James Hague

Relationship Director

Industry expert

In 2007 I changed career, and moved to Barclays as a Relationship Director with the Large Corporate and Key Client team in the South of England. Over that last 11 years I have built a portfolio of 27 large corporates within the retail and wholesale sector, which has been a great experience as part of the first and largest industry sector within Barclays, bringing with it a sound pedigree to leverage.

The added benefit is that as a busy dad, with 2 children and wife who regularly like to test the latest fashions, I get to help contribute to our customer’s success from my own wallet at times!

Strangest place for a client meeting?

In this role I have meetings in so many different places which keeps the interest levels high.  While not the strangest place, one of the most memorable was a meeting with a customer who made part prepared meals for the high street restaurant trade.

We met in their show kitchen, and I was challenged by their in-house chef to come up with my own recipe for a risotto dish and cook it there and then for a tasting.  Needless to say it didn’t pass the taste test on any level.  The business went into administration later that year which I hope was not an omen from my cooking. 

Tell us about a time you’ve helped your client with something beyond banking?

I find it very rewarding to be able to provide services to my existing and prospective customer, that go beyond the stereo typical view that banks just lend money and take deposits. I am a firm believer that as our customers grow and realise their ambitions so do we as their banking partner, and also the communities we all serve.

The size of Barclays and number of quality customers we are grateful to have, provides us with access to a large network of corporates, to whom we can make introductions through our relationship expertise.

This was an action successfully delivered last year with an existing customer who produce and sell malting barley to the brewing sector.  The ability to gain access to the coveted Scottish Whisky distillers had proven difficult, but through our networks and reach we were able to source and gain an invite to a whisky distillers and suppliers event in Edinburgh which my client attended. 

From this they have managed to pick up active opportunities and deepen their market knowledge to further their plans to target this sector. This is something I really enjoy doing for our customers and prospective clients to bring the retail and wholesale family to the fore for all. 

What is the most exciting thing happening in your client's industry?

The competitive landscape in the sector is changing constantly and at pace, with technology being a catalyst for all. The next consumer generation are proving more savvy and technologically minded in their shopping and buying habits, which means the high street needs to adapt quickly to this changing habit with retailers having multiple channels to market a necessity.

The last 12 months have seen some high profile casualties with the industry in the throes of a ‘survival of the fittest’ which is unprecedented in these times. What has been very exciting to see however, is the level of commitment to the consumer by the industry, to fully understand the consumer journey as an ‘experience’ and not just a sale. This is seeing innovation on brand awareness, and also the use of social media in more ways than ever to find new customers and markets to target.

It is going to be an interesting year in 2019 as the industry continues to invest in technology to unlock the e-commerce potential in their customer base to drive sales, and deepen their understanding of their target markets, yet focussing on costs and driving efficiencies through the supply chain to become leaner and flexible to the many challenges that lie ahead with Brexit. 

If you didn't work for Barclays, what would you be doing?

I am lucky that I get to meet many interesting people and businesses in my day job and be part of what is a fascinating industry, but when I take off the tie and hang up the suit at the end of the day I do enjoy getting out into the quiet and tranquillity of the countryside with my best mate (the dog). 

If I did not work for Barclays, I would like to think hill farming would have suited me well, although I doubt the family would have been happy as I hear the broadband can be a bit unreliable at times in the hills!!

Industry expertise

Retail and Wholesale

Industry specialists provide solutions to meet the challenges of a competitive and fast-moving sector.