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School for CEOs teach the Vital Few

17 March 2016

Today School for CEOs conclude their eighth Vital Few leadership programme. This sell-out programme brought together a wealth of knowledge and experience from the School for CEOs Faculty, who delivered short, concise lessons that they have learnt from their experience leading organisations.

Delegates on the programme were from a mixture of business sectors including technology, media, wine & spirits, property, sports & leisure, textiles and not for profit organisations. The diversity of the delegate group contributed to rich discussion and debate throughout the two-day residential programme.

Faculty speakers included the following business leaders:

  • Niall Booker, CEO at The Co-operative Bank
  • Lesley Knox, Chairman at The Grosvenor Group and Non-Executive Director at SABMiller and Thomas Cook
  • Ewan Pearson, Managing Director at Grant Pearson Brown
  • Dr Brian Marien, Co-founder of Positive Group
  • Jeremy Blood, Partner at Manfield Partners
  • Andy Berry, former Global Head of Communications for Global Banking and Markets at HSBC
  • Peter Ibbetson, Director of Primedia Solutions
  • Paul Lee, Head of Corporate Governance at Aberdeen Asset Management
  • Mary Spillane, Leadership coach, author and entrepreneur
  • John Maltby, Chairman at Good Energy Group and Non-Executive Director at Bank of Ireland UK and Tandem Bank.

These faculty members shared their unique insight and real life stories on how they dealt with a number of challenges as leaders of large multinational organisations, stressing the importance of humility and resilience when building a successful culture within an organisation.

Market experts Ewan Pearson, Mary Spillane, Andy Berry, Peter Ibbetson and Paul Lee shared tips on the ‘how’ element of successful communication to key stakeholders such as the media, investors and shareholders, and how to project yourself in a way that instils confidence in these key stakeholders and is also true to who you are.

David Sole, Co-founder of School for CEOs, reflected on the two days: “There were some strong themes that emerged from this programme. Developing a good organisational culture was highlighted by many of these leaders, and we designed a module to address some of these key challenges”

Jeremy Blood, Partner at Manfield Partners and former Managing Director at Scottish and Newcastle, spoke to the group about getting the right people ‘on the bus’. He commented on the programme, “As someone who has led organisations and who now invests in organisations, I feel that the School for CEOs provides its delegates with real examples of what happens in the Boardroom and I was happy to share some of my own experiences today.”

One of the delegates commented at the end of the two days; “A really good spread of content; fluid, dynamic and enjoyable, all of which was delivered excellently. The best training I have done in quite some time.”


Notes for editors:

The School for CEOs is a new concept in senior executive education. It was founded in 2011 by: Patrick Macdonald, Chairman of Reconomy, CEO of Dalestone Energy and former Chief Executive of John Menzies plc; and David Sole, business coach and former international rugby captain. The next School for CEOs programme is the 1-day non-residential Runway programme on 21st April in Edinburgh. The next Vital Few programme will take place in London on 12/13 October. The 2-day residential programme will be taught by practitioners: current and former business leaders. It aims to provide senior businessmen and women with the tools they need to be successful in CEO and other senior leadership positions.
For more information and to apply, call 0131 225 5886 or email go to

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