Insights

Out of office: Andrew Garner

This article was originally published in the second issue of Search Magazine, now renamed Executive TalentThe issue was released in June 2014. It is part of a series of articles looking at how executive search consultants spend their spare time and how that enriches their careers. 

 

During his career Andrew Garner has served as Chairman and CEO of Boyden, Garner International and Norman Broadbent. He continues to execute board level searches, in addition to executive mentoring, public speaking and teaching at business schools. Here he discusses his lifelong passion of motor racing and how it has enhanced his career.

How did you discover motor racing?

My father took me to watch motor racing when I was only 7 and I haven’t been away from it since – I adore it. Once you hear the engine, touch the cars and smell the oil, what previously looked like a group of silly old men all of a sudden has some real meaning. It has been a fascinating, wonderful privilege to be able to do it: to have become friends with some of the all-time greats of racing and raced alongside them; to have been able to that has been an enormous privilege; to actually own pieces of history – cars that people have drooled over when they’ve seen them in the paddock.

What models of cars do you drive?

The cars of my childhood – I race historic racing cars, which means the cars of the late 1950s. All of the cars are owned by the driver or being driven on behalf of the owner. I race Formula One and Le Mans car races where all of the contestants are amateurs.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement in racing?

Anyone who races historic racing cars will appreciate Goodwood [a historic race circuit in Britain]. I am one of less than 30 people to have competed in all of the Goodwood revivals. In the first one in 1998 I was nominated as driver of meting. I drove in a manner that I have rarely driven before or since – where you’re in the zone. Everything was running slow but I was driving faster than everyone else.

Do you think having a passion for racing has assisted your career?

I believe that if you’re going to be successful at work, you need to be successful at something else as well. Otherwise you will have a narrow view – you won’t engage with the world and the people around you. I have been involved in politics, sports and education and much more. I know how elements of all of those things have fed back into the richness of my career. It is lovely to have built things – built a search firm, floated it, bought one of the big brands – but if all you’re doing is being locked onto the next search, then you will miss opportunities and the enjoyment of your work.