Dermalogica CEO Aurelian Lis. Picture: SUPPLIED
Dermalogica CEO Aurelian Lis. Picture: SUPPLIED

If you could have dinner with any three people (alive or dead), who would they be?

The sculptor Giambologna, Emperor Aurelian (214–275 CE) and Richard Branson.

What’s your favourite novel?

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan — it’s entertaining.

What’s your one top tip for doing a deal?

Dream of the disruptive possibilities that the deal enables and of which everyone wants to become part.

Which phrase or word do you overuse?

"Iterate relentlessly". In the search for change I bring this up in many conversations, iterating the variations of saying the same thing.

What was your first job?

An oil-field engineer working [off the Mumbai coast]. Flying on slightly dodgy Russian helicopters out to the oil rigs.

What’s the worst airport you’ve been in?

Beijing. I love attention to detail and workmanship. For the investment they made, this airport is missing both.

What is the one investment you wish you had made, or made earlier?

I saw Kehinde Wiley’s paintings in 2000 and should have acted; 18 years later he won the commission to paint [Barack] Obama.

Is there such a thing as "enough money", and if so, how much is it?

Yes. It’s a level of income, whatever that may be, just above your desires.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Respect for authority.

When and where were you happiest?

Alpine skiing with the family in Zermatt. It’s a regular gathering for a family dispersed over many continents.

Which living person do you most admire?

Recently, Angela Merkel for her courageous open immigration policy. I am convinced her move will be economically beneficial as well as passionately humanitarian.

On what occasion do you lie?

Only when telling jokes for which the lie makes it, hopefully, funny.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

My wife and two beautiful daughters.

What are your top tips to handle stress?

Understand what needs to be done rather than trying to do it all now.