25 year anniversary of the Managers for Leadership Programme

August 2022 saw the 25 year anniversary of the 1997 Managers for Leadership Programme. Alumni celebrated the anniversary with a weekend in Bali.

Eight alumni and their families were reunited in Bali, Indonesia for a weekend of celebration to mark 25 years since they completed the Managers for Leadership Programme. 

The celebration involved video messages from Professor Julia Bennell, the Executive Dean of the Business School, and Lord Woolmer, who had been Dean of the Business School at the time of the programme. 

The reunion was organised by one of the alumni, Allen Antao, who retired as Executive Vice President of Godrej & Boyce in 2020. Allen commented on his time at Leeds:

“Notwithstanding the strains of everyday work life, the ties that bound us together at Leeds remained strong over the years and we have been in active communication since then. It is not an exaggeration to state that the network has been invaluable for each one of us.”

About the programme

The Managers for Leadership Programme was run by Leeds University Business School for the first time in 1997. The programme was sponsored by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office as part of the Chevening fellowships scheme, which gave Indian business professionals the opportunity to apply for one of 12 places to study in the UK. 

The course lasted 10 weeks and involved 5 weeks at the Business School and 5 weeks undertaking a project with a variety of different British Companies.

From the hundreds of applications received, a group of 12 young Indian managers were selected to attend the Managers for Leadership Programme at the Business School.

Allen Antao commented on some of the advice they received on the course that really influenced all them:  

“All of us remember the last piece of advice Lord Woolmer gave us when he met with us individually on the last day. He strongly advocated the building of networks as being foundational in the building of successful careers. There were many learnings at Leeds but, as we have experienced, this turned out to be, for us, the defining mantra of the last 25 years.”

Life after the programme

The group continued to stay in touch after the programme and even named themselves “The Leeds Dozen”. Today they are all still close friends and are able to look back on hugely successful careers both in India and around the world, working for large international organisations such as IBM, TATA Steel, Unilever, and Rolls Royce. They have also received a number of professional accolades with one writing a book on Leadership.

Allen continues: “The programme was transformational for all of us. Every one of us went from being young managers in 1997, to very senior executives in our respective organisations.”

Devyani Vaishampayan, who had global roles in business such as Citibank, AT&T, British Gas, Rolls Royce and BSI was named in the FT’s EM Power100 2017 list of the top 100 ethnic minority leaders.

In 2022, Harish Bhat, Brand Custodian at Tata Sons, was listed by Forbes as as one of the world’s top ten most influential Chief Marketing Officers.

Class photo of the class of 1997

Standing from Left to Right: Steve Correa, Joy Bhattacharjee, Harish Bhat, S. Nagarajan, Riten Choudhury, S. Ramesh, Charanpreet Singh, Devesh Malladi, Allen Antao, Ashish Mittal.
Sitting from Left to Right: Devyani Vaishampayan, Professor John Hayes, Rajeshwari Srinivasan, John Vaughan, Kathryn Wilson

Everybody at Leeds University Business School sends their best wishes to the ‘Leeds Dozen’ and wishes you every success for the future.

Read more about our alumni.