Magazine article Management Today

BRAIN FOOD: Sir William Purves - If I Had to Start Again

Magazine article Management Today

BRAIN FOOD: Sir William Purves - If I Had to Start Again

Article excerpt

I would like to have been a farmer in the lowlands of Scotland as my father had been. I love the countryside and fresh air. This is a far cry from my banking career, which started in 1948 when I became an apprentice in a country branch in what was then the National Bank of Scotland. Today, to have any chance of reaching the higher echelons of a bank, I would have had to go to university and gain a reasonably good degree. National Service opened my eyes to a much bigger world and gave me the confidence to venture forth. Even with that experience, I might well have remained in the UK if my employer had paid me sufficient to cover my digs on transfer to head office in Edinburgh (even in 1953, pounds 245 per annum did not do that), trying to work my way up. I would then have missed a marvellous career, which kept me in Asia for almost 40 years. That time - in varied countries but much of it in Hong Kong - brought me in touch with thousands of interesting and outstanding people at a time when the economies of many countries were expanding rapidly. …

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