Chief encounters: Peter Ostacchini of CAF Bank

Apollo 13 cropped

Inspiring: the crew of Apollo 13.

Peter Ostacchini, chief executive of CAF Bank, on what inspires him and keeps him going.

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27th May 2016 by Alex Turnbull 0 Comments

What time do you wake up?

My alarm goes off at 6am, but I am awake at 5.40 seven days a week.

What is your morning routine?

A cup of tea and check the top news stories on BBC and see if I have received any emails overnight. Breakfast done by 7 am – wake the house and think about the day ahead.

Is lunch a five minute sandwich at your desk or do you find time for yourself?

I have lunch at my desk. I rarely have time for anything else.

Peter Ostacchini

Peter Ostacchini

Always go with your instincts, then you only have yourself to blame

What do you procrastinate over?

Difficult decisions are rarely black and white. Sometimes a decision might seem 51% right and feel 49% wrong, but a decision has to be made. I procrastinate less when I am under time pressure and just get on with it. Always go with your instincts, then you only have yourself to blame.

What makes a good day at work?

A good day at work normally involves a good meeting at the committee where we approve loans to charities. Whilst we are cause neutral and have to make a decision based on sound business principles, you can’t be indifferent to some of the wonderful work we see charities doing.

If you were your boss would you like you?

I would probably like me as we would share a sense of humour, but would struggle to keep me interested if the job involved too much routine.

How often do you socialise with colleagues outside the Christmas party?

Rarely these days as I do not work in London as much and my colleagues probably let their hair down more when the boss isn’t around.

What's the worst job you've ever done?

I was a lifeguard for a while after I finished school, which was great in the Summer at an outdoor pool, but indoors during the winter was really boring. I used to clean the pool side just so as to do something. I did rescue three people from drowning though!

Why do you work in the third sector?

My job as CEO of a Bank is the same from one bank to another really – but we are a bank that is not-for-profit and by any measure, ethical. And sometimes you get to see and hear about marvellous causes and supreme commitment that people make to help others less fortunate than themselves. You just feel like you’ve got one foot firmly outside of the rat race and it makes you feel good about yourself.

Should there be a cap on charity chief executive pay?

There should be a cap on all chief executive pay, not just in the sector. But you are a chief executive all the time, not just when you are at the office and this takes its toll. You have a huge responsibility and a lot of people depend on you for many reasons. The people in senior positions could get paid far more if they worked outside of the sector, but clearly pay should be proportionate.

Describe yourself as a drink

Absinthe – I’m a little unconventional, but too much of me may drive you mad.

What's your favourite album and film?

Album: Boz Scaggs – Middle man (1980). A friend I made as a lifeguard called Jeff gave it to me for my 20th birthday. Will go out today and buy it again now that you have made me think about the question.Film: Apollo 13. Big fan of Tom Hanks and an unbelievable feat of endeavour turning a near tragedy into NASA’s finest hour. I also lived through the time when the ordeal occurred and watched every TV bulletin for an update. I can remember watching TV live when the capsule re-entered the atmosphere.

Brian Denis Cox or Brian Edward Cox?

The actor, Brian Denis Cox.