Andy Thorburn arrived in Jamaica in mid-August to assume the leadership role of telecommunications giant Digicel. Since his arrival, he has been learning the Jamaican work culture, ethics and way of life, while fashioning his own leadership skills to take the pioneering company forward.
Described as charming and affable by staffers, colleagues and associates, today Outlook Magazine shares 10 things we did not know about the Digicel boss.- Chester Francis-Jackson
1. Thorburn is always walking with a spring in his step. His youthful demeanour belies his impressive professional background. A communications industry veteran with more than 30 years of telecoms and business solutions sector experience, he has extensive senior management expertise across a number of successful global businesses. Highlights of this include the transformational turnaround of Intec Plc, a billing solutions provider to 450 mobile and fixed-telecoms operators in 117 countries and an 18-year stint with BT Group, where he was managing director of the satellite division, as well as leading two major markets into high growth. In addition to his telecoms background, Thorburn brings extensive ICT experience through senior roles at Siemens Business Services, as well as venture capital-backed businesses in Europe and the United States.
2. He lunched with the second man to walk on the moon, Buzz Aldrin, in Brighton about 14 years ago. He remembers Buzz's forward-thinking perspective on life. "Buzz didn't want to talk about what he had done, but what he wanted to do," Andy recalls.
3. He is an easy-going affable leader whose leadership style is not to rule with an iron fist but, rather, to inspire his team to achieve extraordinary goals through visionary and supportive leadership. Well respected by his leadership team at Digicel and among his peers, he maintains an air of accessibility, warmth and confidence.
4. After attending an EMI music party in New York years ago, Thorburn shared a drink and a long conversation with a gentleman at a bar. The funny thing is that he didn't know he was actually chatting with international superstar Bruce Springsteen until after the conversation!
5. He enjoys dancing and is not at all shy when it comes to hitting the dance floor. The fun-loving Scotsman enjoys partying and can be found dancing up a storm at corporate events, as against being a bystander.
6. Spontaneous and charming, he tied the knot with his beloved wife, Ali, in one of their favourite cities - Hong Kong - in 1991. The two lovebirds sailed around the island in a junk (a Chinese boat) drinking champagne with strawberries. The couple later enjoyed their reception with a host of new Chinese friends in the amazing town.
7. A true believer that access to technology is key to unlocking new levels of entrepreneurship for the youth, Thorburn is fully committed to the mantra, 'Internet everywhere for everyone'. The new CEO is keen on paving the way for new possibilities for the youth and Jamaicans in general.
8. A people-focused leader, he is keen on recognising, commending and rewarding staff members for a job well done. He maintains an interactive, open-ended communication with staffers via emails and telephone calls, expressing thanks and/or offering commendations.
9. Enamoured by the positive nature and spirit of the Jamaican people, Andy's favourite Jamaican saying is, "All is well."
10. A family man, he is proud of his only child, Ross, who is now the only Scottish student at Stanford University.