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Leaders in the limelight

Release date:
June 2024
As part of a regular new series, we will be profiling some of our inspiring leaders to find out more about what they do, who they are and why they enjoy working at Air bp.


This month we take time out with Robbie Payne, bp lawyer on the aviation leadership team, who shares what his working day looks like, what he feels makes an inspiring leader and why playing the drums is a great stress reliever.


Robbie, tell us a bit about yourself?


I sit in the Customers and Products (C&P) UK and Global Businesses Team based in the UK and I am with my team Mondays to Wednesdays. Other days you will find me working from my home office in the Midlands.


My wife Charlotte is a fellow lawyer with DHL and we have two children, Isabella (18) and Thomas (16). There’s also Molly, our 10-year-old West Highland Terrier.


What does your working day look like?


Given we work in a global business that operates 24/7, every day brings fresh challenges. There is no typical working day, so I have to prioritise by materiality, often jumping into complex matters within different areas of the business at short notice, supporting others and getting up to speed quickly and at pace with the business.


One of the things I love about my job is the variety and the intellectual challenge of putting Air bp in the best possible position both now and in the future.


What gets you excited about starting your working week?


Our working week is always busy, but I always look forward to getting the week started with our Monday morning C&P UK and Global Business Team meeting in our Sunbury offices. It’s a great opportunity to catch up with bp legal colleagues, discuss any challenges we face, share ideas and learn from collective experiences. We have a high performing team with a fantastic group of lawyers who I am proud to work alongside and who I am often in awe of.


Can you share three areas you’d like Air bp’s aviation division to succeed in over the next few years?


  1. Be the no. 1 choice for the customer – when they see our name the customers should feel reassured and know that we are the very best to deal with.
  2. Build our SAF capability – it’s there for the taking!
  3. Take the difficult decisions – if it’s not working, fix it, don’t let it fester.


In your opinion, what makes a great leader in business?


The best leaders I have had have been those that you enjoy being with, that listen and give you space to develop and support you especially if things don’t always go according to plan. It’s also someone that recognises and credits your work and will cheer on your success.


I would like to think that I show passion for doing my work well and hope that translates positively for those I lead in the workplace.


How do you inspire those you work with?


Hopefully through my actions and my desire to succeed for Air bp. I know I might not be the easiest to work with (show me a lawyer that is), but I always endeavour to look after the business and work closely with my colleagues to achieve success.


What are your top three professional goals?


Keep Air bp on the right path.

Have fun along the way.

Be inquisitive, turn over the stones to learn and develop.


How do you unwind?


Staying active and keeping fit is key for me. In the early part of the week, you will often find me in the bp gym after work. I also enjoy doing pilates (ouch!) in my home gym on Thursday nights with my wife or running and playing tennis at the weekends. I also love watching my kids play sport: Izzy plays netball and Tom plays rugby as well as boxing/martial arts.


My other stress relievers are playing the drums, going to the pub with friends, sitting in the hot tub (a covid purchase) and catching up with my family with a refreshing beer.


What excites you most about Air bp?


Having lived through the challenges of the global pandemic, we are in the right place at the right time with the right strategic footprint – we have everything going for us.


Finally, where do you see Air bp and yourself in a few years? bp is already very impressed by Air bp’s fortitude through the covid years to become a profitable part of C&P. I can see us growing further given our track record and I look forward to being part of Air bp’s success in the future. With bp’s backing, Air bp has a very rosy future.