Passionate. Inspiring. Energetic. Self-motivated. Team builder. Good wife.
The role of one's significant other in entrepreneurial activity isn't often discussed. AirMiles-to-Nectar founder (and the chief executive of the London Olympic bid) Keith Mills brought up the importance of an unflappable wife when I interviewed him recently in the London 2012 offices on the 50th floor of 1 Canada Square. (They're due to move out soon...any corporates out there seeking an HQ with London’s most jaw-dropping view?)
"I’ve had two or three failures in my career,” says Mills. (Ed: AirMiles' failure to make it in the US in 1992 cost Mills $70m and had him "swimming very hard to pay back the banks for three years"). “My wife is used to the downs as well as the ups. She just lives with it," he says. "I know a number of entrepreneurs who are married to wives who don’t have a 'risk threshold' and when the house is topped up to the bank, the income stops and the credit cards get cancelled it gets pretty hairy. When there are huge pressures at work trying to dig your way out of a problem, you don't want to be nagged at home that the salary cheque has stopped and the bank is on the phone every five minutes."
So Mrs Mills must have been feeling pretty chipper about the level of interest in Loyalty Management UK when it was put up for sale last week. Bankers Lehman Bros, who are selling the business, estimate that first round bid interest is around £200m. Mills owns a 51 per cent stake.
Tip to Mrs Mills: spend the cash quickly. Your husband makes no secret of his desire to win yachting's premier prize - the Americas' Cup. £100m is loose change in high-level yacht racing...