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02 May 2004
Scotland on Sunday
Life And Times Of Mister Fix-It

SPEAKING at last weekís Entrepreneurial Exchange conference, Pearse Flynn summed up his role in life: "Iíve got a reputation for being put into things that have been messed up."

His first big appointment was as the youngest-ever vice president of Compaq, the US computer maker which has since merged with Hewlett-Packard. There, he learned to be sceptical of hype: "The moment we saw Eckhard Pfeiffer [the former Compaq chief executive] named entrepreneur of the year, we should have sold our shares."

Flynnís biggest success was with Newbridge Networks, a struggling telecommunications equipment company. According to Flynn, he forced key management officials to come up with a plan which quadrupled the companyís value in two years.

Alcatel, the French electronics group, bought Newbridge for £4bn in 2000. The deal was almost knocked off course by the last-minute refusal of Newbridge founder Terry Matthews to sign key papers.

Flynn left Alcatel after 366 days - one day more than his lock-in period - driven to frustration by the atmosphere of a major multinational.

"I absolutely hate larger companies. You cannot overestimate the stupidity of large companies," he said - to applause from an audience mainly made up of owners of small and medium-sized companies.

During his sponsorship deal with Formula One team owner Eddie Jordan (left), Flynn was a regular figure on the racing circuit.

He signalled his intention to reflect some of that glamorous lifestyle in other aspects of Scottish business.

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