SHINE interview with Huw Evans – Director General ABI

We need a decent reality check on how things actually are so we need a lot less talking and a lot more doing!

This is my introduction to ABI’s Director General Huw Evans a man used to having a lot of responsibility and has a very realistic approach to any issue.

He is right of course, we can be all too keen and satisfied with discussions and call to actions rather than putting in the graft ourselves and making the changes we want to see. From a background that includes journalism and politics with an Oxford degree in Modern History, Huw’s no-nonsense approach is refreshing as it is pragmatic on important subjects like diversity, parents returning to work and millennials being attracted to the insurance industry.

He says:
‘There is no silver bullet as each topic has varied and unique needs. I believe we need to create a best-practice environment to get clear on what works then it will be easier for us to tackle these issues.’
Also we need more senior leaders to send cultural signals that a balanced life is indeed important and broaden the perspective of others through their behaviour too.’

So this means Huw values and backs a more flexible working life, one which includes the possibility to work from home on occasion.
‘We need to lead from the top on so many levels because for many of our issues we are only just making progress. Take the pay gap situation, for example, by all accounts the statistics state that this will not even out until 2050! I don’t think we should be in a hurry to pat ourselves on the back for improving these types of situations when we have allowed them to happen.’

So what has been the success story for Huw? How has he been able to arrive where he is today and sustain his level of influence and integrity?
‘I take an enormous pride in what I do and I try and build upon what I achieve by maintaining a healthy level of self-criticism. I do encourage celebrating successes but also try to be reflective and never complacent. We should always make the most of any opportunity we are given. I know in my career I have been lucky too, but I have learnt from my mistakes and had a lot of support and encouragement from very early on.’

Huw’s insight into making big changes happen includes setting tougher goals with a greater sense of urgency while having a buy-in from the top down.
‘I always look to delivering lasting and sustainable improvements and hire good people to carry this forward for me. The financial sector can make substantial and essential changes faster and quicker if we all work on creating a nurturing environment.’