He says that although he is not Welsh, he has always been pleased to have a Welsh name. Last year David Powell strengthened a Welsh sentiment when he became executive vice president, Japan, of the Welsh Development Agency. He has very special appreciation of Wales, a small country of "charm and delight." Having always been a traveler, interested in and responding to the places where he has lived and worked over the last 30 years, he has affection for many countries.

David describes himself as having come from a modest background. "The opportunity to enjoy a free university education, provided by the state, was without doubt a privilege, and perhaps my generation -- postwar bulge -- was particularly fortunate. Education is the foundation upon which most everything else relies."

Graduated in German from the University of Leicester, he was casting around for a future when a "magical accident" occurred. "Many things in my life have depended on chance, and there are clearly distinct, critical moments," he said. He had taken a summer job as a tour guide. "All around Europe I saw coach-loads of American Express customers. I learned they were quality tourists. When I saw an American Express advertisement recruiting young British graduates for postings in the Far East, I applied. As a starry-eyed young graduate, that was what I wanted to hear."