So, what are you doing now?
Good question. Having just completed the Brookfield Asset Management transaction of the Oaktree Capital Management Serviced Apartment and Aparthotel platform as Lead Advisor for a record breaking sector price, I have decided to deploy my time putting my 30 years of industry experience back into the industry with my personal company the MRP Group, which advises and acts for investors, owners, banks and operators in the capacity of advisor, translational and or operator search specialist.
Why have you dedicated so much time to the Serviced Apartment sector?
I started in the sector back in the early 90’s. I was fortunate enough to join a young partnership and in a very short time became incredibly successful. I thrived on the personal approach and the connection we had internally and with our customers. I suppose I became hooked on hospitality. Since then I have been privileged to have had so many great people working with and around me, that it has made my job easier.
Why Serviced Apartments and not Hotels?
Having spent, very fortunately, a significant part of my career travelling the world and spending 1,000’s of nights in hotel rooms, I became a little disillusioned, with coming back to my room, living out of my suitcase, eating in buffets in the lounge (which are really no good for me as I’m greedy) or club sandwiches in a tub chair at the end of my room, bed working or watching pay as you go TV. A Serviced Apartment offers me as the consumer, such a more relaxing in room experience, independence and the chance to settle into an environment more in line with home. Today’s Aparthotels and Serviced Apartment brands are really leading the way with further integration of the guest with connectivity and interaction through the whole journey. Quite simply I have more room, more in-room amenities, I can cook, wash and relax in a living area, for the same price as a hotel room.
Relatively speaking, you appear to have only had a handful of jobs throughout your career, was that by design?
Not at all. I have always set myself the challenge that if I didn’t enjoy work, then I would stop and start something else. I have just been incredibly lucky that without exception every job or role that I have had, I have enjoyed. If the business I’m involved in is flourishing, I like to take part in that growth and have been fortunate enough to be part of so many winning teams. Personally, I feel that it’s been a privilege to have the experience I have rather than a hindrance.
Are there many significant people that have impacted your career?
Of course, there are many. Too many to mention really, but if I had to call out one, it would be my first employer Stuart Newman, who really gave me a break, after I left school half way through my A Levels. We connected at my interview and he mentored me for many years. Sadly, Stuart passed a few years ago, but remains an inspiration to me. Since then I have had the privilege of working with many great motivational leaders all of whom I respect and continue to admire.
So, what keeps you busy when you are not working?
Home life keeps me busy and sane. I have five children, all boys so we don’t have any dollies in the house, but we do have an excessive number of computers, games and boys toys. The two eldest boys are my children and the three youngest boys are my wife’s children. I have always wanted a girl, but sadly it wasn’t meant to be. However, we now have four puppy Boston Terrier girls, which is keeping the house busier than ever.
Who have been the key influencers in your personal life?
That’s easy. Firstly my Grandma, Nora, who passed away last year at the grand age of 103. She was a testament to life, motivational and inspiring. Secondly my Father, who continues to be my benchmark. He has a set of values I aspire to. He continues to make it easy for me to make sure I maintain my life with fairness and compassion. Lastly and by no means least, my wife Zillah, who is my “wingman” and sanity check. Life is at times very fast and can be disconnected but Zillah keeps me on track and in the right direction.
What do you do outside of work and home for yourself.
I have several hobbies that keep me busy; I’m an avid scuba diver and whenever possible home and away I try to get in the water, I find it a very peaceful experience, which is strange as I am petrified of snorkelling, don’t ask, as I can’t explain. I am also a very keen clay pigeon and game shot gun shooter and as a family I and most of the boys try to shoot clays most weekends. Outside of that I contribute some of my personal time to some children focused organisations like Young Enterprise and I also commit time each week to support on a Help Line with a Charitable Organisation.