45 episodes

LEADING talks to leaders at the top of a wide range of organisations to discover how they learnt to lead, the big decisions they’ve taken and the advice they offer to others.

From the worlds of business, charity, the arts, sport, technology and healthcare, CEOs share their take on leading vital causes, famous brand names, multi-million-pound enterprises and fast-growing start-ups. The podcast is presented by the journalist James Ashton.

Leading with James Ashton James Ashton

    • Business
    • 4.4 • 16 Ratings

LEADING talks to leaders at the top of a wide range of organisations to discover how they learnt to lead, the big decisions they’ve taken and the advice they offer to others.

From the worlds of business, charity, the arts, sport, technology and healthcare, CEOs share their take on leading vital causes, famous brand names, multi-million-pound enterprises and fast-growing start-ups. The podcast is presented by the journalist James Ashton.

    Meta

    Meta

    Nicola Mendelsohn oversees the vast $100bn-a-year advertising business at Meta, the social media giant known until recently as Facebook. She is one of the most senior women in UK tech, now heading to New York to take up her new role.

    Business is booming for Meta, which also includes Instagram and Whatsapp, as it plots a push into virtual reality worlds. But so are critics’ voices, especially after damaging leaks suggesting the group knew its products contributed to violence and mental health problems. Regulators are asking how it might take greater responsibility for what goes on on its platform, which boasts 1.9bn daily active users.

    Lady Mendelsohn joined Facebook in 2013 as vice president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa after 20 years in advertising, spent at firms including Karmarama, Grey and BBH.

    She joins James Ashton to discuss:

    Mark Zuckerberg’s vision for the future and how he plans to lead Meta forward;

    The importance of asking questions and seeking mentors;

    Coping with cancer in a leadership role and why it’s OK to show vulnerability;

    And thriving in a male-dominated advertising industry.


    For further details of this series, follow @leadingpod or go to leadingpod.com

    James Ashton’s book The Nine Types of Leader (bit.ly/NINEbook) is available now

    • 35 min
    JoJo Maman Bébé

    JoJo Maman Bébé

    Laura Tenison is the always-on founder and CEO of JoJo Maman Bébé, the children’s clothing, gifts and maternity wear chain which brightens dozens of UK high streets.

    The business now stretches to 88 shops, a strong online presence, 900 employees and an annual turnover of £70m.

    Laura joins James Ashton to discuss:

    The life-changing car accident that led to the foundation of her business in 1993;

    Rolling up her sleeves to join her warehouse workers during the Covid-19 pandemic;

    The mentorship she received from the Body Shop’s Anita Roddick that informed JoJo’s focus on sustainability;

    And the importance of supporting fellow entrepreneurs including through the everywoman platform.


    For further details of this series, follow @leadingpod or go to leadingpod.com

    James Ashton’s book The Nine Types of Leader (bit.ly/NINEbook) is available now

    • 39 min
    Under Armour

    Under Armour

    Patrik Frisk is CEO of Under Armour, the US sportswear brand worn by top boxer Anthony Joshua, rugby star Maro Itoje and taekwondo champion Jade Jones that goes head-to-head with Nike and Adidas every day.

    Frisk joined UA in 2017 to help get it back on track after sales growth stuttered. He oversees a global team of 15,000 and annual revenue of $5bn.

    He joins James Ashton to discuss:

    Taking the helm from UA’s long-serving founder Kevin Plank, who created his first T-shirt in 1996;

    What he learns from the athletes that have become UA brand ambassadors;

    Battling loneliness in leadership;

    His last job, running shoe brand Aldo, and earlier years spent at Timberland and North Face;

    And betting – and literally losing - the farm because of one of his business ventures flopped in his native Sweden. What are the lessons you take from failure?


    For further details of this series, follow @leadingpod or go to leadingpod.com

    James Ashton’s book The Nine Types of Leader (bit.ly/NINEbook) is available now

    • 37 min
    Royal Navy

    Royal Navy

    Admiral Sir Tony Radakin is First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff, overseeing more than 30,000 personnel and a fleet of aircraft carriers, assault ships, submarines and more designed to protect UK interests at sea.

