When I arrived for our interview at his farm near Bungay in Suffolk, Rowan Gormley, in shorts and a pink golf shirt, was busy watering plants in a small greenhouse.
There was no indication from him that a few hours later he’d be hosting 300 people in a marquee set up between his homestead and the ruins of Mettingham Castle, built by one Sir John de Norwich in 1342. This historical structure might be on his grounds, but there’s nothing baronial about this fellow. As you’ll hear in what became an entrepreneurial masterclass.
That’s Gormley’s style. Relaxed, informal, engaging. So we sat out in his garden during the height of a hot English summer, mercifully cooled by a breeze from the Atlantic a few miles away. In person his style reminded me a bit of Richard Branson, which is not really surprising considering that for some years Gormley worked closely with the famous founder of Virgin.
The story starts in the South African industrial town called Boksburg…….a place better known for producing pugilists – like heavyweight champion Gerrie Coetzee - rather than for disruptors who are changing the world......