Who's been interviewed?


LeaderFest is an event run by MD2MD annually since 2010, primarily for its members but open to other business leaders. So targeted at the real, practical leaders of the mass of enterprises of 20-500 staff that are the core of UK plc.

LeaderFest aims to provoke and motivate them…. To raise their game … by learning with and from their peers in the audience and through inspiration from the experienced and interesting leaders we invite on stage to share insights from their own experience

In the last few years we have interviewed at LeaderFest the following great people:

  • Mike Clare, the entrepreneur that built the Dreams chain of bed stores and sold it for a rumoured £230M just before the recession hit
  • Jim Smith, former Vice President Plastics Division, Saint-Gobain China and Vice President Customer and People Engagement Saint-Gobain USA
  • Jamie Waller, East End lad who built and sold his business JBW group for £50M by the time he was 40
  • Lesley Cowley OBE, the former CEO of Nominet now a portfolio Non exeutive and the first ever Chair of DVLA.
  • Craig Donaldson, Chief Executive Metro Bank, a lad from Sunderland pit village leading a challenger bank with passion
  • Chris Woods, founded and runs a hypergrowth Cyber Security business. A lot of experience of global true venture capital
  • Mark Preston, Motor sport and Electric Vehicle Entrepreneur
  • Allan Wilson, Entrepreneurial Accountant – “We’re an ambitious owner managed business that works with ambitious owner managed businesses”
  • Gareth Chick former CFO, CEO and Chairman of both public and private companies. Executive Coach to Twitter, Google and other Fortune 500 CEOs
  • John Russell, Chief Executive of Manganese Bronze, the London Taxi manufacturer who previously ran Harley Davidson Europe
  • Lee Rutter, who has led two buyouts of large UK manufacturing businesses including a £125M buyout from Smiths Industries
  • Rikki Hunt, who left school at 15, became the youngest ever MD of a UK Petroleum company and has just been awarded the order of St John for his charity work
  • Gareth Reakes, the CTO of WE7; a global internet music service competing with Spotify and others
  • Breffni Matthews, an entrepreneur inventor who received 10,000 orders overnight after his product appeared on ‘The Apprentice’
  • Paul Brundage Executive Vice President Europe for Oxford Properties responsible for managing their £4billion European property portfolio.
  • David Sanger, the ‘hotdog millionaire’ that built Rollover to a national brand by selling hotdogs to Manchester United and Butlins as well as a myriad of pubs nationwide
  • Val King, who has built The Rooflight Company to be the only significant competitor to Velux by focusing on quality and design excellence
  • The Prime Minister David Cameron.  Actually he wasn’t interviewed! He chatted individually with fifty odd guests over lunch and then took Q&A.
  • John Cardy, Mr Garden Games, who turned his small direct mail business into a market leading online eCommerce manufacturer and retailer
  • Caroline Marsh, a Zambian lady that overcame numerous setbacks to become an air hostess then later a successful property investor and, recently, a philanthropic ‘Secret Millionaire’
  • Simon Biltcliffe who’s company, Webmart, employs just 30 staff generating revenues of £1M each, who espouses Marxist Capitalism and who has set up a business school in Africa.
  • Gordon Sangeera – a technical leader who, with a 140-strong workforce from 18 nations and has to keep reminding himself to focus on the people as much as the technical challenge.
  • Tony Waters – Former CEO of Solo Cup Europe, a world leading manufacturer supplying packaging across Europe to well known fast food brands
  • Rob Crossland, a former IT contractor, who addressed his frustration with the paperwork and hassle by building, and leading the MBO of, to do the admin for 47,000 people like himself.
  • David Garman, former Group Chief Executive of TDG, Director of ABF and Senior Non executive of Carillion plc.
  • David Speed, who avoided prison by turning his anti-social hobby of Graffiti into a business serving major events and companies.
  • Mark Sears who as Head of Group Brand Strategy oversaw the strategic development of the Virgin brand.
  • David McAllister, a lawyer, a member of the supervisory board of Volkswagen and a MEP
  • Paul Barry-Walsh, who built two businesses worth £200M and who leads Fredericks Foundation, a charity that finances disadvantaged youngsters to enter self employment.
  • Stuart Miller, the entrepreneur behind Bybox which achieved compound annual growth of 15,274% and leads the global market for electronic box distribution solutions.
  • Gary Frank who, after 5 years trading on Wall Street, decided to found and become Head Boy of the Fabulous Bakin’ Boys, the largest independent brand on the cake fixture.
  • Joe Adams, who led Encyclopaedia Britannica UK to unprecedented heights of profitability and international acclaim and who now works with a side range of SME leaders.
  • Alex Pratt awarded OBE for Services to Business and Education, a social and commercial entrepreneur who holds numerous board positions with public and private sector organisations as well as running his own ‘Serious’ business.