From Swimming With Sharks To Cave Diving: The CEOs Who Take Risks Outside Work – Forbes

Diving for kicks: CEOs take risks outside their work as a way of relaxing. (Photo: Rune Sovndahl)

Diving for kicks: CEOs take risks outside their work as a way of relaxing. (Photo: Rune Sovndahl)

Antonio Horta-Osorio, chief executive of Lloyds Banking Group, lists swimming with sharks as one of his hobbies. London Stock Exchange chief executive Xavier Rolet has competed in the Paris-Dakar motor sport rally. And Mark Bristow, chief executive of gold mining group Randgold, revs up on mammoth 30-day, 5,000-mile motorbike rides across Africa.

What is it that makes these business tycoons want to take risks outside their corner offices as well as within them?

Rune Sovndahl, co- founder and chief executive of global domestic services provider Fantastic Services believes that he knows – because he does it too.

An avid thrill-seeker, Sovndahl believes entrepreneurs’ brains are so absorbed with work that they often need to be in “seemingly stressful” situations to relax.

No release buttons

“Doing a four-hour dive with limited oxygen is where I get my kicks,” he told me in a recent interview. “You have to be calm; there are no release buttons and no exit. It’s you in charge of your body, your breathing and the oxygen remaining in the tank. ’

A trained chef who was involved in the launch of the original British dotcom darling Lastminute.com, Sovndahl started Fantastic Services in 2009 after a chance meeting with co-founder Anton Skarlatov who already had a cleaning business.

The company now rivals the likes of Bizzby, TaskRabbit and Hassle, offering handyman and cleaning services across the UK, Europe, US and Australia with 650 employees and 2,000 franchisees.

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