What is the best decision that you have made in your career?
Leaving full-time employment and setting up Quadrant Estates.
What is your greatest professional achievement?
Creating a business where everyone can develop to their maximum potential and still have fun together, the result being a market-leading offer in the two sectors we focus on.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Always employ people who challenge your way of thinking and practices. Never settle for a ‘yes man or woman’.
What is the best industry after-party you have attended?
Wilkinson Williams’ post-AR Conference drinks – great to see all the players in the out-of-town sector under one roof and letting their hair down.
What has been your most embarrassing industry moment?
Probably placating the management of a five-star central London hotel after one of our office Christmas parties.
What is the worst travel experience you have had while working in the property industry?
Getting stuck on the Central Line in rush hour in midsummer for over an hour.
Who is your business idol and why?
Mike Slade – razor-sharp acumen combined with genuine charm and humour as well as a great line in yachts.
What is your favourite property in the UK?
Winchester Cathedral. Whenever I see it I am in awe of the devotion and engineering skills that were brought to bear nearly 1,000 years ago to create such a magnificent building – coupled with the fact that if it were subject to today’s planning system there’s a good chance it would never have been built.
What is the best thing about the industry?
The fact that personal relationships are paramount. Despite the onslaught of technology and immediate information, knowing the right people gives one a huge advantage.
And the worst?
The delays and inconsistencies in the planning system. When I compare the costs incurred in securing a planning consent today with when we set the business up 20 years ago, and combine these with the delays and inconsistencies with the process, there’s no way if we were a start-up now that we could fund an application or be prepared to take the risk.
If you were not in your current post what would your dream job be?
Managing director of North Sails. What could be better than being paid to go sailing on beautiful yachts in wonderful locations?
What could have the biggest impact on the property industry in the next 10 years?
The past seven years have been defined by a flight to income-producing assets. The impending unwinding of quantitative easing and consequential rising global interest rates, which will provide a risk-free alternative, will affect investment returns and hence pricing of real assets.
What was your first car?
A 1972 Mini. Somehow we drove it all the way to Spain and back.
What is your ideal holiday?
Warm sea, sun and breeze – sailing with the family through the South Pacific sounds pretty good.
What was your childhood ambition?
To follow my father and command a submarine but poor eyesight put a stop to this, thankfully in retrospect.
What is your favourite way to relax?
Spending an evening with friends around the kitchen table at home.
What is your culinary guilty pleasure?
A Le Chicche rum and praline chocolate ball from Espresso Bar Mozzino, the finest coffee shop in Soho.
Do you have any weird, unusual or exciting hobbies?
My passion is offshore yacht racing. As soon as you leave the dock it is so consuming that all the frustrations of the week are quickly forgotten and, despite exhaustion, you return feeling invigorated and refreshed.
If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
If not home in the Meon Valley probably New Zealand, which has pretty much everything you could want right on your doorstep.