It seems everywhere you look of late, headlines are replete with tales of entrepreneurs or heads of businesses being singled out as lone architects of their own success. In a global culture dominated by the flashy origin stories of companies like Apple or Facebook, it’s easy to believe that these stories are representative of the new face of business. However, in reality, large-scale accomplishments are rarely, if ever, the work of a single person.
For those looking to truly analyze the true roots of a complex entity such as a large business, much is gained by searching for the team behind its existence. Such is the case with Telereal Trillium, one of the UK’s largest property companies. Though the company owes much to the leadership of Graham Edwards, it has also been built through the hard work of a number of players over the years. Read on for a look at how such a company is created and sustained in the modern global economy.
About Telereal Trillium
Claiming to be one of the largest property companies in the UK is a statement that carries weight only when backed up by fact. In the case of Telereal Trillium, those facts are readily available. Currently, the company lays claim to housing one percent of the UK’s workforce. Its holdings include 8,000 properties covering 86 million square feet. Those holdings amount to a £6 billion portfolio. All of this amounts to a company that holds a sizable influence over how the country houses people and business alike.
Pears Family Influence
A company of this size doesn’t appear by chance. Indeed, Telereal Trillium’s present form is the result of a carefully orchestrated 2009 merger between two other firms, previously known as Telereal and Trillium. Though Graham Edwards played a large part in the acquisition, in order to gain a more complete picture of the deal, it is helpful to know a bit about the origin of Telereal, the company he headed before the merger. That company was created in 2001 as a joint venture between Land Securities Trillium and Pears (The B Pears Trust and William Pears Group). The Pears Family, who runs the William Pears Group, is part owner in a variety of property holdings. Two notable holdings of the family include Coutts Bank in the Strand and the Coronet Cinema in Notting Hill.
It is through this partnership with the Pears family that Telereal came to be. In fact, the collaboration is a prime example of the family’s influence on the growth and formation of what would become Telereal Trillium. From the joint efforts of the family, Edwards, and others, Telereal entered into a thirty-year strategic partnership with BT Plc. This partnership involved the majority of BT’s UK estate and saw Telereal acquire 6,700 properties with a total area of 59.2 million square feet and a value of £2.38 billion.
Of course, the appointment of Graham Edwards as CEO in 2001 did heavily influence the direction and shape of the company. However, to hear him tell it, that influence was often in form of finding great partners. He often singles out his colleagues such as Ian Ellis, former CEO of Trillium as key contributors to the Telereal Trillium’s story. “No major enterprise is the result of one person,” says Edwards.
Though these sentiments are certainly accurate and representative of the collaborative spirit that has permeated Edwards’ time as CEO, his individual contributions to the company have also done much to further its success. An example of these efforts would be his work in the aforementioned 2009 merger. It was Edwards himself who identified the potential of the acquisition when he heard that Trillium was coming to market. He reached out personally to the Trillium team to express interest and build momentum for the move. Later in the process, it was Edwards himself who led the negotiations which resulted in the deal taking place. Once complete, that deal would establish Telereal Trillium as the market leader in property outsourcing and investment, with annual revenues amounting to over £1 billion.
Collaboration with Ellis
As previously noted, Edwards passes much of the praise for the business’s success to a key member of his team, Ian Ellis. While it was Ellis with whom he set up the merger to create Telereal Trillium, the duo actually worked together beforehand at Telereal. During their five years together, the two helped shape the company’s culture and methods of conducting business. When Ellis would later leave to helm Trillium, the two maintained their connection. One example of this continuing shared culture is the fact that the two companies were housed in the same building at the time of their merger. This not only spoke to the shared experience of the firms but also the ease with which they were able to later join forces.
Another interesting point of reference for understanding the part Graham Edwards has played in shaping his company is the role he has played at other organizations. Having read economics at Cambridge University, Edwards would use his education to transition into a variety of opportunities at heavyweight firms. Two notable examples would be his time as a fund manager at Merrill Lynch Investment Management, as well as a position as head of finance for the BT Group Plc’s property department. These experience not only helped shape his viewpoints and approaches toward business, they also helped impress upon him the importance of a well-run team in the pursuit of a larger goal (https://www.globalgracemissions.org/graham-edwards-telereal-trillium-ceo-and-business-expert/).
When examining the work Graham Edwards has accomplished during his time with Telereal Trillium and elsewhere, it’s striking to notice how directed his efforts have been on forming partnerships and building strong collaborations. In an era where the idea of the lone entrepreneur has become almost mythical, it’s refreshing to find an executive who embraces this multi-faceted approach to business. As Telereal Trillium continues to grow, and Edwards’ own career continues to evolve, that approach will undoubtedly continue to show its merits. It’s clear to see that as the world grows increasingly interconnected and collaborative, so too does business.
More about Graham Edwards on LinkedIn