My story so far: Nick Gaynor of Cancer Research UK

The executive director of philanthropy and partnerships explains how the skills he developed in the City are benefiting CRUK

Nick Gaynor
Nick Gaynor

I started out at Kleinwort Benson Limited because I wanted to work in the US, which I did - in New York and Chicago, where I met my wife. I have always loved America's energetic approach to business.

After KBL, I joined Goldman Sachs. It was a formative experience, teaching me the necessity of trying to be excellent in everything I do. From there I went to Deutsche Bank, initially in its investment bank, and then fundraising for the company's asset management division.

More than 30 years in the City is enough for any lifetime, so I left two-and-a-half years ago. I started two businesses - an ice cream sandwich shop in Austin, Texas, run by my wife's family, and a property development business in London.

I was keen to add charity sector involvement to my portfolio and bring my business skills and contacts to something with a clear charitable purpose - and Cancer Research UK really fits that bill.

Banking has a reputation as a ruthless sector and, although this is a caricature, there is an element of truth. The elements that power a charity are clearly different. At CRUK there is a palpable sense of our mission, which staff are fully bought into and excited by - I think banks could learn from that. But charities require commerciality to achieve their aims.

I love my current role - it feels like a truly worthwhile endeavour and I can see how my skills, experience and contacts can be invaluable to that. I feel lucky to have this opportunity.

Nick Gaynor is executive director of philanthropy and partnerships at CRUK

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