James Smith, 62, has worked outside his native Scotland for 42 years. He has had stints all over the world including in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, and first came to Hong Kong in 1967. He has been based in the territory, apart from two years in Toronto, since 1973. He was the general manager of the Hong Kong Hilton and Hilton International's vice-president for central Asia. When the Hong Kong Hilton was demolished he moved to Cheung Kong's hotel division as a consultant. Mr Smith, his wife and daughter are leaving Hong Kong this month to run a hotel in a Scottish castle called Kin Fauns, near Perth on the Firth of Tay, which he has bought with other businessmen. What's on your mind? The traumatic experience of leaving Hong Kong and the excitement of finding what I can contribute there. It will be a challenge. The big thing about Hong Kong is that you can achieve a lot, it has been very exciting. I don't think I would have been able to have that same excitement in Scotland as I have here. So I've got to prepare myself to expect a little bit less. I will have to see what I can achieve there - I hope I can make a contribution, with the help of the people, that's very important. My problem is going to be, when I went to Addis Ababa or Cairo I was the expert, I had to show everyone what to do. Now going back to Scotland I'm not about to show anyone anything. They say in Scotland, keep your head low and get the approval of the local community. So are you concerned about being seen as an outsider? Of course. How will the locals perceive me? I don't expect they'll be interested in what I've done, what I've seen or where I've been, which is fine. I was a very strong taskmaster, I was very demanding. If [Hilton staff] heated the rolls in the microwave they came out hot but chewy, so I'd say put them in the oven so they were crispy, hot and fluffy. I'd send them back. I'd say let's not have thick soup, add some cream to it and salt and make it edible. I checked the swill bins - my boss said: 'You're the vice-president, you don't check the swill bins.' But you'd be surprised what you find. I dealt with about 1,000 employees who'd be impregnated with my ways, but in Scotland there'll only be a few staff. But I'll always be able to go down and talk to the rank and file, the potwasher. What do you say to criticism that service in Hong Kong is bad? The big thing about the Hilton was the personnel. We had this fabulous nucleus that was committed to the client. It was very strong and very powerful and we were going to be more outstanding as the years progressed, so it was a shame from that view that the Hilton closed. I have a lot of feeling for Hong Kong, a lot of sentiment for the people. They are very helpful, very friendly. What will you like best about going back to Scotland? I like the country. I think more or less I'm a country person. The first thing I'm going to do is buy a couple of dogs, which we haven't been able to have here. My daughter has always lived overseas, but there's a thing called bribery - she'll have her own dog, her own car, she'll create her own menus. She has friends there, she'll adjust. And my wife Julia, who's Chinese, she likes Scotland and she knows the hotel business. She was general manager of the Taiwan Hilton.