Name: John Champion
Company: Cheltenham & Gloucester
Job title: Director of distribution
Where do you live? Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire
Describe your current job: I am responsible for all C&G’s branded mortgage and savings distribution, which includes the company’s 198 branches, our telephony and internet channels and also our non-standard broking operation, C&G Specialist Mortgage Solutions. I try to get out to visit our branches as often as I can.
What was your first job?
Washing plates in a hotel in the Scottish Highlands for 20p an hour, slave labour even in those days. I was reprimanded for being too much of a perfectionist – so much for hygiene.
What was your last job?
My last role was as the southern regional sales manager for Private Label, which was later integrated into GMAC-RFC. I was with Private Label for five years.
What have you done in between?
Lots in financial services but one of the more interesting jobs I had was a spell in the early 1980s with a big leisure company that involved me being paid to attend rock concerts two or three evenings a week.
What was the defining point of your career?
In my 20s my old MGB sports car gave up the ghost and I decided I had to get a job with a company car. That turned out to be my first sales job and the start of a 20-year career in financial services.
And the most embarrassing?
As a student, working as a waiter I poured the contents of a full and hot plate of steak, plus all the trimmings, down the back of the hotel owner’s wife who happened to be wearing a low cut dress at the time. I was mortified, she was scalded but not permanently scarred and thankfully rather understanding. So I managed to keep my job – at least until I popped a champagne cork directly into the face of the father of the bride at a wedding reception.
Do you have a mortgage?
Yes – everyone should have one. It’s a two-year base rate tracker.
What’s your favourite restaurant?
At the moment it is Bofinger in the rue de la Bastille, Paris. I have only been once and can’t wait to get back there.
What is the most you have spent on dinner for two?
I’ve no idea as I’m more interested in the food than the price. But I do remember spending 128 on lunch for two in Edinburgh in 1985. Taking inflation into account I doubt if I’ve spent more – or had worse value for money.
What’s your favourite band?
In the car CD player at the moment are Tom Waits and Jack Johnson, but long-term it’s always been David Bowie.
What’s your favourite tipple?
A recent discovery while on a ski holiday, Genepi, a herbal liqueur from the Alps. Served really cold it’s brilliant. Unfortunately it never seems to last long and UK suppliers are thin on the ground.
What are your hobbies and interests?
I’m a good fly fisherman, an intermediate skier and a mediocre but enthusiastic golfer.