WLN – What’s the most exciting thing about your job?

Running and building a business is never boring and I enjoy the mix of strategic direction and operational management. However, building a great team and seeing people develop is the most exciting part of my role.

Martijn De Lange, Managing Director, Hermes UK

WLN – Who’s inspired you most in your career?

My tennis coach and friend Victor Mion. There are strong parallels between sport and business and he has taught me many things, including the benefits of focusing on getting better each day, rather than worrying about the result. I have worked with Carole Woodhead for five years and she inspires me daily with her drive and clarity of thought.

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

I would be an energy drink. I like to think that my attitude energises my team and drives them forward when they are flagging!

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

Not much, as I love my life. I do however wish I was nearer to my family in Holland.

WLN – What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you at work?

My Dutch accent occasionally causes a problem, especially around the pronunciation of a and e. I was once in a client meeting and caused the whole room to go silent when I asked a question about sacks.

WLN – Who or what makes you laugh?

My children are a constant source of hilarity and are just at the age when they start making jokes.

WLN – Do you have any hidden talents?

I like to think I’m a pretty good singer and secretly love karaoke. Recently, at my brother’s party, I took to the stage and sang with the band. I got some good reviews.

WLN – Who would be your favourite party guest?

Johan Cruyff, who I believe is the most influential football player and coach of our time. I love the fact that he always considered the aesthetic and moral aspects of the game – for him it wasn’t just about winning but about winning in the right way. That is an ethos that applies well to business too.

WLN – What is the greatest luxury in your life?

Spending time with my lovely wife Anna and sons Samuel and Oliver.

WLN – What is your favourite guilty pleasure?

I love Sunday morning Politics TV programmes and Saturday night reality TV with the family. The X Factor is one of our favourites – I admire Simon Cowell’s honesty.

WLN – Do you have any secret ambitions?

I have a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and would love to go into Government.

WLN – What’s your dream holiday destination?

I think that Stockholm is one of the most wonderful cities in the world.

WLN – What are your three favourite movies of all time?

Godfather II, The Usual Suspects and JFK. I love a dark drama and political intrigue.

WLN – What is your favourite book of all time?

Discovery of Heaven by Harry Mulisch, a Dutch writer. It has a long and complex plot but it’s utterly compelling though all 65 chapters!

WLN – What’s your favourite pastime?

I love playing tennis with my 6-year old son. He has just started but it won’t be long before he is beating me!

WLN – If you won the Lottery, what would you do?

I wouldn’t change much as I am very happy as I am. I might splash out on an Aston Martin but I would try and use the money to do something good. Cancer Research is an amazing charity and it is a disease that is likely affect all of us at some time in our lives.

WLN – What would be your advice to someone thinking about coming into this industry?

I think this is a great industry with loads of opportunities so I would encourage everyone to consider it. My advice would be that staying close to your customers and your people and really understanding them is the foundation for success in this industry.

HERMES UK

As Managing Director at Hermes UK, I am responsible for all aspects of the day to day running of the business such as operations, finance, marketing, new product development, customer service and sales. Strategic planning is also part of my remit as we ensure that Hermes is ready to meet the increasing demands of retailers and to continue to improve the customer experience.

To take part in Quote Unquote please call: 01923 272960 or email: james@warehousenews.co.uk