A few of the organisations and people I have been fortunate to work with.

My kind of client

I work with CEOs and other C-suite executives from organisations all around the world. Typically, they’re taking on a new role, or looking for one, and facing:

  • Exciting growth opportunities
  • Complex customer dynamics
  • A missing or incoherent strategy
  • An underperforming leadership team
  • Investors with high expectations
  • A bureaucratic, undiverse culture

Sound familiar? You want to be inspiring, inclusive, and compassionate. It’s going to take deep thinking. Hard choices. Concerted action. At pace. But where do you start? And how do you master the mindsets and practices required?

Explore my services in detail at Strategy Shift or read some testimonials below.

Tim Davie

Director-General, BBC

“David is excellent at knowing what makes organisations tick. His deep insight on how leaders can transform a culture is based on a combination of a natural sense for the soul of an organisation blended with an ability to apply best practice from around the world. He has been very helpful to me as I have plotted and delivered the growth of our business in a fast-changing world.”

Karin Börjesson O’Connor

Author of ‘The Moneyfest’, Global People Director, Monki, board member

“David coached me through a very challenging time in my life, where I had to make some tough, life-changing decisions. His way of listening, guiding and thinking helped me to straighten the question marks and take a huge leap both in my career and personal life. I am forever grateful.”

Anna Mallett

Vice-President, Physical Production (EMEA/UK), Netflix

“I have known and worked with David for well over a decade and have always found him to be thoughtful, articulate and insightful. His warm and collaborative style means he is a pleasure to work with and I have appreciated his wise counsel and advice over many years.”

Chris Woolard

Senior Partner, EY
Former senior official at the FCA, Ofcom and BBC

“David is one of the most thoughtful and strategic people I have worked with. What sets him apart from many of his peers is he doesn’t just think about the commercial or technology implications, but also the human ones, too. David generates insights from wide observation, that cause you to pause and reflect on your own approach, but always with delivery in mind.”

François Ortalo-Magné

Dean & CEO, London Business School

“David listens, guides and follows up. He brings extensive experience of organisational transformations in complex settings to brighten the path and lighten the load. His prompts and his questions foster new perspectives, open new conversations and enrich collaborations. His ability to quickly grasp team dynamics and his agility across styles of influence foster fast progress. Then he sticks with you, nudging as needed to get you to your objectives.

Adept with both teams and leaders, he is at his best when together they are open to let him shepherd. At LBS, our leadership and I have very much appreciated his support in articulating our strategy. He remains a valuable resource as we navigate the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Art Kleiner

Author, ‘The Wise Advocate’, Principal Consultant, Kleiner Powell International and former Editor-in-Chief of ‘Strategy+Business’

“Some experts in leadership specialise in results. They can help you lead people to galvanize growth or find new markets. Some excel at human understanding and empathy and can help you navigate senior-level politics, maintain staff loyalty and avoid ethical missteps. And some are gifted explainers — about the forces affecting your enterprise and the relationships among them. When you come out of a conversation with those individuals, you see the world more clearly.

David Lancefield is one of those rare people who does all three of these things. Most of all, he knows how high the stakes are, that there is no time to waste and that you have to go slow to go fast. He is emerging as a major thought leader in the next wave of business and societal transformation.”

Ed Bramley-Harker

Co-founder and Director, EDGE Health

“I worked closely with David for nine years. During that time he coached me personally to help build my profile and support my own personal development. He brought together a group from across a range of disciplines, to develop a high performing team with strong leadership, a clear vision, effective ways of working and profitable growth. He also worked alongside me on projects, including work designing aspects of reforms in the NHS to support the provision of essential services and incentives to promote efficient, high quality care.

David is very straightforward to work with. He helped me find clarity about my own objectives, with advice on techniques to meet them, constant support and advice on how to navigate complex organisations and influence. He was always present and a determined supporter, enabling me to succeed. David uses these same techniques — clear objectives, building a sense of purpose, supporting individuals to be their best — when building and leading teams.”

