GLOBAL CEO, ENERGY BUSINESS
EMEA MD, GLOBAL BEVERAGES COMPANY
EMEIAR CEO, GLOBAL IT BUSINESS
I have sat at the top table with some of the best (and worst) business leaders of the past thirty years, as both a senior colleague and a consultant. Over the past five years I have conducted unprecedented research among CEOs and those they aspire to lead, the result of which is three best-selling books on leadership and international work as a speaker, consultant, and coach.
I believe I add value because of the practical, battle-hardened advice i provide, itself the result of in-depth thinking, original (self-funded) research and my own first-hand experience of leading and advising businesses. My own leadership journey started when I had to lead a newsroom full of highly independent journalists on The Star newspaper in Johannesburg in the 1980s. Since then, I have led teams and businesses for more than three decades.
From journalism I moved into corporate affairs, becoming the director of communications for British Airways in 1996 following a successful period as director of corporate affairs for AEA Technology, the business that was floated off from the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority. Prior to AEA, I was group public relations manager in the UK for Bayer, one of the world’s major chemicals-to-pharmaceuticals companies.
After BA, I then moved into communications consultancy, joining Bell Pottinger in 1998 and eventually becoming Chairman of the Bell Pottinger Group, at the time, the biggest PR Group in the UK. Following the buyout of Bell Pottinger companies from Chime in 2012, I was invited – and accepted – an offer to stay with Bell Pottinger’s parent company, Chime Communications, as Chairman of Public Relations.
This year I relinquished this position to become a part time adviser to Chime, in order to give more time to my writing and leadership work.
As a consultant, I specialised in the field of strategic communications, reputation management and leadership communications coaching. I advised chairmen and chief executives and gained hard-won experience of managing complex and global communications projects and departments. For clients, I managed significant issues and crisis communications in the heat of national controversies in sectors such as chemicals, nuclear, aviation, and banking. Companies I advised included BSkyB, G4S, Gazprom, Airbus, Lloyds TSB, McLaren F1, British Nuclear Fuels, Emirates Airline, 118 118, Marconi, Vauxhall, British Gas, Permira, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Adobe, Fujitsu, SABMiller and Allen & Overy.
Over this period, my thinking on leadership deepened and developed. I was particularly interested in how to help leaders be more inspiring by making them more effective communicators, able to truly engage their teams and stakeholders. In 2013, I published “The Language of Leaders”, receiving much acclaim from the literary, and leadership worlds. The following year, “Communicate to Inspire – a guide for leaders”, was shortlisted for the Chartered Management Institute’s Management Book of the Year award, and reached No 2 on the WH Smith management book charts. For both books I interviewed more than 100 CEOs for their wisdom and learning, measured the skills of 1000 senior managers and surveyed 8,000 workers on what it takes to be inspirational. Both have been published in many languages around the world. His third, “People with Purpose” is a natural development, exploring in detailed but practical fashion the importance for companies and organizations of having an underpinning purpose.
Since the publication of my first book I have given talks on leadership across Europe, South Africa, the Middle East and all over the UK. I have spoken to businessmen from different market sectors, leaders from public sector organizations, as well as hundreds of university students. I have been the keynote speaker at conferences and seminars, at company leadership events, as well as literary events. I love being an executive coach and advisor on leadership, working with CEOs, divisional MDs, and their executive teams.
I am a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations and a Companion of the Chartered Management Institute.
Away from work, I am a mad keen golfer, and am a director of my beloved Frilford Heath Golf Course in Oxfordshire. I also love traveling and spending time with my wife, two grown up children and four grand children.