An interview with the CEO of the Kiln Group.
Choose four adjectives to describe yourself
Approachable, fair, good-humoured and encouraging.
Which historical figure do you most admire?
Nelson, partly because he was a sailor and partly because I am interested in the British Navy of the 18th century. Viewed from the perspective and comfort of a 21st century air-conditioned office, its achievements were phenomenal. I also admire Nelson’s strategic ability and the fact that he made it to the top from humble beginnings. He is certainly a part of what makes Britain great.
Who in this industry do you most admire?
Recently? Rolf Tolle. He was viewed with scepticism by many market practitioners when he became franchise performance director at Lloyd’s. Now, six years later, he leaves with almost universal approval and accolades over his execution of that role.
Outside this industry, what are you most passionate about?
I have sailed all my life. I find the combination of boat, weather and camaraderie intoxicating.
What qualities do you most admire?
Integrity, the ability to keep situations in proportion, humility, humanity and a full head of hair.
What qualities do you most dislike?
I would have to say arrogance, indecision and an inability to admit one’s mistakes.
What do you know now that you wish you had known when you started?
I now understand about the importance of having the patience to let your career develop slowly but steadily, so that you have a depth of experience to call on when you need it.
“People always surprise me. While this sometimes can be an unwelcome surprise, more often than not it is a wonderful act of generosity.
What was the last thing that surprised you?
People always surprise me. While this sometimes can be an unwelcome surprise, more often than not it is a wonderful act of generosity. In my experience at Kiln I am regularly impressed by the ability of my colleagues continually to rise to each new challenge.
How do you unwind?
Train, children, dogs – and gin. In that order.
What motivates you on a Monday morning?
I enjoy the challenges that this job throws at me. I have had to get to grips quickly with many aspects of the business that, having been an underwriter for more than 20 years, I had not seen up close before. It’s been a huge challenge, but I am privileged to have the opportunity to embark on a second career at Kiln, especially as I am supported by such a close-knit, highly professional group of people.
Whose job would you most like to have?
I am more than happy to stay where I am. I am lucky to work in a strong collegiate environment that continues to stimulate and interest me.
What are you most proud of?
At Kiln we really do believe that it’s important to be able to achieve a genuine work-life balance; I’m proud that I can fulfill this role without becoming what I would consider to be a workaholic. I’m disciplined about leaving in time to have supper with my children as often as I can. Then, if there is more work to be done, I’ll do it later in the evening.
In career terms, I’m also proud of having made a profit out of the offshore energy account in 2005 following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
What has enabled you to get where you are today?
All of the adjectives I mentioned above, with a little ambition thrown in.