Lesley Titcomb

Former CEO, The Pensions Regulator

“David led the team which carried out a strategic review of the Pensions Regulator (TPR) as the first stage of our major transformation when I was Chief Executive. This included a survey of key stakeholders, a review of other comparable regulators and significant amounts of work with our leadership team, including an energising and thought-provoking creative awayday which generated great ideas and secured buy-in.

Once David’s team’s work was complete he stayed in touch and continued to provide advice and ideas to me as CEO. His breadth of knowledge and experience, his ability to come at problems from many different angles and his intuition about people and what drives them are really valuable and he offered thoughtful and constructive challenge and support to me as a leader.”

Jonathan Thompson

CEO, Everyone TV

“I have known and worked with David for over 20 years and consider him a valued colleague, adviser and friend. He is able to blend an unrivalled strategic understanding of how markets and companies work and function at a time of huge complexity and disruption — with real insight into how executives can best think, feel and act within this changing work environment — up to the most senior levels in industry.

This is a rare combination in its own right — but he is also a kind, calm, fun, engaging and rewarding person to work with — and who I always feel refreshed and energised from spending time with.”

Keith Underwood

COO & CFO, Guardian Media Group; former COO, Channel 4

“David was a valued partner in driving transformation at Channel 4. He crafted and successfully delivered a bespoke programme of work which combined ‘best practices’ from a wide range of external comparators, propriety methodologies and a deep understanding of client-specific sensibilities.

David’s intellectual and emotional intelligence served to engage relevant stakeholders with innovative solutions which ultimately delivered material and lasting value to the business.”

Sonia Brown

Former Chief Regulation Officer, Ofwat

“David is quite simply brilliant and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend that you work with him. He and I have worked together in a number of roles throughout my career. Firstly, in my role as Chief Economist and Policy Transformation Director at Monitor (now NHS Improvement) and latterly as my delivery partner for the PR14 price review in my role as Chief Regulation Officer at Ofwat. These roles involved organisational transformation as well as transformation with the NHS and the water and waste water Sectors in England and Wales. In addition to delivering amazing programmes of change that made a real difference to people, David also helped me as a leader to grow considerably — both at the time and in taking the learning from working together into my current role in fintech in the commercial sector.

David has an amazing intellect and is able to grapple with the most complex problems. His style is extremely inclusive and he always works hard to ensure that even when a decision is challenging for an organisation that there is collective buy-in to ensure that it can last the distance. David would make an amazing addition to any board. In all board situations at Ofwat he demonstrated high integrity, respect for everyone’s perspectives, a drive for delivery and real emotional intelligence in action. David was equally as comfortable when helping the most junior members of the team feel both engaged and energised in their roles as part of the change process. The ability to span this spectrum from the boardroom to junior analysts is unusual and so valuable if you want to deliver lasting change. David was also pivotal in thinking about the communication of change to the sectors and how we created a ‘brand’ to deliver this.”

Zlatina Loudjeva

Partner, PwC

“David is an exceptional career coach — insightful, challenging and supportive in equal measure. David’s advice has transformed my career, self confidence and growth. His exceptional impact is a combination of sharp analytical skills that helped him quickly analyse what was holding me back; and exceptional energy and commitment to overcome these barriers together.

With persistence, patience and much rigour, David led me on a journey of self-exploration that helped me find my professional strengths, build on them and gave me confidence and ‘tool kit’ to channel that confidence. David challenged some of my fundamentals in that journey but always in a way that made me rebuild better and stronger foundations.

As a young career woman in a male, corporate world, David’s help was invaluable. My collaboration with David really did unlock a new professional energy and power in me.”

Tom Fussell

CEO, BBC Studios

“David’s high emotional intelligence means he is able to adapt to different organisational cultures to provide leaders with exceptional advice on enabling high performance with strategic clarity. I have enjoyed working with him and have found his support very useful.”

