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Friday, 21 August 2009

British Royals love them; Military Chiefs Make Good CEOs

I find that private equerries and senior aides close to the British royal family tend to be drawn from the higher echelons of the British military. Having spent time with Chiefs of Staff and generals while reporting, I have observed their sense of discipline and planning ability.

It isn’t surprising to find that the CEO of the Greater London Reserve Forces & Cadets Association and Chairman of Youth Organisations Uniform (YOU) London is an army Chief; Colonel (Retired) Hugh M Purcell OBE MA DL. His YOU Chairmanship is pro bono.

YOU was launched at Buckingham Palace recently. I was invited along by Commander Rod Jarman, Senior Metropolitan Police Officer, a progressive with lots of ideas for his cadets and the force. He showed HRH The Prince of Wales around. TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall spent a long time talking to the many uniformed youth groups present, who seemed to be having a great time. There was rock climbing, there were sumo-wrestlers wearing inflated costumes, scouts and guides, cadets from all branches of the defence forces and a lively band to keep everyone entertained. Colonel Purcell was looking after HRH The Duchess of Cornwall who was sporting a badge saying “I met the girl guides at Buckingham Palace.”

The launch wasn’t just a celebration of the participating youth groups; it was also a call to encourage adult volunteers. Young people in Greater London are flocking to join the groups which are suffering from a paucity of adult leaders. It does require dedication and commitment to volunteer, as the work is weekly, year-round and involves going away periodically to camps, but the pay-off in terms of confidence-building and giving youngsters a structure within which to grow their characters and learn about teamwork is immeasurable.

Colonel Purcell was a Chief of Staff before becoming part of a Netherlands- based NATO policy team for post Cold War restructuring.

He commanded the 1st Battalion the Duke of Edinburgh’s Royal Regiment (Berkshire and Wiltshire) and an Operational Training Advisory Group responsible for preparing UK Land Forces for Peace Support Operations worldwide. This included work with US forces in Iraq, and with security forces in China, Chile and Mongolia. Working in the Czech Republic, he built a business for MoD, FCO and DfID stakeholders. He influenced ministerial and senior military mindsets, building country partnerships stretching from Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Belarus across Eastern Europe through the Balkans and into Africa, to Libya, Morocco and Nigeria.


Anonymous said...


He is my brother, i am very proud of him.

Rani Singh said...

thanks for you comment!