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Gaining and retaining trust and legitimacy: a challenge for 21st century businesses

Our Looking Further series brings together industry and academia to discuss collaborative approaches to solving big issues affecting our future.

  • 26 Feb 2018, 6.00pm to 26 Feb 2018, 7.30pm GMT
  • 10 West, 2.47, University of Bath
  • This event is free

David Elliott, Group Strategy and New Markets Director for Wessex Water

David will give his perspective on the future challenges facing customer-orientated companies operating in highly regulated environments.

How will they need to adapt to the future and how can they genuinely add value and create new products beyond their core service? How does technology and new knowledge provide an opportunity for innovation and creativity and how can they demonstrate values to ensure future customer loyalty?

Introduced and hosted by Veronica Hope Hailey, Vice-President Corporate Engagement, who will also chair a panel and Q&A discussion.

David has over 30 years’ experience in the water industry. He's held many posts over his career, including 20 years in operations. David became a Director of Wessex Water Services Ltd in 2007.

David began his current group role in 2015. He's responsible for developing opportunities to use markets to deliver better outcomes for customers, communities, the environment and investors.

David is non-executive Director of:

  • energy switching platform Flipper, which he led the acquisition of
  • Albion Water, an independent water and sewerage services provider

He is also the founder of Business4Life, a leadership development programme involving setting up model businesses whose profits go to WaterAid.


Matthew Kirk

After 11 years leading External Affairs at Vodafone, and eight years as a member of the Vodafone Group Executive Committee, Matthew stood down from his executive role in July 2017. He continues to support Vodafone in an advisory capacity.

Matthew was a member of the British Diplomatic Service for more than twenty years, based in New York (UN), Belgrade, Gibraltar and Paris. Matthew held a number of positions in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and Cabinet Office in London. He led the FCO's programme in investment in IT and telecommunications for three years, and also served as Her Majesty's Ambassador to Finland for four years.

Robert Phillips

Robert is an expert in trust and communications and advisor to global business leaders and organisations. He is the author of Trust Me, PR is Dead; co-founder of Jericho Chambers; a Visiting Professor at Cass Business School, University of London; and a provocative public speaker and commentator. He has been trying to make the world a better place since the age of eight.

Robert launched his first business while still at university and went on to create some of the most iconic brand PR campaigns of the 1980s,‘90s and ‘00s.

Never part of a grand plan (because he didn’t have one), Robert became UK CEO of Edelman and then President & CEO, EMEA, as well as Global Chair of the firm’s Future Strategies & Public Engagement group. Over a 30-year career, he has worked with the CEOs and Exec. Teams of a number of FTSE 100 and Fortune 500 companies. In late 2012, Robert had an epiphany and quit. ‘It was time’, he later wrote, ‘to call bullshit on the bullshit industry of PR’. Management Today calls Robert ‘the repentant spinner’.

David Sims

David is Independent Non-executive Chairman of BlackRock Life in the UK , Independent Non-executive Chairman of Zurich UK Pension Trustees as well as being an Advisory Board member of the University of Bath School of Management.

David retired in 2015 from his role as CEO Zurich Europe Life where he was responsible for Zurich Life business across Europe with eight country CEOs reporting to him in Switzerland, Austria, Germany, UK, Ireland, Spain, Italy & Portugal.

Who should attend

Researchers and executives from all sectors interested in industry innovation and university partnerships.

Booking details

Register for this event


10 West, 2.47 University of Bath Claverton Down Bath BA2 7AY United Kingdom


If you have any questions, please contact us.