Name: Paddy Linighan

Organisation: Clyde & Co

Role: Chief Sustainability Officer

Based: London

Trained at: Robson Rhodes Chartered Accountants

Year qualified: 1990, ACA, ICAEW

What’s your most vivid memory from being a trainee?

I pursued an accountancy training contract not because I wanted to be an accountant per se, but to see and experience how commerce operated.

Whilst a trainee I volunteered for all secondments I could get so there a few memories that vividly remain such as working in a freezing raw hide store at a Tannery on New Years Eve or spinning off Snetterton Racetrack at speed in a Formula Ford (and yes it was work) but perhaps the most vivid is my first meeting with the training partner.

Imagine this in a broad Yorkshire dialect:“When I were a lad, I had to pay this lot for my articles. You, you’ve never had it so good. We’re blooming’ paying you to be trained!” followed by much harrumphing.

It was a real-life Monty Python moment for sure and for that humour alone it’s stuck with me.

Tell us about a sliding doors moment when your career could have gone in an entirely different direction?

My first role, post qualification, was in a quoted textile company which was fantastic experience with an impressive set of people, and I was in a role, seemingly happy with. I remain friends to this day with my then boss, the Group Finance Director.

I took a call unexpectedly from the director of finance & administration of a client I had been seconded to in my time at Robson Rhodes. It was a “Houston, we have a problem” call and, “are you interested in helping us solve it”?

I’m a problem solver at heart and I realised on that call that I wanted to influence the future outcomes of decision making not report the impact of historical decisions.

So, I joined Dibb Lupton Broomhead formally in 1993; my informal time with them having been on secondment during the merger of Dibb Lupton and Broomhead & Neals in 1988. Now, you can say I’m a law firm lifer !

What’s the hardest question you’ve ever been asked at interview, and how did you answer?

Ooh that’s a hard question itself. My answer is not really from a formal interview though.

This may sound familiar. I took another call unexpectedly from my former boss at the textile company. He asked me, randomly, was I happy? Slightly taken aback, I answered with a tentative yes.

The four-year experience of what was now DLA had been full on, with rapidly driven growth by merger and acquisition. Demanding work but exciting and fun as well. What was there not to be happy with? A return to textiles was not in my plans.

He then enlightened me on his new role; the vision of the management team and the challenges to resolve. Uh-oh, hooked again.

There really is only one football team in Leeds but in terms that are analogous I was about to swap the red side of the city for the blue side of the city (or vice versa) as a move to Hammond Suddards beckoned.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to get to where you are/do the job you do?

As a professional advisor always maintain your integrity as it’s the cornerstone asset upon which all your skills and experience stand upon. You will have worked long and studied hard to build and develop it, but remember, it can all be lost in a moment of madness.

As a modus operandi, listen, adapt, listen again.

Tell us about ONE former colleague who you miss, and why? (It doesn’t have to be a lawyer)

This must be my first Senior Partner, Robin Smith of then DLB.

His day one advice, back in 1993, was “Think how you want to be treated. If you treat all your colleagues in that way, you will do fine.” That as an approach has served me well for the last thirty plus years.