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Name: David Langdown

 

Job Title: Managing Director

 

Company: XPD Ltd

 

Describe what you do in less than 20 words.

 

I run the holding company for three dealer groups, an e-commerce provider and an entertainment agency.

 

The best moment in your career? Taking the plunge into self-employment and forming XPD in 1992 after being made redundant.

 

The industry figure you most admire? I couldn’t possibly say… and I would alienate all the ones I’ve been fibbing to!

 

What is your best piece of advice? I try never to give advice but to lead by example.

 

Your most embarrassing industry-related experience? Have you seen me play golf?

 

What is your greatest strength? Resilience and a sense of humour.

 

What has been your biggest achievement? In terms of recognition, BOSS Award for Entrepreneur of the Year 2009. In terms of real achievement, stewarding a diverse and complex business through the toughest recession in my lifetime, and coming out of the other end stronger than when we went in.

 

What has been your most memorable travel experience you’ve had while in the OP industry? It’s not industry related, but getting stuck in St Lucia for a month because of the volcanic ash cloud was very nice thank you!

 

What’s your favourite product? Chocolate HobNobs – it’s all about products for the office these days!

 

What business/management book would you recommend as essential reading?Screw it – Let’s do it by Richard Branson. In summary, don’t get hung up on theory and perceived wisdom, just get on with it and make it happen.

 

What do you like least about the OP industry? No-one wants to pay for anything and it doesn’t get you invited to many parties.

 

If you could invite two famous people for dinner, who would they be and why would you invite them? Stephen Fry and Rick Wakeman – two of the best storytellers I’ve heard, and Rick could play a few tunes too!

 

Do you have any famous ancestors/relatives? My grandmother insists we are descended from the Russian Czars, but she’s barking mad! I think I may be the creator of a famous line as my kids have far more talent than me!

 

What is mankind’s greatest invention? The Venetian Blind, without which it would be curtains for all of us, or the thermos flask, which keeps hot things hot and cold things cold – but how does it know the difference?

 

Your ideal night out? A good meal, a few drinks, a cracking laugh and a bunk-up with the Minogue sisters!