Belfast Telegraph

'It's satisfying being part of a very exciting industry'

Q&A: Donald Finlay

By John Mulgrew

Q What's the best piece of business (or life) advice you've been given?

A I was once told, "It's the extra which makes the difference between ordinary and extraordinary", and it's one piece of advice I'm always happy to pass on.

Q What was your best business decision?

A I think the best was to build brand values as a strategy. We've invested considerable time and effort in building the brand equity of Remus Uomo, Douglas, Wellington & 1880 Club, and that investment pays off season after season.

Q If you weren't doing this job, what would be your other career?

A I did have aspirations as a teenager to become an aircraft pilot and joked with Dad about one day flying him across the Atlantic on Concorde.

Q Where was your last holiday? Where's next?

A I enjoyed a great break this year when we chartered a gulet and spent time around the coast of Croatia. The scenery, the food, the whole experience was fantastic. I don't have anything planned for next year yet, but a short cruise exploring somewhere new does appeal.

Q What are your hobbies/interests?

A I'm passionate about rugby and play a limited amount of golf when time allows.

Q What is your favourite sport and team?

A I've always been a big supporter of Ulster Rugby (personally and professionally through our official clothing partner relationship), and I'm really enjoying the level to which the game has progressed since my playing days and seeing Irish Rugby competing so well at international level.

Q Have you ever played any other sports?

A I played both badminton and rugby competitively until business and family commitments took priority.

Q Can you recommend a good film?

A I'm a big fan of the Bourne movies - the perfect mix of intrigue, suspense and action. On a completely different note, The Grand Budapest Hotel was one of my favourite films of recent years. Its humour, the quirkiness of the characters and the visual aesthetic marked it out as something different.

Q How would you describe your early life?

A I was fortunate enough to have a sound family upbringing as one of seven children. Those family ties remain just as strong and as important to me today.

Q Have you any economic predictions?

A I'm not enjoying this current economic uncertainty and the weakness of sterling following the Brexit vote. This will be a challenging situation for the foreseeable future. We'll have to focus on our core strengths and proactively look for growth opportunities with existing customers, along with potential new areas, including the widening of our export markets.

Q How would you assess your time with your company?

A It's been a very satisfying almost 40 years, being part of a progressive business in an exciting industry that is about constantly evolving collections.

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