Sir Richard Shirreff was born in Kenya in 1955 where he spent his early years. Educated in England, he graduated from Exeter College, Oxford (Modern History) before being commissioned into the British Army from Sandhurst. In his 37-year career, he commanded soldiers on operations at every level from platoon to division. This has 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. In addition he had extensive staff experience at brigade, Army HQ and in the Ministry of Defence.
As NATO’s 4 Star Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe (DSACEUR) he operated at the strategic level which required close engagement with allied, coalition and other governments, the European Union, non-Governmental and International organisations to plan and execute campaigns, generate the means 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 – much of it in combat, Sir Richard Shirreff is a passionate exponent of the importance of leadership at every level and in every sector. Having operated in a multinational context at the strategic level, his views and experience of strategy are relevant and applicable to business. He is a regular speaker on leadership from the front and beyond and his talks on strategy at the London Business School have resonated with both students and corporate customers alike.