I met David at the IRM Innovation, Business Change & Transformation Conference Europe this year and was intrigued by his unique combination of experience — not only is he a veteran of a great many corporate change programmes, but he also has first hand experience of having great personal change thrust upon him. And any speaker that says ‘Whoever came up with the concept of the ‘burning platform’ should be put on one’ gets my vote 😄.
So David, obviously your name must get you a lot of initial attention, but I gather you had it first.
Yes, I suppose I’ve got twenty odd years on him, but it’s good for a person who likes presenting and speaking because it gives me an immediate opening line. I can walk up there and say, ‘sorry for the sense of disappointment you must all be feeling.’
It was a pain when he was very famous though, because you get some stock questions. At one point, I thought if I ever write my biography it’ll be called ‘No, Not The Footballer.’ The other question you get a lot is, ‘I bet you wish you had his money,’ which is normally answered with, ‘well, duh!’
At the end of the day, it helps me be remembered, so that’s quite helpful. And he’s probably fed up with being asked, ‘Are you that senior business analyst from Aviva?’ It must be hell for him as well, I would imagine.
So now we’re sure you’re not the footballer, can you kick us off with a potted history of who you actually are and what you do?
Well, I joined what was then called Norwich Union and is now called Aviva way back in 1986, and I’m still there. I’m not sure whether that’s down to a devastating lack of ambition or fanatical loyalty! It was a family business, because my father worked there for 39 years and met my mum here. She did 7 or 8 years before they got married and I came along — I almost literally owe my soul to the company store, to quote from the song.