Meet the MD: Neil Harrold of R3

Meet the MD: Neil Harrold of R3

Neil Harrold came to the North East from Perth, Australia after qualifying as a barrister and solicitor. After working his way up the career ladder he is now a Partner at Hay & Kilner and North East Regional Chair of R3. BQ caught up with him to hear about his career so far and his plans for the future.

Describe your role in no more than 100 words.

I am the North East Regional Chair of R3, the UK’s insolvency and restructuring trade body. Our local committee represents the profession in the region, and in my role I meet with stakeholders and MPs to discuss issues affecting the North East’s business community and personal finances.

I am also a Partner with Hay & Kilner Solicitors based in Newcastle, where I head up the Corporate Recovery team in advising those affected by business distress, including insolvency practitioners, directors and shareholders, creditors and those looking to invest in distressed businesses.


What is it the organisation does?

R3 is the voice of the UK’s insolvency and restructuring profession. From senior partners at global accountancy and legal firms to practitioners who run their own small businesses, our members have extensive experience of helping businesses and individuals in financial distress. R3 engages nationally and regionally with the government and stakeholders on policies relating to the insolvency profession, ensuring that the UK’s insolvency regime retains its reputation as one of the best in the world.


Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?

I started out in my home town of Perth, Western Australia where I graduated and qualified as a barrister and solicitor. I came to the North East in 1989 after being sold the vision of the wonderful Northumberland beaches and quality of life. I requalified as an English Solicitor and have been with Hay & Kilner since 1993, where I am a Partner specialising in insolvency law. I have been the North East Regional Chair of R3 since February 2016.


What do you believe makes a great leader?

Someone with the courage of their convictions, with the vision and resilience to overcome obstacles and adversity, whilst being open-minded to the wisdom of others, to achieve the objectives of those they lead.


What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?

There is all too frequently a reluctance to face up to financial distress until the problems become intractable. The continual challenge is to make the case that, the sooner that problems are faced up to, there are more options with which to address the problems and achieve a better outcome. It’s also important to remember that insolvency doesn’tnecessarily equate to failure. R3’s members in the north of England rescued two-in-five businesses that went through a formal insolvency procedure in 2014, saving approximately 90,000 jobs.


How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?

On my bike. My wife Deborah and I have just completed a 300 mile combination of the Reivers, Hadrian and C2C cycle routes through some of the most beautiful and inspiring countryside, anywhere.


When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A first-class cricketer spending an endless summer split between Australia and England. Sadly reality intruded at about the age of 12 when I realised that there wasn’t much demand for specialist number 11 batsmen.


Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about then?

Negativity – if told that something can’t be done then deconstruct the objections and find a pathway to overcome the obstacles.


Where do you see the organisation in five years time?

As for R3, continuing to be the voice of the insolvency and restructuring profession promoting best practice and representing its members’ views to the community and to government.

As for Hay & Kilner, to continue to grow with the needs and ambitions of our clients in offering a complete commercial and personal legal service.


What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?

Listen to others, but back your own judgment and don’t be afraid to take the road less followed.