Keith Valder heads up two key positions within SAS's UK operations, working as both chief operating officer and chief financial officer for the analytics giant.
Valder clearly enjoys working for the company, having joined in 1990 and remaining there ever since, a rare thing in the era of job-hopping and head-hunting, and a testament to the firm's track record of regularly appearing in those ‘Best Places to Work' lists, in both the UK and the US.
Here, he discusses some of the changes he's seen in that time as well as his love of Simple Minds and his hope for a real-life Babel Fish to help overcome the language barriers that could be holding back scientific and technological advances.
V3: What would be your dream job (apart from your current role, of course)?
Keith Valder: I would have a job share, so during the summer I would be head green keeper of a famous golf course and during the winter chief executive of Chelsea FC.
Which key websites do you have bookmarked at work?
BBC News and the Financial Times, as well as some company sites, such as SAS.com.
Which mobile phone and/or tablet devices do you currently use?
I have an iPhone 4s and an iPad 2. They are without doubt the best tools for my role where I need lots of information instantly.
Which person do you most admire in the IT industry?
It has to be Steve Jobs. In the early days he said Apple could change the world. He had the foresight to come up with an iPad, which commentators dismissed as a glorified iPhone. Now every senior executive uses one. It is quite remarkable and has gone some way to fulfill his prediction.
Which technology has had the biggest impact on your working life?
The spreadsheet. As an accountant we had to write up all our ledgers in pencil and pen, so when you were doing a 12-month budget it was really tough and time-consuming. Then along came Excel and the spreadsheet and in an instant you could do 'what if' scenarios at the push of a key.
What was your first job in the industry?
My first role was financial director at SAS Software. So 21 years later I'm still in my first job, but now with many different roles and responsibilities.
What's your favourite thing about working in the IT industry?
It's really fast moving, so you have to be flexible and fleet-of-foot to keep up with all the changes in technology and business trends. Being privately-owned helps SAS to be more nimble and adaptable than other organisations of our size, which is so important in this sector.
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