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Succession Planning, one of the key messages for Vital Few delegates

14 October 2016

Leaders from a wide variety of sectors attended the recent Vital Few Programme in London.

Delegates on what was the ninth, two-day residential programme, shared their experiences and challenges in their current senior executive and CEO roles.  Alongside this, School for CEOs Faculty members shared their unique insight and real life stories outlining how they dealt with a number of challenges as leaders of large multinational organisations, stressing the importance of reflecting on the evolving organisational context of the role they’ve stepped into.

School for CEOs is uniquely placed to draw on the support of its Faculty of senior business leaders and leading sector professionals. This programme benefited from the experience and expertise of guest speakers including:

  • Melfort Campbell OBE, CEO and Chairman of Imes Group
  • James Wates CBE, Chairman of Wates Group
  • Dr Brian Marien, Co-founder of Positive Group
  • Adrian Grace, CEO of Aegon UK
  • Anita Scott, Partner at Brunswick Group
  • Peter Kallos, Chief Executive of Buried Hill Energy

Key messages included:
- the need for CEOs to identify, nurture and develop their successor and to enable other people to be successful so that they too can move up through the organisation;
- identifying and managing challenges and actions that may derail a newly appointed CEO;
- one of the most important roles for the CEO is to be inquisitive. Inform your intuition by doing the research to back up what you believe is right;
- be transparent, people don’t like surprises
- have a good relationship with your Chairman and individual members of the board

In addition, market experts Ewan Pearson (Managing Director at Grant Pearson Brown), Mary Spillane (Leadership coach, author and entrepreneur), and Simon Hamer (Business Editor on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme) shared tips on how to ensure successful communication with key stakeholders such as the media, investors and shareholders.  They also addressed with delegates how to project oneself in a manner that instils confidence among these key groups.

Patrick Macdonald, Co-founder of School for CEOs, said that the content of the two day programme continues to evolve. ‘Feedback from our delegates always helps us consider what to include in each of our modules. It will always be our aim to address the key challenges in business today, discuss and share experiences that help our delegates shape their thinking and forward planning.’

Delegates comments at the end of the two days included;
“Have thoroughly enjoyed the experience and learnt a good deal.”
“Fantastic varied content with all talks engaging and hugely valuable.”


Notes for editors
The School for CEOs is an innovative concept in executive education. It was founded in 2011 by: Patrick Macdonald, Chairman of Reconomy and Inenco Group Ltd; and former Chief Executive of John Menzies plc; and David Sole OBE, business coach and former international rugby captain.

The next School for CEOs programme is the 1-day non-residential Runway programme on 2nd March 2017 in London. The next Vital Few programme will take place in London on 29th and 30th March 2017. The two-day residential programme will be taught by practitioners: current and former business leaders. It aims to provide senior businessmen and women with the insights and experience they need to be successful in CEO and other senior leadership positions.

For more information and to apply, call 0131 225 5886, go to or email

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