General Sir Richard Shirreff was Deputy Supreme Commander NATO Europe 2010-2014. This position is the highest a European can attain as the Supreme Commander is always an American.
Born in Kenya, Richard graduated from Oxford University and was then commissioned into the British Army. His service took him all over world and he has commanded on operations at every level from platoon (30 men) to division (20,000 men and women). This included combat in the Gulf War of 1991 as a tank squadron leader and again in Iraq as a divisional commander, together with other operations in Northern Ireland, Kosovo and Bosnia. He has also completed a lot of challenging and interesting posts in various Army HQs and the Ministry of Defence.
As NATO’s 4 Star Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe he operated at the strategic level engaging closely with allied, coalition and other governments (particularly in Afghanistan), the European Union, non-Governmental and International organisations to plan and execute campaigns, generate the force levels required and build the necessary bridges, intellectually, culturally and practically, in order to support NATO campaigns and operations, together with the Alliance’s wider transformation. He has extensive experience of building unity of effort with different nations, governments, the humanitarian community and a wide variety of other stakeholders in order to resolve complex problems. He has a first hand understanding of the challenges of decision making under extreme political and media pressure, and a proven record of leading dynamic change management in establishing radical new structures to achieve integrated planning and execution with key stakeholders.
After a lifetime leading soldiers in peace, on operations and in combat, Richard is a passionate exponent of the importance of values-based leadership at every level and in every sector. His views and experience of strategy are equally relevant and applicable to business. He is a charismatic and proven speaker on leadership from the front and beyond, while his talks on strategy at the London Business School have resonated with both students and corporates alike.
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