    He joins James Ashton to discuss:

    The new investment and recruitment needed to tackle changing threats abroad;

    Taking life threatening decisions and fulfilling our duty in Afghanistan;

    His career so far, including three command tours of Iraq;

    The importance of not second guessing those above you;

    And how to enjoy the role without being intimidated by the Royal Navy’s great legacy.

    Admiral Radakin was commissioned in 1990 and operational service has seen him on security duties in the Falklands and countering smuggling in Hong Kong and the Caribbean. Command positions have included the Iraqi Maritime Task Force, the Portsmouth Naval Base and NATO’s High Readiness Maritime Component Commander.


    For further details of this series, follow @leadingpod or go to leadingpod.com

    James Ashton’s book The Nine Types of Leader (bit.ly/NINEbook) is available now

    • 46 min
    S4 Episode 15 - RFU

    S4 Episode 15 - RFU

    Bill Sweeney is chief executive of the Rugby Football Union, English rugby’s 150-year old governing body that oversees half a million regular players and strives for elite international success.

    Sweeney joins James Ashton to discuss:

    Bringing back the fans and steadying the finances in the wake of the Covid-19 closedown;

    Making your own luck on and off the pitch;

    Instilling a team ethic in the athletes who brought back a record medals haul from the Rio Olympics in 2016 when he led the British Olympic Association;

    What he learnt from working with Usain Bolt and the All Blacks during his time at Puma and Adidas and his hopes for future Rugby World Cup victories.

    Bill Sweeney was a junior footballer with Chelsea and played rugby for Aberdeenshire and Rosslyn Park before gaining corporate experience working for Shell, Mars and Unilever.

    His passion for sport saw him join Adidas, a supporter of Team GB at the Beijing and London Olympic Games, and later become head of business development at Puma.

    Sweeney was appointed chief executive of the BOA by Lord Coe in 2013, describing his decision to depart for the RFU in 2019 as “the only opportunity I would have left the BOA for”.


    Leading is supported by Lockton, the world’s largest privately-owned, independent insurance broker. Lockton's independence means its 8,000 associates worldwide are free to focus solely on their clients' risk and insurance needs. To hear more from Lockton experts, please visit locktoninternational.com/gb/insight

    For further details of this series, follow @leadingpod or go to leadingpod.com

    James Ashton’s book The Nine Types of Leader (bit.ly/NINEbook) is available to order now

    • 41 min
    S4 Episode 14 - Marks & Spencer

    S4 Episode 14 - Marks & Spencer

    Katie Bickerstaffe is joint chief operating officer at Marks & Spencer.

    She is part of the top team tasked with reviving the retailer’s clothing and home business while capitalising on the appeal of its expanding food operation and the shift towards shopping online.

    Bickerstaffe joins James Ashton to discuss:

    Her quest to make daily improvements to the business that still frustrates customers;

    Career confidence and experience gathered at Dixons, Dyson and SSE;

    How she makes a four-day week work;

    And why she believes M&S’s new alumni network M&S Family will benefit both the business and its leadership.

    Bickerstaffe is a product of Unilever’s graduate scheme but has also worked at PepsiCo, Dyson and the supermarket group Somerfield, where she became managing director at the age of 33.

    Spending a decade at electricals retailer Dixons, she led the UK and Ireland arm and bedded down a merger with Carphone Warehouse.

    Bickerstaffe had been a non-executive director at M&S since 2018. She became strategy and transformation director in 2020 and took on her current role in May 2021.


    Leading is supported by Lockton, the world’s largest privately-owned, independent insurance broker. Lockton's independence means its 8,000 associates worldwide are free to focus solely on their clients' risk and insurance needs. To hear more from Lockton experts, please visit locktoninternational.com/gb/insight

    For further details of this series, follow @leadingpod or go to leadingpod.com

    James Ashton’s book The Nine Types of Leader (bit.ly/NINEbook) is available to order now

    • 48 min

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5
16 Ratings

16 Ratings

Darrellcreasey ,

Mr 5 Star Ellis

What an amazing and insightful interview with Kevin Ellis from PWC...the way he speaks about the importance of being proud of the Company you work for and having a love for the job makes so much sense.
I shall be making sure my teenage Son listens to this. Finding what you love to do is the Holy Grail of Happiness and Success....luckily for Kevin he found it early in his working life.

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