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Business Studies Profile

Business Studies

English, Finance, 1 season, 38 episodes, 21 hours, 5 minutes
A second look at big business stories from the past (
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How to steer a business through a crisis

“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth,” Mike Tyson, the boxer, once said. So what does a business leader do when life doesn’t turn out as expected? That is the question behind this episode of Business Leader. A sharp drop in passenger numbers, strikes by workers, an accounting scandal, a row with the government and a takeover bid. That is what Christian Schreyer faced after taking over as chief executive of Go-Ahead Group, one of the UK’s largest rail and bus companies. He stood down two years later after a whirlwind period in charge. “Life is what happens when you have other plans,” he says… This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit
1/9/202427 minutes, 49 seconds
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Peloton and how to build a community

The story behind Peloton and how it has tried to change the way people exercise. Peloton has enjoyed big success but also faced big challenges. Amanda Gilmore, Peloton’s general manager for the UK and expansion, discusses how the company has built a community of loyal users around the world and changed how people keep fit, as well as how to improve diversity in the business world This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit
12/27/202337 minutes, 13 seconds
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Seedrs, crowdfunding and how to succeed a founder as CEO

Jeff Kelisky, the chief executive of Seedrs, the crowdfunding platform, tells the story of what it is like to succeed a founder as boss of their own company and how crowdfunding is helping businesses scale-up This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit
12/19/202330 minutes, 27 seconds
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Self-driving cars and Wayve

The story behind why a company based in King’s Cross in London, not Silicon Valley or Detroit in the US, may hold the answer to self-driving cars being on our roads This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit
12/12/202323 minutes, 13 seconds
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SSE, Alistair Phillips-Davies and being one of the longest-serving FTSE 100 chief executives

What skills does it take to run one of the UK’s biggest companies for a decade? What does a business leader do when an activist investor demands you change your strategy? How is the UK really doing with its net-zero ambitions? And why should a leader be concerned about wet paint? All of that and more are covered in the latest episode of Business Leader as we speak to Alistair Phillips-Davies, one of the longest-serving chief executives in the FTSE 100… This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit
12/5/202331 minutes, 4 seconds
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The Metro newspaper and DMGT

The story of how Metro became the most-read daily newspaper in the UK after launching in 1999. How did this newspaper - which is free - disrupt a highly competitive industry and then survive a string of big challenges? We speak to Deborah Arthurs, the editor-in-chief, and Richard Thomson, the managing director… This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit
11/28/202329 minutes, 58 seconds
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The Crown Estate and Dan Labbad

The story of how Sydney-born Dan Labbad rose through the property industry to become chief executive of the Crown Estate and be tasked with the extraordinary challenge of “creating lasting and shared prosperity” for the UK. This episode explores the history of that unique organisation, its £16 billion collection of assets that range from Regent Street in London to the seabed around the UK, and how Labbad’s approach to management has been shaped by the discrimination his Egyptian father suffered in Australia, a disregard for hierarchies and a belief that you need to nudge the world in the right direction rather than change it… This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit
11/23/202337 minutes, 11 seconds
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Why a business fails (and what we can learn from it)

Why does a business that was previously thriving end up failing? What tips a struggling business into insolvency? Find out all that and more in the new episode of Business Studies. Retail boss Ian Shepherd discusses what it was like being chief executive of video game retailer Game when it collapsed into administration and what his experience and the demise of discount chain Wilko tells us about why businesses collapse. A summary of our discussion: “Gradually, then suddenly.” Ian Shepherd now writes the superb Moving Tribes newsletter on business strategy which you can read here Get full access to Off to Lunch at
8/29/202327 minutes, 24 seconds
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The rise and future of Uber

Andrew Brem, the general manager for Uber in the UK, discusses the growth of the taxi app, the controversies it has faced, and why London and electric cars are key to its future Get full access to Off to Lunch at
8/22/202326 minutes, 28 seconds
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Why private equity is a friend and not a foe

Garry Wilson, the co-founder and managing partner of Endless, explains how he built one of the UK’s largest private equity firms and why his journey from Belfast to Leeds helps to explain why the private equity industry does not deserve its controversial reputation Get full access to Off to Lunch at
8/15/202333 minutes, 50 seconds
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How to turn a promising start-up into a tech giant

