What is a typical day in your life?
“I hate to disappoint you but there is no typical day in my life. In fact, this is what I like about my job and family life. I am usually at the office by 8 a.m and return home at about 6 – 7 p.m. There is no office routine except that I am usually at my post advising and guiding rather than managing my team in their many varied daily challenges. When I am not out with business associates, which is unfortunately more often than not, I spend the evenings at home with my wife and 11 year old daughter, who usually greets me with homework questions as soon as I step through the door. Whenever I am allowed some free time, I use it to go on cycling trips for as far as my legs can take me.”
What qualities make a CEO a good leader?
“I wish I was a good enough CEO to answer this one. With hindsight and having made my share of mistakes, I would advise anyone who steps into this position to look out for the following:
Be a good listener and open to new ideas from other team members.
Build a good team that will have a team spirit.
Set achievable and measurable goals.
Take calculated risks and never doubt your instincts, they are usually correct.
Know when to pull out of a bad deal.”
How did studying engineering help you in your current job?
“Engineering is a discipline that allows you to measure your progress and helps you evaluate the risks of entering into any venture. It has helped me apply the logic and discipline of engineering into my everyday approach to management problems, especially when analysing new opportunities. Management is very much a numbers exercise and to be able to sense-check your business is a great asset.”
How can a successful business remain relevant?
“There are no hard and fast rules about this one. Any business needs to adapt to changing circumstances in the marketplace and competition. A formula or business model that works well today is no guarantee for success tomorrow. A CEO needs to be ready to adapt rapidly to a new set of circumstances as product cycles get shorter and market conditions change without warning. For instance the digital world is changing many of the norms of our industry and if you chose to ignore it, you will become as relevant as horse drawn carriage makers became in the age of the automobile.”
In your speech you spoke about the Cypriot economy being like a game of snakes and ladders. What reforms are in your opinion necessary to stabilize and improve the Cypriot economy in the long run?
“I drew the analogy with the game of snakes and ladders because that’s exactly how the Cyprus economy behaved during the last 15 years. No matter what venture or business area or opportunity you chose to enter, any wealth created was likely to be lost due to external unrelated circumstances that were mostly the result of poor oversight and poor governance.
To break from this negative cycle, Cyprus needs to adopt a new set of rules that will lead to stability and encourage long term economic growth. If one believes that economic growth will only be achieved through new foreign investments and private sector capital risk, Cyprus needs to convince investors and entrepreneurs that the economic climate and the checks and balances associated with it are in place. This means that Cyprus will have learned its lesson of allowing our economy to run into unmanageable deficits, and adhere to strict fiscal economic guidelines, This in turn will encourage private sector opportunities to risk investments in Cyprus to achieve healthy returns as confidence returns. The effect of new capital will be that it will result in high growth rates which will allow the banks to lend more easily and at cheaper rates. This will only happen when Cyprus is no longer regarded as a high risk destination, after we prove that we have taken the painful reform measures and rating agencies give us their mark of approval.”