How did you get to where you are today?
I don't believe in luck. My father taught me that you create the circumstances that deliver success. I graduated from Sheffield University with a degree in business studies in 1988 and held positions in finance at both Rolls Royce and Scottish & Newcastle.
I began working at Whitbread (now InBev UK) in 1992 as marketing finance manager and then took on a variety of marketing roles until I was appointed MD for the operation in Ireland in 2002 after working on the Integration of the Bass & Whitbread businesses to form Interbrew UK. In 2004, I started my current role, MD for InBev UK's take home division.
What was your best career decision?
Taking the job I was offered at Whitbread in 1992. The culture was worlds apart from my previous workplaces and the job itself gave me the chance to broaden my business brain to include sales on top of marketing and finance skills.
Do you have a mentor?
Stewart Gilliland (former president of Inbev Western Europe & Interbrew UK and now CEO of Müller Dairy UK) whom I worked with at Whitbread, now InBev UK, for more than 15 years. He leads by example and has always given honest feedback. He has the rare ability to be frank, firm and friendly all in the same conversation.
What is the most important piece of information you've ever been told?
"Remember there is no point being the most successful person in the graveyard."
If you could change one thing in the grocery industry, what would it be?
I want to see an end to the value destruction caused by the deep discounting of beer. It's gone on for too long, causing long-term damage to the category and its brands. I'd now be happy to see a ban on below cost selling. If not, the day will come when a big brewer goes out of business.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
I'm able to offer people jobs and see those people develop. At our Recognition Awards at our annual conference I have the opportunity to reward our highest achievers.
The one thing you could not do without?
My wife! My laptop is important too, but she is definitely number one.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in the industry today?
Be patient! Things won't always happen when you want but if you're good, you'll get there. And whatever happens, your job will never be more important than your health, family and friends.