Former Google and Stripe executive Claire Hughes Johnson tells the inside story of how those two companies went from promising tech start-ups to big businesses, and how it was often chaos behind-the-scenes… Get full access to Off to Lunch at
8/8/202330 minutes, 1 second
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How to wake up a sleeping giant

Richard Price, the managing director for clothing and home at Marks & Spencer, explains how he is trying to put the spark back into one of the UK’s leading fashion brands and how, after years of false dawns, success should be sustained this time. Plus he discusses a career in retail that has spanned Next, Sir Philip Green and Tesco. And why Brian Clough is such an inspiration… Get full access to Off to Lunch at
8/1/202327 minutes, 47 seconds
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How to build a £4 billion company

Business Studies is back with a new season of episodes. In the first episode of our new season we look at the story of how Yorkshireman Richard Harpin built Homeserve into a £4.1 billion company despite the business nearly failing twice in its early years. It is a story that involves unexpected twists, setbacks and lessons about how you really build a business that Harpin now wants to share with other entrepreneurs and leaders Get full access to Off to Lunch at
7/25/202338 minutes, 13 seconds
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The remarkable story of how Arm became one of the most successful and talked-about technology companies that Britain has ever produced. What does Arm actually do so well? Why is Apple so key to this story? And should the £24 billion sale of the company to Japanese investor Softbank and its charismatic founder Masayoshi Son have been stopped in 2016? All of these questions and more are explored with James Ashton, author of a new book on Arm called The Everything Blueprint: The Microchip Design that Changed the World.A note for listeners: Business Studies will be taking a short-break after this episode and will return with a bang in June. Get full access to Off to Lunch at
5/23/202334 minutes, 49 seconds
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Brett Wigdortz, Teach First and childcare

The story of how Teach First became the biggest graduate recruiter in the UK, the legacy it has left, the controversies it faced, and why Brett Wigdortz, the founder, is now focused on improving pre-school childcare in the UK Get full access to Off to Lunch at
5/16/202326 minutes, 36 seconds
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Gordon Sanghera and Oxford Nanopore

Oxford Nanopore Technologies is one of the most promising and exciting companies operating in the UK today. Its handheld devices read genomes and mark a new era for how easily and quickly DNA can be sequenced, which should have significant benefits for health and fitness. In this episode of Business Studies we speak to Gordon Sanghera, the chief executive and co-founder, about how the company was built, how it was inspired by the Arctic Monkeys, Brian Clough and Rinus Michels, and why he is unlike most other FTSE bosses… Get full access to Off to Lunch at
5/9/202334 minutes, 19 seconds
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What business can learn from sport

What can businesses really learn from elite sport? How to sustain performance over a long period of time, according to Catherine Baker, author of a new book called Staying the Distance: The lessons from sport that business leaders have been missing. We speak to Catherine Baker about her new book and the lessons that matter from sport, including insights from the New Zealand rugby union team, Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill, Sir Chris Hoy, and Mel Marshall, coach of Olympic gold medalist swimmer Adam Peaty… Get full access to Off to Lunch at
5/2/202335 minutes, 20 seconds
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Will Shu and Deliveroo

Will Shu founded Deliveroo with his childhood friend Greg Orlowski in 2013. Ten years on, Deliveroo is listed in London and worth nearly £2 billion. But a lot has happened in-between. In this episode of Business Studies, Shu discusses the story behind how Deliveroo was founded, how he built the business as CEO, its difficult IPO and the future for the online food delivery service… Get full access to Off to Lunch at
4/25/202334 minutes, 43 seconds
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Skydiving through the glass ceiling

Women were first allowed access to the London Stock Exchange only 50 years ago. There has been progress since then, but men continue to dominate the City, as well as the world of start-ups and venture capital. That makes Clara Melia a pretty rare success story. She worked in the City and then set-up her own business, Equitory, which helps companies with investor relations. In this episode of Business Studies we look at how she built her business, why women are still under-represented in the City and start-ups, and how she came to represent Great Britain in skydiving. Get full access to Off to Lunch at
4/18/202329 minutes, 41 seconds
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Lessons from the Dot-com crash

