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Last Updated: Monday, 6 September, 2004, 07:18 GMT 08:18 UK
Keeping a business on track
Eurostar chief Richard Brown
Stay on your toes is Mr Brown's working motto
Richard Brown joined Eurostar as chief executive in August 2002, with more than 25 years of experience in the rail industry.

Mr Brown started out in the sector with British Rail in 1977 working his way through various posts at the company before becoming director of its InterCity division.

He later set up Midland Mainline as a subsidiary of British Rail and led the company through privatisation and sale to National Express.

In 1996 he moved to National Express as chief executive of trains, and later became group commercial director.

What was your first car?

The first car I owned is the car I still own - a Renault Espace. I've never yearned for a car as it's often easier to travel by train.

What was your first job?

In 1969, I worked in a wine shop for Ellis & Co of Richmond, who sadly no longer exist.

I saved the money I earned in my first year so I could buy a guitar.

What was your first house?

A three-bedroom terraced house in Balham, London. It cost me 24,000 in 1978 and I sold it for much more a few years later.

Who is your biggest inspiration?

My grandfather, who has sadly passed away.

He was very active as a farmer and county councillor and taught me about the value of giving something back to the community.

From him, I learned how important public service is.

What's the best bit of business advice you've had?

Leave things in a better state than you find them.

What's the biggest challenge facing business now?

Fierce competition. You cannot stand still.

Businesses are kept on their toes by consumers seeking better quality.

If you fail to deliver, consumers will easily switch to a rival.

What can the government do to boost business?

I think the government can stop attacking businesses which make a lot of money.

Success breeds success. For example, when a bank makes a big profit, that profit filters down to you and me through higher share prices which, in turn, boost pension funds.

Undermining that success harms wealth creation at all levels of society.

What issue in the industry is grabbing your attention?

Shell - a tragic tale. I'm interested in Shell because they offered me a job once.

It shows that you can never relax as a manager and that you have to evolve your operating structures all the time depending on pressures.

Never allow yourself to get fat and happy on success is my motto.

What was the proudest moment of your career?

Launching the Channel Tunnel Rail Link in 2003 with the Prime Minister.

It was Britain's first new railway in over a century and was an example of superb railway engineering.

Eurostar logo
Eurostar, the high-speed passenger train linking London with France and Belgium, launched in November 1994.

The group employs about 1,300 staff in the three countries to look after the seven million passengers it carries a year.

A completely separate company to Eurotunnel, the firm is owned by London and Continental Railways, SNCF of France and SNCB of Belgium.


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