David Parkin on a nice guy of business, boxing clever and working hard…just like that

GOLF is not something I spend much time playing these days but when an invitation was received from David Ansbro, the former UK and European boss of law firm Eversheds, I jumped at the opportunity.

David is one of those rare individuals who combine warmth, humour, intelligence and wisdom along with a complete absence of ego, despite his many achievements.

It made a round of golf at picturesque Skipton Golf Club fly by and I even played pretty well, thanks to David’s relaxed and jovial company.

With his half moon spectacles perched on the end of his nose, David resembles a wise owl – perhaps appropriate given he was once chief executive of Leeds City Council, which has three owls on its coat of arms and golden statues of the nocturnal birds of prey atop the city’s civic hall.

Such was his success in the public sector – he was the youngest town clerk in the country when appointed by York City Council in 1981 and went on to run Kirklees and Leeds councils and develop one of the first private/public partnerships between a local authority and business – he was headhunted by Eversheds’ forerunner Hepworth & Chadwick to launch its public sector practice.

He was quickly promoted to run the Leeds and Manchester offices of Eversheds and then spent three years heading up the firm in the UK and Europe.

The legal sector has always been viewed as a bear pit where only the ruthless and selfish survive, but Ansbro did things his way, valuing everyone in the firm equally – from the post room staff to the senior partners.

He listened more than he spoke and he managed by walking around and engaging with his colleagues.

Industry publication The Lawyer described him as “Eversheds’ Mr Nice Guy” with “a management style that makes Bambi look ruthless”.

A rare style which certainly worked very successfully.

A long-time Manchester City fan, David suffered the club’s lack of success until the glory times of recent years.

He shares my low opinion of the taxi business Uber.

Visiting his daughter Kate and her family in Singapore recently, she ordered an Uber for her parents.

David recalled: “The guy turned up late, hadn’t a clue where it was that I wanted to go…and the blood pressure was rising a little when I noticed he was wearing a United shirt with Ibrahimovic’s name emblazoned on it…I don’t like him either!”


MY comments on the passing of Sir Bruce Forsyth last week brought a lovely response from the great man’s daughter Debbie and her husband Richard Matthews.

I met them a few years ago when old pal Jonny Hick of Directorbank fame invited me to spend a few days with him at Richard’s beautiful holiday home in the Spanish mountains near Granada.

They were great hosts and wonderful company and Richard was a fount of stories about the glory days of the London currency and stock markets where he worked as a broker.

At the time I met him he had twin passions for Arsenal Football Club and Ferrari sports cars, although given the Gunners’ current woes, he’s probably just focusing on the sports cars.

Richard is now in demand as a market commentator, writing a regular blog for financial websites and being interviewed on business news TV shows.


I DIDN’T have very much luck on the horses at the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival at York last week.

But I did have a winning bet.

Chatting to two Irishmen in the Champagne bar, talk turned to the weekend’s upcoming fight between boxing legend Floyd Mayweather and UFC fighter Conor McGregor.

I said the only question was how long it would take Mayweather to win it, not if.

They both told me I was wrong and Mayweather had never faced a ferocious puncher like the ‘Notorious’ Dublin-born scrapper.

I bet the pair of them 20 quid each that Mayweather would triumph and I now should be £40 better off.

The only problem is that given the conversation took place rather late in the day, I don’t think either of them remember the conversation.


PERHAPS I’ve spent too much time watching hit HBO TV series Game of Thrones recently.

That can be the only explanation for why I’m sure I saw a white walker in Morrisons the other day.

To be fair, you can’t blame me, he was standing in the frozen foods aisle.

But wearing a tracksuit rather than chain mail.


I OFTEN ring my parents when I’m travelling somewhere. In recent weeks, as this blog has recounted, that has included the Grassington Festival, Great Yorkshire Show, York Races as well as various football and cricket matches and the odd long lunch.

I think I may have to play down some of these in future given a conversation this week with my Mum.

On my way to play golf with David Ansbro, I rang her for a catch up and told her where I was off to.

“Are you doing any work at all or are you just taking the whole summer off dear?” she asked.

It reminds me of when Tommy Cooper was presented with an award by the Variety Club and at the glitzy awards lunch, gave an acceptance speech, but was interrupted by his wife, who whispered loudly: “You’ve forgot to put your fez on.”

“That’s nice isn’t it,” said Tommy to the audience, “you get heckled by your own wife.”

Giving his trade mark growl-like chuckle, he paused before adding: “I told you to stay in the truck.”

Have a great weekend.


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