Umberto Callegari

Worldwide Commercial Lead, Customer Transformation, Microsoft

“David cares. There is no better way to describe who he is as a professional and as a man. You can’t fake care, either you do care, or you don’t, and he does. And this is what makes him, beside his amazing skills and experience, a rare value to have next to you.

David worked with me for almost a year in a very stimulating and successful, yet extremely challenging moment, of my career. When you are tasked to create something completely new, particularly within a large and successful corporation, you will face various degrees of resistance from different directions.

David has worked with me as an executive coach to help me craft my leadership, adapting my management style across different contexts and cultures. He has always demonstrated care, dedication and commitment. He was always available to listen to provide a point of view or advice.

David is always calm and calming, and is always willing to share a smile, a story or an episode that would enrich the moment.

I want to thank David for the time, the thoughts, the competence, the care and the support he shared beyond our professional relationship. I have used many of our learnings as a compass for my career and to take on everyday leadership challenges.”

Nitin Govila

Chief Sales & Marketing Officer and SVP APAC & MEA, Serge Ferrari Group

“I had the pleasure of working with David for 12 months. I wanted to work with somebody to help me understand myself better and figure out what I needed to do to improve my chances of securing C-suite positions. I selected David because of his leadership experience and expertise, and because we clicked when we spoke.

We started with self-exploration and diagnostics and then moved into deeper work, which covered: what I feel I am missing and why; what am I looking for; leadership mindsets, practices and styles; options under specific and challenging situations. I particularly enjoyed — even if it was hard work — an exercise that involved connecting with my well-wishers (professionally and personally), who gave me an honest and unbiased take on what and who I am.

The sessions were free flowing, enabled through sharing context and adding some structure. I shared my points, experiences, concerns, and open questions, and quandaries. Through David’s style of discussion, questioning and sharing, we were easily able to move from a helicopter view of strategic thinking to current operational issues. His perspectives connected with me immediately given they were based on examples from his own experience and with the other C-suite executives. I also appreciated a lot the different readings that supplemented the topics we covered in our sessions.

By the end of the work, I was clear on my immediate and medium term plans. Interestingly, I also reflected on whether another C-suite role was really what I was looking for, given my values and interests.

I strongly recommend David to any current and future C-suite executives wanting to improve their understanding of leadership and strategy.”

Daiana Beitler PhD

Americas Leader, Sustainability
Commercial Solutions, Microsoft

“I met David at a critical point in my career because I was offered the exciting opportunity to lead a global team. During this period of critical growth, David and I worked on three things: defining the vision and strategy for my new team with clarity and precision on how we defined success; strategically communicating that vision and our mission to both internal and external stakeholders; and making very intentional choices for where and how I spent my energy.

In addition to coaching me on how to strengthen my leadership skills, I truly appreciated David’s experience and guidance in how best to define our business strategy, particularly his rich insights on how to create a culture of inclusion and trust within the team. The wide variety of exercises and tools he introduced were incredibly useful to translate our discussions into concrete and actionable plans.

On a personal level, the experience of working with David was transformational.”

Ashley Chapman

CEO, inlumi

“David has coached me to consider and nurture many skills more intentionally. I have enjoyed and benefited from practising them all. The ones I prize the most are the art of asking good questions of those around me, and communicating with a warmness, a relevance, and clarity. The role David plays as strategist, catalyst and coach helped me shift from a leader in the business to CEO and really understand the impact I can, and should, have. More broadly, he supported our organisation through the development of strategy and the culture we want to have and need to have in support of the growth trajectory inlumi is on.

Leading an organisation is complex. David provides stimuli and perspective that are practical and useful whilst leaving your hands, as CEO, firmly on the steering wheel. I found David’s considered questioning helped me find both the fun and the seriousness of my role and the confidence to play it. That was very important to me personally.”


What do the world’s leading executives, entrepreneurs and management thinkers really think about their subject?

Find out in Lancefield on the Line, my fortnightly video and podcast for strategic leaders.