A former army officer who has worked on peacekeeping missions with NATO in Kosovo and Iraq is now resolving conflict in the workplace across Bath.
Felix Spender, who has also helped gain the release of over 100 hostages captured by Somalian pirates, has set up North Light Solutions to help firms deal with the debilitating effects of change and conflict.
The married-father-of-two, who is based in Queen Square in Bath, has found good conflict management can help improve relationships and productivity. It is also generally a speedier and cheaper alternative to going to court.
Felix, who served in the army for over 30 years and is an accredited mediator, said: “I have seen the devastating effects conflict can have on a country – from loss of life to a stunted economy.
“My time in the army has taught me it is generally in everybody’s interest to try to resolve conflict – and as quickly as possible.
“In a business, if left to fester, it can lead to a lack of productivity and cost thousands of pounds.
“Whether it’s working in a war-torn country or a fractured firm, the principles are the same. It is important to be impartial, understanding and able to work with all parties concerned.”
The Institute of Economics and Peace (IEP) reported global conflict cost 13 per cent of global GNP and resulted in 180,000 deaths.
And the Chartered Institute of Personal Development (CIPD) found conflict led to a loss of productivity and one in three people quit because of it.
Felix, 57, joined the army aged 18 – attracted to a life of foreign travel and camaraderie.
After attending the officer selection centre at Westbury, he trained at world-renown royal military academy at Sandhurst.
The Bath Rugby fan joined the Royal Irish Rangers (later to become the Royal Irish Regiment) and over the years he would serve in Belize, Germany, Northern Ireland, Cyprus and the Middle East.
He worked with NATO in Kosovo in 2005-6 and then in Iraq in 2009, during a period of transition.
Felix retired from the army in 2010 and joined Begbies Traynor Group (BTG) a global risk and investigation service.
He mainly dealt with cases of Somalian pirates holding merchant seamen hostage – working to release those on board and manage the crisis for ship owners.
Felix said: “My experience has given me a very good understanding of people and conflict.
“The important thing is to understand that conflict will always be present and ensure it is managed.”