In 2020 Chris Downham was appointed co-Chair of Walpole’s Brands of Tomorrow Programme along with Balthazar Fabricius. Chris is a chartered accountant. He has worked in general and financial management roles for founder-led and entrepreneurial businesses over the last two decades, including as CFO and CEO of luxury media company BOAT International until the end of 2018. He has advisory and board roles with several companies, including sustainable luxury repair service The Restory, a 2019 Brand of Tomorrow. Balthazar grew up on the Goodwood Estate, and attended King’s College London. He cut his teeth on Ladbrokes’ Graduate Scheme in 2002, before founding the world's finest bookmakers Fitzdares in 2005. In 2007, Fitzdares became one of Walpole’s inaugural Brands of Tomorrow.
What does it mean to you to be named a Walpole 2020 Power List winner?
Balthazar: I feel like I’ve won Wimbledon.
Chris: It’s heart-warming to be recognised in this way, and I’d like to think is a reflection on the Brands of Tomorrow programme and what the participants have achieved this year. I think it's an appreciation of the Programme, more than anything.
Why do you think you were named on the List this year?
Balthazar: There will be plenty more deserving but certainly something my co-Chair Chris and I are proud of is that we tried to throw everything we could at supporting our fabulous founders on the 2020 Brands of Tomorrow programme. Together with our excellent mentors we have tried as hard as possible to help them all, and they are navigating these savage twists and turns incredibly. The spirit and energy within the Brands of Tomorrow community is inspiring.
Chris: It's been an incredible year to take over the Brands of Tomorrow programme! Both Balth and I would say we’ve been included list because - in a small way - we’ve helped the brands get through this incredibly testing period. We are fortunate to have been blessed with twelve amazing brands and an outstanding group of founders – so we can’t claim any credit for what they’ve done, but I’d like to think we’ve helped a little.