n What was your first job in travel and how much did you get paid?
As a British Airways graduate trainee I earned in the region of £250 per month.
n Who has been the biggest influence on your career and why?
Paul Gregorowitsch, KLMvice-presidentsales Europe, for providing funding for innovation and protecting ‘ideas people’.
n If you weren’t in travel, what would you be doing?
Journalism, somewhere between Newsnight, The Economist, and The Guardian.
n What one thing would you change about your job?
Unexpected adrenalin surges at 3am!
n What advice would you give to someone starting out in the travel industry?
Join an organisation with a clear line of sight to the customer which places a premium on knowledge.
n How many hours do you work a week on average?
n How long do you expect it will be before a significant number of bookings are made by digital television?
Digital TV remains peripheral for selling purposes but offers strong possibilities for disseminating product information.
n Do you have a Web site and if so how many bookings do you receive on it?
We do have a Web site, in the financial year 1998/1999 we received £5m of bookings.
n Do you think the growing consolidation in the industry is good for consumers?
No, but inevitable given the continuing need for agents to attack costs.
n How many travel agents do you estimate there will be left in the UK in five years’ time?
Bricks and mortar will still be important. However, given acquisitions by the leading five independents coupled with mergers among regional players, in excess of 4,000.
n Do you agree with travel agents charging a fee for their work or should they provide their service free?
Yes, but on the basis of transparent processes.
n What is your star sign?
n What would you change about yourself?
Personally I’d like more hair.
n Which living person do you most respect?
John Hume, for his courage and determination.
n What is your greatest regret?
My father not living to witness the birth of my children.
n Which sports do you love and which do you hate?
I love tennis and skiing. I hate darts and bullfighting.
n What is your greatest extravagance?
Assembling my wine cellar.
n If you could be anyone for a day who would it be and why?
Gianluca Vialli because he’s the epitome of cool.
n What is the most memorable destination you’ve visited and why?
North Woods – Superior National Forest, Minnesota for its raw primitive beauty coupled with a sense oftimelessness.
n What’s the corniest chat-up line you’ve ever used?
‘What a coincidence, I’m from Drumnadrocht as well’.
n What type of holiday would you avoid at all costs?
Anything to do with motorhomes or caravans.
n What would you have put on your gravestone?
Did I finish the bathroom?
Job title: director of sales,KLMUKand KLMRoyal Dutch Airlines.
Lives: East Molesey,Surrey.
Status: married with three daughters.
Education: University of East Anglia, Norwich.
Path to career: started as graduate trainee at BA in 1976 and promoted to station officer. Left in 1982 to join Brittannia Airways as senior sales executive. Promoted to sales manager of schedule services. Left in 1988 to take up position of sales UKsouth with KLMRoyal Dutch Airlines. Promoted to sales manager UK &Ireland and then to sales director international airline services. Appointed to IAS board in 1994. In 1997 appointed to KLM UK board and current role.
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