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Paul Birch was instrumental in the turnaround of the culture at British Airways. He helped develop the BA brand when at its very best, as well as taking a billion pounds out of the five billion cost base – astonishingly without incurring any industrial action.
His most innovative role, created in conjunction with the Chief Executive, was that of Corporate Jester – a bold step that allowed him to challenge the complacency and out-of-touch world that can exist at the top of any large organisation. The role was a great success, with the side-effect of generating hugely positive media coverage for BA, leading to job applications which said that any company that employed a jester sounded like a great place to work!
Paul possesses a deep working knowledge of the complexities of corporate management at all levels and a passion for creating both organisational innovation and business cost effectiveness. From baggage handling to innovating systems to meet regulation, from market tactics and strategies to mergers and acquisitions, Paul has done it all. At the same time his pro bono work focuses on the day to day challenges of the individual making their way in a changing world of work.
Whether co-ordinating a team of consultants and merchant bankers to secure an investment in USAir, forecasting fuel pricing for the airline, helping to develop Club World, or negotiating rosters with union officials, his approach at BA was led by his belief in the innate capacity for people to think innovatively and creatively together, and find winning solutions.
This wealth of practical experience is now carried into his current advisory work. His client portfolio and sectoral work is as broad as his experience, but with one thing in common: organisations whose people need to “think differently” – about a project, an operational issue, a leadership culture, a change programme. He combines warmth, humanity, and humour with provocation and challenge. His advisory work within the energy and transportation sectors began with the strategy group of Eastern Electric (who became Texas Utilities), who were preparing for their negotiations with the regulator.
Topics most regularly requested of Paul include: how to foster creativity and innovation; leadership and teams in times of profound change; creating ultimate customer service; and working with stakeholders towards win/win. He regularly chairs or facilitates whole conferences, and offers conference workshops in creativity techniques and facilitation skills alongside his role as speaker.
Paul’s clients have included, amongst many others: Unilever, Future Publishing, Time Warner, Defra, The National Trust, The Audit Commission, British Gypsum, Marks and Spencer and Royal Dutch Shell, Transport for London, TNT, Cargo, and Debenhams. Much of his work has been focused on developing safety standards against a backdrop of diminishing budgets through innovative practices. He has also worked with smaller organisations, the public and the third sector, often in a gift work capacity. Paul has lectured extensively to MBA students across the country, and written nine books on creativity, leadership and change in business.
‘Thank you so much, you were magnificent, a perfect mix of brain food and doing! I could have listened to you for hours – the audience really ‘got it’ and there was such a buzz both during and after’.
HSBC Bank plc, HBEU
For speaking enquiries or to book Paul Birch please call Specialist Speakers on +44 (0)203 002 4125 or use our contact form