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From farm-hand to middleware chief

21 May 2007  |  993 views  |  0 Source: Thomas D. Gros, CEO, OpenLink Thomas Gros, CEO of OpenLink

Tom Gros, new CEO of OpenLink, opens up to Finextra

Name: Thomas D. Gros
Date and place of birth: December 1961, New York
Residence: Houston, Texas
Marital status: Married
Education: Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering, Georgia Tech; Master of Science in Business, MIT-Sloan
Career path:
Grumman Aerospace, engineer
British Petroleum, analyst and trader
Chemical Bank, trader
Enron, marketer and trader
CLPartners, President
Reuters, Executive Vice President
OpenLink, CEO
Current posts: Chief Executive Officer

Q: What was your first job?
A: I was a farm hand during my high-school summers in Ridgefield, Connecticut. Once you’ve mucked out a pig pen every day for a few weeks, other jobs don’t look so bad.

Q: Who is or was your mentor?
A: I would not say I have had the benefit of a mentor, but my wife is my compass.

Q: Which business leaders do you most admire?
A: Jack Welch and John Chambers — both visionaries with a ruthless focus on value creation.

Q: If you weren’t in your current job, which company would you most like to lead?
A: Habitat for Humanity — I’m good with a hammer.

Q: Do you read books on management theory? If, so which has influenced you the most?
A: I don’t read management theory books. I just picked up Build Master by Vincent Maraia, and I read The Economist cover-to-cover every week.

Q: Which competitors do you benchmark your company’s performance against?
A: The usual suspects, but mostly I keep my eyes out for the guys just over the horizon.

Q: What has been your best experience in business?
A: My best experience is yet to come. It will be when OpenLink crosses $1 billion in annual sales.

Q: What was your biggest mistake in business?
A: Selling most of my Reuters shares just before Thomson’s takeover proposal was made public.

Q: What keeps you awake at night?
A: Nothing, I sleep like a baby.

Q: How do you relax?
A: I’m one of those fools who actually likes to mow the lawn and pressure wash the stone.

Q: What was the last gadget you bought?
A: My Mini Cooper, which I drive to our development headquarters on Long Island. Maybe a little big for 'gadget' status, but not by much.

Q: Favourite Web site
A: Reuters.com, because it provides me the most objective view of the world in real time.

Q: Desert island disc/book
A: For my CD, I’d choose New Pants by Flim and the BB’s, but only if I could play it through my Martin Logan speakers. For my book, I’d pick The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy.

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