My series of Q&As with Flight Centre’s Executive Taskforce continues…
Michael Murphy, Emerging Business Leader
Tell me about your Flight Centre journey.
I started at the Chermside Flight Centre store in Brisbane in 1996 and then went to Vancouver, Canada for 6 years with the company. My beautiful wife made me apply for the job because I was at home too much during a mid-career hiatus. I was spending too much time watching rugby, sleeping in and partying. She works at Royal Brisbane Hospital and was treating a Flight Centre Team Leader who had broken her leg in Greece. They got chatting about FCL and what a great company it was. The Team leader said I should apply, as FCL look for people with no experience or talent……so I applied and for some reason they hired me.
What was your professional background before coming on board with Flight Centre?
I am a Physiotherapist. I worked as a physio for 6 years in Australia and Canada before staring at FCL.
What would you say is the big picture purpose of your role?
The big picture is to grow our non-travel emerging brands to become a significant part of our company. Currently this includes the FC Business School and its various training and recruitment businesses, Healthwise, Moneywise, 99 Bikes, Advance Traders and Employment Office. Last year these businesses delivered over $ 10 M in earnings before interest and taxes. Non-travel businesses are a serious part of our future. They will grow in the next 5 years to be more than 25% of our total global profit.
How do you approach your job? What are your objectives to be successful at what you do?
I love this company and I enjoy myself. I focus on things I am passionate about and don’t take work too seriously. After all, if all you have is your work, you must be pretty messed up. If I ever stop enjoying it I will do something else, but that hasn’t happened yet after 17 years. There is always something new at FCL and something to have an opinion about.
What would you consider to be the highlights of your career at Flight Centre?
Generally most of what has happened to me I put down to luck and being in the right place at the right time.
Where do you see yourself professionally in five years?
I have only just started this role, so the plan is to be still looking after these businesses in 5 years. However, they will have fully “emerged” by then. In 5 years our non-travel businesses will be growing rapidly and be a major part of our company.
Do you have any business mentors?
My Dad. I am what I am because of him, whether it is business or personal. You need nothing more than a supportive family, self discipline and motivation. The rest is in your genes.
How do you see Flight Centre’s prospects for the next five years?
Prospects are good if we can continue to grow the core travel businesses and accelerate wholesale growth and of course non-travel opportunities. I think the future is pretty exciting. We will be a very different diverse and interesting company compared to when I started.
Any other messages for FCL colleagues or people interested in joining the company?
Make sure you are doing something you love and enjoy yourself. If you do that, there is no better organisation than Flight Centre.