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Shifting gears

15 June 2006  |  3068 views  |  0 Source: Karim Peermohamed, Financial Objects

When not managing Financial Objects, Karim Peermohamed likes to unwind by cycling along the country lanes.

Date and place of birth: 1964, Lancashire
Residence: Surrey
Marital status: Married, 3 children
Education: Degree level
Career path: Banking to technology
Current posts: Chief operating officer, Financial Objects plc

Q: What was your first job?
A: School holidays had me working in the Liquor (yes that is what it was called) department of Safeway in Burnley. My first “real” job was working for National Westminster Bank, where I got my first exposure to international banking.

Q: Who is or was your mentor?
A: Probably a housemaster at school, Dougie Cameron, who apart from teaching physics, also inspired a love for learning and taught me to honour integrity, honesty and good old fashioned hard work.

Q: Which business leaders do you most admire?
A: For his ability and focus on achieving results it has to be Terry Leahy of Tesco. However Jeff Bozos CEO of Amazon is also an inspiration, for having commercially exploited the Internet more successfully than anyone else. These are the people who prove that anything is possible in life with the right mentality.

Q: If you weren't in your current job, which company would you most like to lead?
A: My own – doing something completely different from the world of financial services software. This undoubtedly would be running my own theatre company.

Q: Do you read books on management theory? If so, which has influenced you the most?
A: It is rare that I read these types of books as invariably the best way to learn about managing your business is to learn from your peers, colleagues and other business leaders. However I did recently read “Book Yourself Solid: The Fastest, Easiest, and Most Reliable System for Getting More Clients Than You Can Handle Even if You Hate Marketing and Selling” by Michael Port. It’s an interesting take on how to win new clients and grow existing ones.

Q: Which competitors do you benchmark your company's performance against?
A: This is not a simple question to answer as Financial Objects now has a wide and diversified software portfolio that is sold to industries such as financial services, energy trading and property asset management. I look at our performance by comparing our stock market performance to other companies on AIM in the same sector.

Q: What has been your best experience in business?
A: My early career in technology was working in sales. After winning a number of good contracts the best experience was to lose one. A sobering experience and one that led me to realise that it doesn’t matter how good you think you are there is always something to learn and improve on.

Q: What was your biggest mistake in business?
A: This is the sort of question no-one likes to answer, but if the truth be known, it probably relates to not acting quickly and ruthlessly enough in the past when business took an unexpected turn requiring remedial action to solve the problem. That won’t happen again.

Q: What keeps you awake at night?
A: Bats (in my eaves), foxes (in my garden), and my two year old daughter.

Q: How do you relax?
A: Exercise – jumping on my road bike and cycling around the country lanes close to my home is a great way to get rid of the stresses of modern day life. I also enjoy watching my favourite football team – Burnley FC – though it has to be said, it isn’t too relaxing these days!

Q: What was the last gadget you bought?
A: IPod Nano.

Q: Favourite Web site
A: www.bbc.co.uk – the news section is invaluable.

Q: Desert island disc/book
A: I'm not sure how many items I can take to the island. So I would choose from: A house for Mr. Biswas – V S Naipaul; The complete works of William Shakespeare; All fun and games until somebody loses an eye by Christopher Brookmyre; Greatest Hits – the Eagles; Gaze – The Beautiful South; Mad Season – Matchbox Twenty; The original soundtrack of Les Miserables (in French); Apocalyptic Cowboys – Apocalyptic Cowboys.

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