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A Chairman’s Tale

By Sir Nigel Rudd, Andrew Lorenz

Sir Nigel Rudd is one of the leading businessmen of his generation.

Over the past four decades, he has headed a host of major British companies across a range of different industries, piling up experience that is second to none.

From his modest upbringing in Derby to the commanding heights of UK plc, Rudd recounts his journey with all the unusual forthrightness and penetrating insight that are his hallmarks.

He takes the reader inside the boardrooms as personal and corporate destinies are being settled, against the background of momentous events from the Thatcher Revolution of the 1980s to the financial and Covid crises of this century.

Rudd has seen it all and done most of it. This is his story: riveting, panoramic and definitive.

Praise for A Chairman’s Tale:

“I was CEO of three large public companies, so I’ve had many chairmen over the years. Out of all those chairmen, Nigel Rudd was by far the best. He was incomparable. He’s very courageous, ready to take tough and even risky decisions; he has phenomenal business nous; he’s always there when you need him and never there when you don’t” – Paolo Scaroni, chairman of AC Milan and formerly chief executive of Enel and Pilkington

“Nigel has never run away from or been afraid of going into a difficult situation. And in most of those situations, he has turned a sow’s ear into a silk purse and extracted the value for it. After he hired me as Boots’ CEO, he told me his Three Rules of Chairmanship: ‘1. I run the Board, you run the Company; 2. Bad news travels fast – good news can wait; 3. I’ll back you until I sack you.’ I said: ‘Whoa – I’m not starting until tomorrow!” – Richard Baker, formerly chief executive of Alliance Boots and chairman of Whitbread

“My father fought in the Army against the Communists in Malaysia. In the jungle, our native trackers would suddenly tell the soldiers to lie down and very soon a group of enemy fighters would pass by. ‘How do you know that’s going to happen?’, my father asked a tracker, and the man replied: ‘Because in the jungle, you know something is wrong when the birds stop singing.’ Nigel knows what it means in business when the birds stop singing” – Luke Meynell, consultant at Russell Reynolds Associates.

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