Jago Thomas

Young and hopeful

Jago Thomas impressed Paul Zisman so much so that he hired him. I wanted to know why.

Jago is 23. He read History at Oxford, got a 2:1. He’d been the President of the Undergraduate Historian’s Assembly. He’d been awarded a University Open Scholarship in his second year. When he came down he worked as a charity fundraiser and then as a graduate trainee for St James’ Place Wealth Management. And then Europa.

So why Europa?

He said he loved the business model; experienced Associates and Directors rather like Honorary Fellows, he said. It was the tutorial system at Oxford that had most impressed him where clever minds collided and created new ideas. Europa had a similar feel.

He said his image of Paul Zisman was as a conductor of a Symphony Orchestra. “I see” I said “You mean he waves his arms about and others do the work.” As he roared with laughter I realised this young man had a sense of humour and wasn’t easily cowed.

His view of the future is refreshingly upbeat.

Technology got right is, he pronounces, a timesaving tool and thus a huge generator of extra thinking time. It also emancipates the uncovering of talent which would previously have been deterred by dusty tomes. He thinks business has been squandering some of our best creative talent for years by failing to look for it in the unusual places that fashion, pop music and advertising patrol.

We talked about communication as being the biggest problem in today’s world. Cartoon communicators like Trump, Johnson and others who prefer a snappy catchphrase have got away with it for now. We don’t seem to know how to keep nuanced thought up with the pace of change and deliver a sharp, intelligent argument.

Brexit, for instance, is puzzling because there are no global boundaries now. So achieving isolation in a world where virtually everyone in business or with political influence speaks English is rather ironic. He says it’s laughable but sadly it’s not funny.

Jago is clever, composed and confident. He’s a rare talent who focuses on the future which might sound unusual in a historian but only historians really understand the consequences of our actions.

I can see why Paul hired him. He and others like him whom I’ve met recently have restored my optimism in our future.