Edited by RHYMER RIGBY: email@example.com.
I would have liked most to be a musician, but I never had the talent or the training. Starting out now, I would probably take up law. Law operates according to rules made for the good of society, not for the benefit of particular individuals or particular institutions. I think a life lived like that is more agreeable than one where decisions have to be made, sometimes with harsh consequences for whole communities, which in the end are based on whether people will make money or not out of them. There's nothing wrong with making money, but it isn't necessarily a noble activity and has to observe certain limits to be generally acceptable.
When I started in industry, one worked together with colleagues for the good of the business; it was a collegiate thing. I would be less comfortable with the current mores in which it is the share price which matters most, not the intrinsic prosperity of the company; those two aspects would once have been regarded as integral to each other, but what big investors now want is movement and quick results. The stock market is consequently less stable; prices rise and fall with fashion and have become more like gaming counters than assessments of true value.
I wouldn't do anything differently if I had my time in industry again.
My objective would be, as it always was, to deliver a soundly based, expanding, increasingly profitable business, with the industrial and technical strength to endure for ever.
Lord Weinstock was managing director of GEC, 1963-97.