I spent 38 years in the diplomatic service and 10 years of that time as an ambassador. I decided that I would like to work in aerospace when I moved into the private sector.
My knowledge of government from the inside is invaluable in this role. I find myself dealing with a wide cross section of people, including government, businessmen and customers, and diplomacy prepares you for that kind of role.
In the UK, there is too firm a divide between the public and private sectors. People in the public sector have many of the skills to be successful in the private sector and vice versa, but there is a belief in the private sector that the skill set from the public sector does not match. An almost fortress-like mentality says that if you have not been in the private sector since your early days you are unlikely to hack it now.
Our education system is too skewed towards the production of arts graduates. I would like to see greater encouragement of the manufacturing base, greater emphasis on investment in the research base in the UK, and greater encouragement for the development of scientific and technological skills.
You get your own country into perspective when you live overseas. I learnt about the respect with which British business and culture is held overseas. I also learnt that it is an extraordinarily competitive global economy and if the UK is to succeed it is the government's responsibility to ensure that competitive instinct is encouraged and nurtured.
Brazil is inspirational. It is a country on the brink of becoming a really huge and significant economic power, and I was struck by how quickly the economy is developing and how quickly people are acquiring skills.
Living in Brussels made me a Europhile. As part of the UK representation in the European Union, I learnt about the UK's role in Europe, but also that the EU shouldn't proceed so quickly that we fail to take public opinion with us.
Boeing attaches enormous importance to the UK market. We have done business here for 60 to 70 years and we have a long tradition of selling our products. We have now built a company, properly onshore in the UK, which means that we can build intellectual property in the UK.
We already have 840 orders for the new 787, the Dreamliner, which flew for the first time last December. We are confident that we have positioned ourselves well in the market and once we move out of this recession we will find that aeroplane sells extremely well.
Every democracy has the right to self-defence. We know from history that it doesn't look after itself and it is therefore entirely reasonable a country should be able to defend itself, its people and its values. So we are proud to be part of the British commitment to that. We provide C-17 transport aeroplanes, Apache helicopters, the main attacker used in battle zones, and Chinook helicopters to the MoD.
Our relationships with five universities are very important to us. We believe that the University of Sheffield is one of the few universities that really understands the link between research and industrial application.
I would be surprised if we were to slip back into recession. The real worry as we tackle an enormous deficit is that I am not sure that the man in the street has recognised how serious it is and the pain it is going to cause.