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Hard work, commitment and ambition are the critical career traits relied upon by Sir Peter Rigby - one of the UK’s most successful serial entrepreneurs – who is celebrating 40 years since founding the Rigby Group.
Sir Peter – who was knighted in 2002 – started out in 1975 with just £2000 of his own money and has spent the past four decades building and expanding a highly successful range of business interests covering technology, aviation, leisure, real estate and financial services.
Today - alongside his sons - he continues to be at the forefront of his business interests as the chairman and chief executive of the £1.8bn turnover Rigby Group.
Reflecting on his career, Sir Peter said: “I find business as exciting today as I did when I started and that’s because I have a total commitment to what I am doing. Even today I still set myself goals and want to do more and do better.
“I have always believed there is no substitute for hard work as well as a natural instinct to be bold and a desire to move forward. You need to be ambitious – not stupid ambitious – but nevertheless looking to the future and that’s what really gets the adrenalin going. Even today I want the Rigby Group to double in scale within the next five years. That’s my current ambition.”
Sir Peter’s first venture in 1975 was to found SCC which today is Europe’s largest independent IT company. He went out on his own after becoming frustrated with the corporate world.
He added: “I started a business with no university degree and I have always held great store by experience and getting mud on your boots. There are more failures than successes in IT and you need to be exposed to both in order to make it. There is no substitute for seeing good practice in action and working with good people. Looking back I sometimes wonder how it all happened and I am still astounded by the capabilities of our group, the quality of our people and the results we achieve - all of which are world class.”
Today Sir Peter is joined in the business by his sons Steven and James who are the Rigby Group COO and CEO of SCC respectively.
Remaining a family-owned business has always been a priority for Sir Peter who said: “Being a family-business is very important to me and I have never been interested in selling off what we have created. I have also always tried to extend the family culture to our whole company and believe in allowing people to make the best of themselves and progress upwards.”
In recent years Sir Peter - a qualified pilot - has increased his interests in sectors such as aviation and leisure, and despite the recent economic downturn, the Rigby Group has continued to grow.
He said: “During the recession there was no trimming in our core businesses. Every significant capital expenditure we delivered and our strategy was to invest. In the last 14 months we have made 11 acquisitions which demonstrates our long-term ambitions. I have no plans to stop or slow down and I still get up in the morning and want to go to work – I love doing what I am doing.”
Away from his business interests, Sir Peter has recently served as the Chairman of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP), which aims to promote business and industry growth within the area. He is also a trustee of several key charities, including The Rigby Foundation, his family charitable trust.