You live and you learn: Jon Moulton

Jon Moulton, Chairman of Better Capital, on his plans for Jaeger, avoiding politics and why insensitivity is a strength.

by Elizabeth Anderson
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

My grandfather was an engineer in Stoke-on-Trent. He was a big influence. I was a very sickly kid, with severe bronchitis. He was a successful entrepreneur and a strong and memorable character. I spent a lot of time with him before he died when I was 11.

I like to think of myself as young, virile and effective. The reality is I'm a man who likes what he does. I label myself more as an entrepreneur than an accountant.

I'm a very fast reader. That doesn't make me a perfect analyst but I can chew through vast quantities of data. Most of our deals are done at tremendous pace: Jaeger was completed in eight days.

I certainly won't be inflicting my taste on the clothes. We're not aiming for the mass market. If we could copy anyone it would be Burberry, which 15 years ago was about the same size as Jaeger.

The biggest risk I've taken was acquiring Parker Pen in the 1980s. But it became a huge success. It was losing £20m a year when we bought it, and making £40m a year when we sold it in the 1990s.

The deal that most intrigued me was trying to buy MG Rover. What happened to the company after I withdrew my bid was terrible. A big business collapsed, creating a huge strain on the public purse.

I never look backwards. It's a characteristic my wife gets really upset about. If something terrible happens, I still sleep. Insensitivity is one of my strengths.

I'm no longer a supporter of the Conservative party. After the Liam Fox affair and the recent GDP downgrade, it's difficult working up much enthusiasm to be a political donor.

I enjoy what I do and I'll keep working as long as it stays that way. That could be a decade, although 20 years might be pushing it. There is some difficulty in working from a wheelchair.

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime

When spying on your staff backfires

As Barclays' recently-scrapped tracking software shows, snooping on your colleagues is never a good idea....

A CEO’s guide to smart decision-making

You spend enough time doing it, but have you ever thought about how you do...

What Tinder can teach you about recruitment

How to make sure top talent swipes right on your business.

An Orwellian nightmare for mice: Pest control in the digital age

Case study: Rentokil’s smart mouse traps use real-time surveillance, transforming the company’s service offer.

Public failure can be the best thing that happens to you

But too often businesses stigmatise it.

Andrew Strauss: Leadership lessons from an international cricket captain

"It's more important to make the decision right than make the right decision."