Dyson's deputy chairman, former Minister of Trade and keynote speaker, Sir Richard Needham presentations set out the measures necessary for any organisation to secure its future. Delivered with trademark gusto and a sharp wit, his message is clear: keep innovating, look after suppliers, maintain margins, stress test your strategy, and work out what customers are thinking – not what you want them to think.
An expert in both business and politics, Sir Richard Needham has enjoyed high levels of success in both fields. A Conservative politician, he served as Minister of Trade, when he overhauled and reinvigorated Britain's export industry. Previously Director of Dyson and Deputy Chairman working with the innovative brand for over two decades, he oversaw the Company’s sales global operations, making him a brilliant speaker on business margins, sales, innovation and strategy.
A change and turnaround; risk and innovation expert – is one of the top international keynote speakers, who imparts his knowledge to businesses at every level.
Sir Richard has a long and impressive track record of standing up for industry, especially manufacturing, when political issues have felt threatening.
His first foray into business was in his mid-twenties, when he built up a packaging design company, which diversified into laminating, litho printing and silk screen printing, an innovative and agile company for its time.
Moving into the world of politics, he joined the Conservative party and became a Minister responsible for redesigning and rebuilding Northern Ireland’s ravaged towns. The challenge was enormous – charged with regenerating an economic base and an entire country’s infrastructure, Richard took serious risks when he envisaged the bomb-damaged city centre of Belfast as a modern area, built of glass and steel. The City Centre is now as Richard designed it, and is often lauded as one of the UK’s most attractive and innovative showpiece towns with a striking and unique waterfront redevelopment.
By 1992 he was Minister of Trade and became deputy to Michael Heseltine, charged with overhauling Britain’s export strategy, which he did, triumphantly. In recognition of his success in Belfast and at the DTI, he was made a Privy Counsellor in 1994 and was knighted in 1997.
Still passionate about business, even when Richard left politics, he involved himself in the industry. Chairman of Avon Rubber Plc, Biocompatibles PLC and the London Heart Hospital, he also took on the top job at NEC (Europe) Ltd, Japanese electronic giant.
Also on his record are a four-year stint as Sir James Dyson’s right hand, and he is now the independent Director for international and commercial affairs at the firm.
Bridging the gap between business and politics, Richard can give a unique insight into innovation, strategy in government and business, risk and margin lines.