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Sir John Parker – Keynote Speaker at Leadership Talk
“Good management does make a difference. But never get so high up that you can’t find time to go down,” was one piece of advice given to business leaders by Sir John Parker as keynote speaker at the FPM Annual Leadership Talk, Management Month initiative in association with the Ulster Business School, at the University of Ulster, Belfast campus.
Originally from County Down, Sir John Parker’s first job was in Harland and Wolff with its ship design team. His career since then has spanned the engineering, shipbuilding and defence industries. In 1983 he returned to Harland and Wolff as Chairman and Chief Executive to lead a turnaround in the yard’s fortunes and transfer it into the private sector.
It was to be the first of numerous significant leadership roles. Sir John has chaired five FTSE100 companies, including National Grid, from which he stepped down in December 2011, and he is currently Chairman of the mining conglomerate Anglo American. He is Vice Chairman of DP World (Dubai) and a Non-Executive Director of Carnival Corporation and EADS (Airbus). He has also chaired the Court of the Bank of England (2004-2009) and is currently President of the Royal Academy of Engineers.
During the one hour conversation with broadcaster Gerry Kelly, Sir John’s passion for creating an industrial strategy for the UK aligned with a growth in the number of apprentices was very apparent. “Education, the skills agenda, universities, research and development, industrial activity – it all needs to be more aligned and that I think is starting to happen.”
Speaking at the event, which attracted a “full house”, FPM Accountants LLP, Managing Partner, Feargal McCormack stated, that Sir John’s approach to leadership, his vision and views, which were shared during the in-depth chat, were inspirational. “It is clear to see why Sir John Parker has been one of the most sought-after company chairmen and directors for the past three decades.”
Professor Marie McHugh, Dean of the Ulster Business School at the University of Ulster, stated, “We were delighted to work with Professor Feargal McCormack and his team at FPM in organising the Annual Leadership Talk. As a Business School that is committed to developing the entrepreneurial flair, business, management and leadership skills of its students, it was an honour to welcome such an internationally renowned and respected figure as Sir John Parker, to share with us his thoughts on his approach to business.”
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