2 Jun 2017 10:00am

As I see it: Nick Moritz

Nick Moritz, finance director at Varian Medical Systems UK, on the challenge of expanding into emerging markets and the satisfaction of manufacturing equipment that saves lives

Caption: Photography by Felicity McCabe

I was a three-term sportsman but my school report concluded that I should become a groundsman. My parents weren’t overly impressed with that recommendation though.

I got a job with an accountancy firm before I went to the University of Bristol and really enjoyed it. It led me to change my course to economics and accounting. I saw the ACA as a springboard to a multitude of other opportunities.

I worked for Cape & Dalgleish before they were swallowed up by Grant Thornton. I learned never to assume that I knew the answer to a question. Unexpected things happen all the time: you need to be ready, prompt and flexible.

My first senior role was with a quoted US silicon chip fabrication equipment manufacturer. I loved that the business had a tangible product, and being far enough from head office that I was able to focus on matters I knew to be important.

Varian makes radiotherapy equipment so the core business is treatment of cancer with X-rays, minimising any damage to healthy tissue. Operationally, the challenge is to expand into emerging markets and keep external shareholders happy.

It’s not difficult to be excited when the company you work for makes equipment that saves people’s lives.

I want to see the successful implementation of the UK’s first two proton-therapy centres in Manchester and London. And secure continued manufacturing activity for our Crawley factory – we have more than 50 years of history on this site.

Since a detached retina put an end to my irregular visits to the squash court, hiking has taken over what passes for activity. We’ve been to some fantastic national parks in the US. For the last 10 years, the best thing after playing rugby has been season tickets at the Stoop for the (sometimes) mighty Quins. 

When times are bad, do the right thing. There have been a number of times when I’ve had to deal with events I’d have preferred never to encounter. Having played them with a straight bat, I learned from them.