\"I soon gave up the unicycle - it hurts too much when you fall off.\"

Name: David Cole

Age: 46

Company: Trustguard

Job title: Chief executivewhere do you live? Penarth, a suburb of Cardiffdescribe your current job:

I develop, implement and oversee the firm’s strategy.

What were your first and last jobs?

When I left school at 16 I got a job at BP Chemicals as an apprentice chemical plant maintenance technician. I spent four unhappy years there. My last job was as founder and director of Trustguard.

What have you done in between?

All sorts, from selling fitted kitchens to being an account executive with First National Securities, which I left in 1982. I then worked for Ress Finance, which became Trustguard.

How does your career to date compare with your aspirations when you were younger?

From an early age I wanted to run my own business. Later I decided I wanted to be a broker and packager of secured loans. I’ve achieved most of what I set out to do, apart from adding a few zeros to my bank balance, but there’s still time.

What has been the defining point of your career and why?

When we had the idea to devise the software proposition we now use in our business.

And the most embarrassing?

When we started dealing with Kensington Mortgages in 1996 we were invited to its offices by the then managing director, Chris French. He showed us around and I asked who the quiet chap in the corner was, only to be told it was Marty Feingold, the company’s former chairman.

What work ambition would you like to achieve by retirement?

My major ambition is to leave Trustguard in the control of somebody who will continue to grow the business and look after its clients.

How many mortgage payments do you have left?

None – I paid it off five years ago.