Guest contributors


Our participants learn directly from top leaders, influencers and decision-makers. A wide range of contributors – all leading thinkers and practitioners in their field – have shared their insights with participants.

Click below for details of our guests on the Pipeline: Top Flight programme and the themes and ideas they have presented.


Business leaders

Senior figures from public life

Renowned experts in their field

Leading academic thinkers and writers



Senior business leaders


Dawn Airey, Senior Vice President of Yahoo Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) considers the role of leaders in building culture. Dawn previously worked in television for 30 years and has held senior positions in the majority of the commercial broadcasters in the UK.


Sir Rod Aldridge, businessman and philanthropist, offers the ‘chairman’s perspective’ on getting the executive right. Sir Rod founded the Capita Group and led it from start-up to becoming a FTSE100 company before retiring in 2006, when he established the Aldridge Foundation in 2006 to further the work of his charitable trust. Sir Rod is also Chair of The Lowry arts and entertainment venue in Salford.


Sly Bailey, Former CEO of Trinity Mirror plc, shares her experience of being the chief executive in a publicly traded company. Sly was the CEO of the Trinity Mirror for almost a decade, from 2003 to 2012, having previously worked at IPC Media. She serves as a Non-Executive Director on a number of boards including Ladbrokes and most recently Greencore Group plc.


Sir Victor Blank, Senior Advisor in the UK to TPG Capital, talks about managing boards and companies in times of crisis. Sir Victor has held numerous senior leadership roles including as Chairman of Trinity Mirror and GUS plc; he was also the first external member of the Council of Oxford University. He was knighted for services to the Financial Industry and appointed a British Business Ambassador under the present and previous government.


Professor Chris Bones, Partner and Co-Owner of Good Growth Ltd, a consultancy aimed at transforming commercial and organisation strategies to deliver superior top and bottom line growth over sustained periods of time, speaks about latest book The Cult of the Leader, won the CMI/British Library Management Book of the Year Prize in 2012. Chris is also Dean Emeritus of the Henley Business School, having led the merger of Henley Management College and the University of Reading.


Donald Brydon, Chairman of the Royal Mail Group, discusses leadership through periods of change. Donald had a 20-year career with Barclays Group, during, followed by 15 years with the AXA Group, including holding the posts of Chairman and Chief Executive of AZA Investment Managers.


Alan Buckle, Former Deputy Chairman and CEO of KPMG International, introduces the key skills around finance, including reading balancing sheets. Alan has worked with multinational companies and overseas governments on M&As, reorganisations, risk and controls, financial statement audit and tax investigations. He also previously served as Deputy Chairman of the British Council where he chaired the Audit Committee.


Claire Davies, Company Secretary at Cooperative Bank, speaks about company ownership structures, the City and regulation. Claire is a solicitor with more than 27 years’ experience of advising boards and senior management on corporate and regulatory matters. She has recently stepped down as Company Secretary of Lloyds, having spent the last five years supporting the Board on a variety of governance related matters during a period of exceptional industry and regulatory change.


Mick Davis, founding partner of X2 Mining Resources Limited, considers managing reputation in difficult territories. Mickwas formerly CEO of Xstrata plc, one of the world’s largest global diversified mining and Metals Company. Prior to settling in the UK, Mick played an active role in Jewish communal affairs in South Africa, where he was born.


Gerry Grimstone, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Standard Life plc, speaks about what boards are looking for in senior executives. He is also Chairman of The CityUK, an Independent Non-Executive of Deloitte LLP and the Lead Non-Executive Board Member at the Ministry of Defence. Previously, Gerry has held senior positions within the Department of Health and Social Security and HM Treasury.


Jan Hall, City Headhunter and Founder & CEO of JCA Group, talks about how successful candidates behave in the recruitment process. Jan has conducted many of the major searches for chairman, board members and chief executives in the UK. Before founding the JCA Group she was a senior partner at global search firm Spencer Stuart and prior to that was European Chief Executive of the GGT Group plc.


Katharine Hamnett, fashion designer, shares insights on managing the creative process. Katherine’s is a global heritage brand, famous for making great clothes that you keep forever, launching new trends, creating new fabrics and inventing new technical processes as well as campaigning for political and social issues. She is the pioneer of ethical and environmental clothing and was voted ‘Britain’s number 1 Ethical Hero’ by New Consumer magazine and ‘Queen of Green’ by UK Vogue.


