Brendan, as the original founder of The Panel, what made you set up the business in the first place?
I can't believe that the Panel is 1b seconds old. If that is true, I must be 2b seconds old which sounds like Methuselah. But the good news is that I probably have 1b seconds left.
In 1987, there was only one other agency specialising in accountants at that time. Careers Register. That compares to dozens now. I did some contracts for them as an accountant and it seemed to me to be a very easy and profitable business.
Where were you based initially and when did you move to 21 Northumberland Rd.?
We started off renting two rooms in 97 Lower Baggot Street. Then moved to bigger offices at Upper Fitzwilliam Street before moving again to 107 Lower Baggot Street. Then we got an opportunity to buy 21 Northumberland Road in 2002 and we jumped at it.
When and what made you decide to hand over the reins of The Panel to Paul and Anne?
We had been doing very well right up until around September 2008 when the market just fell off a cliff. We went from 30 employees down to 9 during 2010. At that stage we had to cut costs even further as there was no sign of an improvement. And as I was the third biggest cost after Paul and Anne...
What are your best memories of your time with The Panel?
I hope I don't sound too mercenary but when the first cheque arrived in the door from our first client - a temp in RTE - I realised that this is a serious business.
What wise words would you have for us going forward?
They rightly didn't listen much to my wise words while I was there, so why would they listen to them now?
They are far better recruiters and far better business people than I ever was. How can you advise Paul and Anne? Maybe, always recruit employees who are better than you. Don't be afraid to recruit someone who might show you up. It worked for me.
Brendan, thank you for kick starting our journey, leading us in the right direction and for being a continued friend, we have much to thank you for! Thanks for taking the time to be a part of this flashback campaign and all the very best!!!
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