And the award for most generous CEO goes too…

Henry Engelhardt, the founder and chief executive of UK Insurance group Admiral.  Having read with interest articles about him, I found his approach to running and leading a business in the FTSE 100 index of the largest companies listed on the London Stock Exchange, very inspiring.

“We have a very simple philosophy – if people like what they do, they will do it better,” Engelhardt says. “Or to put it another way – have fun, satisfy customers, make money.”

“And if people are unhappy at work, if they are brooding or jealous, it doesn’t help you do those things.”

And in May when he retires after 25 years at the helm, he and his wife, Diane Engelhardt are personally gifting between £500 and £1,000 to each member of Admiral’s 8,300-strong global workforce.  This gift is a gesture of thanks for all the employees’ hard work during his time as CEO.

All full-time staff with one year’s service will receive £1,000 and all other employees will receive £500.

The gift will total around £7 million.

Engelhardt  said “Saying thank you to all the Admiral staff who work so hard every day to make Admiral great is the most important thing we can do.”

“We are making this gift in recognition of the hard work and team spirit that has underpinned Admiral’s success as we’ve grown from a start-up with value of £0 to a FTSE 100 company with a value of £5 billion today.”

“I am proud to have been part of the team of thousands who have created such a great business and great place to work.

Mr Engelhardt, who owns about 15% of Admiral, personally introduces himself to all new members of staff in the UK, Canada and India, (it’s the little things that count).

His philosophy has obviously paid off, I love the fact that Admiral has  a “Ministry of Fun”, a team dedicated to organising weekly social activities for staff, such as come to work in fancy dress days, nights out, or computer game tournaments in lunch breaks and this obviously helps employees feel as equal and valued as possible.

The results are pretty clear, Admiral is the only company that has made all 14 of the annual 100 Best UK Companies To Work For reports by the Sunday Times newspaper!!

And secondly, Admiral says it is one of only two companies on the FTSE 100 to have reported 10 straight years of higher profits and dividends.

This is not the first time either that employees have benefited from such generosity.  After the 2004 flotation, non-management employees shared a windfall of £56m, which equated to an average of £40,000 per person.

Bravo, what a fantastic legacy to leave.

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