Magazine article Management Today

Banker Heads for the High Peaks

Magazine article Management Today

Banker Heads for the High Peaks

Article excerpt

Herschel Post, chief executive officer of Coutts & Co, dons his walking boots and goes for a stroll with Lynne Maxwell, editor of Country Walking magazine

'It's three years since I last did this walk,' Herschel Post admits. As we consult our map he finds himself, somewhat ironically, confirming the route to follow with a fellow American, in a setting that is pure England. With wry humour, he adds: 'Talking and walking are dangerous for your navigation. I define lost in two ways. We are in the right area and we know how to get back to Henley-on-Thames. Roughly translated, that means we are not so much lost as temporarily mislaid.'

Post has his feet firmly on the ground from Monday to Friday as chief executive officer and deputy chairman of Coutts & Co, one of the oldest and leading private banks in the UK. But the man who is in charge of a business with assets estimated to be worth [pounds]2.4 billion puts those feet into well-used boots in his leisure time to indulge his passion for walking. Today we are treading the newly opened Thames Path at Henley on a walk bordering three counties. The Financial Times has been usurped by Walkers' Britain, complete with details of numerous routes.

Post says: 'There's a huge difference between walking and exploring. When you're walking you have to have some idea of where you are going so that you can enjoy the view. You never know what is going to strike your eye.' He points out a tree with yellowing leaves gilded by an autumn sun by way of illustration. The search for beauty is one of his driving forces. 'I am always looking for beautiful things and it's rare to go on a walk and not find something that makes you feel better for having seen it. it's hard for people who have not walked in a place like the Alps to realise how breathtakingly beautifully it can be.'

In fact, the Swiss Alps are the background for much of his walking with his wife Peggy, also a keen walker, whom he met as a student at Oxford. 'It's absolutely my favourite place. I would just get on a plane and go for the weekend. We go every summer and, after almost 30 years, we have not even come close to exhausting its variety. You get the benefit of Swiss orderliness - all the trails are groomed and marked - and exhilaration. …

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