Paul Pester has been appointed group finance director by Virgin Direct. He was director of corporate strategy and planning at Pearl Assurance. Name Paul Pester Age 35 Company Virgin Direct Qualification & date: No formal accountancy qualification but degree and doctorate in mathematical physics. What things other than finance do you do in your job? Corporate strategy development, shareholder management. Would you rather spend more time doing non-finance things? If so what? Balance is about right at the moment – heavy focus on strategy development. What is on your desk (e.g. PC, too much paper etc)? No PC, they are just an excuse not to think hard enough! Plenty of paper and a picture of my wife. What percentage of your week is spent in meetings? Formal about 40%, informal 25%. What is your favourite work-related website? It will be Virgin Direct’s excellent transactional site – when launched soon. What do you like/dislike about the role of finance director? The ability to get my arms around the whole business is good – statutory accounts are not. What is the strangest/silliest question a non-finance manager has asked you? They don’t ask silly questions. If they seem strange it’s because I haven’t explained the business to them well enough. Do you visit your factories, shops, warehouses etc? Yes. I spend about one month a year on the front line. How would you rank our list of key FD attributes (most important first)? (a) accuracy – 4th (b) stewardship – 5th (c) entrepreneurial skills – 2nd (d) people management skills – 3rd (e) strategic thinking – 1st What one question should we have asked you but didn’t? What makes you get up in the morning?
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