A breakfast with two successful business men, discussing resilience and leadership for CEOs.

Charles Lewington CBE is the founder of Hanover Communications. He started the company in 1998 after a career to that point which included being John Major’s press secretary and working on several major newspapers. Hanover is a global consultancy with over 200 consultants spread across the UK, Belgium, Ireland and the Middle East. Michael Lorimer is the CEO of DCS Group, the largest privately owned manufacturer and distributor of health, beauty and household brands in the United Kingdom. He began his career in Mars and has over 30 years experience in the FMCG sector, Michael is a member of the JF Advisory Council.

Charles and Michael joined us to speak at the Jobs Foundation’s latest breakfast event on the topic of resilience and leadership for CEOs. Michael started by underlining the importance of character led business. “Unless you have the right people, you have nothing,” he told us. He felt the UK manufacturing sector needs to be more positive and resilient overall, feeling confident in itself to produce more of the goods Britons consume here in UK. Michael also mentioned that describing young people as lazy or undermotivated, which is an unfortunate trend, is ill-judged. “If anything, young people today are often working too hard, burning themselves out because so many of their managers are opting to work from home! Leaders need to lead and create the environments where others can grow and flourish”.

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Charles emphasised the critical importance of reputational resilience, particularly in today’s uncertain times. He argued that reputational resilience should be assessed across the entire organisation, not just the communications department, and identified three key dimensions for business leaders to consider. Firstly, organisations need an authentic Mission, Vision, and Purpose (MVP) developed internally that resonates with employees and is easily communicated to customers. Secondly, the right people at the appropriate levels within the business should champion the organisation’s reputation. Finally, effective collaboration between key functions and consistent measurement mechanisms are crucial for managing and gauging reputational health.

The next breakfast in our series will be with guest speaker Alison Cork MBE, who is an entrepreneur, author, and TV presenter. She is also the founder and CEO of online brand alisonathome.com and founder of Make It Your Business.