You live and you learn: Nicola Horlick

The Bramdean CEO on growing up in the Wirral, studying at Oxford, and dispelling rumours about her relationship with Vincent Tchenguiz.

by Hannah Prevett
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

My childhood was like something out of an Enid Blyton book. We lived in the Wirral in a large house on the edge of the Royal Liverpool Golf Course, where my brother and I played on the beautiful white sands.

I have a clear idea of what's right and what's wrong. My father used to say to me: 'It's important to always behave properly towards people - you never know when you're going to come across them again.'

I've never experienced sexism from colleagues. But the press highlights high-flying women because there aren't many of us: things that happen to me get reported. But I do seem to have a dramatic life ...

I grew up surrounded by very interesting people. My father was a Liberal who was close to all the Liberal MPs. Our house was always full of people like Clement Freud and Cyril Smith, which was very exciting.

Always have fantastic mentors. I met Derek Higgs when I started at SG Warburg. Derek died in 2008, but he'd lined up his deputy at Alliance & Leicester to step in. Peter Barton is now my chairman.

I ran away from boarding school. I hated it at Cheltenham Ladies College. They just didn't do anything with us. I was missing out: back home, my father was doing all of his politicking while I was incarcerated.

I regret studying law at Oxford. It's dull and it's hard work - you can't take any short cuts. If I had my time again I'd probably do PPE. Still, knowing how the law works has been immensely helpful in my career.

I don't understand how people can say I 'have it all'. I had an incredibly sick child for 10 years who died of leukaemia. I don't have Georgie, so I can't possibly have it all.

I haven't fallen out with Vincent Tchenguiz. The argument was between Vincent and the board, which he removed. He did not remove me. In the end, because I couldn't make myself heard, I decided to sell the contract to Aberdeen and distance myself from it. It's a huge shame.

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