Magazine article Management Today

Sir Christopher Bland: If I Had to Start Again

Magazine article Management Today

Sir Christopher Bland: If I Had to Start Again

Article excerpt

I had a desire to be a journalist, but I paid no attention at university to what I needed for such a career. When I left Oxford after studying modern history, the BBC quite rightly wouldn't interview me, nor would Ulster TV, and the Irish Times couldn't make up its mind. I'd been a burden to my parents for 22 years and simply wanted a job, so ended up as an assistant ad manager at Currys. I was paid pounds 1,000 a year, which was generous back then - Shell paid pounds 800.

I had no guiding philosophy, and my career was pretty random. I went from Currys to Singer, then to Booz Allen Hamilton as a management consultant. But I'd always wanted to be a hands-on chief executive, so I took that role at locomotive builder Beyer Peacock in 1975. They were tiny - the market cap was equivalent to a day's interest on BT's bank borrowings when I arrived.

I've been fortunate to have had five great jobs, as chairman of Hammersmith Hospital Trust, the BBC, BT, the RSC and LWT. …

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