It is hard to imagine the energy that keeps David Cox going, but wherever and whenever you are out and about in the trade he will be there doing his sterling work to raise money for the industry charity, The Beneolent, for people in need across the drinks industry. So what does he get up to in an average week? Here’s a clue…a lot.
David Cox is quite rightly one of the most respected – and liked – members of the trade. But even he has to get through the highs and lows of an average week.
Can you describe your average week?
Most weeks I am absorbed in accomplishing the two most important activities for The Benevolent charity. These are firstly assessing, approving and activating numerous requests for support from current or past members of the drinks trade and secondly attempting to broaden the engagement with trade companies in all drinks sectors and obtaining financial support from a greater number of corporate partners.
What has been the highlight of your last working week?
One of the most rewarding aspects of my role is to see the immense positive impact that The Benevolent’s support can have on those we help. Last week, I received an extremely moving email from a well-known member of the trade whose daughter The Benevolent had helped through a particularly difficult crisis; a crisis that had affected his daughter but also the immediate family for some time. It was clear that she is well on the way to recovery and we were being thanked in an incredibly moving way. It makes everything we do so worthwhile.
And the lowlight of your last working week?
I am delighted to say that, in this job, there are very few low points, but I guess if anything it’s of course…emails, emails, emails. Just too many. A common lament these days but I do think we are all guilty of sending too many and copying in too many people. Grrrrr.
What is the best part of your job?
The best part of my job is presenting an overview of The Benevolent’s charitable operations to senior executives in the drinks trade and asking them to become ‘Corporate Partners’ giving an annual donation and then getting the email or the phone call to say they will. This happened last week when Campari UK became our 90th corporate partner. Very satisfying.
Is there anything about your job you would like to improve?
Despite the ongoing success of our ‘Here to Help’ communications programme, there are still a large number of employees in the drinks trade that do not know that The Benevolent – their drinks trade charity – exists and is there to offer practical, emotional and financial support to all. If I had a magic wand, I would like that message to be immediately sprinkled everywhere.
How has 2016 been for you and The Benevolent? Our trade charity has been going for 130 years, having been founded in 1886, however, I do believe that we have made more progress in the last 12-24 months than all those preceding years. We are helping many more people, our awareness is growing well and we have been joined on our board of trustees by several extremely respected senior trade executives such as Diana Hunter of Conviviality Plc, Guy Lawrence of Mast-Jägermeister UK, Rita Greenwood of William Grant & Sons and Simon Difford of Difford’s Guide. Its been a good year so far.
What are the key trends impacting on The Benevolent?
With the UK trade entering a potentially tough time post-Brexit and with currency exchange rates fluctuating adversely for some companies, I do hope that corporate companies will not seize on this as an excuse to cut back on charitable donations. In my view, there has never been a more important time to be seen to support a trade charity that is there to assist those who are perhaps affected by any fall in profitability or from potential job losses as a result of mergers and acquisitions. I will be doing all I can to spread this message and to emphasise the need for companies to continue to support us financially.
What has been the favourite restaurant you have eaten this year and why?
The Ivy. My wife and I were in central London for drinks one evening with friends and walking back to Waterloo station, on the spur of the moment, decided to see if there was a table at the Ivy. Not only were they very welcoming and accommodated the two of us straight away but the meal was exceptional and actually not costly at all.
What has been the favourite Favourite bottle of wine you have had in the last month? Why and where did you drink it?
Errazuriz Wild Ferment Chardonnay 2011 from Chile’s Aconcagua Valley. This was the wine that Eduardo Chadwick kindly provided for the reception following my twin brother Michael’s memorial service two years ago and we drank it again at a family birthday party in July when it would have been his (and was my) birthday.
The favourite cocktail you have had this year? Why and where did you drink it?
A pretty whacky Charcoal Cobbler in the cocktail bar at Aqua Shard on the 31st floor of The Shard, saying farewell to a wonderful colleague leaving The Benevolent.
Ifyou could pick three people for a classic dinner party from the trade who would they be?
My identical twin brother, Michael Cox would be one! Such a character, sadly no longer with us but we were so close (still am). I would then invite one of the trade’s true gentlemen and, interestingly also an identical twin, Patrick McGrath MW (Hatch Mansfield). We could swap twins stories. Finally, we just couldn’t be without that wise, amusing, knowledgeable and all-round lovely chap, Oz Clarke. The stories that he would bring and, yes, the wine bottles that he would bring!!
Who have been your mentors in your career – people you have most admired/ been inspired by?
David Dearie, past chief executive of Treasury Wine Estates was a brilliant mentor whilst he and I were both at Brown-Forman. David combines a sharp and visionary mind with one of the best management styles when it comes to people management. He additionally possesses a wicked sense of fun and has the neatest hand-writing I’ve ever seen.
Best job you have had in your career?
From a commercial experience point of view, it has to be my role at Brown-Forman. This immensely successful family-run spirits company had invested in wine properties in California and Italy and I was asked to establish a stand-alone European business operation. Over 14 years we built this up to be a fairly large and successful business unit and it was extremely rewarding. With international travel and the experience of working within a wonderfully-run company with a unique ethos, it was a dream job. When Brown-Forman decided to sell their wine operations to Concha y Toro in Chile, my business unit was disbanded but we were all very well looked after.
The best film /book that includes wine/drink?
A bit of a cliché, but I did enjoy Sideways. It reminded me so much of my visits to California wine country.
Where are you going on your summer holidays and what are you drinking?
We are off to the Côte d’Azur in the South of France very soon and I expect we’ll be drinking some rather fine rosés from Provence by the pool.
- You can find out more about The Benevolent and the services and support it offers and how to get involved at its website here.
- Would you like to share your average week on The Buyer. Then simply the answer the questions above and send through to firstname.lastname@example.org.