Magazine article Management Today

Francis Baron: If I Had to Start Again

Magazine article Management Today

Francis Baron: If I Had to Start Again

Article excerpt

I had no real aspirations to play sport at a high level, but I regret not getting a rugby Blue at Cambridge; I just missed it two years running.

I studied mechanical sciences at university, so I trained as an engineer. I worked for Marconi for 18 months, but I soon realised it wasn't for me. Engineering was a bit too regimented: you didn't get much chance to use your initiative. So I decided on a complete change of career at the age of 21 and went into marketing.

I ended up at WH Smith, where I launched four satellite channels in the early days of satellite TV, and went on to do a turnaround at a travel company called Owners Abroad. I'm proud of saving a company that was on the point of going under, and then re-launching it, successfully, as First Choice Holidays in 1994 - although, with the benefit of hindsight, we should have left this a year later, rather than doing it just as the UK was entering a major recession.

In my first 18 months at the Rugby Football Union, I tried to run it as a plc, but I quickly learned that the job was more complex. …

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