"Whatever you're selling, reputation is everything"

The leader that made me: Jonny Combe, UK CEO at PayByPhone, on the formative early lessons in his career.

by Stephen Jones

Our biggest business influences aren't always megastars like Steve Jobs or Elon Musk. Often, it is managers early in our careers that teach us the most important lessons, for good or bad.

Jonny Combe had a successful executive career at BMW and is now UK CEO of PayByPhone, a parking and payment app, but he started off in a small shop, with a boss who taught him the value of customer service.

“My most influential boss was a man I worked for in my teens, Sonny Murray. Even though it was a part-time job, and it was a small auto parts and mobile phone store in rural Scotland, his attitude towards customer service, his laser-focused approach on building a positive brand reputation and his fervent desire to understand his client base fully has stuck with me through my tenure at BMW and even today.

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