An interview with the managing director of AEGIS.
Choose four adjectives to describe yourself
Pragmatic, inquisitive, confident, perceptive.
Which historical figure do you most admire?
Nelson Mandela. His composure and statesmanlike behaviour after all those years in prison is an inspiration to us all. And it did not end there. When he stepped down as president he managed to play the position of a former statesman brilliantly: not interfering but still relevant.
Who in this industry do you most admire?
Warren Buffett. He has been successful by using his common sense and telling it like it is. He also surrounds himself with very smart people; a characteristic we all should adopt.
Outside of this industry, what issue are you most passionate about?
My children and Welsh rugby through all of its highs and lows. There is nothing better than the Monday morning after Wales has beaten England. Unfortunately it doesn’t happen as much as we deluded Welsh believe it should.
What qualities do you most admire in other people?
Honesty and a desire to make things better. Everything can be improved and we are lucky we have smart talented people making AEGIS better every day.
What qualities do you most dislike?
Bureaucratic behaviour. Recently we had three dustbin inspectors in our drive assessing whether we had recycled properly. This upsets me for many reasons. But the waste of taxpayers’ money, especially in a recession, is inexcusable.
What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you started in this industry?
Models are a tool to help your understanding and are not the answer. Use common sense and some of the old-fashioned ways as well.
What was the last thing that surprised you?
September 2008, culminating in the AIG debacle. The financial hurricane that hit the world and the near collapse of the financial system was breathtaking. The sort of banking system we have when we come out of the crisis is going to be very interesting.
How do you unwind?
Spending time with my children reading Thomas the Tank Engine books. My son’s favourite is Neville.
What motivates you on a Monday morning?
We have a successful business,great people, and I enjoy what I do, so I don’t need any special motivation on a Monday or any other day.
Whose job would you most like?
Running the NHS. I have spent a great deal of time in the care of the NHS and it is a great idea poorly implemented with huge wastage and apathetic leadership. I am not sure what you could achieve as its CEO, given its size and interfering politicians, but it would be great if it worked as designed.
What is your biggest regret?
There is no point in regretting things.
What are you most proud of having achieved?
In my career? Making AEGIS successful. But becoming a father beats that by a long way.
What has allowed you to get where you are today?
My parents gave me a desire to overcome all obstacles without hurting those around me.