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Deborah Rowland

Globally sought after adviser and coach to top leaders navigating large scale change

Deborah Rowland Biography

Known for her unique insight, research and experience into the leadership of change, Rowland is a gifted moderator and “agent provocateur” of large-scale engagement events and company conferences.

Deborah Rowland brings a unique combination of experience, insight and research to the leadership of change. She has personally led change in major global organisations including Shell, Gucci Group, BBC Worldwide and PepsiCo holding both Group HR and VP of Organizational & Management Development roles.

Deborah also founded and grew a consulting firm that pioneered research in the field, and act as change coach to the executive boards of major corporations such as the German energy giant RWE. Other clients have included De Beers, Dell Computers, Diageo, GlaxoSmithKline, Kraft Foods, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Prudential, Rolls-Royce Holdings, Royal Dutch Shell and Unilever.

Her research into the leadership of change has been widely published in academic journals and was accepted as a paper at the 2016 Academy of Management conference. She enjoys speaking at conferences on the subject of change and its leadership.


Deborah has a double first in archaeology and anthropology from Cambridge University – which continues to inform her work – and she is the co-author of Sustaining Change: Leadership That Works (Wiley, 2008).

Deborah’s career and life journey has led her to live in several places around the world – including the UK but also New York, Switzerland, and France. Her latest book, Still Moving: How To Lead Mindful Change is based on her 2015 groundbreaking research into the realities of leading change and will be published in February 2017.


  • Recognised for her ground breaking research into the successful leadership of change which unites academic rigour with real world relevance
  • Unique track record that combines top executive industry experience, extensive consulting engagement, and academic research
  • Provocative teacher on executive leadership programmes and inspiring speaker at leadership conferences around the world
  • Gifted writer on the leadership of change with one book already published and still in the Amazon top selling change books list, Sustaining Change: Leadership That Works (Wiley 2008), and a further book now in writing
  • A curious lifelong anthropologist with credibility working across multiple sectors, nationalities and cultures
  • Appointed to the Archbishop’s Review Group in the Church of England overseeing leadership development for the church’s Renewal and Reform programme
  • Southampton Business School – Faculty Board of Advisors
  • Henley Management College and Bath Management School – lecturer in leadership & change management on Executive MBA

Current / Past Roles & Positions

  • Member of the Archbishop’s Review Group into leadership development in the Church of England
  • Change Coach to the RWE Executive Board (May 2013-)
  • People Director, BBC Worldwide (September 2011-April 2013)
  • Global VP Human Resources, Gucci Group (January-May 2011)
  • Transcend Consultancy (formerly Rowland Fisher Lexon Consulting) – (1998-2010) Managing Partner (from 2004)
  • Shell International Petroleum Company: Senior Organisational Effectiveness Consultant (1997-1998)
  • PepsiCo: Vice President Organisational & Management Development (1992-1997)
  • Towers Perrin: Senior Consultant (1990-1992)

Awards, accolades, achievements, honours

  • BA (Double First) Archaeology & Anthropology; Cambridge University (1980-1983).
  • Tavistock Institute Leicester Group Relations conference (August 2015)
  • COLPI qualified – Systemic Constellations training with Judith Hemming (2010)
  • NTL (National Training Laboratory) Organisational Development certificate (2008)

Deborah Rowland Videos

Testimonials for Deborah Rowland

“Deborah’s expertise in the field of change management and her facilitation style made the difference in self examination and learning. She encouraged and motivated participants, individually and collectively, to think about the way a system can be changed from where we stand. Deborah is “number one” in my book.”

- SVP, Pharma

“I have worked and learnt with Deborah for over a year now exploring the use of a systemic lens in the development of strategy, change and leadership in business. Her ability to grasp concepts quickly is matched by a confidence to be innovative with their application. I sincerely believe it puts her at a cutting edge of leadership in that it enables her to work effectively in a climate of complexity, uncertainty and ambiguity. Seeing the whole, she is able to create and communicate a pathway way to an end goal – it’s probably the essential competence for executives in global companies”

Managing Partner, Change Consultancy

“Deborah is a unique change practitioner. She combines a passion for helping leaders navigate change successfully, a deep understanding of current and past change research, and an exceptional personal presence as adviser, coach and agent provocateur”

Commercial Director, Consultancy

“Is public speaking a profession or a gift? I am convinced it is both after I witnessed Deborah speaking at our annual top 250 leadership conference”

Group CEO, Dax 30 company

“An excellent, authentic and thoughtful speaker: Deborah provides an intelligent analysis of key issues around transformational leadership and change management in stark contrast to rather more ‘trite’ presentations on these topics.”

Professor in Strategy & Innovation at University of Southampton

“Deborah is an insightful and inspiringly authentic presenter who brought light and heart to what can be a topic that we walk past as leaders, the internal work. I hope we cross paths again.”

Positive & Mindful Leader Conference, London 2017

“It exceeded our already high expectations. It delivered an impact that left people motivated and upbeat. The wow factor of the conference.”

Reckitt Benckiser

Deborah Rowland‘s Topics

Leading change and innovation

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Top team effectiveness: how to leverage for strategic decision making and cultural change

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Leadership skills for the VUCA world

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How to accelerate the impact of leadership development and organisational learning

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Mergers and acquisitions: how to get the implementation right

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Books by Deborah Rowland

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