If I had to Start Again

Ray Webster. I’d certainly do things differently, but that’s what business is all about.

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

I'd certainly do things differently, but that's what business is all about. You don't go into it with all the answers. You learn from your mistakes and try not to make the same ones again.

I'd develop my career in steps. I married young, before I had figured out my career plan. I didn't understand the fundamental implications of work on lifestyle and this led to conflict – and divorce, which in turn affected my career. That's what I tell my kids: don't rush into marriage. Wait until you're 30, to let you establish your values.

Aviation was a happy accident. I got into it because I'm colour-blind, and it's an industry that accepts electrical engineers with my condition. I like complexity and finding better ways to address challenges, and any number of things could have satisfied that. It could have been Nasa or the biochemical industry. But it would have to be business-related. I wouldn't have found the challenge in something like sport.

My home life has been highly disrupted over the 10 years at easyJet, being away from my family in New Zealand. That has become increasingly difficult to justify. I lost my mum and dad this year. My biggest regret was not being able to spend the right amount of time with them in the last few years. I'm going to stay in England, but with more time to go back when I need to, to do things like camping with my grandchildren.

Leaving easyJet had been on my mind for some time – management teams need constant revitalisation. I feel I have much to contribute to business, but I've got no idea what that involves. I remember my last period at university. I took time out of business for a year – a chance to stand back, get off the treadmill and build a value-based view of my life. The easyJet career came from that. Similarly, I don't want to lurch into my next decision now, with the pressure of the easyJet transition hanging over me.

Ray Webster stepped down as CEO of easyJet in December

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