Name: Tony Ellison
Job title: CEO and President
1. What were your childhood ambitions? I had several. They included wanting to become a professional football player and then a combat pilot.
2. What was your first vehicle/car? It was a Renault 10. I bought it for only $100!
3. What was your first full-time job? I was a salesman in the family business, selling high-end clothing.
4. Who was your pin-up as a teenager? Diego Maradona and the surfer Michael Ho.
5. What bad habits do you have? Not filling the car up with petrol until I get red warnings and then my wife gets concerned.
6. What was the first record you bought?Saturday Night Fever by the Bee Gees.
7. What is your ideal night out? A dinner with my wife at our favourite restaurant after a Broadway show.
8. If you could invite two famous people for dinner, who would they be, and why would you ask them? Steve Jobs, the co-founder and CEO of Apple and Michael Dell – how more innovative can you get?
9. What is your favourite movie, and why?Gladiator. The magnificent General Maximus is a man of strength, courage and honour, and overcomes insurmountable odds.
10. What sports teams do you support? New York Yankees, New York Rangers, New York Metros and the New York Giants.
11. If you could be God for the day, what miracle would you perform? I would cure all children with life-threatening diseases.
12. What is your favourite food and drink? I love eating sushi and drinking good red wine, particularly Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon.
13. What is your favourite holiday destination? I have a couple. Beaver Creek in Colorado for skiing and Miami, Florida, for a warm escape from the harsh winter days.
14. What do you begrudge spending money on? Useless gadgets that stop working an hour after you buy them.
15. Have you ever broken the law? Yes…
16. If you could be a superhero, what superpower would you choose to have and why? I would be either Superman or Spider-Man because both fight the injustices of the world.
17. What is your best piece of advice? I have two. The first is learn to live and live to learn and the second is always make time for your best friend.
18. If you could build your house anywhere, where would it be? East Hampton in New York.
19. If you weren’t doing your present job, what job would you be doing? I would be completing my PhD studies.
20. What has been the best moment in your career? Turning profit in 1997 – well before many other dot-coms knew what profit meant.
21. What has been the worst moment in your career? My worst and most difficult time was when I made the decision to leave Goldman Sachs and leave the dear friends and colleagues I had come to know so well. But later on, the same moment would become the most defining in my current career.
22. What was your most embarrassing industry-related experience? When I was new to the industry, I confused the president of HON, David Burdakin, in a dinner cocktail hour with another person and engaged in long conversation thinking that person was, indeed, David. It was dark and he did not have his name tag on.
23. Describe yourself in three adjectives. Passionate, relentless and driven.
24. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I would try to learn how to slow down and take a break.
25. If you could be invisible for a day, what would you do? I would get into board meeting of my favourite companies and listen for their strategies.
26. Have you got a claim to fame? I can juggle very well.
27. What is your biggest weakness? I may be, at times, impatient and I may be too demanding upon myself.
28. What’s the worst job you’ve ever had? Working in the school library filing books and applying penalties on overdue books.
29. If you could be any historical figure for a day, who would you be and why? Albert Einstein. I love the fact that he was a creative genius and he believed in the mysteries of life.
30. How would you like to be remembered? As someone who realised his dream and, in the process, helped the community around him to become a better place.