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Business Leaders

Author: Right Angles

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Business Leaders brings you extended one-to-one interviews with the key people in global business today. Hosted by Paul Blanchard, each week you can step inside a new company and hear how the world’s top CEOs, founders and entrepreneurs are shaping the future of global business in the 21st Century. Find out the secrets of their success; how they challenge the status quo, turn companies around and build some of the world’s most innovative businesses. Share their insights and find out what makes our most successful leaders tick.
73 Episodes
Mark Evans is managing director for marketing and digital at Direct Line Group, one of the UK’s largest insurance companies. Educated at the University of Nottingham, he joined Mars as a fast track executive and spent nine years with the company, managing a selection of brands across confectionary and pet food. He moved to 118118 Media, rising to CEO and monetising their voice and text inventory, then, after a stint as head of customer management at HSBC, joined Direct Line as director of brand portfolio in 2012. Mark quickly moved across to become marketing director then managing director for marketing and digital. In this in-depth conversation, he reflects on learning “the core toolkit” of marketing in his early days, describes how Direct Line “add value” to their market proposition but circumventing commission, and talks about how insurance companies could adapt to a world of autonomous driving.
Nick Wheeler is the founder of menswear retailer Charles Tyrwhitt. Launched in 1986 as a mail-order shirt business whilst still at university, the company now has over 40 stores in the UK, Paris and America and a thriving online business which accounts for 65% of sales worldwide. He is also a non-executive director of The White Company, and was awarded an OBE for his services to retail in 2017. In this in-depth conversation, he reflects on his entrepreneurial ventures – from photography to christmas trees, describes the dangers of losing focus whilst running your own business, and explains the importance of inner self-belief to sell products and “kick down doors”.
Chris Paton is managing director of Quirk Solutions, a management consultancy which advises large brands such as Unilever, Shell, Heineken and Waitrose, as well as the NHS and the Home Office. Chris was a lieutenant colonel in the Royal Marines, and has completed tours in Afghanistan, Kosovo and Northern Ireland. He was also an advisor to the Cabinet and the National Security Council on Afghan strategy. He currently lectures at London Business School for the executive education programme. In this in-depth conversation, Chris argues that businesses need to be less hierarchical and invest more in training to succeed, explains why adhering to tried and tested strategies is often a recipe for disaster, and describes the seven interconnected disciplines that provide the framework for success – whether you’re running a start-up or a multinational.
Andy Whitehouse is chief executive and managing partner of Copperfield Advisory. The New York-based consulting firm serves clients in sectors including insurance, capital markets, health systems and philanthropy. Prior to founding Copperfield in 2017, Andy served as the chief communications officer for IBM, Willis Towers Watson, and McKinsey & Company. He has also served as a government policymaker in the UK and has led teams in the Prime Minister’s Social Exclusion Unit and the Department of Health. In this in-depth conversation, he outlines the challenges faced by government while trying to improve the life chances of disadvantaged groups, discusses the importance of business leaders’ contributions to public life, and evaluates the value of reputation to brands who want to make a positive impact on their communities.
Bo Deitl is chairman and chief executive of Beau Dietl and Associates. Founded in 1985, the private investigations company provides security services, background checks and risk assessments to corporate and individual clients worldwide. One of New York City's most highly decorated police detectives, his 1988 book 'One Tough Cop' became a major motion picture starring Stephen Baldwin. In this in-depth conversation, he recalls growing up in Queens in the 60s, takes us through his career as a police officer, and describes his transition to acting and movie producing, including his recent role as Joe Glencoe in 'The Irishman'.
Nir Eyal is an entrepreneur and author. After graduating from Stanford in 2008, Nir co-founded AdNectar, a social media advertising company which enabled sites to monetise on adverts. With a background in academia, his research into what makes companies like Facebook and Google “sticky” formed the basis of his best-selling book ‘Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products’. His latest book, ‘Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life’, advises readers on how to beat technology addiction in everyday life and claims that all behaviour is prompted by a desire to escape discomfort. In this in-depth conversation, Nir explains why people “prioritise the urgent at the expense of the important”, describes his theory about why love does actually hurt – and argues that distraction has become “commoditised”.
Brittney Castro is founder and chief executive of Financially Wise Inc. The Los Angeles-based advisory firm promotes financial intelligence through wellness workshops, online money courses and social media. Her specialisms include teaching young couples how to invest their money and build a solid financial strategy. In this in-depth conservation, Brittney details the specific challenges that make women feel insecure about investing, argues that money management is about enjoying life in the moment as well as providing for the future – and describes how, no matter your past, we all have the capability to “set a new story” for ourselves financially.
