Day in the life: Naseba founder has soft spot for Ironman training

Naseba co-founder Scott Ragsdale's day starts at 3am with a three-to-five hour long training session in preparation for the 10-day Decca Ironman.
Scott Ragsdale likes to train, as it helps him to focus on business. Victor Besa for The National
Scott Ragsdale likes to train, as it helps him to focus on business. Victor Besa for The National

Scott Ragsdale is the co-founder of the French company Naseba, a business-to-business events organiser focused on emerging markets. The French company launched in Monaco in 2002, opening its Dubai office two years later.

Mr Ragsdale, 44, previously worked as the general manager for a global business information company in Tokyo, Sydney, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Monaco, Barcelona and London. The American has lived in Dubai with his wife and daughter since 2007.


I am a morning person, so I start early. This morning I woke at 3am. I went downstairs, had my fruit salad, made my coffee, then read the newspapers. I read the Financial Times and Bloomberg, then I walked for 90 minutes. Normally I go running or cycling and do three to five hours of training, but I’ve hurt my leg. I came back, took a shower and got ready for the day. I like endurance challenges.

I’ve completed several Ironman events and swam the English channel. I’ve attempted Race Across America twice; it’s considered the toughest race in the world. When I was training for that, I was training eight to 12 hours a day. In 2013, I quit halfway; I was sleep deprived and failed mentally. I trained for a year and a half to do it again. I got through the toughest part on day four and crashed my bike; I woke up in hospital. I like to train, as it helps me to focus on business.

This year I am doing another challenge: the Deca-Ironman – an Ironman triathlon every day for 10 days. One of the big reasons I do these challenges is to experience life to the fullest and not let it pass me by.


I get my Bateel coffee, sit down at my desk and get on with the day. In our Dubai office we have teams that work Asian, Middle East, European and US hours. I work the European and American markets. I have two companies – Naseba and Naru – that are both part of the Naseba Group.

Naru offers corporate finance investor services. A big portion of our business is in Saudi Arabia, so we have an office in Riyadh. I have conference calls with the team there as well as meetings with the managing director of Naru. As the chairman, I don’t necessarily have a day-to-day role other than overseeing that everything is running to plan. This involves a lot of chasing to make sure my people are doing it right, leaders in our other offices are doing it right and following up on business. I get involved in speaking to our big clients. I will go and meet them, have dinner with them, spend time with them. I travel once or twice a month.

My focus now is acquiring a company in South Africa, so I’m doing a lot more travelling. Last week I was in Monaco. I’m back in Dubai this week, I’m in Nigeria next week, then Cape Town and Saudi Arabia. I go to Saudi Arabia often, sometimes just for the day.


I have a green juice and a fruit salad at my desk every day. I’m big on fruit. I spend the majority of my time in the afternoon on Chicago. We opened an office there and we are expanding. I am a different kind of chairman – I’m more hands-on to make it happen, to challenge the teams to perform better.

We are always trying to figure out how can we climb higher. A big theme of mine is, “The man at the top of the mountain didn’t fall there”. Everyone wants to get to the top of the mountain, but no one wants to climb anymore. Recruitment is one of the things I am really focused on, and I meet our HR person almost every day.


I work until 6pm or 7pm, then eat and go to sleep. For dinner I normally have vegetables. My wife is a vegan, my 11-year-old daughter is a vegetarian and I’m an aspiring raw vegan. When I have client dinners, I will go to a restaurant that serves fish.


I sleep early because I wake up early. During the week I do miss the time with my family. That’s the one negative about training for these challenges. I am able, however, to see my wife and daughter in the morning before my daughter goes to school, and I spend time with them on the weekend.

I am definitely not a mall person, so we go to a nice restaurant, or walk around the new areas in town. We also cycle together when it’s not hot, or go camping. I quit Facebook recently because I realised I don’t read any more.

I noticed my Kindle battery had died and I didn’t even remember the last time I’d used it. I am able to achieve a lot with my time. I am trying to make my life happen.

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Published: August 29, 2015 04:00 AM


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