Name: Ali Pichvai
Date and place of birth: 14/10/1966 - Iran
Residence: Between London and Paris.
Marital status: Married with 2 beautiful daughters
Education: Masters in Engineering (Physique et Chimie Lyons, France) and Masters in Business Administration (Bocconi, Italy).
Career path: I started my career as a chemical engineer at Hoechst AG. After that I became a manager, operations at Citibank.
I started my first company in 1995, called Tedris. In 1996 it developed into my next venture, Net2s Group - an international IT consulting company (8 countries, 1,000 people in 2007). Net2s went public in 2000 and was purchased by British Telecom in 2007.
I then started Quod Financial in 2004.
Current posts: CEO
What was your first job? Chemical engineer
Which business leaders do you most admire?
For inspiration and moral rectitude I look outside of the business world. For instance, when I was younger I found the histories of Che Guevara and Gandhi fascinating. Darwin’s approach to scientific research - combining empirical and theoretical thinking in a revolutionary way - also taught me that sometimes you have to think in an extraordinary way when approaching complex situations.
If you weren’t in your current job, which company would you most like to lead?
I am passionate about what I do and I chose this path because it is what I wanted to do, more than anything else. If this was a different life though, I could see myself working in architecture or film production – a field where I could combine art, management (of creative people) and finance etc.
Do you read books on management theory? If, so which has influenced you the most?
I avoid books on management theory but the last book I read greatly influenced my opinion and understanding of the modern economy: ‘The Origin of Wealth: Evolution, Complexity, and the Radical Remaking of Economics’ by Eric Beinhocker.
What has been your best experience in business?
The best experience of any new venture for me is the beginning. I like the challenge and the team spirit that is generated in a small team. Sometimes you can be the only one who really believes in something when you embark on the journey but it is exciting to see that perception change!
What keeps you awake at night?
I think people are so important to the business we are in. While I’m good at resetting at the end of each day, the one thing that I always focus on is how to get the best people in and around my organisation – how to attract them, retain them and enable the best performers to grow and develop. It’s a worry worth having; when you see the positive impact it can have on client relationships you realise how important it is.
How do you relax?
Regular sport, taking trips to places I have never been, reading and watching lots of films.
Favorite Web site
NY Times (I lived for a few years in NY).
Desert island disc/book
I listen to the same album ad nauseum for one month or two and then I move on. My playlist has Ana Carolina & Seu Jorge (Brazil), and Fonseca (Colombia) and Amy Winehouse as most played. My favorite book has to be Love in Time of Cholera (Garcia Marquez).