CEOx1Day stories

Read the stories of those who have taken part in the CEOx1Day UK programme.

Nicholas Alford

Having the opportunity to shadow Edward Peck and see what happens behind the scenes at a university was a fascinating opportunity. The day was jam-packed with different activities, all representing different aspects of being a Vice-Chancellor; ranging from presentations, meetings, networking events and conference calls. I was surprised at the level of involvement that Edward has, however this was overshadowed by the clear passion that he showed. I am very grateful for the opportunity, and the honesty and advice that Edward gave me throughout the day.

Nicholas Alford spent the day with Professor Edward Peck, Vice-Chancellor, Nottingham Trent University

Matthew Bishop

TOn the day we went to CEO conference hosted by HSBC, which I thought was very intriguing as it allowed me to be a part of an in-depth Q&A with other CEOs such as Steve Rowe (M&S CEO). Immediately, I saw this as a valuable opportunity to ask other CEOs how they tackle challenges faced at them, and as a chance make contacts with well-respected employees of HSBC. After we attended Domino's offices in London, which gave me great insight into how Domino's operates. We spoke to every member of the team, to gain knowledge of what they do at Domino's. This enabled me to see the amount of work that goes behind operating a multinational business. After we attended multiple Domino's shops, to assess their performance. We looked to see why some shops are under performing more than others, and how we can change things in them, to bring them back in line with the succeeding shops. I found David's dedication towards the business and its employees fascinating, it was amazing to see what he does to enable Domino's to succeed. Moreover, the insight and skills I gained from shadowing David are something that no other opportunity could provide me with. Partaking in the CEOx1Day program gave me valuable insight into the life of a CEO, and has only made me made me want to work even harder, so that I can be a CEO like David. This experience further resonates with me that a man's reach should exceed his grasp. I'd advise anyone not to be disheartened by the application process, as the end result pays big dividends.

Matthew Bishop spent the day with David Wild, CEO, Domino’s

Malgorzata Szalega

Given a chance to spend a day with CEO of ASOS - Nick Beighton was an extraordinary experience! I was lucky enough to participate in the annual review of the company's performance and I believe this has provided me with enormous knowledge of ASOS as a brand and a company. The warmth and friendliness of the CEO himself and all of the employees made me feel as if I was already a part of ASOS family! At the end of the day, I got to celebrate huge success with the London-based ASOS team! After only a few hours of discovering the ASOS culture, I feel a very strong connection to the company and the people out there! And if anyone is still wondering whether it was worthwhile experience or not - Absolutely YES is the only answer! Thank you again for such an opportunity!

Malgorzata Szalega spent the day with Nick Beighton, CEO, ASOS

Felix Ochefu

It was truly an immersive experience at the ICAEW from the minute I walked into the hallowed lobby of the Chartered Accountants’ Hall, to the minute I bid the CEO Michael Izza goodbye. I was able to partake in meetings with leading industry figures, leaders within the ICAEW and was lucky enough to be present during the Budget Day 2017 reveal. Michael gave me a completely holistic view of what it’s like leading such a large organisation, how he works effectively with government and the private sector, as well as delving into his own personal experiences, background and providing key industry insight. The experience has made me realise I have a lot to learn when it comes to being a leader but has also assured me that I’m on the right track and for that, I’m grateful.

Felix Ochefu spent the day with Michael Izza, Chief Executive, ICAEW

Alexander Blums

Andy Random and his personal assistant invited me to shadow him on a full working-day in London. We had five separate meetings around town with bankers, consultants, and shareholders so I had the opportunity to observe both internal and external activities of the CEO. Andy gave me plenty advice on leadership and was very happy to answer all of the many questions I had. This experience definitely inspired me to be more ambitious in life and gave me a unique insight into how an FTSE100 company is run.

Alexander Blums spent the day with Andy Ransom, Chief Executive Officer, Rentokilw

Sophie Peacock

Spending the day with Andrew Formica at Janus Henderson provided me with a unique opportunity to see how a business is run at the highest level. Janus Henderson have recently gone through a merger which has had a huge impact on the day-today running of the business, so it was really interesting to see how the Co-CEOs were working together to unite the two companies (Janus and Henderson) and provide a clear direction to both their employees and clients. It struck me how well the two Co-CEOs worked together to spread this message clearly and effectively in a period of so much change. Taking part in CEOx1 was an amazing experience, and allowed me begin understanding how strategic decisions are made and carried out at the highest levels of a company.

