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Quote unquote – Carole Woodhead, CEO of Hermes in the UK

Hermes is the UK’s largest home delivery courier network handling more than 115 million collections and deliveries per annum. Hermes works with companies of all sizes, and in recent years has diversified from agency catalogue brands to work with leading high street, direct catalogue and online retailers in the UK including Next Directory, Readers Digest, Lakeland Limited and ASOS.

What’s the most exciting thing about your job?

The ability to create, mould and grow a business and then watch it flourish.

If you were an item in a warehouse, what would you be?

One of my strengths is getting people to work together as a team in an organised way to achieve business objectives, so perhaps I would be the Warehouse Management System.

What brought you to this industry?

I completed a strategic review of the Hermes business as part of an MBA I was studying and was then offered a job to put my recommendations into practice.

If you had to do it all over again, what would you do different?

Move faster and act bolder.

What’s your favourite pastime?

Any one of: Gardening, shopping, travelling and socialising.

What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you?

I couldn’t possibly tell you that!

Do you have any hidden talents?

I am a 1st class diver and national scuba diving instructor.

Who would be your favourite party guest?

Colin Farrell would definitely be very welcome.

What is the greatest luxury in your life?

Would have to be either my collection of LK Bennett shoes or my Bang & Olufsen music system.

If you won the Lottery, what would you do?

I’d quit my job and take my nearest and dearest on holiday. I’d then travel the world for a year before stopping to decide what to do next.

Who or what makes you laugh?

Would have to be Steve, my other half, with his smutty sense of humour.

Do you have any secret ambitions?

One day I’d like to run a café, tearoom or cake shop in an idyllic Yorkshire village.

What’s your favourite holiday destination?

Vietnam or Palma.

What’s your favourite music album?

In the last five years it would have to be Muse’s Black Holes and Revelations.

What’s your favourite movie?

Pretty Woman.

What’s your favourite book?

Next of Kin by Roger Fouts with an intro by Jane Goodall.

Who or what do you detest the most?

I am passionately against animal cruelty, vivisection and hunting.

What would be your advice to someone thinking about coming into the industry (apart from “don’t do it”)?

The harder you work the more luck you get and don’t let opportunities pass you by.

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