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: Jeyan Jeevaratnam

Published 09 August 2012 05:00, Updated 09 August 2012 06:50

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What was your first job?

I was 16 and still in high school. I worked at David Jones. I recall having to try on men’s clothing for customers because people’s wives and girlfriends wanted to buy gifts and to know how things would fit. I learnt a lot about the value of customer service. It doesn’t matter what you’re selling, it boils down to quality of service and the relationship with your customer.

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

There were occasions where I had to break stereotypes. I took on a role earlier in my career and had professionals on my team who were 20 to 25 years my senior as peers. I knew I needed to persevere and prove that [I] could get the job done.

What is the best deal you’ve done?

We were once told we had lost out to a competitor, although we believed we had the best solution for the customer. We went back to them with another proposal. The customer called us two weeks later to say that we’d won.

What time are you at your desk?

I’m at my desk by 7.45am so that I have time to myself and think through the day ahead before the meetings begin.

Should a CEO have all the answers?

No, the mark of a successful executive is that they depend on a team. A CEO needs to take risks, be decisive and allow people to make mistakes.

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