In the year 2000 the Dot-com bubble burst. The stock market value of internet-based companies had surged in the previous months and years. Suddenly their world collapsed. Many went bust and disappeared. In this episode of Business Studies we explore what happened, why it happened and what lessons can be learned and applied to the modern-day, when public and private markets are recovering from another sharp drop in the value of tech-based businesses. To do that we speak to Rob Hornby, the managing director for AlixPartners, the consultancy firm, in London… Get full access to Off to Lunch at
4/11/202331 minutes, 50 seconds
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DS Smith: Thinking outside the box

Miles Roberts has transformed DS Smith since becoming chief executive in 2010 and made cardboard boxes interesting. Today, DS Smith is a FTSE 100 company that makes recyclable packaging and paper, spanning 34 countries with 30,000 staff, including 36 sites and 4,300 employees in the UK. In the latest episode of Business Studies, Roberts, the sixth longest-serving boss in the FTSE 100, explains why packaging is way more interesting than you might think, how DS Smith got caught-up in the chaos around Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-Budget, how he became a FTSE 100 chief executive after leaving school at 16 and why longevity is an underrated asset at the top of a business. Get full access to Off to Lunch at
4/4/202337 minutes, 43 seconds
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OakNorth: Trying to buy Silicon Valley Bank UK

Rishi Khosla, the co-founder and chief executive of OakNorth, tells the story of how OakNorth bid for Silicon Valley Bank UK during a frantic weekend in March 2023 and why the eventual deal with HSBC could be bad for innovation and start-ups. Aside from recent events, Khosla talks about building OakNorth into the most valuable fintech in the UK, the challenges it has faced since then, and his concerns about listing in London. Finally, the OakNorth boss sets the record straight on whether he is a donor to the Conservative Party or not… Get full access to Off to Lunch at
3/28/202326 minutes, 53 seconds
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Waitrose and employee ownership

Not so long ago Waitrose and John Lewis were lauded as model retailers. They had enjoyed years of rising sales and profits and, as part of the John Lewis Partnership, were owned by their employees. But now Waitrose is battling to turnaround falling sales and the partnership is losing money. Is being owned by staff part of the problem? Has it meant that Waitrose has been too slow to react to changes in how we shop? James Bailey, the boss of Waitrose, addresses those questions in the latest episode of Business Studies. It is an issue that is even more important after reports emerged following the interview that the John Lewis Partnership could sell a minority stake to an external investor and dilute its ownership model. Bailey also discusses the status of the Waitrose brand, the future of food, what he learned from his mentor Mike Coupe, and why he nearly got fired by Sainsbury’s for promoting flexible working… Get full access to Off to Lunch at
3/21/202327 minutes, 44 seconds
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The FTSE 100 chief executive who wrote a book

Andre Lacroix thinks that just about every major crisis in the 21st century was caused by a failure of leadership. He is so concerned about the quality of leadership that he has written a book about it - Leadership with Soul. Why is understanding risk so important for leaders? What can be learned from Ayrton Senna? Why is Toyota such an incredible organisation? Why did Lacroix go from wanting to being a surgeon to wanting to be a CEO? And why is London still the perfect place to base an international business? Find out all of that and more in the last episode of Business Studies as we speak to Lacroix, who has been chief executive of FTSE 100 company Intertek since 2015 and before that was at car dealer Inchcape, Disneyland Paris, Burger King and PepsiCo. Get full access to Off to Lunch at
3/14/202327 minutes, 56 seconds
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A Northern Powerhouse at last?

