Main content

Tidjane Thiam

Kirsty Young talks to castaway Tidjane Thiam, chief executive of Prudential.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is businessman Tidjane Thiam.

He's chief executive of the Prudential, but he's about as far from the archetypal "man from the Pru" as you can get.
The seeds of his success were sown amid the complex political terrain of the Ivory Coast with an extended family heavily involved in politics and a father imprisoned for his beliefs. His life quickly took on an international flavour from West Africa to Morocco, Paris to Washington, but in his early 30s a coup in his homeland left him high and dry. He says "I had no job, no career, nothing at all. It taught me a lot about myself. If you've been in a situation where you have nothing there's nothing much you're afraid of."

Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

Available now

45 minutes

Last on

Fri 9 Nov 2012 09:00

Music Played

  • Bob Marley

    Redemption Song

    • Tuff Gong.
  • Castaway's Favourite

    • Ismaël Lô

      Tadieu Bone

      • Best of Ismael Lo.
      • Sono Disc..
  • Charles Aznavour

    Hier Encore

    • 20 Chansons d’Or.
    • EMI.
  • Stevie Wonder

    Heaven is 10 Zillion Light Years Away

    • Fulfillingness' First Finale.
    • Universal.
  • Emeli Sandé

    Read all about it

    • Our Version of Events.
    • Virgin.
  • Ennio Morricone

    Once upon a time in the West

    • Once upon a time in the West.
    • RCA.
  • Christoph Willibald Gluck

    Che faro senza Euridice

    Soloist: Janet Baker Orchestra: English Chamber Orchestra Conductor: Raymond Leppard

    • The Legendary Dame Janet Baker.
    • Philips.
  • Frank Sinatra

    Fly Me to the Moon

    Composer: Bart Howard

    • Warner.
  • Book Choice

    • The Brothers Karamazov - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

  • Luxury Choice

    • Solar-powered ice-cream maker


Role Contributor
Presenter Kirsty Young
Interviewed Guest Tidjane Thiam


  • Sun 4 Nov 2012 11:15
  • Fri 9 Nov 2012 09:00

Featured in...

The Desert Island Discs podcast

The Desert Island Discs podcast

Subscribe or download individual episodes.

Listen to over 2,000 programmes



Read the surprising things we've learned about some stand-out castaways.

The 75th anniversary of Desert Island Discs

The 75th anniversary of Desert Island Discs

Featuring David Beckham, the funniest and most moving moments, animations and quizzes.

The Lark Ascending – The People’s Desert Island Disc

The Lark Ascending – The People’s Desert Island Disc

Why does Vaughan Williams’s masterpiece appeal to so many castaways?