Guest Speakers

The Birmingham Business School Alumni relations team regularly organise alumni from a wide range of businesses and industries to come to the School to speak on a range of areas such as leadership, branding, ethics and corporate responsibility. 

Distinguished Leaders Speaker Series

The Birmingham Business School (BBS) Alumni Relations team is delighted to present our exciting Distinguished Leaders speaker series. High profile leaders from a range of industries across the world reflect on their personal journey and discuss the qualities of a great leader.

Find out more about the Distinguished Leaders speaker series.

MBA Global Banking and Finance Speaker Series

The Birmingham Business School (BBS) Alumni Relations team worked with the MBA Global Banking and Finance (GBF) programme to deliver a successful Global Banking speaker series, featuring some of our successful alumni.

Find out more about the MBA GBF speaker series.

Guest Speaker Profiles

Sarah Cox: Head of Business Planning & Programme Management, London 2012


As a Birmingham Business School graduate, Sarah went on to spend ten years in Group Life Development for Commercial Union. In 2004, she moved to work in the Cabinet Office within the UK government as Director of Strategy, Planning and Performance, working at the very heart of government and the civil service for five years.

Most recently, Sarah moved to work for London 2012 where she has been involved with liaising with ministers and stakeholders as part of her central role in planning the 2012 Olympics. Sarah was also part of the Cabinet Office Olympics Secretariat Games where she was responsible for overseeing strategic operational issues.

Sarah joined us to discuss ‘Leading Change -Comparisons of Private and Public Sector’.

Sarah’s lecture was part of our Distinguished Leaders Series.

Ian Lobley: Partner of 3i (Private equity firm)


Ian Lobley returned to Birmingham Business School on Monday 24th September to discuss  "Leading across cultures".

Ian Lobley is a Partner of one of the world’s leading international investors focused on private equity, infrastructure and debt management.

After graduating from the University of Birmingham (UoB) with a BSc in Chemical Engineering in 1984, Ian worked with BOC Group as a Site Engineer before joining 3i in 1987. He has been a 3i Partner since 1994 and spent his career investing in businesses seeking to exploit technology or market advantage to achieve rapid growth. With experience of start-ups through to public companies, Ian has focused on a number of themes including organic and acquisitive growth, internationalisation, management improvement, cultural shift, business recovery and exits through M&A, IPO and secondary sales.

Ian currently leads 3i’s Asset Management Group which manages investments in a range of companies across sectors and geographies. He is also a Director of Bestinvest - one of the UK’s leading independent providers of wealth management and investment management services. 

Ian is married (to a UoB alumnus) with two daughters of 18 and 20. He is a keen cyclist; following a racing career whilst at UoB, he retired from the sport for 27 years until a ‘comeback’ in 2010.

Dr David Loughman, Vice President of Shell, Norway


“Meeting the Energy/Climate Challenge - Why gender diversity counts!” 

By 2050 demand for energy, driven by population expansion and economic growth, will double. The energy industry, and society, will have to meet that whilst also reducing CO2 emissions dramatically from today´s level. The complexity, scale and global nature of this challenge are unprecedented and also underestimated.

Critical to meeting such a challenge is our ability to access the maximum diversity of thinking in governments, industry and society at large. Gender balance is an obvious part of this, but we still have a long way to go, especially in industry. Fundamental changes to working practices, to leadership styles and basic attitudes to the roles of men and women are required; however, we know that gender-balanced teams, well-led, respond much better to complex business challenges.

"I feel very privileged to be part of this event at the University." Event attendee

Vice President Commercial - Europe, Royal Dutch Shell P.L.C.

David joined Shell in 1982 as an exploration geologist in the UK’s Southern Gas Basin, and subsequently led the first North Sea Business Opportunities team in Shell Expro. David was appointed Vice President for Commercial Upstream Europe on July 1st 2009. Also in 2009, David represented Norwegian industry on the panel at the UN’s celebration of International Women’s Day (the first man ever to do so).

He holds MA and PhD degrees in geology from Oxford and Birmingham universities in the United Kingdom, having been a Shell research scholar at Birmingham from 1978-1982. Originally from a South Wales family, he now works and lives in Tananger in Norway with his wife.

View David Loughman's presentation

For pictures of this event and updates on future events, visit our Facebook page.

Ian Cranna, VP of Marketing & Category, Starbucks Coffee Company UK

Ian leads marketing and category management for Starbucks in the UK and Ireland, now at over 750 stores. He is also part of the Starbucks marketing and category global leadership team. He joined Starbucks Coffee Company in January 2004 as category manager UK, rising quickly to cover EMEA. In May 2008 he transferred to the US where he swiftly became director of food for the company and developed a deeper understanding of the business globally. He transferred back to the UK in November 2011 to lead marketing and category in the UK.

Prior to joining Starbucks, Ian held a number of positions with Habitat, Warnaco and BHS.

Ian is passionate about the role he plays in building the Starbucks brand in the UK & Ireland. He believes that listening to Starbucks customers, in stores and through new channels, such as social media, is the cornerstone of the company’s success.

In his new role Ian essentially leads marketing and category management for Starbucks in the UK and Ireland, now at over 750 stores.

Ian joined us to discuss ‘The Challenges of Standardising/Adapting Marketing Across Multicultural Europe’ and ‘The Role of Social and Digital Media in Marketing, Engagement and Brand Building’.

