FT Alpine Forum


Financial Times

What next? From big issues to personal journeys of transformation

Come and find out about the lives and perspectives of our wonderfully diverse panellists for this year’s Financial Times Alpine Forum.

Download the 2017 Information Pack PDF

The 2017 edition of the Forum, produced in partnership with our media partner the Financial Times, will be chaired once again by Ravi Mattu, editorial director of FT2 and the paper’s former technology editor. The discussion provides insights alongside the racing competition, with a stimulating in-depth discussion covering current affairs, trends and the challenges of coping with our rapidly changing working lives.

This year’s panel features Victoria Pendleton MBE, Olympic cycling gold medallist and now a jockey, Colin Jackson, world record hurdler turned broadcaster and charity leader, Damon Hill, former F1 world champion and City ski regular, and Greg Nieuwenhuys, CEO of AS Adventure Group, owner of Snow + Rock, Cycle Surgery, Runners Need and Cotswold Outdoor and a leading mountaineer.

Each of our panellists has transitioned from one sector, reinventing themselves and starting and excelling in a new career. With the expectation that more of us will need to work longer and move from one field to another, their examples will be instructive and inspiring.

Damon Hill

Greg’s passion for sport and the outdoors started young. He came 6th in the World Championship Triathlons (under 10) in 1990 and since then has continued to follow his passions outdoors: skiing, mountaineering, trail running, cycling and ice skating.

In 2004 Greg summited the Cho Oyu (8201 m) and made the only ski descent ever made by a Dutchman on an 8000 meter peak. In 2009 he participated in a 200 km ice skating race (Alternatieve Elfstedentocht) which he completed in 5h52 minutes and in 2012 and 2013 he was the Dutch National Champion in Ski Mountaineering. In 2013 he nished 30th overall in the CCC ultra trail race (100 km) and in 2014 he nished the UTMB, a trail running race around Mont Blanc, with 168 km and 9.600 vertical meters in 39 hours non-stop.

Greg started his career as consultant with OC&C Strategy Consultants and joined the AS Adventure group as Group Head of Strategy in 2009. AS Adventure Group is a specialty retailer of outdoor equipment and clothing, operating a network of retail stores in Belgium, Luxembourg and France under the AS Adventure brand, in the Netherlands under the Bever brand and in the UK under 4 different brands.

Greg became CEO of Bever in 2011, and helped transform the company from a traditional outdoor retailer having no online presence in 2011, to being a modern and award winning omnichannel retailer delivering consistent growth in those years.

Since 2016, Greg is CEO of the UK business of the AS Adventure Group named Outdoor and Cycle Concepts group, which comprises Snow+Rock, Runners Need, Cycle Surgery, and Cotswold Outdoor.

Damon Hill

Before retiring in 2003, Colin Jackson was an outdoor World Record holder for 13 years and still holds the World Indoor 60m Hurdles title. Bursting onto the scene, setting a European junior record of 13.44 in 1986, Colin ranked in the world top 10 for 16 years, and for the last 7 of his career, he was never out of the top 3.

Colin has been an integral part of the BBC Athletics coverage since the Athens Olympics, covering every major event, including the London 2012 Olympics and most recently the Rio Olympics. Since retiring from athletics, Colin has expanded his role in TV by co- hosting the BBC1 live morning show Sunday Life, as well as dazzling us all with his dancing skills on Strictly Come Dancing. More recently Colin has appeared on ITV1′s Dancing on Ice Goes Gold, the BBC’s 24 Hours in the Past and ITV’s Drive, alongside the likes of Louis Walsh, Johnny Vegas and Ella Eyre.

2013 saw Colin launch his own mass participation event, Go Dad Run, to raise awareness of men’s health issues. After the success of the inaugural event, the last four years have seen the race expand to venues nationwide and to date, thousands of men have come together to help the cause.

Colin has also joined forces with the Wings for Life World Run campaign, as an Ambassador and Global Race Director.

Damon Hill

Olympic Gold medalist in Beijing 2008 and London 2012 in sprint track cycling, 9 x World Champion, a record 6 times in the Individual Sprint event, making the podium at the UCI World Championships for 8 consecutive years between 2005 and 2012. Awarded a C.B.E for services to sport on retirement in 2012.

Victoria has been involved with the cycling coverage as part of BBC 5live making her rst Olympic broadcast debut at the Rio Olympics last year. In an audacious “Switching Saddles” challenge set by Betfair, Victoria was given a little over 12 months to become an amateur jump jockey. Having never ridden a horse before she went on to finish 5th in the prestigious Foxhunters Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. Now a keen equestrian enthusiast, riding racehorses in training 6 days a week. Even turning her hand to showjumping at Olympia last year to raise funds for the Injured Jockey’s Fund. Resulting in her becoming part of the ITV Racing features team. In addition, Victoria partners with Halfords producing the UK’s best-selling women’s bike range with plans to take the brand global within the next year. Trained to become a Personal Trainer and completed a Senior Leader Internal Coaching and Mentoring qualification.

Damon Hill

While the name may have helped Damon Hill get in to Formula One, it was his ability that won him his world championship. Hill was just two years old when his father Graham won his rst title, and following in his footsteps means they are the only father-son pairing to win the world’s leading motorsports competition. Hill preferred motorbikes as a child. With his mother unhappy at the dangers of racing on two wheels, she persuaded him to take a course at the Win eld Racing School in France. He managed to get drives intermittently until 1985 when he was able to get together enough sponsorship for a season in Formula Ford, and his career in cars had begun. He made a solid start in a Van Diemen, winning six races. Hill made the same sort of progress in Formula Three, and showed enough promise to gain a drive in F300, and although he didn’t win a race, he took five pole positions to display his competitiveness. It was enough to impress Frank Williams who took him on as a test driver in 1991.

His first opportunity in Formula One came with the Brabham team the following year, before he moved back to Williams as a test driver. Nigel Mansell’s move to Indycar gave him his chance and following the tragic death of Ayrton Senna in 1994, Hill took over the role of lead driver. Victory at the British Grand Prix meant Hill took the title battle down to the final race after his sixth win in Japan.

Hill then joined Arrows, but after a miserable start to the season had to wait until the British Grand Prix to score his first point. Later that season, he pulled off a remarkable drive in Hungary, leading comfortably before getting stuck in second gear and losing the lead only on the last lap. In 1998 he made the switch to Jordan, and turned the team into regular points scorers before taking their first ever win.

Since retiring, Hill has been president of the British Racing Drivers Club, a broadcaster for Sky and started a rock band.