CEO Q&A: Mike Cody, Just Energy

By Business & Finance
03 January 2018
Mike Cody, Country Manager, Just Energy (Photo: Jason Clarke)

Mike Cody, Country Manager of Just Energy, speaks of the energy market in Ireland and supplying the best customer service for your clients at every possible opportunity.

Q. What are your main priorities and goals in your role?

As a new business in Ireland, key priorities lie in providing differentiated products to residential and commercial customers alongside great customer service. To make this happen we have and will continue to recruit a team that enables us to do this. Through this we will continue to grow our customer base and provide real value to energy customers in Ireland.

Q. What are your biggest challenges as Country Manager?

I am not sure I have any greater challenges than other people in their roles. What is key to success, however, is recruiting and maintaining the right team around you. It is the team that will create the success through my leadership.

Q. How do you keep your team/staff motivated?

I could answer this in one word really: communication. It is critical that everybody understands what part they play in the team and the company strategy and we make sure this happens through clear and regular communication. As the world becomes smaller through technology we have no excuses when it comes to effective communication. As a company we pride ourselves on how we all communicate with each other at all levels. Employees at all levels understanding their purpose in our business and its objectives will continue to drive our growth; our people are the ones that will make this happen.

Q. What are the challenges facing your industry going forward?

The energy industry is very competitive which means we have to be constantly thinking about how we can do things differently for our competitors and better for our customers. We all relish this at Just Energy so it is a nice challenge to have. Our biggest challenge outside of our direct control is the upcoming Integrated Single Electricity Market (I-SEM). This will dramatically change the wholesale market in Ireland and we do not know enough information at this stage to understand all of its implications. However, I am sure that it will create as many opportunities as it does challenges.

Q. What new trends are emerging in your industry?

This is a great question and overall I would say that the energy industry is going to change in the next five years more than it probably has done in the last 20 years; so it is an exciting time for the industry to embrace the changes. With the gradual introduction of smart metering from 2021 through to gadgets and devices to make the ‘smart home’ a reality, we have plenty of opportunities to make an impact in the industry.

Q. Are there any major changes you would like to see in your sector?

More people switching energy supplier would be great. There are currently ten residential energy suppliers in Ireland and the potential value for customers to save or continue to save money is most certainly there. So when a company like us can offer great value, reassurance and excellent customer service, I would encourage customers to switch to Just Energy!

Q. As an employer are you finding any skills gaps in the market?

With the country at near full employment right now it can be difficult to find the right people for certain positions. There does seem to be less young people coming into the energy sector which could be worrying over the next 15 or 20 years. I think as energy suppliers we should consider how we support young people entering the sector and gaining valuable experience in what is becoming a dynamic industry. Not just graduates, I mean school-leavers, too.

Happiness, giving and well-being: these are the three words I would use to define success. You need to be happy in what you are doing and to inspire you need to create happiness around you.

Q. How did your strategy develop in the context of the banking crisis and economic crisis?

Just Energy wasn’t operational in Ireland during this period but I would like to think that during these periods of serious economic downturn energy supply companies find ways to work with their customers. At Just Energy, I believe we work this way always. We do not want to see any customer in any type of hardship and if they are we will always find ways to work with them.

Q. How will Brexit affect you, or have you started to feel the effects already?

As with all businesses, none of us know exactly how it will all turn out yet. What we do know is we as a country have interconnectors with the UK which we currently rely on and will continue to do so post-Brexit. Just Energy has a supply business in the UK also so we will be watching what happens closely, and of course reviewing our business model and strategy accordingly as we know more. Whatever the outcome we will adapt our business accordingly to ensure that there is little or no impact to our customers.

Q. How do you define success and what drives you to succeed?

Happiness, giving and well-being: these are the three words I would use to define success. You need to be happy in what you are doing and to inspire you need to create happiness around you. Giving for me is about supporting those around you to do as much as they possibly can. Well-being is the inner health whether it is physical or mental well-being and is critical to success in your everyday life and career.

Q. What’s the best advice you’ve been given, or would give, in business?

Ask questions and listen lots! There is no such thing as a silly question in my opinion. If you don’t know something, ask the question. In addition, listening, rather than hearing, is critical to success in business. Whether it is listening to customers or employees, all of the conversations contain invaluable information to help grow your business. So encouraging the openness to allow these things to happen is very important.

Q. What have been your highlights in business over the past year?

Of course entering the market in Ireland has been a very big achievement for all of us at Just Energy. There is a rigorous process in place to enter the market (and rightly so) in Ireland and the global project team worked tirelessly to gain market entry in a relatively short period of time. Since our market entry I have been delighted with the attention we have gained and the thousands of customers who are joining us for their energy needs. The feedback that we have received from customers has been fantastic and we are glad to be able to offer something different to the market and bring great value. We have a lot to offer with 20 years’ experience globally; I look forward to continuing the growth and continuing to delight the customers that we have through excellent service and innovation for many years to come.

Q. What’s next for your company?

To continue to grow our customer base in Ireland whilst making sure that we innovate in the market for the benefit of our customers. We are well positioned from our experience across the globe in Canada, the US, the UK, Germany and Japan to leverage that expertise and bring new and exciting products and services to Irish consumers.

Q. What opportunities or plans for growth do you see in 2018?

There are lots of products and services outside of the normal gas and electricity tariffs and products. We need to assess which ones are right for customers in Ireland and deliver products and services that offer them value, reassurance and security. We want all of our customers to see us as their trusted advisor when it comes to energy services and products.

Q. Where do you want your business/brand to be this time next year?

By the end of 2018 our Just Energy brand will have become much more well known by consumers in Ireland for residential and commercial energy services. Alongside this recognition we will be the trusted advisor for thousands of customers, working with them to offer the best possible value in a fair and transparent way.

Just Energy Ireland Limited is an Irish energy company supplying electricity, gas and renewable energy.

Just Energy is the only energy company in Ireland to offer an unlimited tariff, a unique product for residential customers that fixes their home gas and electricity bills, whatever the weather, for a full year as well as a range of fixed price tariffs.