Brexit & my business: "If anything Brexit has got people to open their eyes a bit more"

Companies will need to prepare for a more complex world, says Rolls-Royce's strategic marketing director.

by Stephen Jones
Last Updated: 03 Oct 2019

As Strategic Marketing Director at FTSE 100 engineering firm Rolls-Royce it’s Ben Story’s job to look to the future and determine how the company’s strategy will play out over the next three decades. 

This of course, means looking at how geopolitical events might impact the company. 


"When it comes to Brexit there is more of an operational rather than strategic concern, but we don’t see anything existential or that fundamentally challenges the business. 

"We’re very fortunate that the aerospace industry operates in a framework that predates the EU and is outside all global tariffs and quotas, so shouldn’t really be impacted at all. Our power systems business is in Germany, and when it comes to our defence business that’s always been heavily regulated with export controls.

"If anything I have noticed, and not so much for Rolls-Royce but for our suppliers and other people that we work with, that Brexit - whether you think it’s for good or ill - has actually got people to open their eyes a bit more and think about getting out in the world, exporting and being more global. 

"Interestingly with what has been happening with Trump, Chinese trade disputes and in part, the rise of India, it shows that we are going to have to be more open, in a competitive global market that is far more complex. We don’t look at that and cringe, we find that genuinely thrilling. China is a major pool of innovation for us and we have a long history of working in India. 

"So we’re not really thinking about Brexit; we’re thinking about the more complex world, where perhaps trade is regulated from time to time, and certainly where innovation is going to be much more spread globally.

"So Brexit, the trade disputes and other things are a reminder to us that we want to be global, we want to be everywhere with multiple home markets and a global workforce. It might sound like a bit of a pep talk, but I really feel this."

These comments were taken from an interview with Story in March 2019.

Image credit: Rolls Royce

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