Name: Barry Robson
Company: Genesis Home Loans
Job Title: Managing director
Where do you live? Oundle, Northants
Describe your current job:
Directing and leading our management team. It is enjoyable but regulation makes this one of the most challenging work environments I have experienced. However, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. The signing up of appointed representatives is going well and our compliance efforts are bearing fruit.
What was your first job?
An audit clerk with a firm of chartered accountants in Leicester. Maths was my best subject and in those days if you were good at mental arithmetic you became an accountant.
What was your last job?
Managing director of Exclusive Connections, a mortgage packaging network.
What have you done in between?
Mostly in the financial services industry, either in self-employment as a mortgage broker and packager, or working for building societies. These include the quaintly-named Grainger & Percy (now part of Newcastle), the Leicester (now part of Alliance & Leicester) and Norwich and Peterborough. The positions I held in these societies tended to be in branch/district management or specialist mortgage management.
What has been the defining point of your career?
A dressing-down I got from a previous chief executive. He was right – my attitude changed from that point on and I realised how focussed I had to be if I wanted to be successful.
And the most embarrassing?
I was a young, newly appointed building society branch manager. The branch was a new one and at the opening bash, the society's chairman and I stood at the door to the room waiting to greet our guests. I was nervous, my mouth lost contact with my brain and as a certain guest approached I leaned towards the chairman, told him who it was and added amusingly: “He's a chartered accountant – one of the living dead.” Two seconds later I remembered that the chairman, too, was a chartered accountant. I don't know how I lasted another four years with the organisation. Do you have a mortgage? Not likely – I only sell 'em.
What's your favourite restaurant?
The Falcon at Fotheringhay just outside Peterborough – Mary Queen of Scots completely lost her head over the place. The cuisine is always fantastic and the restaurant provides an imaginative setting in which to enjoy a meal which helps to make it a special occasion every time.
What's the most you have spent on dinner for two?
It was £232.76 – I remember it vividly. I almost passed out.
I was entertaining a journalist and, although I knew it was going to be pricey, was taken aback by the final bill. I suspect I'm not the only one in the industry to have suffered a similar fate.
What is your favourite band?
It would have to be Bryan Adams – not that he's a band.
What's your favourite tipple?
A pint of Fosters.
Do you have any hobbies and interests?
Walking and playing golf. I am a member of my local golf club and get to play a round once a week. My handicap is currently 23 and does not seem to be improving.