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'You can learn a lot with an open mind'

Q and A with Paul McMorran


Paul learned to sail on Lough Neagh during his schooldays

Paul learned to sail on Lough Neagh during his schooldays

Paul learned to sail on Lough Neagh during his schooldays

Q. What's the best piece of business (or life) advice you've ever been given? A. No culture has a monopoly on good ideas. Other people in other places do things differently, and it's worth understanding why. We can learn a lot with an open mind.

Q. What piece of advice would you pass on to someone starting out in business? 

A. Travel, and explore the things you're interested in. Then spend time to understand what you (as an individual) are good at, and find a customer (or employer) who agrees.

Q. What was your best business decision?

A. Decades ago I recruited outstanding young engineers, many female, from top universities to the macho world of global oil. Some now run major businesses, taking daily decisions of far more importance than any I ever did.

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

A. If school had gone a little differently, my plan was to be a marine biologist and try to emulate Jacques Cousteau.

Q. What was your last holiday? Where are you going next?

A. In July I spent two happy weeks with Patricia, my younger daughter, combining Crossle business in rural France with time off (the motor racing world facilitates that). In September, I'm off to Nogaro with the French Historic Formula Ford Championship, where my Crossle is taking part.

Q. What are your hobbies/interests?

A. Racing Crossles in the company of like-minded petrolheads. Also, I'm not much of an instrumentalist but have always enjoyed music, appreciate opera, and regularly visit the Wagner festival in Bayreuth.

Q. What is your favourite sport and team?

A. Formula One isn't what it used to be, since the demise of Team Lotus and others like it. I suppose the Williams' team today comes closest to that contrarian spirit.

Q. And have you ever played any sports?

A. I've dabbled in various sports, with unremarkable results. Learning to sail on Lough Neagh at school was a highlight, and I still enjoy anything to do with the sea.

Q. If you enjoy reading, can you recommend a book?

A. Reading with children introduced me to many great books I'd missed before. Roald Dahl never disappoints, and I particularly liked reading The Twits.

Q. How would you describe your early life?

A Like many small boys I wanted to be a racing driver, but unlike most that condition was never cured. Growing up in north Belfast brought its own excitement, but I'm part of a large and loving family with much to be thankful for.

Q. Have you any economic predictions?

A. Europeans (and we in Northern Ireland particularly) dare not rest on the laurels of history. Developing countries will 'eat our lunch' economically if we don't quickly acknowledge the challenge, dump some daft behaviours and compete globally.

Q. How would you assess your time in business with your company Crosslé Cars?

A. Five years have flown past. We've done some constructive things and I have a great team to thank for that. Looking ahead, I believe Crossle is uniquely positioned to take a larger slice of a rapidly-growing historic motorsport industry sector.

Belfast Telegraph