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How You Made It: Interview with Keith Wyness, CEO of Individual Strategies Ltd

Published: Thursday 30th April 2020

In times of such uncertainty amid the coronavirus pandemic, many find themselves turning to one another for advice on how best to manage these tough times, to come out stronger on the other side. With this comes knowledge; and knowledge is power.

Here at Zoek, we’re excited to have launched a new video series interviewing some of the UK’s most successful CEO’s, entrepreneurs and business leaders from a wide range of industry backgrounds.

Each week, we’ll be sharing their stories on how they made it to the top, what hurdles they have overcome, and most importantly what tips they can give to others aspiring to climb the career ladder to success.

Zoek Interviews Keith Wyness

Our first interview conducted during the UK lock-down features Keith Wyness, Chief Executive Officer of Individual Strategies Limited, a management consultancy business based in Neston, near Chester. Click below to watch the insightful discussion!


Keith has experienced a wealth of success over the years, having worked for British Airways, Radisson, and the Olympic Club. Keith is also well known for being the former CEO for three professional football clubs: Aston Villa, Everton and Aberdeen.

Click here to watch the interview over on our Zoek YouTube channel, and discover an inside peek into his career journey. You’ll discover expert tips for your job search and learn about his opinion on recent industry news and trending topics.

Top 3 Video Highlights

Q: Optimism or pessimism: which is better for business? (8:27)

A: Well, there is a third ‘ism’ called pragmatism, and I think that’s where I would be trying to work rather than either one. It is certainly dangerous to be optimistic; I think everyone finds that in their youth they are generally more optimistic, and as you get older you do become not so much pessimistic but pragmatism becomes more to the form. There is definitely a need to be a realistic, and I think that’s what experience gives you – an understanding of what is potentially real.

Q: What would you look for when you hire someone? (10:04)

A: It’s very important these days that people do have a sense of self. That they have a strong personality. That they have a strong desire to succeed. That they have their own personal life in whatever shape or form that is. That they feel like they’ve got their own identity, and that they can contribute as an individual. In every major career I’ve been in, my number two has always gone on to replace me which I’m very proud about. And so I want good people that are better than me if possible.

Q: What do you think will happen to the football industry, especially the premier league, post-coronavirus? (14:47)

A: If I go back to my first days when I entered football back in about 2000, I was being told about a thing called the ‘prune juice effect’. That was how all the money that came into a football club went through the clubs pockets and into the players car park, with all the Ferrari’s and Lamborghini’s. I think there’s going to be a big readjustment because there isn’t going to be as much money going in at the top end. The broadcasters will lose a lot of sponsors from different companies that will be affected, so therefore they can’t pay the amount of money that has been driving football so far in the premier league in general. And I think that will be reflected globally.

So, if you take it that there will be a big adjustment in the broadcast income for football clubs in the premier league, then it goes that the ‘prune juice effect’ can’t trickle down as well to the football players. So, the values also of transfer fees and different things that have been going on for the last few years, as many have said have been ridiculous in their levels, will be adjusted dramatically. What will be important more than ever, is for football to produce its own talent and those with good academies will do well.

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