‘Meet the Boss’ is How we made it in Africa’s new interview series, where we pose the same 10 questions to CEOs and executives across the continent.
Richard Hudson, CEO, First National Bank Tanzania
1. What was your first job?
My first real job was with FNB, which I joined over two decades ago. Prior to that I studied and had a few part time vacation jobs.
2. Who has had the biggest impact on your career and why?
We have had many great leaders at FNB who have mentored me over the years but the people who have had the biggest impact on my career and my life are my parents. They taught me the values of faithfulness, loyalty, honesty and integrity. They instilled in me a passion to always strive to do the right thing – no matter what the circumstances. I believe that in banking these are the most critical factors for success.
3. What parts of your job keep you awake at night?
The things which keep me awake at night are never the problems that we face, rather it is the excitement about starting something new whether it be a new bank, a new product, or a new service. Life is full of challenges but with the right team and attitude these challenges are surmountable and not worth losing sleep over.
4. What are the top reasons why you have been successful in business?
I have been very fortunate that I have always had people with me who are as dedicated and passionate about their roles as I am and who share a common goal (to make a success of the business). When you have the right team in place starting a new business is so much easier. The support that I have always enjoyed from the shareholders, and the trust and faith they have placed in me, is certainly one of the cornerstones of my success.
5. What are the best things about Tanzania?
The people, the weather, the beauty of the country.
6. And the worst?
I suppose the road infrastructure in Dar es Salaam is not that great and one can get stuck in traffic for ages but I think that is the sign of a city which is really on the road to success.
7. Your future career plans?
I have enjoyed a long and rewarding career with the Bank and hope to continue but my immediate aim is to make a success of this new venture.
8. How do you relax?
I love the outdoors so a great way for me to relax is a small get together for a braai with family and friends. I also enjoy exercising, reading and an occasional round of golf.
9. What is your message to Africa’s young aspiring business people and entrepreneurs?
Do what you know in your heart is right, never take the easy option and deliver on all your promises. Never compromise your standards. Maintain a consistently high energy level – it’s very infectious and rubs off on all your colleagues. But most of all have fun doing business.
10. How can Africa realise its full potential?
Create an investor friendly environment, ask for assistance and not for handouts, be proud, don’t put personal gain ahead of what you know is right, cut down on bureaucracy, learn from the mistakes of others.
South Africa-based FNB recently opened its first branch in Tanzania