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The Middle Logo 200x200 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.


Simon Longbottom 120x150

Simon Longbottom on introducing a new tier

Simon Longbottom is the Chief Executive of the Stonegate Pub Company. He was Voted Business Leader of the Year in the 2019 Publican awards.  He joins host Stephen Willson to explore the challenges of keeping a small company dynamic while introducing a whole new layer of middle management as a result of rapid growth.


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Mani Dhesi on managing in a federation of GP’s

Mani Dhesi is the Transformation Director of SDSmyhealthcare. He joins host Stephen Willson to explore the challenges of achieving end-to-end performance in a network including hospitals, community care and a federation of GP’s offices.


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Anna Slocombe

Anna Slocombe has worked in senior HR roles in Russia and in the UK. Her experience includes time in Mars, the privately-owned confectioner and Saint-Gobain the French multinational. She joins host Stephen Willson to explore the individual and organisational challenges of developing middle managers.


David Thompson 120x150 David Thompson on police management

David Thompson is the Chief Constable of the West Midlands Police Force. He joins host Stephen Willson to explore re-organising middle management in the face of budget cuts and a broadening range of threats to include childhood slavery and cybercrime.


Steve Allen 120x150 Steve Allen on developing a local office

Steve Allen is a partner heading the Birmingham office of Mills & Reeve, a leading UK law firm. He joins host Stephen Willson to explore the challenges of developing a local office and managing teams of lawyers with regional specialisations.


Sarah Murphy Profile Picture 120x150 Sarah Murphy on managing in a charitable organisation

Sarah is an associate director at Rethink, a mental health charity. She joins host Stephen Willson to address the unique middle management challenges in commissioned charity work.  In addition we encounter familiar themes from previous episodes set in the private sector. 


Philip Plowden The Middle Podcast 120x150Philip Plowden on managing in an academic context

Professor Philip Plowden is Vice-Chancellor of Birmingham City University. He joins host Stephen Willson to explore the differences between managing professional staff and academics while maintaining a focus on organisational efficiency.


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Carl Arntzen on business transformation

Carl Arntzen is the Chief Executive of Bosch Thermotechnology Limited. He joins host Stephen Willson to explore the organisational challenges of managing the transition from risk averse gas boiler manufacturer to integrated home automation provider.


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Sue Unerman on modern challenges in advertising

Sue is the chief transformation officer at Mediacom, the UK's largest planning and buying agency. She joins host Stephen Willson to address the unique middle management challenges in the advertising industry. Here a strong collaborative culture pervades a matrix structure to meet customer needs amid changing tastes in emergent channels.


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Paul Anderson on managing in a global context

Paul Anderson is a Managing Director of Deutsche Bank. He joins host Stephen Willson and explores the challenges of managing teams to achieve the best overall outcome in a highly complex distributed global context.


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Ananda Roy on leadership in the middle

Ananda Roy has been a senior strategy, data analytics and insights director and has over 20 years of commercial and operational responsibility. He joins host Stephen Willson to explore how organisations in a number of sectors are encouraging and supporting middle management leadership across their organisations.