About mr alex
The road less travelled...
Disillusioned by School, I became a Milk Delivery Boy when I was 13; an Apprentice Printer aged 15, and led a Union Strike of 150 workers by the time I was 21. I emigrated to South Africa and experienced my first business turnaround, aged 27, having to select and fire 150 people, in my first month.
South Africa gave me the opportunity to rise in management, help improve the profitability of three different businesses, and discover the fascinating world that is Leadership. I also got the fright of my life when I tried to be a little too smart towards a Leader, who made me in two minutes flat from being a Union Leader set me off on a journey that resulted in me becoming a Business Leader.
Returning to the UK, I gained first-hand training for Leadership as deputy to a great Industry Leader. Helping him transform a state-owned (unionised) Government Printer in the UK. After the privatisation we made half the workforce redundant, and transformed the business from a taxpayers cost centre into a profitable enterprise - within two years.
I was promoted to lead the fight to secure a £700m long-term contract. We secured the contract by ignoring the existing management's advice, instead working directly with the supervisors and employees. As a result we effected the necessary changes in working practices and attitudes. Within months we collapsed queuing and waiting, drastically reduced waste, and invested in and developed the industry-leading customer service culture.
When the Fortune 500 Corporation refused to honour a secure, high value, multi-year production contract - by not authorising a new customer dedicated near-site fulfilment centre, (as designated in the contract). So, I borrowed a friend's warehouse, had him hire 100 temporary employees onto his payroll - and created the world's first 'Virtual Factory' - all within three weeks! The world's 'First Virtual Business' become a reality, and resulted in over 600 permanent new additional jobs created in the UK and USA. When the Chairman discovered what I had done - he promoted me to CEO (UK)!
I then led the UK arm of a Global Software Documentation business that grew from Nil to $ 1.2 billion sales in just seven years. I was selected as one of Europe's 'Top 20 European Market Makers' by Computer Reseller News in recognition of leading the global launch of the IBM PC Company's first-ever PC clone (Ambra). I executed the first innovative product fulfilment system, which delivered Just In Time Lasnguage Transaaltion Packs to the OEMs assembly on a four hour turnaround. I received the Fortune 500 Corporation's Global Salesperson of the Year award and was voted Top UK Business Person (UK Trade Magazine).
Disillusioned with Corporate politics and the business cultural slowness to make decisions. The Group HR guy (and a latest corporate seagull), exclaimed at our first meeting - "the days when Alex Walker could do what he wanted to do, are over". In reply I made a cash offer to buy the failing UK business, backed by one of the world's leading Venture Capital firms. However HR were not playing ball! So, as the sitting Chief Executive Officer, I negotiated my exit and left!
A Private Equity partnership approached me to lead their underperforming manufacturing investment based in Poland. After initially serving on the Board as a Consultant and kicking the operations tyres, to assess whether it was broken or fixable (it was fixable!). I moved to Poland (I don't speak Polish) as their President and CEO. I replaced the entire senior management team with a smaller group of talented Polish executives, re-trained and hired new customer service employees to communicate in multiple languages, ramped up export sales and introduced a more open Leadership and collaborative style. I focussed the team on getting more out of employees, and it worked! We successfully sold the investment to a trade buyer within three years.
With over 40 years of experience in Leadership and having travelled the world climbing the greasy pole from Apprentice to Chairman & CEO, I felt that it was time I put something back - so I wrote my autobiography ‘it does matter', and created this website mralexonline.com - I called it mr alex because that is what they call me here on the sunshine island of Cyprus!
The purpose of my book and this website is to help create better, more effective Leaders. My Mentoring work, which I enjoy, helps high-potential people become Leaders of all ages, in diverse and geographically different markets. I mentor executives in the Aviation, Software, Medical Devices, Manufacturing and Retail Sectors. These businesses have quickly become high growth, successful, diversified, online, profitable, and cash-rich. I help Leaders focus and develop their skills and knowledge by encouraging them to Learn, Listen and Do! If you are looking for a Mentor, get in touch - we might just make your great team of two!