Irene Molodtsov is CEO of Sia Partners UK. Sia Partners is a global management consultancy firm, with 25 offices around the world and expertise in more than 30 sectors and services. As a pioneer of Consulting 4.0, Sia Partners explores the opportunities afforded by Artificial Intelligence, and invests in Data Science and the development of consulting bots. Irene started her professional career working for Pilkington in Australia. Irene then moved from industry into management consultancy at KMPG working in Hong Kong before moving to London where she ran major change initiatives across Europe. When KPMG Consulting was sold to Atos, Irene co-founded Molten in 2003 with the belief that there was a place in the market to lead with people. Molten was acquired by Sia Partners in in 2016. Irene is a passionate advocate for the Consulting industry being a ‘force for good’ in society. In this in-depth conversation, Irene argues that augmented intelligence is creating more jobs than it eliminates, explains how Sia Partners developed a ‘bot’ to analyse positive hosts and improve guest experiences on Airbnb, and discusses her ‘Consulting for Good’ programme which focuses on diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
Mark Cornell is chief executive of the Ambassador Theatre Group. Operating over 50 venues across Britain, the US and Germany, their portfolio includes historic West End theatres such as the Apollo and the Lyceum. Mark began his career in the British Army and served for seven years, leaving with the rank of captain. He then moved into business as an executive at wholesaler WHSmith News before moving on to Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy (LVMH) in 2001, working in various roles in France and the US. In 2013, he joined Sotheby’s Europe as managing director before taking on his current role in 2016. In this in-depth conversation, Mark discusses how his time in the military taught him to make bold decisions, reveals how completing an MBA at IMD in Switzerland in 1999 helped propel him into the luxury goods industry, and describes how ATG is reaching new audiences by making the theatre experience more engaging.
Tunde Banjoko is founder and chief executive of Making The Leap. The London-based charity tackles the issues surrounding social mobility by increasing opportunities for underprivileged young people, helping them make a start in their careers. Since 2011, the charity has supported over 50,000 young people by developing their essential skills. In 2017, Tunde founded the UK Social Mobility Awards to encourage organisations across the country to tackle this deep societal problem. In this in-depth conversation, Tunde discusses how he has doubled his efforts to tackle social mobility with the launch of his recent podcast, describes how he was inspired by the ‘Strive’ programme in the US which offers support to individuals struggling to find employment, and argues why one of the most impactful changes to social inequality that the UK government can make will be to abolish university fees.
Jason Trost is founder and chief executive of Smarkets. As one of the world's largest betting exchanges, the company simplifies peer-to-peer betting on hundreds of markets daily. With more than 200,000 customers trading billions of pounds annually, it is one of the fastest-growing companies in Europe. Prior to co-founding Smarkets, Jason worked in the global asset management division at UBS, designing and implementing proprietary software to assist in one of the world’s largest hedge fund trading operations. In this in-depth conversation, Jason discusses why sports betting is a “zero-line game”, describes how computer algorithms can flag customers with potential gambling addictions to offer help, and reveals how the company’s prediction markets offer one of the most sophisticated tools for tracking live probabilities for general elections.
James Herring is chief executive and founder of PR agency Taylor Herring. The award-winning agency counts the BBC, Coca Cola, and Walt Disney among its clients and is known for its humorous approach to brand storytelling. The company often hits the headlines with campaigns such as transforming a supermarket into an ice rink and creating an hour long film about a Samsung washing machine. James is also founder of The Poke, a satirical website launched in 2002 known for producing humorous news content. He is also the editor-in-chief of, and director of St Marks Studios, which creates news packages for online and broadcast media. In this in-depth conversation, James discusses how the Edinburgh Festival Fringe inspired him to start a career in media and entertainment, describes how he founded his company with his wife nearly twenty years ago as a creative agency promising to deliver fame and fortune to its clients, and reveals how he convinced Stephen Hawking to write a scientific research paper on the odds of England winning the World Cup Final in 2014.
