HRMI 2021: David Sole, Managing Partner, School for CEOs

Sole OBE is managing partner of the School for CEOs, the organisation he co-founded with former CEO of John Menzies plc, Patrick Macdonald. He has been working with senior executives and leadership teams as an Executive Coach since 2001 – prior to that he worked for United Distillers and Diageo in operational roles.

The School for CEOs offer practitioner-led executive education programmes for aspiring business leaders; coaching and team development; executive team profiling and inclusive leadership programmes which frequently focus on race and ethnicity – a subject that Sole is particularly passionate about. The School for CEOs has a faculty of experienced CEOs, Chairs and non-executive directors who share their insights and learnings on practical and pragmatically designed programmes.

Outside of work, Sole is currently chairman of Worldwide Cancer Research and has previously held other non-executive appointments of various organisations in the private, public and voluntary sectors including The Kilchoman Distillery Company; sportscotland and the HBOS Foundation.
Sole co-authored a book, 21st Century Networking – How to Become a Natural Networker, in 2015.

He is married with four grown up children and is a former international rugby player who led Scotland to their Grand Slam in 1990 and was a British and Irish Lion on the victorious tour to Australia in 1989.


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David Sole was ranked 42nd on the list of HR Most Influential Thinkers in 2021.