David Harding

Sussex

David brings to Vistage a wealth of hands on leadership experience gained over 30 years in board level positions, the last 20 of which have been MD and CEO appointments.

After starting his career as a civil engineer designing the M25, David has spent over 30 years in the construction industry. In the early 90’s, aged 32, David was appointed to his first executive directorship when he took over the Hong Kong office of a major UK PLC consultancy. In growing this office from 5 to 105 staff over a 7 year period it instilled in David a lasting passion for growth and a desire to focus on business management and leadership.

As well as the success David enjoyed in Hong Kong, he also established offices in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, built strong links with a major international company in the Philippines and won major new business in several other countries in the Asia Pacific.

At the turn of the Millennium, David joined a UK based engineering and management consultancy. Immediately on joining, David drafted a radically different business plan that introduced new income streams, involved 3 significant acquisitions to increase geographic spread and a major senior manager development programme. During David’s 10 years as Group CEO, results have shown a 500% growth in revenues to £20m with staff numbers increasing from 80 to nearly 300. A new company was also established in the UAE.

Experiencing such significant growth has shown David a fascinating cyclical pattern all growing SMEs encounter, whereby a period of evolutionary growth is inevitably followed by a period of revolutionary change. David believes that successful negotiation of the revolution is imperative to secure the business and continue growth.

How do you deal with such matters as growing working capital/funding needs? New management structures and senior manager incentives? Shareholder issues? New admin and HR requirements? Increasing legal compliance? Changing IT and communication needs? Development of new marketing strategies?

For the person at the top of an organisation this can be a daunting challenge and, having personally experienced those feelings of isolation and frustration at times in his own career, David believes strongly that this is where Vistage, by providing its members with pro-active support through peer group sharing and learning, can really make the difference.

Currently David is Chairman of an award winning international architecture company based in London and Chairman of 2 Vistage groups.

Outside of work, David may have discovered the secrets of youth with the delights of family life including a beautiful 5 year old daughter!