George Davies delivers Leadership Lecture

One of the world’s fashion retail giants, George Davis, gave around 200 students a fascinating lecture on the leadership talents he has developed over his 40 year career.

George is famed for founding Next, George at Asda and Per Una at Marks and Spencer. He recently expanded his empire in the Middle East with his new kidswear stores, FG4.


As part of the University’s Leadership Lecture Series, George shared the experiences, successes and failures that he has experienced – and learned from – over the course of his career with students from the School of Management and Languages, where he holds an Honorary Doctorate and Professorship.

He has a special relationship with Heriot-Watt University since he founded The George Davis Centre for Retail Excellence in 2005, which he continues to support. The Centre combines the academic study of dynamic fashion retail practice with the delivery of research-informed programmes, tailored to meet the needs of the next generation of fashion retail entrepreneurs.

Annual Talk

George returns each year to talk to students. The main topic of his 2012 speech ‘You Learn more from Adversity than you do from Success’ (given on 23 October 2012 and sponsored by Diageo) focused on how vital it is for leaders from all walks of life to turn the adversities they face, no matter how big or small, in to successes.

George also emphasised the importance of values and treating individuals with respect and consideration and how this has helped him build enduring and profitable business relationships.

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