Peter O’Toole

Chief executive officer, Retail Merchandising Services, on aggression, dancing, and his famous namesake

What was your first-ever job? I was a motorbike mechanic at Richard’s Racing in Barry. I learned my trade as a salesman there as well as building and fixing bikes.

What’s been your worst job interview? For a trainee manager position at Kwik Save. It went on for two hours and the interviewer tried to wind me up and get me angry. It worked! But he smiled and said: “That was all I was looking for; I wanted to see some aggression.” I got the job!

What was your first music single? ‘Long Haired Lover From Liverpool’ by Jimmy Osmond. I should never admit to this, but I was at my friend’s parents’ pub at 11 years of age and I won the dancing competition to win the record. I still have it today!

How do you describe your job to your mates? CEO of a retail company that does stuff for major retailers across the UK.

What is the most rewarding part of your job? To continue to grow our business, and seeing a happy workforce. Alongside trying new things, being innovative and building up the skills of the UK to diversify the retail sector.

What is the least rewarding part? I work very long hours, and it’s lonely at the top. Senior roles aren’t full of friends because you have to be a motivator.

What is your motto? Live every day as if it is going to be your last, as one day it will be.

Do you have any phobias? I just cannot stand snakes. It goes back to when I was a youngster. At 10 years old my father asked me to pick up what he thought was a large wire and it was a snake!

If you could change one thing in grocery, what would it be? That all grocers would strive to use local produce, even those in corporate businesses.

Which celebrity would you most like to work with and why? Justin King, Sainsbury’s CEO. I have so much respect for what he has achieved in the industry.

What luxury would you have on a desert island? Nicole Scherzinger - because I love her smile and her shampoo!

What animal most reflects your personality? A tiger. It is a wise animal with presence. It walks into a room and you know it’s there.

What’s your favourite film and why? Lawrence of Arabia, because of my namesake.

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