01. Rise early or work late?
I generally rise early and go to the gym. The initial work tasks of the day are usually to pick up any matters that have come in from the US overnight and then I start on the UK business.
02. Training preferences: on the job or formal?
I begin with an evaluation of a person’s skill set. The majority of training should be on the job, and this should be tailored to an individual’s needs.
There are three experiences that underpin my career to date. The five years learning professional discipline with Spicer and Oppenheim (now Deloitte), the six years gaining invaluable experience in private equity, and the 18 years’ experience working closely with high-quality CEOs.
03. What’s your management style?
Team-based – whereby each person has something to contribute to the overall performance. This enables staff to develop while at the same time meaningfully contributing to the team’s success.
04. Does delegation come easy?
Delegation is essential to the development of the team, which in turn allows the business to grow.
05. Who do you rely on most?
The CFO must ensure that the business operates with high-quality information on a real-time basis. This means a CFO must be able to provide reports, keep accounting records and manage cash. I am reliant on each person that helps me to achieve these goals.
06. Boardroom or restaurant?
The boardroom is the best place for communication with the shareholders. But meetings in informal environments with colleagues, customers, suppliers, investors are also important in helping a CFO understand what is going on.
07. What technology would you never be without?
Microsoft Excel and the iPad are the backbones of my working day. Excel allows me to plan, and the iPad allows me to keep on top of my email.
08. Are you an FD for life?
I have been an FD since 1995 but throughout that period I have been allowed to play a broader role.
My hope is that I continue to work in a leading commercial and strategic role in a successful business that continues to grow internationally.
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09. What keeps you awake at night?
Next to nothing, but when I am especially busy, I invariably wake up early with plenty on my mind.
10. Critical advice to aspiring FDs?
An FD’s success lies in adding value to the business. FDs should always be asking themselves these questions: Have I controlled costs and cash? Have I helped the leadership team make the right decisions? Are my decisions based on a rounded view of the organisation? Is everyone in the team operating effectively?