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The stellar reputation of former FCSI Worldwide president Hugh Cade FFCSI rests on a long career spent as a consultant and working for Deloitte. He talks to Jim Banks about flagship projects and his proudest moments


ugh Cade FFCSI is not the type of man to brag about a career that has seen him receive many accolades. Having decided to call time on his consulting activities after 35 years handling transformation projects, he could easily rest and reflect on his successes. Instead the recently-married Cade looks ahead to the many retirement activities he has planned.

His skills and knowledge were recognised by the FCSI many times over the years, and in 1998 he was made the organisation’s first non-North American president. Four years later he became a fellow of the society. Over the years he has worked as a consultant in his own right, as part of a small consultancy and as a partner in the hospitality, travel and leisure practice at the then dominant player, Deloitte & Touche. It all began, however, with his poor grasp of science as a schoolboy. “I had always wanted to be a vet, but I could not get the grades in the required science subjects. I was OK at biology and chemistry, but I could not get a high enough grade in physics. I ended up doing a food and environmental studies degree at the University of London and when I graduated in 1970 I had a big choice to make,” he explains. Job offers were not in short supply but the key decision Cade faced was whether to work for supermarket Sainsbury’s or take on a role at Strand Hotels, which was part of the Lyons Hotel Group. “I chose the hotel job because it appealed to me. I was part of the development team for Strand Hotels. In the 1970s, the government was giving a lot of grants for hotel development. When my boss left I was asked to take over the team but in 1973 the grants stopped and I decided to move on, taking a job at Anchor Hotels and Taverns, which was owned by Courage. I ended up a group catering manager for 37 hotels and three pubs,” he says. A great deal of responsibility fell on Cade’s

shoulders during his time in-house at major leisure and hospitality companies and it gave him the tools and experience to step into the world of consultancy. “I learned a lot from the people at Strand Hotels early on in my career and they kept me on the straight and narrow. When I moved into consultancy I joined Greene Belfield Smith, a hotel and catering consultancy that was formed in 1977 and I became a partner in 1980. While I was there the job taught me a lot about attention to detail. We did a lot of joint venture work with big consultancies that had a lot of market share, and eventually the company was bought by one of them, which gave us a lot more in terms of resources and branding,” he explains.

On track for grand projects

After seven years as a partner at Greene Belfield Smith & Co, Cade saw the company become part of Touche Ross, which later became Deloitte & Touche. “The brand of Deloitte had a lot of clout and it had the biggest market share of any consultancy working in our industry. It enabled me to get involved in some very large and transformative projects that presented many challenges. I particularly enjoyed the large amount of work we did on the railways from the mid-1980s,” he says. Cade’s involvement with the railways – both in the UK and abroad – is long-running. In the 1990s, for instance, he was appointed a non-executive director of Travellers Fare by the British Railways Board and spent four years in the role before UK rail services were privatised. Later, he would find himself in charge of the catering strategy for Eurostar trains. “It was a very competitive pitch for Eurostar, but we were in a position to field a multinational team. After that we were involved in setting the strategy for Thalys trains between Paris and Brussels. That was an extremely challenging piece of work, not least because the French rail industry is very heavily

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