5 questions with... Rob Wainwright

Written by The Parliament Magazine on 29 June 2016 in Opinion

MI5, marathons and Pope Francis.

Rob Wainwright is the director of Europol | Photo credit: European Parliament audiovisual

1. Which person you have worked with has most inspired you in your career, and how?
Sir Stephen Lander, I worked with him while he was Director General of MI5 in the 1990s and Chair of the UK Serious Organised Crime Agency between 2006 and 2009. He has the most formidable intellect of anyone I have met and taught me the value of strategic insight and how to operate in the complex world of government. More than anything else, he typified the excellence of MI5 as a professional institution and exceptional learning environment.


2. What is the most humbling thing you have experienced in your career?
Meeting Pope Francis. I am not a particularly religious man but his sense of modesty and display of virtue would inspire anyone in a senior position to lead in a better way. 


3. Is there anything you have personally achieved or done that would surprise people?
Aside from a few things at MI5 which I best keep unpublished, I ran my first marathon at the age of 48 - and my second one month later. The latter was in New York and ranks as one of my best ever experiences. It's fair to say I didn't break any land speed records in either race!


4. What would be the one object you would try and save from your house in case of a fire (apart from family/friends and pets) and why?
My watch, the first gift bought for me by my wife after we met in 1992.


5. What was the most inspirational and influential book you have read and why?
Unlike my wife, I am not an avid reader of books. After getting through a mountain of papers at work I prefer not to read again when I get home. I also have a low boredom threshold, so have a trail of unfinished books behind me. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom, however, grabbed my attention as a short and thought-provoking portrayal of how simple life should be for all of us. 


Want more 5Qs? Get to know Maria Arena.


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