Sir Richard Needham is a leading British entrepreneur and former parliamentarian, who for 16 years was Director For International And Commercial Affairs for Dyson, manufacturer of the famous Dyson vacuum cleaner.
Richard is currently President of the British Exporters' Association and advises both industry and Government departments on export trade matters. He is also Chairman of Rose Petroleum plc, and a director of Rank plc, Adaptive Modules and Smarta. In addition, he is an adviser to the President of Colombia, as well as being appointed Order Of The Rising Sun, Gold And Silver Star by the Emperor of Japan. He is also an honorary Doctor Of Law at the University of Ulster.
Richard first demonstrated his entrepreneurial skills aged just 23, when he established his own packaging design company; within a few years it had developed into a major silk screen, laminating and litho printing business.
As a Director of Dyson, Richard was largely responsible for the development of the Company's overseas sales operations - in Europe, the USA, the Far East and Japan. He was also Chairman of Avon Rubber for five years and a director of NEC Europe for nearly 20 years.
His political career saw him rise from a backbench MP to become Under-Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, a position he held from 1985 until 1992, during which time he was charged with the unenviable task of rebuilding the region's failing economy. Richard is widely considered to be a major player in regenerating Northern Ireland's economic infrastructure.
After leaving politics, Richard continued his business career, becoming International Director at GEC plc from 1995-1997, Meggitt plc from 1997-2002, Chairman of the London Heart Hospital for five years and Biocompatibles plc for six years.
Richard has written two books - Honourable Member, and Battling For Peace: Northern Ireland's Longest-Serving British Minister, an account of his years in Northern Ireland and his contribution to the peace process
Sir Richard Needham's impressive career in business and politics makes him a much valued After-dinner Speaker at a wide variety of corporate events. He delivers powerful motivational speeches on risk taking, turnarounds and how to finance innovative new products in an ever more competitive global business environment.
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- Business and Economics Presenter on Radio 4's flagship Today Programme. Simon is also known for being a financial journalist, broadcaster and the face of BBC Breakfast’s business news.
- BBC's Political Editor.
- Much respected television and radio presenter, currently presenting a mid-morning show on Smooth Radio, as well as the ITV Breakfast programme Good Morning Britain.