Yogesh Dewan, CEO of Hassium Asset Management


Yogesh Dewan, CEO of Hassium Asset Management, was invited by BBS’s Economics (EconSoc) and Investments Societies to speak with current and former students on his experiences working in the financial sector.

We asked Elizabeth Hohman, a second year Economics student and careers secretary for EconSoc, to give her account of the event.

“With a limited number of spaces available, screening of applicants was essential to ensure the best students were in attendance.

“Yogi delivered a presentation on the origins of his professional career to a small, very attentive group, moving on to his MBA studies and then finally speaking about his experience in different sectors of banking at Goldman Sachs. We were offered an insight not only into the Private Wealth Management department, but also Mergers & Acquisitions and the interview process that he went through before achieving an offer of employment.

"It was very interesting to hear his reasons for moving away from Goldman Sachs to set up his own successful PWM company, Hassium Asset Management. Yogi was, as CEO, able to give us firsthand experience of the obstacles faced in setting up your own business, as well as the risks and benefits associated with walking away from a job to follow this pursuit.”  Elizabeth Hohman

"Although a Q&A session was held at the end of the talk, Yogi interacted with the group throughout, testing knowledge by asking a variety of challenging questions. A networking opportunity with refreshments was held for a short time in between the presentation and the Q&A session, allowing those in attendance to speak not only with Yogi, but with each other, sharing relevant experiences gained through internships or otherwise.

“The event was a success; many of those in attendance commented on how the presentation had not only been very useful in offering interview tips, approaches and an insight into banking, but also very enjoyable too. It would be a pleasure to have Yogi back on campus again in the future.”

For more pictures of the event, visit our Facebook page.

Previous High Profile Industry Speakers at Birmingham Business School

Over the years we have had many guest speakers at the Business School, some of which you can view below. If you would like to discuss taking part in a guest lecture at Birmingham Business School, you can find out how to Get Involved here.

  • Sir Dominic Cadbury, former Chairman and CEO of Cadbury
  • Mike Coupe, Group Commercial Director, Sainsburys View video.
  • Sarah Cox   Head of Business Planning, London 2012 Olympic Organising Committee View video.
  • Nick Humby – Chief Finance Director, Lawn Tennis Association. View video.
  • Adam Boulton, Political Editor – Sky News
  • Andrew Higginson, Chairman, Tesco Bank
  • Anji Hunter, former gate-keeper to Prime Minister Tony Blair
  • Lord Digby Jones, UK Business Ambassador
  • Matthew Key, Chairman and CEO Telefónica Europe plc (who own O2)

Further Guest Speakers

  • Ian Tyler  - Chief Executive, Balfour Beatty View video.
  • Douglas Johnson-Poensgen - Managing Director, Barclays to You View video.
  • Tony Hayward, former CEO, BP
  • Stef Kranendijk , CEO of Desso and world leader in the Circular Economy in Practice
  • David Loughman , Vice President of Shell Norway
  • Kate Lovett, Director of Shipping, BP 
  • Billie Major, Vice President Capgemini
  • William Allen, Chief Economist of Denholm Hall and former Deputy Governor of the Bank of England
  • Sir David Bell, Chairman, Financial Times Group – Pearson PLC
  • Lord Karan Bilimoria, Chairman of the Cobra Beer Partnership
  • Sir Chris Bonington – British Mountaineer
  • Simon Champ and Michael Rawlinson, Co-Directors Liberum Capital
  • George Davis, International Fashion Retailer
  • Andrew Fisher, CEO of Towry Law, former Chief Executive of the Coutts Group
  • David Gill, Chief Executive of Manchester United
  • Eddie Izzard, European Spokesperson, Hollywood Star and Comedian
  • James Martin, Divisional Director, Lehman Brothers / Nomura
  • Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, formerly Chairman of Royal Dutch Shell
  • Mark Reckett, Strategy Director Cadbury Schweppes (annually)
  • Doug Richards, BBC – Dragons Den
  • John Tedstrom, CEO and President of Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS
  • Hossein Yassaie, Hossein Yassaie, Chief Executive of Imagination Technologies
  • Caroline Baker, Global HRM Director ABN AMRO
  • Lord Karan Bilimoria, Chief Executive of Cobra Beer
  • Gerry Blackett, CEO Birmingham Chamber of Commerce
  • Sir John Bond, Chairman of HSBC (at time of visit – 2005)
  • Sir Adrian Cadbury, author of the Cadbury Code on Corporate Governance (annually)
  • Dane Jonathan Douetil, CEO Brit Insurance Holdings Plc
  • Martha Lane Fox, Founder of and Non Executive Director Channel 4
  • Rebecca Harding, Research Director of Deloitte (at time of talk 2005)
  • Sir Digby Jones, CEO CBI (at time of talk 2006)
  • Mervyn King, Governor of The Bank of England
  • Angela Maxwell, CEO Fracino
  • Paul Mylrea, Media Director Oxfam
  • Mark Reckett, Strategy Director Cadbury Schweppes (annually)
  • Richard Taylor, CEO BP Brazil
  • Mark Thomson, Director General of the BBC
  • George Tsinonis, Head of M&G Investment Fund Portfolio
  • Trevor Williams, Chief Economist Lloyds TSB 

See our guest speakers

View more videos on the University of Birmingham YouTube page.