Samantha Hutchinson Reporter

Samantha writes on exports, Islamic finance and the business of doing business across borders. Before moving into journalism she worked in executive recruitment and public policy.

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CEO Q&A: Robert Dunn

Published 20 June 2012 21:58, Updated 20 June 2012 22:00

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What was your first job?

I was a rubbish collector.

What has been the most challenging task of your professional career?

It’s a tie: as Patrick Corporation’s CFO, directing its bankers through the waterfront dispute of 1998 and with Opportunity, seeing the conditions that people live in in some of India’s worst slums.

What is the best deal you’ve ever made?

Let’s not talk about the waterfront dispute. Forming 15 business partnerships with great organisations doing microfinance across India – where one-third of the world’s poor live – and getting them $40 million of capital from Aussie donors, now leveraged to a total loan portfolio of $160 million.

And the worst?

I’m more conscious of lost opportunities, either through a lack of resources or a lack of courage. You don’t get the wins if you don’t take the risks.

Is the customer always right?

In our world, the customer is the person in poverty who gets the hand-up through microfinance. In my experience they know exactly what they need.

Do CEOs need hobbies?

Everyone needs a zone to get lost in. Good therapy.

If you were prime minister for the day, the first thing you would do is?