Top Tips on Being a Successful CEO

Publication Year / 2013 / Categories / Business / Student

Wednesday 04 December 2013

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Dr Suki Thompson, founder and CEO of Oystercatchers, a leading London marketing consultancy, visited Coventry University London Campus recently to deliver a guest lecture on what it takes to become a successful CEO.

The lecture was part of the Leadership Lecture series organised by London Campus in order to promote the Real Business Experience strategy among the students. Industry leaders, entrepreneurs and employers, are invited to give inspirational talks to students, helping them put into practice what they learn.

During the public lecture, Suki Thompson, who is also Chairman of the Marketing Society and holder of Honorary Doctor of Business Administration degree from Coventry University, spoke about her research project in which she interviewed successful CEOs, and presented their views on what it takes to be a great leader.


These are her lessons and the quotes from the CEOs:


  • Give a clear sense of direction

“Give the whole company a sense of direction and clarity. Here is where we are going, this is why we are going there and  this is what it means to you.” Martin Glenn, CEO United Biscuits

 “Having a higher purpose is a huge motivator, it is about having an agenda and bringing people on a journey, not just an external perception, but a real desire to change the traditional capitalist model.”

Ronan Dunne, CEO O2


  • Communicate clearly

It’s not enough to be a smart strategist and financially astute, communication is vital. My communication skills have moved from a 2 to a 4, but in the future all CEOs will need to be a 5 plus.”

Tom Falk, Chairman and CEO Kimberly Clark


  • Take risks but don’t bet the company

“The only company that might never make a mistake is the one that lives in a changeless market and does nothing new. Progress is about going into the unknown and therefore embodies risk.”

Sir Paul Judge, Chairman various


  • Build the team around you

“The only essential skill of any entrepreneur is to know who's got fire in their belly & who hasn't; [who’s got] a shared goal to build businesses.”

Julian Metcalfe, Founder Pret a Manger and Itsu


  • Earn your reward through building trust

“We are challenging the established high street institutions. What is really important is that we stand up for customers and offer them a bank they can trust.”

Benny Higgins, CEO Tesco Bank


Dr Suki Thompson, CEO of Oystercatchers, said:

“I’m very happy that Coventry University London Campus has organised this lecture series to take place; sharing your experience is part of being an entrepreneur. It’s very important for the students to interact with industry experts alongside learning about business and management in the classroom.”