Why It Is Good To Be An Ex-CEO

I resigned yesterday as the CEO of a London Stock Market listed company, after forming the only publicly traded graphene investment vehicle and getting it into the black in its first year. Am I nuts?

It’s not the first time I’ve formed a company or started a project and left after a year, and it really all depends on knowing your own skills and limitations. In my case what I do best and enjoy most is connecting a technology opportunity with a market need and forming some kind of structure, whether a partnership, company or investment, that allows the technology to be exploited. But the downside of any successful company is that it requires an increasing amount of administrative support, whether regulatory, legal, financial or human resources. While vision, drive and passion are the crucial elements in the start up phase, they become less important to business success as the company matures. And that’s the time for entrepreneurs to stop worrying about aspects of the business they have little experience in and concentrate on their core strengths and passions.

Over the last year I have learned a lot about the workings of the AIM market and the various brokers, dealers, lawyers, NOMADs and investors that inhabit that world, and it is all very interesting and has bee a useful experience. But business administration just isn’t my passion. If it were then I would have studied law or accountancy rather than physics, and started my career at Deloitte rather than the European Space Agency. But give me a sniff of a chance to change the world for the better through technology while making money for investors and partners and I’ll willingly give up sleep for a year to get it done.

I’m still retained as a consultant by Cientifica PLC and remain a shareholder, but the new role gets all of the admin off my desk, and in a public company you need a really big desk, and frees up much more time to work with different clients on new projects.

In fact it simply gets me back to doing what I do best.

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