Does Northern Gritstone, an organisation investing in promising start-ups coming out of Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield, hold the key to levelling up the UK economy? In this episode of Business Studies we speak to Duncan Johnson, chief executive of Northern Gritstone, about his ambitions to build a new Silicon Valley in northern England, why businesses in the north haven’t been supported enough, the terrible state of the transport network, and how to spot a promising business… Get full access to Off to Lunch at
3/7/202329 minutes, 50 seconds
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Erik Fairbairn: The electric car revolution

“Who holds back the electric car?” sang the Stonecutters in a 1995 Simpsons episode. You could ask the same question in 2023 Britain. The electric car revolution still feels a long way off for many people - cars are too expensive and it is difficult to find a working point charging point. But in this episode of Business Studies, Erik Fairbairn, the founder and chief executive of Pod Point, one of the largest providers of electric car charging points in the UK, explains why we all be buying electric vehicles by 2030, why criticism about the reliability and lack of charging points is unfair, and how he created the business more than a decade ago when the prospect of any electric vehicles on the road was just a dream. Get full access to Off to Lunch at
2/28/202329 minutes, 9 seconds
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James Daunt: The boss who saved the bookshop

James Daunt founded his own independent book shop and then rescued two nationwide chains that were heading for oblivion - Waterstones in the UK and Barnes & Noble in the United States. He has arguably done more than anyone else to ensure the survival of the local bookshop despite the rise of Amazon and e-reading. He is also one of the few business leaders to have enjoyed success on both sides of the Atlantic. In this episode of Business Studies Daunt explains with remarkable clarity how he did it and why he quit a successful career in banking to run bookshops. Get full access to Off to Lunch at
2/21/202328 minutes, 16 seconds
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Oxford, innovation and the future of the UK economy?

The UK has world-leading universities. It is one area where the country really can claim to be world-leading. But Britain’s universities have not been as good as their international rivals at turning brilliant ideas into brilliant businesses. That may be about to change though. The University of Oxford is thinking more than ever before about how to turn its ideas and research into businesses. In this episode of Business Studies we look at how. We speak to three people at the centre of a collaboration between the university and the private sector. They are: Professor Chas Bountra, pro vice-chancellor for innovation at the University of Oxford, Baroness Nicola Blackwood, previously the minister for innovation and now chair of Oxford University Innovation, which manages the university’s intellectual property portfolio, and Alexis Dormandy, the chief executive of Oxford Science Enterprises, which invests in ideas spun out of the university and helps turn them into businesses… Get full access to Off to Lunch at
12/13/202245 minutes, 8 seconds
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Roger Madelin, King's Cross, Canada Water and how to transform an area...

Roger Madelin led the transformation of King’s Cross in London over the last 20 years, one of the largest regeneration projects in Europe. An area once renowned for crime, prostitution and an ageing train station has been transformed into a modern, vibrant ecosystem that is home to offices, shops, bars, restaurants and families. It is a project with lessons for the rest of the UK as the country looks to boost areas that have been deprived of investment for years. How does a project like this happen? What was the vision at the heart of the scheme? Why was London 2012 so important? What were the big challenges? Why was luck so important? And why is Madelin now so excited about Canada Water? Find out all of that and more in the latest episode of Business Studies as we speak to Madelin… Get full access to Off to Lunch at
12/6/202243 minutes, 20 seconds
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The founder who has promised never to sell

Is there a different way to do business? Is how we measure success all wrong? Richard Tang, the founder of Zen Internet, suggests there might be. After founding the internet service provider in 1995, Tang has never sold any shares in Zen and has said he never will. His leadership-style is inspired by the King of Bhutan. Zen has won a string of awards for the quality of its service and is exactly the sort of business the UK needs more of - a northern-based tech business that is the largest employer in Rochdale, Greater Manchester. Zen has ambitious plans for the future, but Tang is worried about something else - what will happen to the company when he dies? Get full access to Off to Lunch at
11/29/202237 minutes, 55 seconds
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Tom Hayes, Libor and prison...

Tom Hayes was sentenced to 14 years in prison for rigging Libor in 2015. He was the first person in the world to be jailed for rigging Libor and one of the only bankers to be sent to prison after the financial crisis. This is his story of what happened, what life in prison was like and the battle to clear his name… Get full access to Off to Lunch at
11/22/202240 minutes, 45 seconds
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Ed Smith, England cricket and making decisions

