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Nick Buckles: "My leadership style? 'No excuses'"

The CEO of G4S on progressive rock, Thatcher and growing through recession.

1. Sum up your leadership style in three words.

"No excuses, please."

2. What was your first paid job?

Christmas postman in Essex. I was 16.

3. What's the best piece of business advice you have ever received?

The quickest way to get somewhere is not always a straight line.

4. What has been your biggest achievement?

Growing the G4S business through the recession to its current workforce of 657,000 employees.

5. Who is your business hero and why?

Margaret Thatcher, because in the early years she led the biggest economic turnaround in recent history.

6. What should the government do to improve the UK business outlook?

To continue to focus on traditional Tory values around encouraging a meritocracy and inspiring value creation.

7. Do you have a favourite business or management book?

The Language of Leaders by Kevin Murray.

8. What's your favourite restaurant?

Corrigan's in Mayfair, London.

9. What possession could you not do without?

My mobile phone.

10. What's your favourite piece of music?

"Refugees" by Van der Graaf Generator.

11. Where is the most interesting place you have visited?


12. What do you have for breakfast?

Porridge with raisins.

13. How do you manage to balance work and home life?

By successfully combining the two.

14. When was the last time you were truly relaxed?

At the Glastonbury Festival last summer, listening to Tame Impala.

Nick Buckles is the chief executive officer of G4S (formerly Group 4 Securicor), the largest global security company. Buckles joined Securicor as a project accountant in 1985 and became the group's chief executive of Europe in 1998. G4S is based in Crawley, UK, has operations in over 125 countries and, after Walmart, is the second-largest private-sector employer in the world.


Alice Gribbin is a Teaching-Writing Fellow at the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She was formerly the editorial assistant at the New Statesman.