of the club’s off-field revenue streams, as well as creating an international presence across three continents.

He will share an insight into the family business and what inspired him to join the family firm.

Fergus Bailie, Group CEO, Bailie Group (formerly known as the Baird Group)

Family-owned communication specialist The Bailie Group has recently revealed a fresh identity and a completely new name, as the 158-year-old firm eyes a £20 million rise in turnover, by the end of 2021. Group CEO Fergus Bailie will share his thoughts on entering the family business and how purpose and values underpin all that they do.

Their intention is to continue with a programme of internal investment and acquiring companies which meet their philosophy and purpose, for the benefit of future generations.

As well as hearing their family business stories, key learnings from the session include: –

  • The need for clarity of purpose

  • Communication at all levels of the organisation

  • The need to be adaptive and flexible as a business

  • The need to talk (customers, suppliers, staff, other stakeholders)

  • Help others and invest in the long term

  • Listen to the people around you

  • Take account of the wellbeing of others

  • Keep checking in on staff.


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