Albion interview with Will Whitehorn

Albion interview with Will Whitehorn

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Ahead of our fourth Albion dinner of the year, we caught up with Will Whitehorn, former president of Virgin Galactic and current Chair of SECC.

What does a bold marketing leader look like?
A bold marketer takes risks but calculates them and thinks about the unintended consequences in advance to minimise those risks. He or she uses exciting and innovative methods to communicate messages. For example, Red Bull - takes well planned and managed but calculated risks in developing exciting events that have come to personify their brand.

Describe your job in 10 words or less.
Which job? I've got 10!

What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?
I don't think there's very much I would have done very differently in my life. But one thing I never understood when I was young was the value of equity. Having a stake in something is a good idea!

What's the biggest mistake you've ever made and what did you learn from it?
The only mistake I tend to make is not trusting my instincts. I remember thinking during a crucial phase in Virgin's history that my phone was being hacked but I dismissed the instinct even although it later turned out to be true.

Which book has proved invaluable for business?
An economist in the 1950s wrote a book called the Waste Makers. His name is Vance Packard. It so inspired me in the way that I began to think about economics that I then read one by him called the Hidden Persuaders. Both have helped to hone the way that I think about business.

What's your guilty pleasure?
Anything that involves spending what I would regard as too much money. For example, I bought a second world war jeep that was used in the making of the TV series Band of Brothers and I love driving it.

Tell us a secret.
If I told you a secret, it wouldn't be a secret so what a silly question, but if you must know - I'll tell you all one on the night.


Will is speaking at our fourth Albion dinner of the year in Glasgow. To find out more head to our Events Gallery.

(Feature image courtesy of Jeff Foust.)

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Author: The Marketing Society
Posted: 26 Oct 2014
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