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The Middle

The Middle is a podcast series exploring the challenges of improving middle management since that is widely acknowledged as having the biggest impact on organisational performance.Each podcast will feature an interview with a prominent executive from a wide range of contexts including public, private and charitable sectors. The host is associate professor Stephen Willson from Birmingham City University Business School.

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Asha Devi, Ove Arup

Asha Devi is associate director at Ove Arup the company most famous for being the architect of the Sydney Opera House. She joins Stephen Willson to explore the issues of designing customers' office space for collaboration and the satisfaction of multiple stakeholders in a changing world.  This has particular significance in enabling middle managers to work effectively across their organisations. The same spotlight is then shone on the design of Arup's own professional services offices.


4 Mar 2021

Rank #1

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Gavin Card, Calor Gas

Gavin Card is the Director of Global Operational Excellence at SHV Energy, the parent company of Calor in the UK. He joins Stephen Willson to explore the middle management challenges of aligning supply with demand that is regional and weather dependant. The topics include improving UK-wide performance by abandoning regional P & L accountability and refining KPI's for operational improvement. Gavin draws powerful parallels with his previous experience within GE and the Royal Air Force.


4 Feb 2021

Rank #2

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Jason Smith, Artex

Jason Smith is the Managing Director of Artex, a leading distributor of construction products. He joins Stephen Willson to explore the development challenges faced by middle managers in different phases of their career progression. 


26 Nov 2020

Rank #3

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Nigel Riglar, South Gloucestershire Council

Nigel Riglar is the Director of Environment & Community Services at South Gloucestershire Council. He joins Stephen Willson to explore the challenges for middle management precipitated by the Covid crisis. These include the shift to facilitating local communities rather than cities and the dynamics of work when many staff are only infrequently in the office .


15 Oct 2020

Rank #4

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Anthony Tattum, Big Cat Agency

Anthony Tattum is the Chief Executive of Big Cat creative agency. He joins Stephen Willson and discusses how Big Cat works with organisations to align their customer-facing and delivery-focused middle management tiers in an environment where customer needs are changing rapidly.More details of Big Cat are available at their recently rebranded website: https://bigcatagency.com/


24 Sep 2020

Rank #5

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Nick Walkley, Homes England

Nick Walkley is the Chief Executive Officer of Homes England, the government's housing accelerator. He joins Stephen Willson to explore the challenges of configuring middle management to achieve public sector and political objectives through private sector developers.


3 Sep 2020

Rank #6

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Ruth Cooke, GreenSquare Group

Ruth Cooke is the chief executive of housing association GreenSquare Group. She joins Stephen Willson to explore the middle management challenges of working with a wide range of customers and stakeholders with diverse priorities.


29 Jul 2020

Rank #7

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Frank Bandura, chief financial officer

Frank Bandura was the chief financial officer for casual dining chain Carluccio's. He joins Stephen Willson to explore the ways in which the finance director can add value to their organisation through close co-ordination with the operations director.


9 Jul 2020

Rank #8

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Saleh Saeed, Disasters Emergency Committee

Saleh Saeed OBE is the chief executive of the Disasters Emergency Committee. He joins Stephen Willson to explore how member charitable organisations prepare to be able to make a coordinated response when international disasters arise.


17 Jun 2020

Rank #9

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Deborah Cadman, West Midlands Combined Authority

Deborah Cadman is the chief executive of the West Midlands Combined Authority. She joins Stephen Willson to explore developing regional growth through the devolution of centralised government powers and the inter-working of numerous local councils and related bodies.


27 May 2020

Rank #10