The Luxury Leader Interview

Toby Edwards, Co-CEO at Victor

"I think being luxury is less about the (high) cost of a product or service, and more about having a positive purpose, so make sure your values are aligned with whichever luxury brand you choose to work for." Today we meet Toby Edwards, the co-CEO of award-winning private air charter business Victor. Click below for an interview with Toby, where he discusses the impact the last 12 months has had on his business; how he has been inspired by the resilience of his team and the NHS; and why Summer 2021 is set to be their busiest ever.
26th Mar 2021
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The Luxury Leader Interview Toby Edwards, Co-CEO at Victor

What is your vision for the business?
We believe in a better way to fly private, and our mission is to become the number 1 on-demand jet charter company worldwide. It is important for us that we do this responsibly and use our position of influence to create a better future for business aviation. From bringing greater transparency to the consumer to encouraging diversity and setting a sustainability standard, it’s all part of our bigger purpose.

How have you led the company through the current Covid-19 crisis?
I am fortunate to have an outstanding management team, a co-CEO I trust explicitly, and a supportive Board, so the leadership is a team effort. My priority is ensuring our leaders have both the support and space to do their jobs to the best of their ability.

And what do you see as the lasting impact of the pandemic on your business?
Before the pandemic I was sceptical about video calls versus traditional face-to-face meetings. With 90% of our team working remotely, Microsoft Teams is now integral for collaboration and enjoyment; essential ingredients in the formula for winning.

What’s next for both you and the company?
Alongside my co-CEO James, it is our responsibility to take this great British company and luxury brand forward. With the continuation of the vaccine roll out and international travel restrictions lifting, the entire business will need to adapt again very quickly. It’s going to be especially busy in Europe between May and October as we see the trend of new customers continue, a surge in business travel, lacking of scheduled airlines, and a return of pre-Covid 19 customers. There are also some major sporting events this summer, including the delayed EURO 2020 competition, which we will be heavily involved with, so it is going to be busy!

What was your big break?
At the beginning of 2020, after securing financial backing from a consortium of flyers including our original Founder Clive Jackson, we completed a successful Management Buy Out. Soon afterwards I was appointed co-CEO by the Board.

What inspires you?
The resilience and determination of our team. At the end of our company-wide morning stand-up, anybody in the team is welcome to share an inspirational quote for the day – it’s very much part of our daily routine, which has evolved organically over the past year - recently a colleague shared this Dolly Parton quote; “If you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.” It’s inspiring even after everything we’ve been through the past few years that our team spirit (and bottom line) has never been better.

What piece of advice would you give to someone wishing to work in the luxury sector?
I think being luxury is less about the (high) cost of a product or service, and more about having a positive purpose, so make sure your values are aligned with whichever luxury brand you choose to work for.

What would you be doing in a parallel life?
I love the outdoors. Running a small family farm in the British countryside with a sea view sounds like heaven on earth to me.

What does British luxury mean to you?
It is a really difficult question to answer. Seeing our country efficiently roll out more than 25 million COVID-19 vaccines by the 17th of March made me feel so proud to be British. I think being British is being honest and showing uncompromising loyalty to strong moral values - knowing 95% of people aged 65 and over have been vaccinated with a first dose is the perfect example of this. So, perhaps British luxury is any product or service that incorporates similar positive and purposeful behaviours in their culture.

What’s your favourite luxury?
The NHS. On the 1st of October 2020, my wife gave birth to our baby boy in Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. It was the first time in my life that I had spent a significant amount of time in any hospital, and it was a reality check moment - I was blown away by the love and care of every single member of staff. The feeling I got from all the NHS staff last year as a result of their passion and commitment is how all luxury service providers should aim to make their clients feel.

www.flyvictor.com