Christine Hodgson is Executive Chairman of Capgemini UK Plc, She also chairs the Capgemini UK Sustainability Board and the Women’s Business Network. Christine sits on the Board of Ladbrokes Plc as well as Business in the Community and MacIntyre Care, a leading charity providing services for individuals with learning disabilities.


Jackie Hunt, CEO Prudential UK & Europe, talks about how to explain and manage financial expectations. Jackie joined Prudential in 2013 from Standard Life, where she was Chief Financial Officer. Prior to this, she held senior financial management positions in a range of major organisations. She is a Non-Executive Director of National Express Group plc and was Chair of the Association of British Insurers’ Prudential Financial and Taxation Committee.


Sir Terry Leahy, Chairman of B&M Bargains, talks about sustainable leadership – ‘getting there and staying there’. Sir Terry was formerly Chief Executive of Tesco from 1997 until 2011. He received a Knighthood for services to food retailing in the 2002 New Year Honours. He is also part-time senior advisor to Clayton Dubilier & Rice, the US private equity firm and Chairman of B&M Bargains.


Paul Lester CBE, Chairman of Greenergy, discusses building relationships with government. Paul is also Chairman of the private equity company backed businesses Survitec, Peveral and Paribas. Paul chairs the FTSR 250 Company John Lang Infrastructure Fund, as well as Signia Wealth.


Mary Meaney, Director in McKinsey’s Paris office and Co-Founder of their Women’s Initiative, talks about the economic value that female talent brings to the corporate sector. Mary specialises in leadership development as well as performance transformation. She began her career in McKinsey’s Washington DC office, then spent 13 years in London, before moving to Paris in 2011.


Sue O’Brien, Group CEO of Norman Broadbent PLC, shares insights into how successful candidates behave at interview. She is actively involved in board search across a consumer focused portfolio, with particular expertise is in marketing and group HRD appointments. In the January 2014 New Year’s Honours List, Sue was awarded an OBE for services to Gender Equality in the Workplace and voluntary services to the community.


Helen Pitcher, Board Advisor and Chairman of Advanced Boardroom Excellence Ltd, talks about what is on a board’s agenda and how senior executive’s feed that agenda. Helen is a leading corporate consultant who advises FTSE100 boards on their effectiveness. She graduated from INSEAD Business School in Corporate Governance and is the only consultant in the UK Board Effectiveness Arena to have this qualification.


MT Rainey, Chairman of Th_nk, talks about communicating strategy and strategy and technology. As well as chairing leading digital strategy agency Th_nk, MT is a Non-Executive Director of Channel 4 and Vice Chairman of Creative Skillset, the Sector Skills Council for the Creative Industries. She is a recent past President of the Thirty Club of London.


Gail Rebuck, Chairman of Penguin Random House and Former CEO of Random House, speaks about her experience of becoming a CEO and Chairman. Gail was CEO of Random House for more than two decades and now chairs a publishing empire with 25% of the global market and revenues of more than £2.5bn.


Tony Rice, former Chief Executive of Cable & Wireless Communications, considers approaches to building relationships. Tony has held many senior leadership roles including at British Aerospace and Tunstall Holdings Ltd and is currently the Senior Independent Director for Spirit Pub Company plc.


Simon Redfern, Director of Corporate affairs for Starbucks in the UK and across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, presents a case study in communications. Simon’s background is in communications and politics where he has specialised in corporate communications, public affairs and social media advice. Simon was named consultant of the year in November 2012 by Public Affairs News magazine.


Sir Stuart Rose, Chairman of Ocado, talks about developing successful strategy in business. Sir Stuart has worked all his life in retail, in leading roles at M & S, Argos, Booker and Arcadia. He is also currently Chairman of Fat Face, Oasis Healthcare Group and The Healing Foundation, a medical charity.


Dil Sidhu, Chief External Officer at Manchester Business School, introduces the ‘World of influence’, ‘Nowism’ and the ’24/7 Environment.’ Dil has varied experiences gained from retail, government and professional services sectors. He has also taught on executive and MBA programmes on topic areas that include: Authentic & Adaptive Leadership, The Science of Influence & Persuasion and The Knowing-Doing Gap.


Robin Southwell, OBE, FRAeS, formerly President of Airbus Group UK, considers approaches to building relationships. Robin holds a wide range NED and trustee positions and was appointed by the Prime Minister, David Cameron, as a UK Business Ambassador.


