When I was in my twenties I thought I'd like to be a professional musician. My violin mistress said if I was to work incredibly hard, I could probably get to the back row of the second violins in a provincial orchestra. I decided banking would be a better bet. I'd probably choose banking again, because it's so all-pervasive. It's at the heart of people's lives and corporate life - the world can't operate without it. Ironically, the careers master at school sent me on a banking course at Lloyds. The guy running it took us to the head office and showed us the strongroom doors that weighed tons. He said: 'Look! You can move this with one finger.' I was so intrigued, I thought I must join a bank.
My first major career decision was when I worked at Barclays in Bristol.
My boss said: 'You've got two choices - run a branch in a wonderful place like Cirencester or take a chance and work in the City.' I decided on the City - the risk appealed to me. The second decision was when I decided to leave Barclays, after having been there for 28 years. I realised I wasn't going to get to the top because it was run by the families. I don't regret going for the Abbey National but I was disappointed that the deal was blocked by the Competition Commission. People say: 'You must be sad you bought Scottish Widows.' No, not at all, we bought it for the long term. I'd like to be remembered for the sale of TSB to Lloyds - it was the first of the big mergers in Europe. I'd like to have made another major deal like that.