With his rock musician-style ponytail, Michael hardly looks like a stiff upper-lipped corporate man. He likes to dress informally or casually and is usually garbed in a black t-shirt. The funky man tells us what he does in his free time.
What is your current state of mind?
Exhilarated and contented.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Initially, I wanted to be an avionics engineer designing inter-galactical spacecraft, then the music bug got into me and I subsequently wanted to be a musician-singer- songwriter. But I ended in the world of large ticket structured finance.
What is your biggest achievement?
I have some creditable achievements so far, but like most people, I am constantly faced with new “mountains” to climb. And the highest peak is yet to be scaled.
What inspires you?
People with the incredible ability to create and an enormous capacity for compassion.
What personal trait do you appreciate the most in others?
Clearly understanding one’s own abilities and limitations.
Do you have a cause or do you support one?
The well-being and future of our 4,300 employees.
Which living person do you admire most and would like to invite for dinner?
Lou Gerstner—ex Chief Executive Officer of IBM.
What are you reading?
Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance? by Lou Gerstner and Albert Camus’s I Myself.
How do you spend your Sunday mornings?
I roller blade along East Coast beach and then leisurely read the Sunday papers while savoring a cup of fragrant Earl Grey tea.
What is your idea of hell?
Living with the pain and hunger and witnessing the agony of poor and sick children and less privileged fellow humans, while millions of dollars are wasted on another widget which the world really does not need.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Digging into a giant brownie and ice-cream sandwich.
How do you recharge?
Playing one of my guitars. I find that immersing myself in music helps me focus on my inner self and get in touch with my emotions. Not only do I find this refreshing but also healing.
What’s playing in your iPod/MP3/CD player?
Life for Rent by Dido, Like A Star by Corinne Bailey Rae, and Try This by Pink.
What do you collect?
Guitars and memories.
Where would you like to live?
My current and absolute favorite home is Singapore, but Paris can be great in winter and Chamonix at the foot of Mont Blanc is exhilarating in the fall.
What is your favorite item of clothing?
Louis Vuitton black t-Shirt and slim-cut Dolce & Gabbana blue jeans.
What accessory sets you apart?
I have been wearing boots almost all of my life.
If you had to play a character in a movie, which movie and which character?
Howard Hughes in The Aviator.
What did you believe at 18 that you wish you still believe now?
What I miss most is the ability to dream freely without being limited by boundaries created by convention and having someone else’s ideas dictate what can and cannot be done.