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Leading Professional People

Leadership duets

Season 2, Ep. 2

Can dual leadership be effective and how does it work in practice? Empson & Morley analyse these questions with the help of Barry Devereaux and Catherine Deane, Managing Partner and Chairof leading Irish law firm, McCann Fitzgerald, who have recently introduced a dual leadership structure. 

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  • 6. David Bickford: Spies as professionals

    What are the parallels between the worlds of espionage and professional services? Laura and Tony talk to David Bickford, previously General Counsel to MI5 and MI6, about his role as the agencies’ Legal Director and Under Secretary of State. They explore how to build trust when professionals are working remotely, how to collaborate when knowledge is shared on a need-to-know basis, and how to stop powerful professionals from going rogue.
  • 5. Katherine White: Leading discretely

    Laura and Tony speak to Katherine White, the first Chief Talent Officer of global executive search firm, Spencer Stuart. They explore the challenges of being a senior leader when you are not a fee-earner, and of leading the so-called talent when the fee-earners themselves do not see you as the talent. Katherine explains how she built trust and influence, and how she learnt to add value quickly while working slowly and discretely to bring about change.
  • 4. Gianpiero Petriglieri: Coming out of the psychological closet

    Gianpiero Petriglieri, Associate Professor at INSEAD, is ranked as one of the top 50 management thinkers in the world. Laura and Tony talk to him about the difficult emotions that often stay hidden and suppressed in organisations and individuals, and how leaders of professional organisations can become more effective when they engage more directly with these emotions. 
  • 3. June Sarpong: Leading as an outsider

    Laura and Tony are joined by June Sarpong OBE, the BBC’s first Global Director of Creative Diversity. They explore how to bring about disruptive change in a large, complex and high-profile professional organisation, and how to get things done quickly in an environment when decisions are taken slowly. June explains how she managed to do all this as an outsider with no previous leadership experience, but a great deal of broadcast experience.
  • 2. Chris Saul: Subtle power

    Chris Saul is the former Senior Partner of the UK’s most prestigious law firm, Slaughter and May. Laura and Tony explore how leaders use subtle power to build consensus among partners in a professional organisation. They discover some of the secrets of how Slaughter and May has evolved successfully over more than a century, and managed to retain its powerful position at the heart of the UK’s economy.
  • 1. Steve Varley: Profiting from sustainability

    Laura and Tony speak to Steve Varley, EY’s first Global Vice Chair for Sustainability. They find out how he was inspired by Greta Thunberg to try to build a bridge between environmentalism and capitalism, and the skills he used to make this happen.  He explains how he created this role in EY to place sustainability at the heart of the firm’s business, and how he mobilised both colleagues and clients to build a significant sustainability practice. 
  • Welcome Back

    Welcome back to Leading Professional People, the podcast that explores the most crucial leadership questions currently facing professional organisations. For this third series, Professor Laura Empson, who has dedicated almost 30 years to researching professionals and professional service firms, will be joined by a new co-host, Tony Hall, Lord Hall of Birkenhead, the former Director General of the BBC. Laura and Tony’s guests include a fascinating selection of senior leaders from professional organisations, including EY, Slaughter & May, Spencer Stuart, INSEAD, the BBC, and MI6.Join them to explore the challenges, confusions, frustrations, and elations that make professional organisations so difficult to lead and so fascinating to understand. Follow this podcast so you never miss an episode. Find out more at
  • 6. Leadership in the spotlight

    Empson & Morley speak to Tony Hall, Lord Hall, about his time as Director General of the BBC, and his many other high-profile roles. They examine what it is like to lead complex organizations with multiple groups of stakeholders under intense public scrutiny.
  • 5. Leadership value chain

    How do you build better leaders in a professional service firm? Empson & Morley speak to Russ Hagey, Worldwide Chief Talent Officer of Bain. They explore Bain’s self-reinforcing leadership development system, and the way “insurgency” is both encouraged and controlled to strengthen the system.