Mike Pilkington, managing director, Manheim Remarketing
What has been your biggest achievement in your current role?
There are two projects that I am particularly proud of in which I’ve had a leading role – the creation of the UK’s first defleet and remarketing centre at Bruntingthorpe and the development of Seller Advance, our dealer showroom valuation tool.
Who has had the biggest influence on your career?
The biggest influence wasn’t a person, it was an organisation. I spent seven years in the infantry in the Territorial Army when I was aged 18 to 25 and it taught me so much about people and motivation. It gave me the perseverance and discipline to reach my goals.
What is your dream holiday?
I’ve always had an ambition to walk the Tour du Mont Blanc. The idea of being able to walk for eight or nine days through three countries amid some of Europe’s most stunning scenery sounds fantastic to me.
Who was the last person you received a text message from?
My brother-in-law who wanted me to help him find a car. It’s something of an occupational hazard.
What has been the most pivotal moment in your life?
Finding myself living alone at 35. It gave me the chance and time to discover the richness of life, from mountain walking in the Himalayas, to good friends and family.
If you won the Lottery, what would be the first thing you would buy?
I’d buy some expensive gifts for those close to me. The greatest pleasure can be derived from giving.
When did you last feel guilty about the environment and why?
Leaving my house last week the day the recycling was due to be collected. Why do they give you open-top boxes to put plastic bottles and tin cans in? When it’s windy you can see them blowing down the road. How ridiculous is that?
What is your best childhood memory?
Christmas at home. It was always busy with lots of family events and the warm and reassuring atmosphere will always stay in my mind.
When was the last time you took public transport?
A train to London to an industry dinner.
What is the one object you couldn’t live without?
You are on a desert island – what three things do you take with you?
A case of Stella, my dog and... oh, of course, my iPhone.
What is the first thing you would do if you were made Prime Minister?
Reduce social security costs and reinvest cash where it will generate jobs.
What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?
To worry a little less and always endeavour to do the things that you really want to do as life is too short.
How would you describe your leadership style?
There are a number of ingredients for good leadership. They include clarity of vision, clear direction, and empathy for people, good communication skills and energy. I hope I’ve got at least some of these.
What was your biggest mistake in business and what did you learn?
I worked for a business where there was a strategic change in progress. I didn’t see it coming and how it affected my role. It’s important to be aware of what’s happening in your market but also what’s happening around you too.
Which comic superhero would you like to be?
The Invisible Man. You could learn such a lot.
What is your favourite restaurant meal?
I love Steak Tartare, but when that’s not available I like a blue fillet steak. The flavour of beef is best enjoyed in the rawest possible state.
What is your favourite sitcom?
Fawlty Towers. I can’t believe they made so few episodes of such a great sitcom.
What is your favourite film?
Saving Private Ryan. Full of realistic combat as well as poignant personal stories.
What is your favourite book?
Washing of the Spears by Donald R Morris – a history of the Zulu nation.
Who was your childhood hero?
My father. He was always there for me with advice when I needed it with the kind touch of thoughtfulness.
Which historical character do you most identify with?
Palmerston. Probably the greatest ever British foreign secretary and one of the greatest contributors to the creation of the British Empire. His shrewd use of a combination of force and diplomacy helped to establish the British place on the world stage.