Sophie Peacock spent the day with Andrew Formica, Co-Chief Executive, Janus Henderson

Giorgio Collett

I loved it - Spending the day with Angela Spindler was an invaluable and unique experience that allowed me to learn a lot about N Brown, the retail industry and the role of CEO. On the day there were many different activities planned. I went to see different divisions of the company, form the design team to customer service, to truly understand the complexity of a large business. I had lunch with both the CEO and CFO, this made me realise how much teamwork there is even at the very top levels of business. I attended meetings with the CEO and other executives. Furthermore I had the opportunity to have a one-on-one meeting with the Director of Investor Relations discussing the nature of the role and its challenges. The attention that the CEO and the other employees and executives gave me, despite their busy schedule, was incredible. In fact, I spent lots of time in one-on-one conversations with Angela herself. This experience left me thrilled with the desire to learn more and has inspired me to pursue my career goals. I would like to thank you and Odgers Berndtson again for this fantastic opportunity. I cannot stress enough how much I valued and enjoyed yesterday’s experience, thank you so much for organising this incredible programme.

Giorgio Collett spent the day with Angela Spindler, CEO, N Brown Group plc

Natalia Pospieszna

Inspiring, motivating and a stereotype breaking experience. While introducing myself to Ian I said: "It is a privilege to shadow you for the day." Ian said that I should decide on that at the end of the day, so I took his advice and can confidently say that by the end of the day it was more than a privilege. The experience far exceeded my expectations. The day consisted of various meetings I had a chance to experience brain storming at a trading meeting, interesting investment decision making and financial report presentations. The team of officers and Ian's PA were impressively motivated and positive! I also had the opportunity to visit Redhouse Distribution Centre and Northern Upholstery factory; it was a great chance for me to find out about the production process and distribution of the products. During Q&A I had an inspiring conversation with Ian which helped me understand what are the qualities required to be a great CEO e.g. comprehensive knowledge, enthusiasm and very highly developed soft skills. I loved it!

Natalia Pospieszna spent the day with Ian Filby, CEO, DFS

Yasmin Ali

Shadowing Justine Roberts at Mumsnet was a fantastic experience. The day started off with a tour of the office and meeting all of the different teams to learn about their roles in the business. I spent time with the affiliates team, social media and the content and engagement team. The staff at Mumsnet were so friendly and the working environment was thoroughly enjoyable. I also sat in on Justine’s interview with Sky News and took some photos which Sky News used on their social media platforms. I learnt that celebrities, bloggers and even politicians partner with Mumsnet to promote their work, which shows the reach and influence that Mumsnet has. Justine is incredibly inspiring and her work ethic is second to none. Hearing her story of how she grew her business inspired me to continue to work hard and strive for what I want.

Yasmin Ali spent the day with Justine Roberts CBE, Founder and CEO, Mumsnet

Richard Armstrong

It was such privileged opportunity to see how one of the top leaders in the country handles a day at the office. Every single minute of John's fast-paced day was accounted for, yet my learning experience was taken seriously. Time was set aside for John to speak with me personally at the beginning and end of the day, which allowed me to get to know the man behind the title, to put questions to him directly and place the day in context. In between, I sat in a range of types and sizes of meetings, crossing both John's roles in the Civil Service and the Cabinet Office. From an intense, head-to-head with one of his directors, to a more relaxed weekly committee meeting, to a planning meeting with Jeremy Heywood and his team. It showed me how CEOs need to be on top of such a breadth of matters across their organisation, ready to communicate their vision on each. After a meeting, for example, John would occasionally stride into his private secretaries' office adjacent to his own, asking what's up next, ready to pounce on the next engagement with just as much vigour and expertise as the last. The end of the day was a treat; I walked down Whitehall to the Palace of Westminster to observe John answer a select committee on the Civil Service's preparedness for Brexit! Something I really noticed was how John's office couldn't have made me feel more welcome. Each of his private secretaries devoted time to speak one-to-one with me during lunch, and were keen to answer my questions, give me an idea of how they each support John, and share their own experiences of the Fast Stream graduate programme. I'm terribly thankful to Odgers Berndtson and to the Cabinet Office for this invaluable experience, one that I'll carry with me as inspiration for a very long time.

Richard Armstrong spent the day with John Manzoni, Permanent Secretary, Cabinet Office

Irtiza Mevawala

IIn terms of the actual time spent with Rod (CEO), I found it to be very insightful. I got to see what he gets up to on a typical day and got to meet other members of management such as the CFO and COO. During the day I attended several different meetings where Rod discussed usual business matters. At the end of the day he sat down with me to answer any questions I had. This Q&A session allowed me to ask questions about his overall career as well as get some advice for success. Overall, I found the experience to be very valuable, especially for someone of my age, as it allowed me to see what it takes to be successful. I am also pleased to get someone like Rod in my network base.

Irtiza Mevawala spent the day with Rod McKie, CEO, Welcome Break

Applications now open until the 6th of January 2020 at 5pm GMT

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