NAME: Ricky Okey
JOB TITLE: General manager
WHERE DO YOU LIVE? Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire
DESCRIBE YOUR JOB:
My role is the general management of the Charcol business. This means that I get to deal with sales, administration, operations, marketing, public relations, finance - in fact everything that makes up the business. It is a varied and busy role and one that I relish.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB?
After school I started out as a technical apprentice and achieved an ONC in mechanical engineering. If I had carried on I would now be a draughtsman.
WHAT WAS YOUR LAST JOB?
Head of sales for Sun Life Financial.
WHAT HAVE YOU DONE IN BETWEEN?
I was involved in advertising sales before going to Allied Dunbar where I eventually became regional sales and marketing director. After that I moved on to Sun Life. I have been in financial services for nearly 15 years so I obviously made the right decision in moving.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE DEFINING POINT OF YOUR CAREER?
Being given the chance to take a broader general management role. My core skills are in sales and marketing and so it was great to get the chance to take on more diverse challenges and I've never looked back. Becoming general manager at Charcol has enabled me to develop my career with a great brand.
AND THE MOST EMBARRASSING? Well, at the time I thought this was quite cool but I now feel more than a little embarrassed. I was a professional disc jockey for three and a half years and used to travel up and down the country DJing in nightclubs and on the radio. Not a lot of people know that - until now. Little did I suspect I would end up in financial services. Sadly I am no longer available for parties and weddings although the Charcol Christmas party is unmissable.
DO YOU HAVE A MORTGAGE?
Yes, but like most people I wish I didn't have to. I have one with Birmingham Midshires at the moment.
WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE RESTAURANT?
I am a big foodie so I'm sorry but I will have to pick my top three. I really like Hakkasan, a great Chinese just off Oxford Street which was recently awarded its first Michelin star. Then there is Gordon Ramsay's flagship restaurant in Chelsea and also The Waterside in Bray.
WHAT'S THE MOST YOU'VE EVER SPENT ON DINNER FOR TWO?
A rather substantial £500 at The Waterside. It is a Roux Brothers restaurant and quite superb. It was a special occasion though.
WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE BAND?
As a huge dance music fan my real favourites are The Chemical Brothers, Underworld and Moby.
WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE TIPPLE?
It would have to be a gin and tonic, please.
HOBBIES AND INTERESTS?
Sport. I am a devoted Birmingham City follower and hold a season ticket for the club so I try to get to as many matches as possible. I love watching rugby as well so I have been happy for the past few weeks. Like a lot of people I try to keep fit by going to the gym a few times per week but as many will know, that is easier said than done.