Shaa Wasmund, founder of, explores the concept of her best-selling motivational book ‘Stop Talking Start Doing’, which topped lists of best-selling business books for more than a year. Formerly a female boxing manager, Shaa has founded several businesses and launched major brands and projects including Dyson.



Senior figures from public life


Waheed Alli, Lord Alli, British multimillionaire media entrepreneur and politician discusses maintaining integrity and profit. Waheed was co-founder and managing director of Planet 24, the TV production company responsible for Channel 4’s flagship programme The Big Breakfast. He is currently building Koovs, a new Indian fashion website with a similar ethos to ASOS.


Sue Campbell, Former Chairperson of UK Sport, speaks about incentivising and rewarding talent. Sue over saw the investment decisions in individual teams and athletes for the 2008 Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Games and the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games where the UK came fourth and third respectively.


Louise Casey, Director of the Troubled Families Programme at the Department of Communities & Local Government, talks about executing complex strategy. Louise has held numerous senior roles in Whitehall on highly complex policy areas including as the first independent commissioner for victims and witnesses, and as Director of the Home Office’s Anti-social Behaviour Unit. Prior to this, Louise was Deputy Director of the homelessness charity Shelter.


Gerry DeVeaux, award winning stylist, offers tricks from the trade in personal presentation. Gerry is one of the world’s leading songwriter/producers and an award winning style guru. He is contributing editor for Tatler magazine, Editor at Large for GQ International (Conde Nast) and style consultant for MTV Networks co-hosting global shows like MTV Style. He was also Creative Director for the UK charity campaign Fashion Targets Breast Cancer.


Margaret Hodge MP, Chair of the Public Accounts Committee, speaks about the role which the Committee serves and her position as Chair. Margaret is also the Shadow Minister for Culture and Tourism and has been a Member of Parliament for Barking since 1994. Between 1982 and 1992 she was the Leader of Islington Council having first been elected as a councillor in 1973.


Col. Richard Kemp (Ret), ex-Commander of UK Forces in Afghanistan, Iraq, the Balkans and Northern Ireland, talks about strategy and leadership under fire. He is now a writer, a prolific journalist, media commentator and motivational speaker. He provides strategic consultancy services for private sector companies on leadership, security, intelligence, counter-terrorism and defence.


Denise Kingsmill, CBE, member of the House of Lords and Chairman of the 24(7) UK Advisory Board, explores how to navigate your future. Her career has encompassed periods as a leading employment lawyer, Deputy Chair of the UK Competition Commission (the UK’s principle anti- trust agency) and a director of various PLC, private, not for profit and government boards.


Lord Monks, Former General Secretary of the TUC, debates different strategic approaches to remuneration. John was a former advisor on financial stability for the Bank of England and is currently the General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation.


Baroness Julia Neuberger, writer, social commentator and Senior Rabbi of West London Synagogue, explores business and ethics. A prolific and tireless contributor to public life, she has led the King’s Foundation and and, recently, a government review of the Liverpool Care Pathway for Dying Patients, which was published in July 2013.


John Reid, Honorary Professor and Chair of the Institute for Security and Resilience Studies at University College London, shares insights into what is going on the world. John is the most experienced Cabinet minister of modern times, having held more ministerial posts at Cabinet level than any other politician in recent history.


June Sarpong MBE, TV Presenter and Founder of WIE (Women Inspiration & Enterprise) discusses communication.   June is a leading presenter, who has interviewed leading figures from Elton John to Nelson Mandela. She is also a businesswoman and charity worker.


Margherita Taylor, Classic FM presenter and charity worker, discusses the art of effortless communication. Margherita is a well known TV and radio presenter covering everything from political and cultural issues to what’s hot in the music scene.



Renowned experts in their field


Gurnek Bains, co-founder and Chairman of YSC, business psychology advisory company, explores how successful people get on at work. currently based in the London office. A psychologist by background, Gurnek has worked with senior leaders across a wide range of industries for almost 25 years and remains a trusted advisor to some of the most senior leaders in British and international business.


Nick Butler, Visiting Professor at Kings Policy Institute at Kings College London discusses risk. He was formerly senior policy adviser to Gordon Brown when he was Prime Minister. He writes the weekly energy and policy blog for the Financial Times.


Andrew Cooper, Co-Founder of Populus, tells us who the public are and how they see the world. Andrew was a founding director of Populus, which is now one of the UK’s leading research and strategy consultancies specialising in political, reputation, stakeholder and customer research He also served as Chief Strategist to the British Prime Minister, David Cameron from 2011 to 2013.


