The Salon Talk Sir Gordon Messenger – Why Leadership Makes the Difference?

Highly decorated and 4-star General in the Royal Marines, Sir Gordon Messenger was the speaker at The Salon event at The Relais hotel last week talking about why leadership makes the difference.

After retiring in 2019, Sir Gordon was commissioned in 2020 by the Government to lead an in-depth investigation into leadership and management in the health and social care sectors; and in 2022 he was appointed Constable of the Tower of London.  During the Covid-19 pandemic, Sir Gordon took the lead role in rolling out community testing in the worst hit areas like Liverpool and the isolation of people arriving here from other countries in hotels.

Speaking about his roles during the pandemic, Sir Gordon said “What surprised me was that I learnt more about leadership during this time than my 38 years in the military.”  He talked about the military-led culture and the fact that everyone goes through common training together which has advantages but he says, not always.  He added, “When something goes wrong or something needs to be done there is something that has been tried and tested and there is structure to fall back on. In the military I knew everyone around me and we had a guideline and framework we could trust.”

Leaders rely upon the team below them.  Sir Gordon spoke about the importance of building a team, sharing the same vision, everyone playing their part whatever their role, leaders treating everyone the same and leaders needing to manage and invest in people.

Sir Gordon then took questions from the floor which covered his thoughts on the NHS leadership, the government, the civil service and his thoughts on Russia and Putin.

The next Salon event is on Thursday 23 March when Nc’nean Whisky Chairman and Henley resident Benet Slay will introduce Matt Hastings, Brand Ambassador, to present an evening with Nc’nean, the new, award winning and record-breaking single malt Scotch whisky: 100% organic, net zero carbon emissions with sustainability at its heart along with the chance to enjoy a whisky cocktail.

If you would like to join The Salon membership club or are interested in attending the next Salon event, please email



Leave a Comment

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *