StrategicRISK spoke to Frost about learning the bass guitar at 50, his love for Ipswich Town Football Club and why moving from England to Australia has been one of the best decisions of his career

Matt Frost headspace

What are you thinking about right now?

The company is in a challenging commodity price environment. Like many, I am facing the ‘business as usual’ workload in addition to challenges and responsibilities from a major loss. So right now I am thinking about the challenges of two weeks away from home engaging with brokers, insurers and stakeholders in Singapore, London and Brazil and ensuring all the moving parts are moving smoothly and efficiently.

What’s your greatest fear?

The health and welfare of my children. They have not been without health challenges and I have been very proud of what they have become and what they have achieved, but we live in troubled times and like most parents, you constantly worry about them.

What’s your most embarrassing moment?

Probably crying at my wedding after seeing Melanie come down the aisle. ‘Fortunately’ one of my ‘friends’ recorded the wedding and so has never let me or my friends in the industry forget!

What makes you happy?

Playing the bass guitar. I took it up for my 50th birthday after receiving a 1962 Fender Precision Bass and have loved learning and playing ever since. My inner [Black Sabbath bassist] Geezer Butler can shine. It takes me to a different place where I can forget work and life’s stresses.

What makes you unhappy?

Playing the bass guitar – I’m hopeless after three years of lessons. Closely followed by when our new cavoodle puppy does his business on the carpet when the back door is open.

What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?

Moving to Australia from England. This was a massive risk for me personally and for the family. We had no idea what to expect, Melanie was pregnant and we had a two-year-old. Making new friends, a new life and a new career after leaving Blighty after 43 years was a real toughie.

What’s the worst job you’ve ever done?

Breakfast waiter at a hotel in Windsor, England, over Christmas and the New Year. I had to cycle to work every morning at 5am in the cold, pouring rain to serve bacon and eggs to the tourists. Worst of all was working New Year’s Day: most of the staff never showed up and I was enlisted as the breakfast chef for the morning.

What is your greatest achievement?

Personally, marrying Melanie: somehow she figured I was quite a catch, being 10 years older with three children! Business-wise, taking BHP Billiton into a position of full self-insurance. It took a year of analysis, management reporting and a major captive recapitalisation.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned?

If you have the opportunity to work overseas, do it. The exposure to different cultures, ethics, standards and languages is an amazing, enriching experience.

Who do you look up to and why?

My boss, Alistair – he told me to say that or he wouldn’t approve the article! Seriously though, a former Willis broker called Bob Martin. His work ethic and happy personality proved nice people with good humour can still succeed in business.

Tell us a secret

I’m a Tractor Boy. That sounds weird. If you don’t know what it means, check out the best football teams of the 1970s.