UK: My Other Side - CEO in tune with his audience.

UK: My Other Side - CEO in tune with his audience. - Capital Radio chief executive David Mansfield is more likely to be found at Brixton Academy than the Royal Opera House.

by Rhymer Rigby.
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Capital Radio chief executive David Mansfield is more likely to be found at Brixton Academy than the Royal Opera House.

'It's got to be more interesting than working in a bank hasn't it?' says David Mansfield, explaining why, when you work in an area such as radio, work and leisure tend to blur somewhat. More-over, your interests tend to be a bit more hip and with it than the norm. Thus, while many CEOs spend an evening in town hanging around the Royal Opera House, Mansfield is more likely to be found at the Brixton Academy watching the Prodigy, whose recent offerings include Firestarter and the beguilingly titled Smack My Bitch Up.

'I could probably justify it on the grounds that I'm there to keep in touch with my audience but I'm actually there because they're a very exciting band,' he laughs, 'And I'm not worried that I look like someone's dad at the back (he is 44) because I am someone's dad.' So his musical tastes are (unsurprisingly) modern but pretty broad, ranging from rock leviathans such as Pink Floyd and The Who to ex-Take That-er, Robbie Williams: 'Great, fantastic album.' But as is proper for a radio boss, he refuses to be drawn on a single favourite single.

His literary tastes are similarly catholic: the last two books he read were Birth of An American Capitalist, about the life and times of America's premier investor, Warren Buffett - 'excellent, the way he values businesses' - and Mr Nice, the autobiography of Howard Marks, Britain's articulate, Oxford-educated, premier marijuana smuggler, who was jailed for seven years. 'I'm not sure if I feel as sorry for Howard as Howard would like me to feel but he seems like an interesting guy.'

What else? He drives a Harley: 'I hadn't mentioned it because it sort of stinks of mid-life crisis.' Having not ridden for years, he bumped into a friend who suggested it might be good fun to pass their motorbike tests. So they took lessons on Sunday mornings. 'I don't ride it very much but I love it. Plus, my family can't get on the motorbike.'

He also enjoys fishing. Apparently, there is a sizeable fly-fishing fraternity in entertainment circles. 'Some of them, like Chris Tarrant, are quite keen. Fly-fishing on a Hampshire chalk stream takes a lot of beating,' he says. He is also an enthusiastic - though not as enthusiastic as his wife - supporter of Wimbledon FC, his local club, and he plays in an over-35s league. 'I'd like to say I'm the worst person in the team because I'm the oldest. But I'm just the worst - there are people older than me.'

Further afield, he is an avid traveller but only if it's done properly. 'I used to work with this Australian guy who taught me how to be a tourist. When I was working for Thames TV, we had a free morning in Norway and everyone else spent it relaxing. He said: "Right, we're going to the top of that ski run because it's the highest in Europe, then we're going to the Kontiki exhibition, then we're going to the Norwegian resistance museum." So we did all those things and met the others at the airport.'

Similarly, after visiting Budapest, the duo drove back via Romania, the Ukraine and Poland, tailed by the (not very) secret police. 'The way this guy saw it, he would consider it a dismissable offence if you flew into a country, had a meeting at the airport and flew out again. If you weren't curious enough to take advantage of being there, you weren't the right sort of person to be in his employ.'

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