Business Management

Typical 24: Pete Baxter, Vice President and Head of Autodesk UK

IDG Connect is looking to speak to IT, business and marketing professionals across the spectrum to discover more about their very different, typical working days…


  Name:  Pete Baxter

  Job title: Vice President & Head of Autodesk UK

  Company: Autodesk

  Location: UK, London

  Years’ experience: 18 years in technology

   (Pete is also a trained architect and holds a Master’s degree in Urban Design and Planning from the University of Liverpool)

What time do you reach the office each day?

Autodesk is a highly collaborative, agile and flexible company and we are increasingly less desk-bound. We work from where we want as the focus is on being available to do the job, using modern technology and tools to ensure continued communications.  I am often travelling to visit customers, but my day tends to start around 9am, regardless of where I am.

Is your job varied?

Yes, it’s hugely varied. We have many different customers across many countries facing numerous design challenges and all of them have different views on technology. It’s the variety that makes the job so enjoyable.

Is your job creative?

My job is constantly creative, as we continuously strive to find ways to help our customers become more productive.

What do you spend the majority of your time doing?

My role is predominantly external, which means spending time with customers, although I’m often in internal meetings with people in the business as well as working on planning and writing proposals.

Do you personalise your desk?

As we work flexibly and I’m often either travelling or working remotely I don’t have a desk as such.

Would you describe yourself as creative?

Yes, I consider myself to be creative. I trained as an architect so creativity is part and parcel of everything I do in my daily job.

Do you have any quirky daily rituals?

I have to exercise in some shape or another every single day, whether running, swimming or with a personal trainer. I also make time for exercise when travelling. I’m often in San Francisco where I like to run to the Golden Gate Bridge in the early morning.

Do you tend to work on your own or with colleagues?

Autodesk is very much a team-oriented environment. We sell collaboration and naturally live and breathe it too. It’s all about working as a team.

How many hours on average do you work a day?

On average I’d say I work around ten hours a day, but then again we’re not really in a 9-5 job as we are always connected.

Roughly how much time do you spend each day on email? Taking calls? In meetings?

To be honest email isn’t a major part of my day. We tend to collaborate and communicate internally in many ways using different technologies and tools.

Do you use social media much for work?

I check social media to find out what is going on in the industry, predominantly using Salesforce Chatter, Autodesk 360, etc. I don’t tend to use the public networks except for Facebook and LinkedIn for marketing.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

The variety it offers; from working with people in different countries, with different personalities, to working abroad and having many possibilities to help solve customer challenges.

What type of music (if any) do you listen to at work?

I tend not to listen to music in the office but I do at home. My choices are fairly eclectic and can range from opera to dance music depending on my mood.

What do you do for lunch?

I try and exercise. However, if I’m in the office I’ll make sure I have something that is low carb and high protein.

Do you socialise with work colleagues?

Our office has been designed to encourage socialising and collaboration so we do spend a lot of time with our colleagues during the day. It’s trickier in the evenings as everyone lives in different places. When I’m in London I always try to go out for drinks or dinner.

Are there any tasks (through your career) you’ve been especially glad to get rid of?

I have never enjoyed doing expense claims and I’m very pleased to have someone to help me with them now.

What is your last task of your day?

It always seems to be answering the most difficult email. I also check on whether any special approvals are needed on any of the deals being worked on.

How do you like to relax after work?

By doing physical exercise. I also tend to enjoy most HBO series.

Do you keep checking email through the evening?

When it gets to the interesting end of the quarter, yes, but I try to have a hard stop to switch off and then not check them until the next morning.

Do you take work projects home with you?

All my work is on a laptop, so if I need to do something, I will at home.

What would you say to your 20-year old self?

When I was 20, I was just graduating as an architect and I suppose I thought I would be the next Norman Foster. I’d probably tell myself to keep an open mind and look at every opportunity based on its own merits.

If you could try out any job for a day, what would you choose?

I would be a test driver for Aston Martin!

What device did you use to answer these questions?

I’m a huge Apple fan so I used my iPhone and iPad.

Do you use your own personal device for work?

While I have a company device and laptop I do use my iPad for company emails. The beauty of the cloud is you can have secure access to anything from anywhere.



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