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Maryanne Maina

Maryanne Maina

Becoming chief executive of a successful company may be a young person's dream, but most people don't realise that it takes hard work and constant determination to achieve this goal.

Patrick O'Shea is chief executive of the O'Shea group and Engel & Volkers. The O'Shea group is a broad-based investment company, whereas Engel & Volkers deals in real estate.

O'Shea initially sold office supplies for 10 years before he made the transition to the world of corporate finance and private equity, which enabled him to launch his own business.

"I didn't specifically select it as a career but grew into it as a result of owning a group of businesses. My legal and financial expertise and background has stood me in good stead for this position," he said.

"Ideally, the educational requirements are a degree in law or a BCom degree.

"One needs to be able to deal with the day-to-day decision-making at a senior level and face challenges which include action-based decision-making. In addition, interpersonal skills are essential, along with financial, marketing and operations expertise. Most of this expertise is not achievable at theoretical level, but gained through work-related experiences."

The chief executive officer of a company has various roles to play including that of a leader, bearer of the vision of the organisation, decision maker, manager and developer of the board.

"My job is very demanding with regard to time and energy. You have to give 110percent of yourself 110percent of the time," said O'Shea.

"I travel at least 10 times a year nationally and internationally in order to keep up with the business entities, markets and economics. So it can become a challenge to find a balance between work and personal life."

Achieving the goals he sets for his organisation is not always easy and it takes hard work and persistence.

"We are often faced with regulatory challenges such as the recent introduction of the National Credit Act that has affected our mortgage business. On the market side, the rising interest rates have affected our development, sales and mortgage businesses."

He explains his typical day: "Every morning starts at 8am when I drop off my daughter at school. The length of the day then depends on meetings, deadlines, etc and I can finish up anywhere between 7pm and 1am the next morning. I catch up on my reading and less important correspondence on the weekend.

"In my work, I always have to keep myself updated. There are various economic and sector reports to which we subscribe. Both electronic and print formats need to be read. I read the trade papers, newspapers and financial networks, and network with my peers across all industry levels," he said.