60 Second Interview - Lucas van Praag

Lucas van Praag

Under the spotlight is Lucas van Praag, the former Goldman Sachs communications head who now runs his own PR firm.

How long have you been in the industry, and what is your current job title ?

'I've been involved with financial services for over 30 years, 9 of which were as a banker and the rest as a communicator. I now run my own communications consultancy, LvP & Associates, in New York'.

Did you have a mentor and, if so, who ?

'I've worked with many people who gave me great advice and guidance. Naming names is invidious, but the ones that jump to mind from Goldman Sachs are Hank Paulson, Jon Cohen, a venerable man, Richard Gnodde and Peter Weinberg. My old boss at Bankers Trust, Al Gillotti, who tried to teach me the error of my ways, Wolfgang Traber, a dear and thoughtful friend, and Jack Martin, the chairman of Hill & Knowlton Strategies'.

Are you by nature a pessimist or an optimist ?

'I'm an optimistic realist'.

Which business leader do you most admire, and why ? 

'Sir Martin Sorrell, the chairman of WPP. He had the vision, ability and drive to build a global powerhouse in an intensely competitive field, and he continues to lead from the front'.

What's the biggest lesson you've learned in your career to date ?

'Never be surprised by anything'.

What's your favorite business quotation or life motto ?

'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you'.

What's the best business book you've ever read ?

The March of Folly by Barbara Tuchman. The book examines four disastrous historical events that provide great lessons in the dangers of groupthink. It's also a terrific read.

LvP & Associates

image: © Julian Lim

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