High Flyers: Chris wants a bigger shout out for business successes

Chris Nixon.

In the High Flyers spotlight this week is Chris Nixon who is BGF’s newest team member in Northern Ireland.

He is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the local investment process, including identifying and executing deals, through to working with portfolio companies post-investment. He has been involved in over a dozen transactions and exits at BGF, totalling £80m of invested capital.

What was your first job?

Aged 14, working in a local BP garage covering the unpopular Saturday night shift!

What qualifications do you have?

An LL.B in law from QUB, MSc in finance from Aston Business School, and am a qualified chartered accountant

What do you attribute your success to?

Working with great people, being inquisitive and hard graft.

How would you describe yourself to someone who’d never met you?

Honest, open, sarcastic, considerate. And think I’m funnier than I am.

Who do you look up to in business?

As an investor in SMEs, I’ve been fortunate enough to meet many inspiring founders/entrepreneurs. Often what stands out in the best of those is courage and conviction in what they’re building, a resilience to overcome the inevitable setbacks, and a strong sense of gratitude for their best people evidenced by culture and tangible reward.

How do you get the best out of people who work for you?

If I’m working with someone less experienced, I try to make myself approachable, non-judgemental and as generous as I can be with my time. We’ve all been in that person’s shoes.

If you could change one thing about doing business in Northern Ireland, what would it be?

I’m a very recent returner to the Northern Ireland market after 10 years living in Birmingham so I’ll reserve some judgment for now! But one observation is a deep seeded hesitancy to shout about our successes. There is a long list of world-class entrepreneurial organisations here; I really feel we punch above our weight. Being humble is a good thing but I think as a market we can be bolder and more ambitious in exporting our products and services. That is the sense I get anyway.

What website or app could you not do without?

I go through phases with different apps but at the minute probably Strava – if your workout isn’t recorded does it even count?

What was the last book you read?

Currently have two on the go – ‘Ego is the Enemy’ by Ryan Holiday and ‘Born to Run’ by Christopher McDougal.

What car do you drive?

Volvo XC90.

Tell us something interesting about yourself?

I have just signed up for the Belfast Marathon aiming for a time of sub 3hr45. Naively ambitious and dreading the winter training already.

What are your greatest passions outside work and family?

Coastal cycles and good food. After so long away from Northern Ireland I’m enjoying working my way around the local restaurant scene.

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