Name: Doug Skeggs
Job title: Marketing director
Company: Systemcare (Private Brand) Products
1. What were your childhood ambitions? I would have loved to have been a pilot as I grew up in Norfolk during the 60s near the US airbase. I have been trying to be a high-flier ever since!
2. What was your first full-time job? Trainee accounts clerk, which I hated. My first OP post was working as a salesman with WH Hayden, the first contract stationers in London.
3. What was your first car? A small red Mini Cooper that had psychedelic 60s flowers on the side (hippy Woodstock style).
4. Who was your pin-up as a teenager? I had loads on my bedroom wall. Julie Christie, Jane Fonda and Samantha Eggar all featured in poster form.
5. How do you like to relax? Unfortunately I don’t get enough time to relax.
6. What is your ideal night out? A night of fun with my wife or with some special German friends in the Rock Bar, Düsseldorf. You can sing rock classics all night long in any language you like.
7. What was the first record you bought? Four Tops’ Reach Out and I’ll Be There. It still brings back memories when I hear it on the radio.
8. What is your favourite movie, and why? Don’t laugh but it’s Mary Poppins. Every time I hear Dick Van Dyke’s cockney accent it makes me laugh my socks off.
9. What sports teams do you support? I am a long-suffering Aston Villa soccer fan. It’s been a long time since we have won anything but as we say at Villa "it will be OK next season".
10. Have you ever broken the law? Yes but I am not telling you how.
11. What do you begrudge spending money on? Soft money programmes, rebates, income tax and the hotel rates in Frankfurt.
12. What is your favourite holiday destination? Sydney when there is no cricket on, Chicago for blues and Las Vegas for a fun night out.
13. What makes you happy? Seeing my family and friends happy and being successful.
14. What makes you angry? Bigots and political correctness. I think we see too much of both of these but fortunately not too often in our industry. Poor service and lack of training also annoy me.
15. What was your luckiest break? Meeting my business partner Simon Rex 20 years ago. The meeting eventually enabled us to establish our company. It has been hard work but great fun.
16. What is your best piece of advice? Never burn your bridges. With so many mergers going on, you never know when you might want to cross one!
17. Which industry figure do you most admire? Bob Jones at ACCO. He is a real survivor of acquisitions, mergers and globalisation. Hundreds of salesmen have blossomed under his wing over the years.
18. If you could be God for the day, what miracle would you perform? I would start the world again without religion to avoid all the global conflicts of today. I would also find a cure for cancer.
19. Can money buy happiness? Of course it can help. I can tell you that life is miserable without it.
20. What would you like to be doing in five years’ time? I hope to still be here but I would also like to be more successful, more relaxed and to be having fewer embarrassing moments.
21. Describe the OP industry in three words: Incestuous, changing and dynamic.
22. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? My age. I hate not having the stamina to do the things that my mind would like to!
23. If you could be invisible for a day, what would you do? Sit in on a meeting of our competitors to watch them copying our products. It would be such a fun experience.
24. What is your biggest weakness? My biggest weaknesses are work socialising, eating too much food, drinking too much alcohol and not sleeping enough.
25. What’s the worst job you’ve ever had? Working as a sales director for a company that had an owner with a serious drink problem.
26. Have you got any nicknames? Lots probably. I would be interested to hear some of them. Skeggsy seems to emanate across crowded bars from time to time.
27. Have you ever read a book that changed your life? The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. Everyone should read it. It is full of emotion and makes you realise how difficult things could really be. I think about it a lot.
28. Which newspaper do you read? Any Sunday broadsheet. It takes me the rest of the week to finish reading all the supplements.
29. What has been your biggest achievement? Having two super children and making it out of the Champions bar before midnight.
30. Any regrets? Regrets, I’ve had a few but then again, too few to mention!