RISING through the ranks is certainly an opportunity at York insurance broker DE Ford.

Managing director Chris Greenall is living proof. Over his 23 years with the business, he has progressed from teaboy to MD, and remaining loyal to the business has served him well.

“I joined when I was 20,” he said. “The day before my interview, I read the Sunday Times for the first time from cover to cover and related every question to something I had read. And it worked!”

At the time, the company employed about 12 people and was based in Wetherby.

A couple of years later, it moved to York and now the company employs about 50 people.

Chris said: “As I tell people when I interview them, I can relate to everything they go through in this company, from office junior to senior management.

“I have been there and done it and I understand the culture and how difficult it can be at times.”

Chris said there were times he was offered other jobs, but he has always remained loyal to the company that looked after him, and disregarded them.

Working directly under the chairman, Vince Ford, Chris said the company had been kind to him, even lending him the deposit for a house which enabled him to move to York with the business.

Until about three years ago, the firm supported its younger staff to get a start in life by offering a house based on its site in Poppleton at a subsidised rent for graduates and trainees.

But it was turned into an extension to the office as the business expanded.

The company’s approach means many of its staff have worked there for 20 or more years, he said, including accounts managers that used to be cleaners and sales executives who started as typists.

What job would you like to have other than your own and why?

Clerk of the Course at York Racecourse – I have met William Derby and think he has a great job in a good social environment.

Greatest achievement

I have been here 23 years and built this company along with my colleagues and we have grown gradually and really becoming a name in York and nationally.

Biggest mistake

I used to be a useless listener as a kid. One thing I learned was always try and listen because you don’t know everything.

What makes you most angry?

People who take and don’t give back.

What do you need to make life complete?

I have got one daughter and if she can grow up to be healthy and happy that will do for me.

Why do you make a difference?

I’m positive, innovative and professional but we have a bit of fun, which is the main thing.


“Anyway, I will let you get off now,” is how I tend to end conversations when they’re pretty dull, particularly with colleagues, so I think it would be that.