Rethink Culture

“We ‘re a service business that just happens to to collect waste. I never get out of the bed in the morning thinking I’ m in the waste industry. Never, ever, ever. I don’t go to the waste management trade shows. Personally I can’t think of anything worse to do. It doesn’t inspire me. But I will read every book about the service industry. I wanna know what’s the best service industry in Asia. I wanna know what’s the best service industry in the US. What’s the latest thinking in service? And then apply them to our little waste industry.”

S01E09 of the Rethink Culture podcast shines the spotlight on Gene Browne, the founder of The City Bin, a leading waste management company and a five-time winner of the ‘Deloitte Best Managed Company’ in Ireland. 

Gene recounts how City Bin started in 1997 as an experiment in service quality, out of his passion for creating amazing customer experiences. How his entrepreneurial journey was part luck and part naivety, especially when ruthless competition burned his warehouse to the ground. The lessons of expanding to the Middle East, and seeing how middle management struggled to adapt to the company’s autonomous culture. 26 years later, his unflinching attention to customer service has become deeply rooted in the company; like treating his customers the way he would like a business to treat his parents; tying  employee bonus to customer satisfaction to align employee actions with company values; and even apologising for bad service to customers by sending them flowers. Gene talks passionately about avoiding aspirational values, in favour of those principles that are as unique to any company as a fingerprint is to any person. And about giving his staff the gift of education, with a pledge to help the 80% of his less educated workforce to achieve their lifelong education goals.

Listen to Rethink Culture wherever you get your favourite podcasts, including: 
(Apple podcasts)
Further references: 
Gene Browne on LinkedIn:
City Bin:
Books references:
Good strategy Bad Strategy, by Richard Rumelt
Building the Happiness-Centred Business by Paddi Lund [
Mastering the Rockefeller Habits by Verne Harnish

Creators & Guests

Gene Browne
I am Co-Founder and a Board Member of The City Bin Co. I also currently sit on the Board of a number of companies and consult and advise on Delivering Service Excellence, Strategy and Culture. I have a passion for Service Excellence and delivering Amazing Customer Experiences. During my time as CEO of The City Bin Co. we were a five-time winner of the ‘Deloitte Best Managed Company’ (Ireland) as well as a two-time National Winner of the European Business Awards - Customer Focus Category for 2013 and 2017. The City Bin Co. continue to have an NPS score in the top 10% globally and have been profiled extensively in various management books and articles including Scaling Up by Verne Harnish. In my time as CEO, I led teams across Ireland as well as United Arab Emirates, Oman & Qatar My educational background is in Quality Engineering, and I hold an MBA from National University of Ireland, and a MSc in Executive Leadership from Ulster University, Belfast. I am an alumnus of National University of Ireland, Ulster University, London Business School, IMD and Singularity University. Prior to founding The City Bin Co., I founded a Business Excellence consultancy and lectured, for 5 years, in Statistical Process Control, Quality Management and Reliability Engineering at the Galway Atlantic Technological University, Ireland. I am an active member of The Young Presidents’ Organization a global network of business leaders. Feel free to message me if you feel my experience could be of help.

What is Rethink Culture?

Rethink Culture is the podcast that shines the spotlight on the leaders who are rethinking workplace culture. Virtually all of the business leaders who make headlines today do so because of their company performance. Yet, the people and the culture of a company is at least as important as its performance. It's time that we shine the spotlight on the leaders who are rethinking workplace culture and are putting people and culture at the forefront.