John Comber


John is Chief Executive of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, where he has worked in a number of roles including Deputy Chief Executive; Director of Regeneration, Enterprise and Skills; Director of Human Resources and Organisational Improvement and Director of E-Government and Programme Management.

John has been involved in the modernisation and transformation of services and has played a key role in Greenwich’s successes including capitalising on its World Heritage Site status, being a host borough for the Olympic and Paralympic Games of 2012, the award of Local Government Chronicle, Council of the Year in 2013 and the hosting of the Tall Ships Regatta in 2014.  John is currently overseeing the Council’s continued delivery of its key strategies, which are transforming key areas of the Borough.

  1. Please describe your job in detail?

I am the Head of the Paid Service of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, responsible for the strategic leadership, effective management and governance of the Council, its people, resources and assets (51 Elected Members, £850m turnover, 9,300 FT employees, £350m of contracted services, £720m of property assets and a £200m investment program).

Related Roles:

Director of Solace Group and Chair of the Board of 'Solace in Business', The Solace Group is the representative body for Chief Executives and Senior Strategic Managers working in the public sector, providing members with opportunities for personal and professional development and seeking to influence the debate about the future of public services to ensure that policy and legislation reflect the experience and expertise of its members. The Solace Group of companies contains a membership organisation, a commercial services arm and a charitable trust. ‘Solace in Business’ is the commercial arm of the Solace Group, which exists to provide consultancy and interim resources to the public sector and beyond.

Advisor to the Capital Ambition Board, providing oversight of London Ventures, which exists to bring together all 32 London boroughs and the City of London with the private sector to create innovation which will benefit London and its residents by reducing costs and improving the effectiveness and efficiency of public services. 

2. How would you describe yourself?

I am a creative problem solver with a passion and enthusiasm for improving the quality of life for local people.

3.What attracted you to being part of the judging panel?

As a Chief Executive I talk for a living and have been involved in innumerable conferences and public speaking events. Having coached and mentored hundreds of people over the years there is no greater job satisfaction than seeing people apply themselves to through fun and competition to a task.

4. What advice would you give to beginner public speakers?.

Take as many opportunities as you can to practice what you have learned.

5. What’s the biggest lesson you have learnt throughout your career?

Fear and excitement have a lot in common.

6. What do you love most about public speaking?

The connection to the audience.

7. What are you hoping to see from the contestants?

For the participants to bring their subject to life and hold our attention for the entire time they have us as an audience.

8. Have you had the opportunity to contribute to any magazines or national/local
press?

I have done many interviews as I enjoy the live element of the delivery.

8. What do you feel is your contribution to the world of public speaking?

I have helped many people to develop not only the skills for public speaking, but also to communicate their message with passion and enthusiasm.

9. Are you a member of any specific speaking clubs and/or groups?

I am a regular on the local government conference circuit.

10. Please list your own website, twitter, LinkedIn details.

Linkedin.com/in/john.comber-8baa8018