Pat Dade, Owner of Cultural Dynamics Strategy & Marketing Ltd, speaks about why people do what they do, the importance of personal values and how this knowledge can help us influence decisions. Pat has been at the heart of Cultural Dynamics development of a social survey based typology which tracks and forecasts the changing values, beliefs and motivations of the British population. His recent clients include Greenpeace, EDF Energy and Sony BMG.


Jonathan Ford, Chief Leader Writer of the Financial Times (FT), talks about the media and its role in reporting business. Jonathan is responsible for writing and commissioning the FT’s editorials. Before becoming a journalist, Jonathan started his career in investment banking working for Morgan Grenfell as a corporate financier.


Simon Gulliford, CEO of Gulliford Consulting Ltd, and one of Europe’s leading marketers speaks about how to build businesses around customers. Simon is former Group Marketing Director of Barclays and Standard Life both of which are FTSE 100 companies. He oversaw the re-launch of Selfridges and helped EasyJet redesign its customer service offering.


Catherine Hearn, Global Reward Director at Dentsu Aegis Network (formerly Aegis Media), talks about reward and how it works. Catherine has spent her career in HR and general management working for Transport for London, ICL, Fujitsu, Diageo and most recently Polestar where she held a number of executive and board positions.


Vivian Hunt, Director of McKinsey & Company, presents on the value of women. Vivian serves leading pharmaceutical and medical products companies on a broad range of strategy topics, with a particular focus on performance transformation and organizational development. As one of the leaders of the Firm’s Women’s Initiatives, Vivian has spoken often on McKinsey & Company’s flagship initiative Women Matter, linking the role of women in the workplace to positive shareholder returns.


Gavin Kelly, CEO Kinmont Advisory Group, talks about how outside analysts measure a company’s performance. As a London-based corporate finance business, Kinmont provide broad-ranging advice including on MBO’s, equity capital markets, debt capital markets and M&A for private and public companies.


Charlotte Milligan, Associate Director at Sovereign Strategy, provides media training. Charlotte is highly experienced broadcaster, having been Political Editor and Head of Current Affairs at ITV Yorkshire for ten years.


Professor Geeta Nargund, Medical Director of CREATE Fertility, explores the idea of 360° health for women. A Senior Consultant Gynaecologist and Lead Consultant for Reproductive Medicine services at St George’s Hospital, London, Geeta is also Director of the Walking Egg Foundation, a Belgian Charity dedicated to making fertility treatments affordable and accessible globally. She is a widely published researcher and contributor to health policy development.


Rachel Short, Director and Business Psychologist at YSC London, talks about relationships at work. Rachel supports a range of FTSE 250 clients to build individual and organisational capability. She has also managed the YSC online business and has been leading the development of YSC’s point of view on female leaders and gender diversity.


Lindsay Thomas, Chief Executive of Sustainable Risks Ltd, presents on living with risk. He has extensive experience in financial services, especially regulatory policy, reputation protection and risk management including as a director of the Financial Services Authority.



Leading academic thinkers and writers


Professor Moira Clark, Director of The Henley Centre for Customer Management and Head of Marketing and Reputation, looks at engaging customers and the customer experience as well as the critical linkages between employee behaviour and customer retention. She joined Henley from Cranfield School of Management in 2005. Prior to her academic career she was an international marketing consultant.


Chris Cullen, Mindfulness Teacher and Psychotherapist at the Oxford University Mindfulness Centre, leads a session on mindfulness. Chris also co-directs the Mindfulness in Schools Project, and runs mindfulness courses for students at Oxford University and for musicians and actors at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London.


Dr Jules Goddard, Fellow of London Business School, looks at ‘what works at work. Jules is lead designer and director of senior-level, high-profile development programmes for leading companies. Over the last 10 years, Jules has worked with a third of the FTSE 100 companies. He is also the widely respected author of “Uncommon Sense, Common Nonsense” and “The Fatal Bias”.


Professor Stephan Henneberg, Chair Professor of Marketing and Strategy at Queen Mary University of London, talks about how to develop successful strategy. Stephan is also Director of the Business Ecosystem Research Group at the university and Engagement Principal of QConsult. He has held senior positions at A.T. Kearney and McKinsey and co.


Len Shackleton, Professor of Economics at the University of Buckingham, debates different strategic approaches to remuneration. Len has been Professor of Economics at the University of Buckingham since 2011. He was previously Dean of the Royal Docks Business School and an Economics Fellow with the Institute of Economic Affairs.