Ken Daly is the chief executive of JML Group. Joining the company in 1994 when there were just four employees, he has grown the business to 250 employees and expanded into more than 50 countries. Originally selling consumer products through live demonstrations in department stores, JML has evolved to sell DIY, homeware and beauty products through TV shopping and online platforms. Promoted to CEO in 2012, Ken has led the company to become a household name with an annual turnover of £100 million. In this in-depth conversation, Ken describes how he steered the company to infiltrate global e-commerce platforms such as Amazon and eBay, discusses how TV advertising has helped to double the size of the business, and reveals that he will be featuring on Channel 4’s ‘Buy It Now’ entertainment show celebrating British innovation and inventions.
Oren Aviv was most recently the President of the Motion Picture Group and Chief Content Officer at STX Entertainment. Previously the chief creative officer at Walt Disney Studios, he was responsible for overseeing all aspects of live-action film development on hundreds of movies for almost two decades. Prior to this, he designed marketing campaigns and launched film franchises for 20th Century Fox studios, including X-Men and Rise of the Planet of the Apes. In this in-depth conversation, Oren describes the details that went into creating the vision for Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, argues that the growing number of streaming services are increasing pressure on the film industry, and reveals how he helped establish STX entertainment, a global media company which specialises in end-to-end production of film, television, digital and VR content.
Alan Greenberg is the chief executive of Gradience, a software engineering and AI company. Formerly the director of Apple Education EMEA and later for Asia, he led a team which pioneered podcasting, iTunes U and the first generation of the App Store in Europe and China. A director, advisor, consultant and VC to a wide range of education and health tech businesses, his portfolio includes companies in London, Amsterdam, Berlin, Dubai, Beijing, New York and LA. In this in-depth conversation, Alan describes how how he oversaw one of Apple’s first podcasting initiatives, discusses the opportunities to drive innovation for people with mental health problems, and argues that teachers should be paid more than bankers.
Mark Sylvester is CEO of introNetworks. Founded in 2003, the social networking platform was rolled out to connect audiences at TED conferences, and has since been used by hundreds of organisations, including NASA. Mark also co-founded Wavefront Technologies, an Oscar-winning company which pioneered computer-generated animation software used in Hollywood movies. In this in-depth conversation, Mark reveals how a part-time job as a festive window painter ignited his passion for graphic design, explains how he used laser technology to capture realistic landscapes when animation was still at its infancy, and describes how he mentors and supports speakers with writing and presenting speeches to large audiences.
Adam Hadley is the director of Tech Against Terrorism. Partnered with the UN’s Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate, they work with the global tech sector to tackle terrorist use of the internet whilst respecting human rights. Adam is also CEO of QuantSpark, a data science consultancy which advises the world’s most complex organisations how to use their data efficiently. In this in-depth conversation, Adam describes how small platforms are being used by violent extremists to spread propaganda, argues there should be greater focus on the roots of violent behaviour instead of removing online content as a solution, and explains his mission for policy makers, government and the tech industry to work collaboratively to benefit society.
Daniel Shakhani is co-founder of Salary Finance, an award-winning FinTech platform that works with employers to help staff members facing financial difficulties in order to move from debt to savings. A business with a strong social mission, it provides low-interest loans to help employees avoid expensive payday lenders and build their credit scores. In this in-depth conversation, he describes how the company is expanding into the US with a pledge to help 10 million Americans get out of problematic debt, argues there is a lack of education around the link between money problems and mental health, and explains his motive behind founding the Financial Inclusion Alliance, a “movement” for banks, nonprofits and employers to work together to help people break free of poverty.
James Ingram and Benoit Lagarde are the chief executive and co-founder, respectively, of visual content creation company Splashlight. With a shared vision for creative intelligence, they have formed LiiV, a company that invests in and builds strategic and cutting edge organisations that sit at the intersection of technology, creativity and human science. They recently acquired Telmar, which provides strategic targeting and media planning to advertisers, agencies and data suppliers globally. In this in-depth conversation, they discuss the gap in the market for technology that can understand human emotions, argue that leaders need to be advised on using data responsibly, and explain why digital anthropologists are needed to help understand “digital villages”.
Tallen Todorovich is a sports agent and lawyer. Prior to launching his law office on Wall Street, he was a litigator for well-known brands such as Gucci, JP Morgan and Moroccanoil. Specialising in sports and entertainment, Tallen helps young athletes manage their wealth, negotiate multi-million dollar deals, and further their sporting careers. In this in-depth conversation, he outlines how he immerses himself in the athletes lives to “match their psychology” and discovers what motivates them, describes how he lessens the stress of balancing high-intensity training with fame by being a “sounding board”, and discusses how he financially protects his clients from themselves, to ensure they have assets and income for when they retire.
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