'If you agree with me, I'll probably fire you'

TREVOR SPIRO

The stamps in Trevor Spiro's passport show that he travels most to Israel, Japan and France. The brains behind a pounds 20m London-based business empire which spans the stock market, publishing, television production, modelling, computer software and property, Spiro explains: "They are the three main areas that I tend to go on business. I go to France in connection with my model agency, Flame - a company based in Haifa in Israel - and I travel out there every two of three months." He also uses the beach resort of Eilat for photo shoots for Scene, his magazine about the fashion industry. A stamp for February 1996 reminds him of one particular shoot. He says: "We had a model reclining on a chaise longue on the seabed, 10 metres down. We tied her down so she couldn't float to the surface. She was a trained scuba diver and could hold her breath for three minutes. Scuba divers with buddy tanks would come and top her up with oxygen and then swim away from the flame. It's an amazing picture and I've a gigantic print of it in my office and most people think it's been electronically retouched."

Spiro also favours Eilat for holidays, and takes his wife Sandra, who is an interior designer, and their five-year-old son there at least once a year. Says Spiro: "Eilat has great weather, beautiful water for snorkelling and some of the best quad biking. In February I was at the top of the highest mountain in Eilat and could look down over Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt." Spiro visits Osaka and Tokyo in connection with his computer company but to him Japan is much more than a business destination. He explains: "My first job when I graduated from university was for the hi- fi company Aiwa. I was in Japan for several weeks and the Japanese had the most amazing influence on me and now I run all my business along Japanese lines. Managers sit with the rest of the staff when they are having lunch. The staff call me Trevor and I dress like them on purpose - in jeans and T-shirt. Whenever somebody starts working for me I sit them down and say: "This is the way that we've traditionally done things but you are paid to find a better way if one exists." In fact it actually says in their contracts: "You are paid not to agree with me, but to disagree with me. The day you agree with me is quite likely the day that you will be fired'!"

ROSANNA GREENSTREET

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