Our growing family

Leadership, Sanjeev Gupta > 28th August, 2019
Photo of Sanjeev Gupta and employees

At a glance

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  • GFG is ambitious and aspirational.
  • Our growth is strategic and deliberate and our integrated network of businesses provides resilience and strength.
  • Our people and values are at the heart of what we do.

A planned approach to growth, prudent investment and a clearly-defined values set will help pave the way for the ongoing growth and success of GFG Alliance, writes Sanjeev Gupta.

The notion relayed in media from the UK to Australia, is that the GFG Alliance is ‘spinning too many plates’, or growing too fast.

It’s one that makes me smile.

There’s no point saying, ‘let’s slow down’ – that’s not who we are and not how I approach business.

My team is ambitious and aspirational and we keep breaking boundaries. That’s the DNA of our global family, and it will continue to be the driver as we move forward. Yes, there are challenges along the way, but we will overcome them as we have always done.

There’s a lot of interest in what we do and our business. Our Alliance formally came into existence in 2016, but it has operated informally since the early 1990s, when I founded LIBERTY House Group and started working closely with the SIMEC group, which itself was founded in the 1960s.

Through the GFG Alliance, we now have a presence in more than 30 countries and count an employee base of around 30,000.

Strategic, sustainable expansion

I disagree with the view that the Alliance has taken a ‘growth for growth’s sake’ approach.

Our growth and planning is very deliberate – the decision to move into Australia, for example, was all part of a planned decision. We don’t look at a move like that in isolation as one deal. We look to see what other opportunities are available across all our verticals. It’s the same approach that underpinned our recent European acquisitions and expansion.

Support from our stakeholders underpins all GFG Alliance acquisition activity and helps provide a foundation for our success. Our businesses aim to grow and build local communities.

This approach to acquisition helps to future-proof the Alliance by building a strong network of autonomous businesses and an ecosystem to support growth at all levels.

Generally, our businesses use local resources and operate at a community level to drive and stimulate economic growth and generate profits. The businesses work together across the Alliance and, in doing so, become part of a global supply chain producing further value. Yet they exist separately in their own right, with their own customers, capital base, suppliers, governance and boards.

This model means businesses have flexibility and can be integrated in a hard or virtual form, or be decoupled and operate separately within the Alliance. It could be that you’re in the mining business in Australia and primary steel business in Europe – it’s not necessarily that those mines are supplying the plants, but there’s virtual integration because of knowledge sharing and balanced outcomes within the supply chain.

It can be confusing both for our own people and external observers and commentators alike, but ultimately this model serves to ensure the long-term resilience of the Alliance.

Photo of Sanjeev Gupta

People and values are at the heart

We don’t just look at the commercial opportunity and we don’t enter into any business opportunity that requires massive social change in terms of redundancies or big restructures. Management is key because if it’s a good asset then you can use it and evolve it and apply it across other parts of the group.

As the Alliance continues to grow our guiding values of change, family and sustainability are increasingly important.

Change is a constant part of the history of GFG Alliance, which evolves and adapts daily in response to opportunities and challenge.

We are a family business, that’s part of our DNA, and for me that means treating everyone in the company and group, and the stakeholders and customers we work with, with the respect you would give a family member.

And the third part is sustainability – we are interested in generational initiatives, in long-term investments which provide economic sustainability first and foremost. From that, comes social sustainability and environmental sustainability.

I strongly believe these guiding values have universal appeal. They fulfil common criteria and provide a shared purpose and set of beliefs certainly for our workforce and yet they speak to our partners and stakeholders that we work with around the world every day.

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