Brainfood: John Windeler - If I had to start again...

If I wasn't involved in business, I'd like to have worked in education, as a teacher or administrator, helping to improve the education system.

I feel very strongly about the power of education to solve political and social problems. It's the only basis for equality.

I've really enjoyed everything I've done in finance. I started out working for a New York bank as a foreign-exchange trader. It was really exciting and invigorating - the sharp end of banking - but in 1981 they asked me to run the UK operation. The offer came out of the blue. It was a big decision, but my wife and I were delighted. I've been here ever since and have never regretted the move.

You have to take those risks. I spent 10 years in trading, taking hundreds of risks every day. There's risk in every important strategic decision, like deciding to focus on direct banking at Alliance & Leicester. But I enjoy risk and I enjoy managing through the challenge. You have to embrace it if you want to make an impact. In business, you're either a participant or a spectator. Some people are content with the spectator role. I'm not.

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