Ed Smith, the chief selector for England cricket from 2018 to 2021, discusses the recent success of English cricket, the art and science behind making good decisions, and what elite sport and business can learn from each other. In an episode that goes beyond cricket and sport, Smith, who has written a new book called Making Decisions, talks about the lessons from his time as England selector. This includes questioning the value of strategies, looking at the importance of communication, and considering what it takes to be innovative. Find out the stories behind the selection of Jofra Archer, Sam Curran and Jos Buttler - and why they matter… Get full access to Off to Lunch at
11/18/202256 minutes, 3 seconds
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Inside 10 Downing Street

What is it like working inside 10 Downing Street? What do special advisers actually do? How did they get the job? How does the government interact with businesses behind-the-scenes? As Rishi Sunak builds a new team to run the country, these questions are more relevant than ever. In episode six of Business Studies, we get the answers from Jimmy McLoughlin, a former special adviser to the prime minister. Get full access to Off to Lunch at
10/31/202229 minutes, 40 seconds
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Episode 5: Doing a Ratner

A new analysis of the extraordinary story of how a speech sparked the downfall of Gerald Ratner and the company he led, Ratners Group, at the time the largest jewellery retailer in the world. After describing one of his products as “crap” in 1991, Ratner’s name is now linked with all sorts of corporate and political gaffes. “Doing a Ratner” is used to describe anyone who makes ill-judged and unnecessary comments that inflict damage on their brand or products. But the story of what happened after the speech for Ratner and his company is more complicated than that. In this episode of Business Studies, Ratner discusses why he made the joke, the turmoil in his life after, and what lessons we should take from what happened, more than 30 years on… Get full access to Off to Lunch at
10/24/202237 minutes, 52 seconds
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Episode 4: Ocado and Tim Steiner

The story behind one of the few British tech businesses to make it big. Ocado has made it to the FTSE 100, the index of Britain’s biggest companies, and expanded around the world. But along the way the online grocery company and its boss Tim Steiner have faced big challenges, big questions and big rivals. How did Tim Steiner’s background in finance help? Has the grocery market changed slower than he expected? Why did Ocado and Waitrose split? What is the one bit of advice he would give his younger self? Find out all this and more as we speak to the co-founder and chief executive of Ocado in the latest episode of Business Studies… Get full access to Off to Lunch at
10/17/202240 minutes, 47 seconds
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Episode 3: Back from the brink

How does a business survive an existential crisis? What does a business leader do when their main source of revenue disappears overnight? In episode three of Business Studies we speak to a chief executive who was in this position - Humphrey Cobbold, the boss of PureGym, Britain’s largest gym chain. We explore the unprecedented challenges that businesses faced during the Covid-19 crisis, how the lessons learned during the pandemic can help in the future, and why speaking out publicly and going on Question Time on the BBC is important. Plus, we look at the challenges posed by the post-Covid world. Why has the best location for a gym changed? And how does a chief executive explain choosing to expand in Saudi Arabia amid concerns about its human rights record? Get full access to Off to Lunch at
10/10/202229 minutes, 53 seconds
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Episode 2: Philip Morris, Vectura and the end of cigarettes?

A look at one of the most controversial takeovers in British corporate history, a business strategy like no other and whether those involved in creating an enormous global health problem - smoking - should be trusted to play a role in fixing it. In the second episode of Business Studies we interview Jacek Olczak, chief executive of Philip Morris International, the owner of Marlboro and the largest tobacco company in the world, on his stated ambitions to eradicate smoking and the cigarette - a product Mr Philip Morris started selling from a shop in Bond Street, London, in 1847. Why did the cigarette maker buy Vectura, a company that makes treatments for respiratory diseases, and why should the tobacco industry be trusted? These questions and more are asked in an episode that raises issues that go well beyond business… Get full access to Off to Lunch at
10/3/202230 minutes, 39 seconds
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Episode 1: Archie Norman

One of the most influential figures in British business over the last 40 years discusses his efforts to modernise Marks & Spencer, the 138-year-old high street brand, and his own illustrious career. Why does Archie Norman think M&S had a “manifesto for failure” and could collapse within a decade? Why does he now question whether selling Asda to Walmart was right decision? What was it like being an MP? Why did so many businessmen and women thrive while working under him and go on to successful careers? Find out all that and more… Get full access to Off to Lunch at
9/26/202238 minutes, 8 seconds