Five-minute interview:Duncan Williamson, SAP

Duncan Williamson, head of UK consultancy division, SAP

Duncan Williamson, head of UK consultancy division, SAP

What have you got in your pockets/handbag?
My car keys and wallet. Please don't ask me what I have in my handbag!

With whom would you most like to have a date?
That would have to be my wife, without a doubt.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a vet, for the simple reason that I love animals. As I grew older, I dreamt about being an architect - I still do actually.

How did you get into the IT industry?
In my first job working for Coopers & Lybrand Management Consulting, I was exposed to IT implementation and training and developed an interest in IT. When I eventually moved on to work for an electronics company, I found the IT part of the business riveting. Since then, I've pursued various opportunities within the IT sector and ended up joining SAP Consulting. I find the high speed of the industry and the people-centric element of consulting hugely appealing.

What do you do to relax?
This is where I am very lucky - I can switch off as soon as I walk out of the office. My favourite way to relax is by spending time with my family, as well as being in the great outdoors. This may sound strange, but I also find mowing the lawn really relaxing. It's such a passively mindless job that your thoughts can easily wander in a state of daze and relaxation.

What's your favourite chat-up line?
To be honest, I don't really like chat-up lines. They're a bit tacky. If I really had to, I might use something along the lines of: "What are you doing when you are not working?"

What's your favourite song and why?
I have two. The first is Back in Black by AC/DC. It reminds me of my teenage years and Friday afternoons at my best friend's house listening to mindless hard rock. The second has to be Telegraph Road by Dire Straits. I must have listened to it hundreds of times.

What's the most embarrassing thing that's ever happened to you?
I don't get embarrassed easily and I cannot think of any specific situation where I have felt uncomfortable or humiliated. I am a South African and directness is the norm where I come from.

What's your favourite place and why?
The Namib Desert in Namibia is my favourite place in the world. It stretches 1,200 miles and is strangely beautiful. I grew up in Namibia and the desert was a vital part of my childhood scenery. I love its austere and stark landscape and the fact that you can drive for days without meeting anybody. The silence you encounter in the desert is staggering. It makes you realise how insignificant you are as an individual and it really puts technology in perspective.

If you had a dinner party and could invite anyone, dead or alive, who would you invite and why?
I would invite Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci. Both men were creative as well as technically capable, a combination which is very rare today. They were many years ahead of their time and it would be very interesting to meet these geniuses. I would also invite Nelson Mandela as I hugely admire his phenomenal benevolence, humanity and perseverance.

What's the most daring thing you've ever done?
White water rafting and getting married must be top of my list, along with walking the Fish River Canyon.

What's your best quality?
I am very relaxed and laid back. My work ethic is so that I am very passionate, conscientious and hard-working. I honestly can't remember having a job I didn't like.

What most annoys you?
People who take life too seriously. You only get one shot at it and I believe you should have some fun along the way.

If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money?
I would buy a holiday home by the sea and one in the mountains, along with a private plane so I could easily get to both. To prevent boredom from setting in, I would carry on working, but only two or three days a week.

If you could make a voodoo doll of someone, who would it be?
I would never do such a thing. I am a pacifist.

What's your most annoying habit?
Being laid back and relaxed can also be perceived as a flaw, and sometimes an annoying habit. My unflappable nature can drive my wife mad when we argue.

Favourite joke?
Inscribed on a grave in small writing: "If you can read this you are standing on my head."

Who is your biggest hero/heroine?
I truly admire Nelson Mandela. He is an outstanding leader, both for his own people as well as the world community. He is an amazingly compassionate and dignified human being who's had to make some very difficult decisions along the way.

How would you like to die and what would you choose as your epitaph?
Quickly and instantly - and without knowing. My epitaph would be: "Here lie the remains of someone who tried everything, failed something and died a happy man."

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