After graduating from Manchester, I worked for Rolls Royce Aero Engines in various engineering roles before joining Lucas Aerospace in my early thirties. There were plenty of opportunities for development and progression and I was promoted to Chief Engineer of Fuel Systems, before heading up the group's global operations.
During the formative years of my career I used my degree skills all the time, up until I stopped being an engineer in my mid thirties. Even now, I try to use the logical thought processes of an engineer to solve problems. Although I am no longer a practicing engineer I am still a Fellow of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers.
My move into private equity came ten years ago when I joined air compressors manufacture, CompAir, as Chief Executive. With the backing of a private equity house we bought the business for £1, executed a large and complex turnaround and sold it for over £200million. Aside from making a great return for the investors, we took an industrial company with seemingly little future and turned it into a dynamic, growing and profitable business that invested in new technology.
After a short career break, I joined Better Capital as Head of Portfolio.
To anyone contemplating a move in to private equity you need to be decisive, driven, of robust character and be prepared to work very hard!