“I believe people should be given the freedom to act and think independently. With freedom comes responsibility.”
In the spring of 2013 Telecity acquired a new data centre, in Istanbul – Turkey was a completely fresh territory for us – and I needed to make the deal happen fast. However, Rob, who had successfully handled the majority of acquisitions for us in the previous years, had just moved over to head up our UK operation. He volunteered to help with the Istanbul deal but I didn't want to pluck him out of that key role so soon after he had started in his new position and, in any case, I wanted him to concentrate on the new job.
The deal was important and difficult – a major acquisition in a new market – but I didn't have time to go through the process of recruiting a replacement for Rob. I needed to deploy the resources currently available among the management team, and that was going to mean asking two of my core team to take on something they had never done before in their lives. But that's how you learn. On the job. On the edge.
I decided to give the task to Matthew, my head of Investor Relations, and James, who runs Telecity's communications and marketing. Although both of them had been actively involved in previous acquisitions, this would be the first time they were leading the whole operation. Matthew was a city boy (though an entirely delightful one) who had previously worked ...