Sabby Gill is managing director, UK and Ireland for Sage and has more than 30 years’ experience in the technology sector, across sales, operations and customer services. He has spent his career supporting businesses of all sizes with technology that unlocks their potential – both at home and across international markets
If you could invite four people (living or dead) to dinner – who would they be and why?
There’s a whole host of inspiring figures who’ve left their mark on the world that I would love to understand better in terms of what makes them tick. I’m particularly fascinated though by those who have changed the way people think and act and have done so through conviction and an unwavering belief in what they are doing is right. Perhaps top of the list would be Jesus Christ and Mahatma Gandhi. The other two people I would bring back would be my mum and dad. They were both highly opinionated on all matters, which in my opinion makes for great company.
What’s the best business decision you ever made?
One that largely came about by ‘being in the right place, at the right time’. I was working at PeopleSoft, a software provider, when I was offered the opportunity to take on a two-year secondment role at their San Francisco office, just before it was acquired by Oracle. It gave me great insight into corporate culture and a chance to experience the buzz and drive that surrounds Silicon Valley.
Do you use social media, and what is your opinion of it?
Yes, I use social media on a regular basis. It is now a fundamental part of how the world communicates, both from a business perspective and a personal one. It’s a great way of keeping informed and there is plenty of good to be said for ‘citizen journalism’. That said, there are aspects that I don’t like, like the regular bombardment of fake news and misinformation from some quarters. I would like to see some more ownership from the networks to sort this out.
What does your typical day at work involve?
It can be extremely varied. Typically, though it will be a mix of coaching and mentoring, along with lots of meetings, both internally and externally, focused on our strategies designed to drive the business forward.
Name your fantasy board of directors (up to four people), and why you have chosen them.
Steve Jobs: there is no person that can match him for innovation and vision when it comes to the technology sector.
Warren Buffet: he has so much experience across such a diverse portfolio of investments, and the results and success stories to prove he knows what he’s doing.
Angela Merkel: I have always seen her as a rock-solid leader and fantastic
at corralling people together. She also holds a very high social and humanitarian agenda.
Donald Trump: love him or hate him, he does think outside of the box and not many people have achieved what he has, even if that has been quite ruthless at times.
If you weren’t doing what you’re doing now, what would be your dream job, and why?
I’ve always liked the idea of being a skipper on a yacht. A few years ago, I took some sailing lessons, loved it, but work then got in the way of any vague dreams I had back then.
What are your favourite places in the North East?
Bamburgh Beach; Jesmond Dene House in Newcastle, a wonderful hotel in one of the most stunning areas of the city; and for a meal out, Dabbawal Jesmond, one of my favourite Indian restaurants anywhere in the world.
Which are your favourite online sources of news?
The BBC and Wall Street Journal news apps.
If you could choose somebody to play you in a biopic, who would it be, and why?
My son. We are incredibly close but despite trying to explain what it is I do on a day-to-day basis, I’m not sure it has sunk in. Getting him to play me would be a great way to address that, to step into my shoes and experience first- hand what a managing director does for a large tech organisation. He’s a few years off, but I think he’d be very good at it!
What’s your best piece of business advice?
Always ‘DWYSYWD’ (Do What You Say You Will Do).