John Peters is a highly accomplished and versatile international public speaker. Many will remember him from the 1991 Gulf War when, as a prisoner of war, the enduring, iconic image of his battered and bruised face was paraded on television by Saddam Hussein's brutal regime. His ordeal was one of seven weeks of physical and psychological torture. Since that defining moment, John has used his experience to inspire and motivate audiences from around the world, earning him a reputation for being one of the best there is.
What's more, having run a business consultancy focused on helping senior executives with leadership, strategy and change, he is superb at appreciating business challenges to translate and tailor his story to your organisation's needs. Far from being a doom and gloom merchant, his innate sense of timing and humour equips him with the dynamism to capture the spirit of any event.
John's expertise lies in providing tailored speeches focusing on change, dealing with uncertainty, high performance, leadership, inspiration, motivation and resilience.
John is consistently in demand for keynotes, conferences, after-dinner speeches and luncheons. His clients include every kind of organisation from FTSE Global 100 firms and the public sector to charities and local primary schools. He has vast experience of speaking to diverse and international audiences including those in America, Australia, Hong Kong, Kuwait, Russia, France, Canada, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Portugal, Spain and the Republic of Ireland. Of note, he was the sole reader representing the British Armed Forces at the National Gulf Memorial Service, in front of Her Majesty, The Queen, presented the Sir James Martin Lecture at the Royal Aeronautical Society in the presence of Prince Philip, and has followed Mr Nelson Mandela on stage in South Africa for which he gained a standing ovation!
John’s story is rooted in the 1991 Gulf War, during which time he was an RAF pilot of the Tornado GR1 Bomber on XV Tornado Strike/Attack Squadron. On 2nd August 1990, Iraq invaded the oil rich sovereign state of Kuwait and by 17th January 1991 the UN's call for a full withdrawal by Iraqi forces had not been met, launching Operation Desert Storm with XV Squadron placed firmly at the vanguard of the initial assault. Whilst carrying out a dangerous, low-level, daylight raid on Al Rumaylah South West airbase, John's Tornado was hit by a Surface to Air Missile or SAM for short, forcing him and his Navigator, John Nichol, to eject over enemy territory. Shortly after safely parachuting to the ground, the two men were captured by Saddam Hussein's forces. What ensued was seven weeks of physical and psychological brutality and torture. He was subject to incessant beatings with baseball bats, mock executions and starvation. John's severe mistreatment was thrust into the living room of every household across the globe as that now iconic image of his bruised and battered face was paraded on Iraqi state television. John, however, emerged from his experience a stronger, more resilient and more confident individual. And whilst one would not ever welcome such an ordeal, he realises that it was probably the making of him. It is this attitude that has made John so sought after as a speaker.
Upon his release on 4th March 1991, John resumed his flying career. In 2000, he retired from the RAF as a Squadron Leader to set up his own management consultancy firm, focusing on helping senior teams and Boards, principally of blue-chip organisations, by providing business critical development, consulting and coaching - through a leadership lens.
Concurrently, he was appointed a Board member and Chair of the Association of MBAs.
He has held roles as the Director of Performance for the Executive MBA at Aston Business School and is a Fellow at both Kingston and Henley Business School, and a Governor of the Royal Grammar School Worcester.
He is Patron to the charities KidsOut and The Battle of Worcester Society, and is Honorary President of Throckmorton Airshow and a Worcester Ambassador.
John has written two best-selling books including Tornado Down; a documentary of the same name was awarded Independent Documentary of the Year and nominated for a BAFTA Award. He is currently writing a new book on leadership in uncertainty.
- Mastering Leadership
- Change Management
- Challenge & Adventure
- Inspiring Stories
Politics & Advocacy