This month marks a momentous occasion as we celebrate Marcus Jones, Managing Director of Capcon Ltd, who reaches a 25-year milestone with our business. Marcus’ unwavering commitment, passion, and leadership have played a pivotal role in shaping Capcon into the successful and innovative business that it is today.
In celebration of this significant milestone, Marcus graciously shares insights from his inspiring professional journey, highlights his notable achievements, and reflects on the values that have guided his exceptional leadership style throughout the years.
Q: Can you tell us about your journey at Capcon Ltd and how you started your career there?
Marcus: I always had a passion for the hospitality industry, and my journey at Capcon started in an unexpected way. After attending Norwich Hotel College, I began my career in hotel kitchens and worked my way up to become a Senior Sous Chef. Following that, I followed a General Manager to a new hotel in Hampshire, where I met my wife, Suzanne. During my tenure with Whitbread, I encountered Capcon as they completed external audits for Pizza Hut, which Whitbread owned at the time. Intrigued by their extensive service offering to the hospitality sector, I shadowed a visit to understand the responsibilities involved. Subsequently, in the same year, I joined Capcon as an Auditor in the London & South East region.
Q: What were some of the highlights during your 25-year tenure as the managing director of Capcon Ltd?
Marcus: I’ve been fortunate to experience several highlights throughout my journey at Capcon. Working for one of our theatre clients in New York and staying in the heart of Broadway was an unforgettable experience. I have also had the privilege of serving on various Audit Committees and presenting our findings to senior shareholders of large corporations. Witnessing the evolution of Capcon from basic stocktaking functionality to a company that provides a diverse range of services worldwide has been immensely rewarding. Additionally, I am hugely grateful for the fantastic team I’ve had the pleasure of working with, especially Ken Dulieu, who founded the business in the early ’80s and remains actively involved today as Chairman.
Q: How has Capcon Ltd evolved over the years, and what role did you play in its growth and success?
Marcus: Having worked in various roles within Capcon, I gained valuable experience in the behind-the-scenes aspects of the business. This enabled me to review and make changes to different parts of the business over the years, ensuring that we stay ahead of the competition and continually offer new services and data analytics. In the early days, many processes were manual, but now we strive to automate as much as possible to enhance the client experience. Maintaining effective communication and ensuring that all moving parts align has been crucial, especially with the rise of remote work. By constantly assessing the bigger picture, we can ensure our direction remains on track.
Q: What motivates and inspires you to continue leading Capcon Ltd after such a long and successful career?
Marcus: The answer is simple: the people. I take immense pleasure in seeing individuals who started at Capcon advance in their careers, becoming Audit Managers and pursuing other remarkable opportunities. It’s equally inspiring to witness the dedication of those who have chosen to stay with Capcon throughout their entire career, committing their careers to the company. Additionally, the incredible support from the individuals behind our employees, particularly their partners, reinforces the family spirit that has been integral to Capcon since its inception.
Q: Can you share some of the key lessons you’ve learned throughout your professional journey at Capcon Ltd?
Marcus: Listen, think, react. In a fast-paced environment, it’s easy to make quick decisions without considering the bigger picture. I’ve made decisions that didn’t go as planned, so it’s crucial to be open to feedback, suggestions, and the need for adjustments. It’s essential to ensure that everyone has a complete understanding of the situation and its various factors, as collaboration is vital to success.
Q: What values or principles have guided your leadership style throughout your time as managing director?
Marcus: The foundation of Capcon lies in its employees. They are the ones who visit clients daily, often facing challenging circumstances. It is essential to support them and make them feel valued. I maintain an open-door policy and meet every new employee within the first few days, ensuring that they connect with the person leading the company. It is crucial for everyone to understand their role’s impact on the business and how it relates to others’ responsibilities. Communication is key – one can’t expect people to simply comply if they are not given the reason.
Q: How do you foster a positive and productive work culture within Capcon Ltd?
Marcus: Creating a positive work culture can be challenging in a geographically dispersed organisation. I believe in leading by example and being visible. We hold weekly operations meetings with the senior team, regularly inviting others to join. This provides insight into ongoing projects, challenges, and keeps everyone feeling like part of the team. While modern communication methods like Zoom and Teams are valuable, there is no substitute for face-to-face interaction and recognising accomplishments in person. Additionally, we recognise the different working hours of our employees, offering support throughout their entire workday. We encourage phone communication, as speaking is becoming a lost art. Employees often appreciate the accessibility of the senior team, and I personally enjoy answering calls.
Q: What achievements are you most proud of during your time at Capcon Ltd, and why?
