SPEAKERS

Rt Hon JOHN BERCOW

John Bercow, the first Speaker of the House of Commons since World War II to keep order in front of four Prime Ministers, will take on a very different speaking role at the BMF All Industry Conference 2021 next June. 

Sponsored by

John Bercow entered Parliament as Conservative MP for Buckingham in 1997 and was appointed Shadow Chief Treasury and then Work and Pensions Secretary before resigning to support the Labour Government’s policy to allow unmarried gay and heterosexual couples to adopt.  He is, however, best known as Speaker Bercow.

Having been elected to the role with a mission to “strengthen the backbenches and recognise that Parliament is more than a rubber-stamping operation for the government of the day”, he built a reputation as a reformer and was re-elected three times.  During his decade long tenure he extended the time for PMQs and increased the use of “Urgent Questions”, requiring Ministers to make 685 statements on pressing issues. 

His determination to champion the rights of Parliament inevitably attracted supporters and detractors, notably during the Brexit debates when he dismissed accusations of bias saying his role was to stand up for the rights of the House of Commons.

As Speaker Bercow, John had to be neutral but now there are no such constraints on his views, which should make for a memorable Conference address.  As well as his Saturday morning speaking session, John will also join BMF members on Friday night’s Dine-Around.

John Newcomb, BMF CEO said:

“In the year that the UK begins a new relationship with the European Union and in the wake of the disruption caused by Covid-19, we are delighted that John Bercow, who was at the centre of Parliament for a decade will share his opinions with Conference. 

GEOFF RAMM

Geoff Ramm, the customer experience guru who motivates clients and conference audiences to stand out from the crowd, has been confirmed to speak at the BMF All Industry Conference 2021, next June.

As the creator and author of Celebrity Service Geoff has challenged and inspired audiences across 43 countries to create award-winning ideas to outperform the competition. His clients include Emirates, Warner Brothers and McDonalds.

This is not the first time Geoff has encouraged the merchant industry to think differently. Five years ago, he memorably introduced the concept of OMG marketing at the BMF All Industry Conference in Malta.  Now he is returning to inspire BMF delegates to create a customer experience like no other, with a unique concept described by the influential Forbes business magazine as “A Game Changer.”

John Newcomb, BMF CEO said: “Geoff is not just an entertaining speaker, he has his finger on the pulse of real-life customer service that will set any business head and shoulders above the competition. Be prepared for an eye-opening experience.”

Geoff will also host the Conference’s Marketing Workshop – one of four taking place at the event – which will be sponsored by MRA and chaired by Mark Mallinder, Chairman of the BMF Marketing Forum and Marketing Director of EH Smith.

Andy Mitchell, CBE

Of the first two speakers to be named, Andy Mitchell will provide a broader construction industry perspective, drawing on his experience as Co-Chair of the Construction Leadership Council as well as his leading role in number of major infrastructure projects. 

Andy Mitchell is currently responsible for delivering the Thames Tideway Tunnel, London’s 25km super sewer which will intercept, store and ultimately transfer sewage waste away from the River Thames. The £4.2bn project is due to be completed in 2025. 

He was previously Programme Director and board member at Crossrail, and the Major Programme Director of the Thameslink Programme.  Earlier in his career he worked on major developments overseas including Hong Kong Airport and Hong Kong West Rail. He was appointed Co-Chair of the Construction Leadership Council in 2018. In response to the Covid-19 crisis he has been instrumental in refreshing the structure of the CLC, creating and building upon the CLC Task Force to broaden industry representation and reach within the body.  The new structure places the CLC Task Force at the heart of the continuing drive to lead and transform the industry as set out in the CLC Industry Recovery Plan.

Andy is a fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers, a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering.  He was awarded the CBE for his services to Civil Engineering.

Peter Hallitt

Pete Hallitt will give a suppliers’ view, as a member of the executive team that has helped to ensure that Marshalls not only leads the hard landscaping sector, with a revenue of around £500m, but is also a world class business.

Pete Hallitt originally trained as an engineer, but for the last 35 years he has worked in the commercial arena with market leading brands including British Steel and Stanley Black & Decker, and now Marshalls. The combination of experience in building materials, construction products and DIY/FMCG goods allows Pete to fully understand the dynamic complexities of trade, supply chains and UK production.

Under his guidance, Marshalls maintains its position with distributors, specifiers and users alike, increasing the company’s influence on the job site whilst managing the customer project pipeline.

Pete was proud to be admitted into the Worshipful Company of Builders Merchants in 2017 and is an active supporter of the industry. He is also a keen member of the BMF.

Nick Roberts

As CEO of Travis Perkins plc, Nick leads the UK’s largest supplier of building materials to the construction industry.

Nick is a geologist by profession with over 25 years of international engineering consulting experience, and an Honorary Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers. He joined Travis Perkins in 2019 from design, engineering and project management consultancy, Atkins, where he was CEO.  He is now responsible for a £7bn market leading business including Travis Perkins Builders’ Merchants, Toolstation and Wickes.

Nick is a passionate advocate of safety and wellbeing, and of working collaboratively to improve productivity and diversity in the construction industry. He also supports the Travis Perkins’ Armed Forces Covenant programme, and is Deputy Chair, Trustee and Director of the Forces in Mind Trust in the UK, whose mission is to help servicemen and women transition to successful civilian lives.   

 

Paul bence

Paul heads up the George Bence Group, one of the country’s most successful independents and a family-run sixth generation business based in Gloucestershire. He will draw on his experience of taking a single independent branch and delivering a multifaceted builders merchant with a clear product segmentation plan over the last decade.

Paul’s first role within the family business transformed their struggling Obsidian Kitchens & Bathroom brand. The Group’s lightside business now encompasses multiple retail and trade showrooms. He took over as MD in 2010 and has directed similar growth across product sectors in heavyside, roofing and decorating. 

He is also Trading Director of K&B Showrooms within the Fortis independent merchant buying group, chairman of the BMF Kitchen & Bathroom Forum. A former BMF Young Merchant, he became the youngest member of the Worshipful Company of Builders Merchants when he joined in 2006.