The Power List 2020 – Power List
Chief Executive of Sightsavers, UK
Your three wishes?
As I’m approaching a big birthday, I can’t help but wish I was 10 years younger, as there is so much to do and so little time. Oh, and at least 10 pounds lighter! More seriously, there are quite a few people no longer in my life who died much too soon, and who I would love to see again: my friends, my parents.
Piece of advice for your younger self?
Worry less about what people think of you – most people are usually too busy worrying about what others think of them to worry about you!
The funniest moment of your career?
Back when I was in one of my first jobs, I had food poisoning (bad burger the night before) during a critical meeting at an Italian gas company with top bosses. I was the junior taking notes while they had sensitive price negotiation. I developed repeated uncontrollable projectile vomiting all over the office, and in the car on the way back – a terrible mess that was so awful it was funny. I expected to resign next morning, but my boss said, “With that price offer, there was no other possible reaction.” That guy had my loyalty forever after.
The most unexpected turn your career took?
I never imagined that my career would move from academia to the oil sector to running Sightsavers – several twists and turns that could never have been foreseen! I have been happiest by far over the last 15 years, while running Sightsavers.