PwC goes back to school with CEOs - and it’s the best thing since sliced bread!

23 February 2016

PwC is joining forces with the School for CEOs to help strengthen Scotland’s pipeline of aspiring senior leaders and deepen the skill base of existing CEOs.

Over 30 attendees from private businesses across the country are taking part in a morning session at PwC’s Edinburgh office today (16 February), with the timetable covering subjects such as succession and exit, the impact of technology and future trends, and how to stay relevant in an ever changing market.

Ensuring the session was everyone’s cup of tea – and the best thing since slice of bread – is Jonathan Warburton, Chairman of Warburtons and a member of the advisory board for the School for CEOs. Jonathan has been with the family business since he was 23 and Chairman for the last 11 years, during which he has overseen the business grow its turnover 60% to now over £500m.

Also on the panel, David Sole, School for CEOs Partner and former Scotland Rugby captain. Since retiring from the game, he has enjoyed a successful career with United Distillers and Diageo as well as an executive coach, working with individuals and businesses across a broad range of industries.

Martin Cowie, PwC’s private business leader in Scotland, completed the panel line-up.  He said:

"Whether a business is family owned or funded by private equity, the issue of succession and exit will undoubtedly raise its head at some point.

“Ensuring a smooth transition to the next generation or through a sale to new owners demands careful planning. So it is worrying that for many businesses, this is often put on the back burner – our last family business survey, for example, found that only 13% of companies had a succession plan that had been discussed and documented.

“Companies that survive this transition and continue to prosper are usually those with a well- developed plan that anticipates succession or sale. Having the right people with the right skills at the right time to deliver the vision of the future is essential and this session aims to help them successfully navigate this path.

“Digital strategies and the need to embrace the business opportunities technology can deliver will also be on the agenda. Social media, for example, not only delivers a direct link to customers, from an internal perspective it can also improve collaboration and innovation, particularly in the application of key internal and supply chain processes.

“A company’s quickness to respond to changes in technology can be the difference between success and failure.”

David Sole, School for CEOs Partner, added:

“We were delighted to be invited by PwC to help put this event together.  Family businesses have a unique dynamic and real topics such as succession planning can pose considerable challenges for these organisations.  Our programmes help individuals address some of these challenges, reach their full potential, and step up to greater responsibility.

“Jonathan Warburton heads one of the most high profile family businesses in the UK.  Within Warburton’s, family is a massive part of the organisation’s identity.  As a member of our Advisory Board and Faculty and head of a family business which was started in 1876, he is perfectly placed to share experience and insights particularly around the area of ever evolving technology.

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