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Ellis Watson

Throughout his dynamic executive career, Ellis Watson has revitalised, rebranded, overhauled, and expanded global businesses spanning sectors from entertainment and transport.

In Person

£10000 - £12000

Price based on UK delivery

Virtual Event

£8000 - £10000

Ellis’s career took off as Marketing Director at The Sun during the peak of its popularity and influence. He later reported directly to Rupert Murdoch as his first Head of Digital. Ellis then became CEO of TV producer Celador International, successfully taking Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? to over a hundred countries.

Returning to Fleet Street, he served as Managing Director of Mirror Group Newspapers, marking his first leadership role in a publicly listed company. Ellis then led the distribution and logistics company John Menzies before joining the board of FirstGroup, where he turned around iconic transport brands like Greyhound across the Americas. In this role, he tackled low morale, poor service, and negative public perception across a vast and overstretched network.

As the global CEO of Simon Cowell’s Syco Corporation, Ellis achieved international success with record labels and program formats, including The X Factor and Got Talent series. At the Scottish media group DC Thomson, he transformed the world’s largest family-owned media company into a future-proofed organisation by revamping its business models, brands, and commercial direction.

Subsequently, he served as Chief Business Advisor to the First Minister of Scotland, shaping the government’s private sector strategy. In business and in speaking, Ellis brings original insight, enthusiasm, frankness and humour, challenging and motivating with a candour that is rare among senior leaders. He advocates for leveraging external shocks and disruptions as opportunities for positive change.

Ellis demonstrates how to inspire passion under pressure, and transition from mission statements to authentic company culture. He emphasises embracing quality and integrity and understanding how to maximise the potential of a diversified workforce as Gen Z gives way to Gen Alpha.

In his presentations, Ellis encourages shifting focus from being busy to being productive, and believes in taking control of the impact you have. As one of the few individuals invited to deliver multiple TED Talks, Ellis is renowned for his insightful views on leading through disruption, fostering a change-oriented culture, and navigating governance and talent management complexities. He is celebrated as one of the most inspiring, intelligent, and entertaining speakers.

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Ellis Watson

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