The globe-trotting farmer turned supply-chain financier is seeing out the pandemic in his northern English home – with a new string to his bow.

This month its 20 years since I met my now wife. For the whole time Ive known her, Ive never spent six weeks in the same place as her.
“I dont think Ive spent six weeks in the same place since I was living at home with Mum and Dad, he says.
For me it has been an incredible privilege to be able to have dinner with my wife at night, to tuck my kids into bed at night and have them come and say hello in the morning when they wake up, way too early. I doubt thatll ever happen again while my kids are young.
Demand soaring
His wife has taken on most of the home schooling I havent quite had time to polish my schoolteacher routine, he says ruefully. Instead, hes still putting in the 16-hour working days at the home office.
Life may have slowed down in rural Cheshire, but the opposite is true in supply-chain finance.
In our line of business, when supply chains come under stress, what does everybody want? Everybody just wants to get paid, particularly smaller businesses, he says.
Demand was up 73 per cent in the first quarter, and more than 120 per cent in April. And just as that kicked off, the company had to rejig its workforce.
Were the biggest bond issuer in Europe, and in under a week we pivoted from doing all of our bond issuance activity in our offices to moving all 806 of our staff to working from home, he says. To do that seamlessly while at the same time handling a doubling in volumes … that has been interesting.
Meanwhile, the credit markets that Greensill taps on an almost daily basis have become more of a minefield. Its unquestionably the case that the fixed income markets are more disrupted than they were. Weve had to work harder to get our job done, candidly.”
On the plus side, the company hasn’t been badly hit by the volatility and disruption in supply chains.
His clients are concentrated in sectors that haven’t been as vulnerable: fast-moving consumer goods, groceries, industrial manufacturing, technical engineering, construction, healthcare and telecoms.
Theres a sadness to thinking that its physically not possible to go home at the moment.
Lex Greensill on Australia’s quarantine measures.
There have been gyrations and undulations in supply chains just look at toilet paper, and flour. Supply chains turn out to be more fragile than people thought, he says, and his company helps maintain them.
Hes equally evangelical about his latest project, which uses the same technique to allow companies to pay their workers more frequently than the standard fortnight or monthly wage packet.
Hes rolling out this product, Earnd, in Britains National Health Service, and has just written to all the Australian state premiers offering to set it up in their public services. All of us want to make a contribution. This is a war effort by any other name, he says.
Missing the action in Bundaberg
Greensill is normally often in Australia, where his broader family still runs a farm in Bundaberg. Like many expats, hes discombobulated by the fact that travel Down Under is pretty much off the cards for quite some time.
Australia feels like a different planet now. It is confronting for those of us whose homeward thoughts always fly back to our sunburnt country. Theres a sadness to thinking that its physically not possible to go home at the moment, he says.
He had been expecting a visit from his parents imminently, but it has been postponed indefinitely. Hes also missing all the action at the farm, where the recent drought has turned into a bumper crop of sweet potatoes and peanuts.
Weve been running at record production levels, were running 13 shifts a week to be able to keep up with the demand. Two shifts a day every day except on Monday, operating 22 hours a day on our picking and packing for sweet potatoes, he says.
Workers furloughed from the tourism industry are lending a hand. One dive-boat captain is now driving a 657G scraper and being paid using Earnd, of course.
Greensill may have his flour mill and his dairy deliveries, but it could well be a while before hes back in the saddle of a tractor himself.
The truth is the new normal that we find ourselves in is going to persist for some extended period of time, and the world is going to be a different place on the other side of that.”