Interview: Sir Peter Ogden


  • Share via facebook
  • Tweet this
  • Bookmark and Share

He has been knighted for his services to education through his charitable trust and can claim credit for founding Europe’s biggest computer services company, but just don’t call Peter Ogden “Sir”.

“No, I hate it, it’s embarrassing sometimes,” the millionaire British businessman and philanthropist says when Arabian Business asks whether to use the title bestowed on him in 2005.

However, at 65, the respected entrepreneur, sailing and motorsport enthusiast and current leaseholder of the Channel Island of Jethou is nonetheless grateful for the recognition.

“It’s nice to have the honour, but you can’t get too carried away with it,” he muses.

Harvard-educated, the son of a co-op worker forged a successful career in investment banking both in the UK and US with Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley, eventually becoming a managing director at the latter at the relatively young age — in banking terms anyway — of 40.

However, driven by the fear that he might one day be tossed aside by an “up-and-coming tyke” and wanting to take control of his destiny, Ogden quit his high-paying, high-flying job in 1981 and joined forces with fellow Harvard alumnus Philip Hulme to start IT company Computacenter, which today is Europe’s largest computer services company with 13,000 employees and a group turnover of £3.07bn ($5.11bn) in 2013.

Ogden, whose wealth was listed at £250m ($416.17m) in The Sunday Times Rich List 2013, subsequently also co-created the financial software and data company Dealogic in 1983, while he also co-founded with John Britten and former Formula One driver Jonathan Palmer MotorSport Vision, which operates a number of UK racing venues and runs several championships.

But when asked about the early days of Computacenter, Ogden initially struggles to recall the specific details of what was a frenetic time, but offers one stand-out memory of that career change.

“The biggest challenge was I was the managing director of Morgan Stanley at the age of 40 — one of the youngest in a private firm — and then suddenly I had a van, I was delivering computers. I would go along to Credit Suisse and say ‘I am Peter’ and they would say ‘I don’t give a s**** who you are, you’re late with the delivery,” he recalls.

Article continued on next page...

Related:
Join the Discussion

Disclaimer:The view expressed here by our readers are not necessarily shared by Arabian Business, its employees, sponsors or its advertisers.

Please post responsibly. Commenter Rules

  • No comments yet, be the first!

Enter the words above: Enter the numbers you hear:

All comments are subject to approval before appearing

Further reading

Features & Analysis
Saudi king keeps close hand on oil in remodelling strategic team

Saudi king keeps close hand on oil in remodelling strategic team

King is clearly laying the ground for a generational shift in...

Insider: Oil and gas sector in fear of hackers as cyber attacks surge 179%

Insider: Oil and gas sector in fear of hackers as cyber attacks surge 179%

Experts have put the vital industry on high alert as the threat...

Saudi Arabia adds to oil power with new refineries

Saudi Arabia adds to oil power with new refineries

Two state-of-the-art plants set to redefine Gulf kingdom's role...

Most Discussed
  • 13
    Has Narendra Modi already lost the plot?

    Gaja, You said it in one sentence. Anil can't comment because Modi is an elected leader. He can't comment because India is the biggest democracy. While... more

    Saturday, 28 March 2015 10:24 AM - Rafi
  • 12
    Nakheel PR: The toughest job in Dubai?

    To this day, Nakheel invoices out full year service charges in advance.

    They 'imply' in the text that these fees must be paid immediately. more

    Saturday, 28 March 2015 10:24 AM - Barry MCK
  • 6
    Drunk passenger who slapped air stewardess jailed in Dubai

    Its high time airlines ban alcoholic drinks on board or limit it to just one drink. There are many passengers who love the free alcohol and keep drinking... more

    Saturday, 28 March 2015 2:25 AM - Azk