Nick Leeson, aka ‘the rogue trader’, graces the front cover of HR magazine for a frank and open feature on his role in one of the most spectacular financial crises in modern history. Now a highly adept and sought after conference speaker and after dinner speaker, Leeson’s life story is inspirational and beguiling.
In the interview with Occupational Psychologist Michael Costello, Leeson discusses the events, workplace culture, lack of HR and fear of failure which ultimately led to the £827 million losses he ran up at Barings and the subsequent collapse of the bank in 1995.
Leeson's fear of failure and burning ambition were keys factor at Barings and are commonplace in today's generation: highly achievement-orientated and contending within a tough and competitive job market.
Interviewer Michael Costello remarks that anyone “could be forgiven for thinking the rogue trader phenomenon is confined to the financial sector. But let's just reflect on what this article has covered; the greed is good culture; the untouchable few; the devaluing of control/risk management; the 'failure is not an option' outlook; and challenges around diversity. These are longstanding factors to contend with in the workplace. They challenge HR, as to whether the organisation and its employees truly live the values they champion, or if simply getting a profit makes the hierarchy turn a blind eye.”