BACKSTORY: Deutsche Bank SA chief Muneer Ismail
We question the CEO and chief country officer of the bank’s South African operation.
What book are you reading at the moment? What’s the one book everyone should read before they die?
I am reading Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio. Everyone should read Lesson of History by Ariel and Will Durant. A good friend shared this with me and I now find myself constantly looking back and referencing this book. Also, The Most Important Thing: Uncommon Sense for the Thoughtful Investor by Howard Marks, the chairman and cofounder of Oaktree Capital.
What is your most treasured possession?
My Kindle (the first one Amazon released … it’s still going).
Which phrase or word do you most overuse?
"I need your advice here …"
What’s the worst airport you’ve been in?
JFK, New York City.
What’s the most interesting thing about you that people don’t know?
I am shocking at spelling.
On what occasion do you lie?
Typically to bring people together.
What is the one investment you wish you had made earlier?
Naspers, like everyone else I’m sure.
What was your first job?
After university, I joined Gold Fields and worked on Kloof Gold Mine as a very green mining engineer.
When and where were you happiest?
On the birth of both my boys: in 2006 when Adam was born, and in 2009 when Zacharia arrived.
What is your biggest indulgence?
A Dictator coffee from Motherland Coffee Company — ingredients: double espresso with condensed milk, cream and choc chips!
How do you deal with stress? What are your top tips for handling stress?
Lunchtime gym workout — when possible.
Nominate your eighth wonder of the world.
What’s your one top tip for doing a deal?
Overprepare and formulate a strong opinion.
Which historical figure do you most identify with?
President Lyndon B Johnson, the 36th president of the US. Johnson was the ultimate lobbyist — getting senate and congress to pass the Civil Rights Bill in 1964. Johnson was sworn in as president in 1963 when Kennedy was assassinated. Imagine the dread.
Who is your favourite hero of fiction?
Batman. He has no super powers — something I can relate to.