Richard is a highly-respected executive and public speaker with over 25 years experience of the media industry, both as an entrepreneur and a senior Board member, including CEO of Chrysalis plc, the global music and media group, and Executive Chairman of Virgin Radio. He is best known as the Founder of HEART FM, the UK’s leading commercial radio brand.
Richard is an inspiring, entertaining and charismatic speaker (and panel member) with specific expertise, practical knowledge and experience of starting, managing and leading companies of all shapes and sizes on a variety of journeys. A natural communicator and storyteller, his talks are full of highly practical insights and a wealth of anecdotes to illustrate the management and leadership challenges he faced during his successful executive career. His particular areas of expertise are entrepreneurial leadership, building new businesses, creating a company culture, motivating staff and management communication. He is equally happy speaking to large conference audiences or at small, intimate gatherings.
At Chrysalis, Richard was instrumental in the development of the company from its origins as a cutting-edge indie record label to a global media and entertainment group which, over the years, encompassed a broad range of businesses including radio, music, television, books and digital media. In the process, the company’s stock market value increased over twenty-fold from £15 million to £375 million in a 10 year period.
Specifically, Richard was responsible for creating and implementing the vision and strategy for a new, brand-led radio business capable of challenging the dominant incumbent operators. His market-led strategy combined organic and acquisition-led growth, the corner stone for which was HEART FM, which Richard founded as a green-field start-up in Birmingham in 1994. The station enjoyed immediate success and further HEART stations soon followed, including the flagship HEART 106.2, which, in a short space of time, toppled Capital Radio’s 30 year dominance of the London market-place. Sister brands GALAXY and LBC followed and met with equal success and before long the business had 450 employees delivering revenues of £65 million and profits of £15 million – all generated from an initial investment of £3 million. In July 2007, Global Radio bought the business for £170 million.
In September 2007, Richard was appointed Executive Chairman of Virgin Radio with a brief to develop a new business plan to enable the speedy sale of the business for its owner. In this role, he not only had to manage a challenging sale process (due to the economic downturn and the termination of the Virgin brand license from Virgin Enterprises) but also keep management and staff motivated through a very uncertain period. Richard’s business savvy and people skills led to the successful sale of the business in June 2008 to Times of India for £53 million.
Richard is now a seasoned Non-Executive Director and Chairman sitting on a number of public and private company Boards. He is currently Chairman of UTV Media plc (talkSPORT, television and digital media), NED of Creston plc., (marketing services) and Crown Place VCT plc. (venture capital investment), as well as being an investor/mentor in two early-stage businesses in the branded sportswear and digital media sectors. Previously, he was NED of Virgin Mobile plc. (2005-6), prior to its acquisition by NTL and Chairman of Boomerang Plus plc. (2008-2012). In addition, he is Chairman of Prince’s Trust Trading Limited, the commercial and events arm of the Prince’s Trust, and a Governor of Radley College.
Richard is married with two grown-up daughters and a teenage son and lives in Barnes, London. He enjoys travel, eating out, playing tennis, watching sport and live music.