Those born to lead must love service, 'Red' Scott says

Charles “Red” Scott retired in 1994 as president and chief executive officer of The Actava Group (Fuqua Industries), a billion-dollar NYSE company based in Atlanta.

Prior to that, he was chairman and CEO of Intermark Inc., a billion-dollar operating/holding company based in La Jolla. Before that, he was CEO of Roberts, Scott & Co. Inc., a member firm of the New York Stock Exchange.

A graduate of the University of Texas, Scott is a former chairman of the Southern California Chapter of the Young Presidents’ Organization. He was chairman of the $100 Million “Fund for Greatness” campaign for Scripps Memorial Hospitals and chairman of the San Diego Council of Boy Scouts of America.

Scott is a founding director of the Washington, D.C.-based American Business Conference, past president of the Greater San Diego Sports Association, and former chairman of the Special Committee that staged the first Holiday Bowl Football Classic.

Scott was the 1984 recipient of the Horatio Alger Award of Distinguished Americans and serves as chairman emeritus of the Washington, D.C.-based organization.

In 1990, he was named by California Business magazine as one of the “Top 25 CEOs of the Decade.” In 1988, he was honored as the “Distinguished Citizen of San Diego”; was one of five honorees of the California Museum of Science and Industry in 1973; and in 1968 was a national recipient of the Sales Masters “Oscars” Award. He has served as president of the San Diego Stock and Bond Club. A native Texan, Scott and his wife, Katherine, live in La Jolla. They have two sons.

What brought you to La Jolla?

Quite by accident. In 1960, I came from Dallas to visit Norman Roberts of N.C. Roberts & Co — members of the NYSE. I instantly fell in love with La Jolla and ended up buying 51 percent of the Roberts Co. We then changed the name to Roberts Scott & Co. Inc.

What makes this town special to you?

It is a wonderful little “village” in the heart of one of America’s great cities!

If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract or improve in the city?

I would get rid of the homeless and fix the potholes.

Who inspires you?

Billy Graham, Ronald Reagan and Winston Churchill.

If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?

Besides the three men mentioned above: Warren Buffett; Tom Landry; Oprah Winfrey; Jim Brannigan; Phil Mickelson; and my wife, Kathy.

Tell us about what you are currently reading.

The Wall Street Journal, the San Diego Union-Tribune, the La Jolla Light, The Voice (Web) Fortune magazine, Forbes magazine and Sports Illustrated, plus “The Big Short” by Michael Lewis.

What is your most-prized possession?

Besides my family (wife, three children and four grandchildren), my little brown toy poodle, Miss Annie.

What do you do for fun?

I play golf with my buddies.

Please describe your greatest accomplishment.

No. 1: To be selected as the California CEO of the 1980 Decade, and No. 2: To receive the Horatio Alger Award for Distinguished Americans.

What is your motto or philosophy of life?

It is expressed in a speech I gave to 1,000 CEOs in Orlando in 1999: “The quality of one’s life depends upon the degree to which we align ourselves with and feel a sense of reverence for God — our creator and father.

Service is the virtue that distinguishes the one grade of all times by which we will be remembered. It places a mark of nobility upon its disciples. It is the dividing line that separates the groups of the world:

  • Those who help vs. those who hinder.
  • Those who lift vs. those who lean.
  • Those who contribute vs. those who consume.

How much better it is to give than to receive! Service in any form is both generous and beautiful. To just give encouragement, to impart sympathy, to show interest, to banish fear, to build self-confidence, or simply to awaken some hope in the hearts of others ... no greater service or gift can one give!