Magazine article Management Today

Brain Food: Charlie Banks - If I Had to Start Again

Magazine article Management Today

Brain Food: Charlie Banks - If I Had to Start Again

Article excerpt

I could have stayed in the military. When we married, my wife actually thought I would. I was in the Navy for two years, and spent five years in the reserves. It was a great leadership experience, but my style wasn't suited to peacetime. I found it frustrating just worrying about the state of my ships. I joined Ferguson as a trainee, and that company was bought by Wolseley in 1982. I will be retiring in July after 39 years in the group.

It's unusual today for someone to stay at one company for so long, but it was the level of opportunity that kept me here. I spent my first day in the warehouse, being introduced to the cash box and the billing book, and soon I had tasted everything from unloading trucks to being a salesman.

When I was 27, I had one view of where the opportunities were; when I was 32, the ceiling was higher; and at 38 it had moved again. I just kept raising the bar. I never thought I'd be running Ferguson, or a company with an dollars 8 billion market cap. …

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