Marcus: I take pride in various achievements throughout my time at Capcon. Serving as a Magistrate significantly impacted my management style, providing me with invaluable learning and development opportunities. Being able to contribute to helping individuals in need and witnessing their growth has been incredibly rewarding. We also prioritise internal development, creating new job roles for talented individuals within our team. Recently, we introduced Operational Support Managers to provide additional training and support to both new and existing employees seeking to acquire new skills or adapt to new technologies. Growing the business beyond pre-Covid levels, expanding our client portfolio, and offering a wide range of services developed in-house are accomplishments that fill me with immense pride.
Q: Are there any specific mentors or role models who have influenced your career path and leadership style?
Marcus: Without a doubt, my mentors and role models have been Ken and Jeannette Dulieu. Both have been a tremendous support throughout my journey. The Covid-19 pandemic altered our relationship, as we had to navigate the unknown, make challenging decisions, and work hard to ensure that the business survided and thrived. Ken’s presence and daily conversations were instrumental in helping me overcome personal and professional challenges during that time. While we don’t always agree, our mutual trust enables confident decision-making. Jeannette’s outlook and perspectives have also been thought-provoking and valuable in shaping my leadership style.
Q: Can you discuss any notable industry trends or changes that have impacted Capcon Ltd and how you navigated them?
Marcus: Over the years, we’ve witnessed businesses relying on technology alone to mitigate risks and reduce fraud. However, the reduction in manpower dedicated to data analysis often undermines these efforts. At Capcon, we aim to assist clients during the early stages of adopting new technology, helping them understand the risks and encouraging communication about data analysis and trends. We now undertake a significant portion of remote work for clients, which was previously unheard of due to technology limitations. Embracing this change allows us to work smarter and provide better value for money. The hospitality industry has also experienced a decline in experienced operators, prompting us to focus on training current teams to rebuild knowledge within the industry.
Q: Besides your career at Capcon Ltd, what other interests or hobbies do you have that bring you joy and fulfilment?
Marcus: Apart from my career at Capcon, being a Magistrate has been an immensely fulfilling experience, as it provides an opportunity to give back to the local community. I particularly enjoyed giving talks at schools and colleges, sharing insights into the role of a Magistrate and our work. Gardening is another interest of mine, and I still enjoy spending time in the kitchen, albeit a domestic one now. Traveling is something my wife and I both enjoy, and going on a safari is definitely on our bucket list. Balancing work and personal interests can be challenging, especially considering the diverse and nearly 24/7 nature of our business. I also had the incredible opportunity to play the Wurlitzer at the Blackpool Tower, fulfilling a childhood dream despite the initial daunting experience.
Q: Can you share a memorable or inspiring anecdote from your time at Capcon Ltd that has stayed with you throughout your career?
Marcus: A memorable anecdote from my time at Capcon involves a meeting with a potential new client. During the meeting, I asked them what kept them awake at night. While it may have been a slightly risky question, it resonated with the client, and the following day they awarded us the work. Over the years, we’ve had numerous conversations about that question, and it has proven effective in understanding client needs and showcasing our commitment to helping them rather than merely promoting a standard approach.
Q: How do you stay connected with your employees and maintain open lines of communication within Capcon Ltd?
Marcus: As I frequently find myself in hotel rooms for extended periods, which can feel isolating, I have spontaneously sent out Teams messages at 8 am, offering employees the chance to win a voucher by calling me and sharing about their day or week while also asking me questions. The response was fantastic, and the phone was ringing off the hook. It was an incredibly rewarding experience that allowed me to learn more about our employees’ interests and families. Having experienced their role first hand, I can empathise with the challenges they face. Additionally, meeting new employees within their first few days and maintaining an open-door policy helps foster communication and accessibility.
Q: Lastly, what legacy would you like to leave behind as the managing director of Capcon Ltd?
Marcus: Communication is crucial at all levels and across all parts of the business. Every role within the organisation is equally important, even though some come with greater responsibility and worry. I once heard a story about a cleaner at NASA who, when asked about their role, replied, “I’m helping to send people into space.” This perspective resonated with me, and I hope to leave a legacy where every employee at Capcon understands the significance of their contribution and the impact it has on the company and others. If it wasn’t for the whole team, we would not be the success that we are.
We also couldn’t close this article without some heartfelt words from Ken Dulieu, Chairman of Capcon Ltd:
“It has been an absolute privilege working alongside Marcus throughout his 25-year journey at Capcon. I have witnessed first hand the extraordinary leader he is, with an unwavering dedication, passion, and resilience that have propelled our company to new heights. Marcus’ remarkable commitment and invaluable contributions have left an indelible mark on Capcon. I would like to take this opportunity to extend our heartfelt congratulations and deepest gratitude to Marcus for his exceptional leadership and unwavering dedication. On a personal note, Jeannette and I thank him for his loyalty and friendship over the years. We are excited about the future and the continued contribution that Marcus will make to the success of Capcon under his visionary guidance.”
Thank you Marcus, from all of us at Capcon.