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HomeFT SelectFrom Farage to Snowden: interviews from a year of tumult

From Farage to Snowden: interviews from a year of tumult

The power of a good interview to shed light on the personalities and themes driving the news agenda was demonstrated clearly in the year of tumult that has been 2016.

As geopolitical shocks spread, a roll call of politicians, business leaders, celebrities and cultural figures sat down with the Financial Times to share their thoughts.

In the UK, Theresa May revealed some insights into her brisk management style as the country’s new prime minister. Nigel Farage, the Ukip leader who campaigned for Brexit, left one FT journalist a little worse for wear after a Lunch with the FT involving six pints of beer, a bottle of wine and two glasses of port.

Elsewhere, Edward Snowden, the whistleblower, told Alan Rusbridger, former Guardian editor, about his wariness of his Russian hosts. James Baker, the Republican party grandee, spoke of his confidence in the “system of checks and balances” that restrain a president in power. Martin Shkreli, the entrepreneur who became the personification of corporate greed in a series of drug pricing scandals, suggested he had become a “victim of editing”. Vijay Mallya, the tycoon branded a “fugitive from justice” by the Indian government, spoke of his forced exile.

These were just some of the best FT interviews of the year:

© Getty

‘I’m a loopy optimist, aren’t I? I like to think I’ve changed the centre of gravity on lots of national debates. But there is no life at all — nothing.’

Interview by Henry Mance

© Bloomberg

‘To me the drug was woefully underpriced . . . It is not a question of ‘Is this fair?’, or ‘What did you pay for it?’, or ‘When was it invented’. It should be more expensive in many ways.’

Interview by David Crow


‘We are a country of laws, limited by bureaucracy and the power structure in Washington. Presidents are not unilateral rulers. If they did not know that, they will find out soon enough.’

Interview by Lionel Barber

© Reuters

‘I can’t fix the human rights situation in Russia, and realistically my priority is to fix my own country first, because that’s the one to which I owe the greatest loyalty. But though the chances are it will make no difference, maybe it’ll help.’

Interview by Alan Rusbridger

© Justin Sutcliffe/Polaris

‘It’s important that we don’t leave [Brexit] for too long, otherwise people will lose faith in their politicians.’

Interview by George Parker and Lionel Barber

‘One of the businesses I was involved in failed, sadly . . . There were other businesses that still exist, which are hugely successful. Should I, therefore, be a hypocrite? Because one of these businesses failed, should I live my life differently? It is what it is. I am not a hypocrite.’

Interview by Amy Kazmin and Lionel Barber

© Bloomberg

‘Anybody who thinks he or any country is going to influence the price in today’s environment is out of his mind.’

Interview by Roula Khalaf

© Marie Louise Munkegaard

‘In everything that I have been doing, in different positions in Danish politics and here [in Brussels], it’s always about trying to create opportunities for people.’

Interview by Rochelle Toplensky

© Bloomberg

‘We can’t really say we have completely come out of deflation in the sense there is no risk, no worry of the Japanese economy falling back.’

Interview by Robin Harding and Lionel Barber


‘I believed in Eisenhower and the American way. I questioned it after Vietnam because I was numbed out from the experience. I saw a series of screw-ups that were bureaucratic and typical of an elephant among mice.’

Interview by Janan Ganesh

© Getty

‘I just feel like we live in an age when women are supposed to perform pregnancy. We don’t expect fathers to perform fatherhood. I went into hiding. I wanted it to be as personal as possible.’

Interview by David Pilling

Dilma Rousseff © Raquel Espírito Santo

‘When you are a woman in authority, they say you are hard, dry and insensitive, while a man in the same position is strong, firm and charming.’

Interview by Joe Leahy

© Bloomberg

‘It is the challenge of turning round a bank that has fallen on hard times, rather than fundamentally reinventing the model.’

Interview by George Parker

Jean Liu at her offices in Beijing in November

‘The war with Uber . . . actually I didn’t mean to say war, because it wasn’t a war . . . War is short-term but when we talk about building something, that is long-term.’

Interview by Charles Clover

© WassinkLundgren

‘Construction is one of the most polluting of all industries but I can make the most environmentally sound buildings for half the price and 10 times the speed of anyone else.’

Interview by Jamil Anderlini

Other notable interviews:

George Osborne

Charles Koch

Eddie Jones

Mino Raiola

Sadiq Khan

Josh Harris

Paul Polman

Mark Thompson

Kazuo Hirai

Georgette Mosbacher

Mark Thompson

Carlo Ancelotti

Jaroslaw Kaczynski

Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg

Mikhail Fridman

Mariano Rajoy

Michael Lewis

Sean Penn

Sean Parker

Via FT