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Mon 15 Sep 2008 04:00 AM

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Talk is cheap

For a man who makes a living selling budget products, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou has done pretty well for himself.

For a man who makes a living selling budget products, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou has done pretty well for himself.

The subject of this month's cover story - he was just 28-years-old when he set up easyJet, becoming one of the pioneers of the budget airline industry in Europe.

From there he went on to create 17 different brands under easyGroup and to amass a personal fortune of around US$2.58bn.

Like so many truly successful entrepreneurs he is a colourful character who frequently engineers headline grabbing publicity stunts.

But what struck me most about him during our interview was his honesty. He freely admitted to me that it is coming up with great ideas, not managing his organisation, that makes him tick.

He sees himself first and foremost as an entrepreneur, describing this as being "a different animal" from "successful managers".

Unlike many business leaders he was also quite happy to admit that he'd made mistakes. He even confessed that he sometimes couldn't remember the names of all the companies he runs.

Such candidness is refreshing in a world where management jargon is often used to mask the truth.

We very much look forward to finding out what Stelios has got to say when he appears as the keynote speaker at our CEO Awards 2008 on October 13th. And if this issue's cover story is anything to go by, it's bound to be an interesting night.

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