'Golf and rugby are my passions outside work'
Q&A: John Hansen, KPMG
Q What's the best piece of business (or life) advice you've ever been given?
A: My dad always said: "Love all, trust a few and always paddle your own canoe."
Q: What piece of advice would you pass on to someone starting out in business?
A: Keep close to what you are doing. There will be times when you can delegate and times when you can take a step back to focus on other matters, but there is no substitute for driving a business or a career from the front and from the back, always placing yourself front and centre of everything, getting fully involved and making things happen. I am also a great believer in getting your specialisation honed and sticking to what you know. Trust as well.
Q: What was your best business decision?
A: Although I trained as a chartered accountant with a Big Four firm, I had the opportunity to work within the corporate finance advisory team at the IDB, which later evolved to become Invest NI. During my time at IDB, I learnt invaluable consultancy skills, had the opportunity to travel the world on key assignments and learnt a lot about global and local economics. I also made many contacts and friends whilst working there, many of whom are still close friends today. I truly believe this was a critical and fundamental time in my career.
Q: If you weren't doing this job, what would be your other career?
A: Believe it or not I had wanted to be a pilot as I love flying and find it exciting but my eyesight was never up to it. Now I just get to be a passenger.
Q: What was your last holiday? Where are you going next?
A: My last holiday was with friends in New York and we had a fantastic time. It truly is one of my favourite cities in the world. My youngest daughter lives and works in Edinburgh so my next holiday is with my family celebrating the New Year in Edinburgh.
Q: What are your hobbies/interests?
A: Golf is my passion outside work because it gets me out walking and enjoying fresh air. I also like to spend as much time as I can up on the North Coast where I enjoy going for long walks and a pint of Guinness.
Q: What is your favourite sport and team?
A: Rugby and Ulster - I am a season ticket holder and love the atmosphere at Kingspan Stadium. Ireland hosting the Rugby World Cup will be fantastic for the entire island of Ireland. Bring it on!
Q: And have you ever played any sports?
A: Yes absolutely, in particular I played rugby at school but being honest, I am a better spectator than I was a player.
Q: If you enjoy reading, can you recommend a book?
A: Really enjoyed the Stieg Larsson trilogy and I would also recommend Chris Evans' autobiography. I was reading it on a beach in Portugal a few years ago whilst on holiday when he walked past me with his family - that was a strange coincidence.