Places lived: United Kingdom (London and Oxford), and the United States (Boston, MA, and Wilmington, VT)
Education: Anthony holds an MA (honors) in politics, philosophy, and economics from the New College, Oxford University. During his time there he was also elected president of the Oxford Union.
Experience: Previously, Anthony was CEO of Smythe Dorward Lambert, Inc., a consultancy specializing in leadership development, change management, and employee communication.
Focus: The combined arts of leadership, behavior change, and communication.
Intellectual influences: “A history teacher who made me think, an English teacher who encouraged me to debate, and writers and leaders who appreciate that one person can make a difference, including George Orwell, David Owen, and Vaclav Havel.”
Turning points: Attending Oxford and moving to the United States.
Anthony grew up in the UK and still roots fiercely for Arsenal Football Club in the English premier league. He also writes a column for the Financial Times. But since moving to the United States in 1999, he has been quite comfortable living on either side of the Atlantic. His colleagues at Tapestry always find him to be intelligent, tough-minded, and straightforward.
Some of these traits may stem from his experiences at Oxford University, after growing up in modest circumstances and being educated at a state school in London. He competed for and won the presidency of the Oxford Union, which has been described as the world’s most prestigious debating society. Before Oxford, when he was only 18, Anthony helped form a new political party (the now defunct Social Democrats) in the UK. He even stood as a candidate for Parliament in the 1987 general election.
After an early start in marketing and communication, Anthony joined Smythe Dorward Lambert (SDL), a consultancy that enjoyed iconic status in the UK and United States in the 1990s that focused on leadership development, internal communication, and change management. “Like Tapestry, SDL was a wonderful firm doing something unique, filled with people of remarkable depth and skills, run by a visionary founder,” Anthony recalls. SDL’s client list included many global firms. Its success attracted suitors and led to its acquisition by Omnicom, Inc., a NYSE-listed advertising and communication conglomerate.
Anthony volunteered to establish SDL in the United States. “It was a chance to come to America and to build something from nothing. A real on-the-ground challenge, hiring American talent, attracting new clients, and looking for my successor so I could return to the UK – and perhaps to politics.” Unfortunately, the successor did not turn out to be successful and Anthony found himself staying longer than he planned. Then the dot.com bubble burst and rebuilding was necessary. “It wasn’t what I had in mind but I became a better leader as a result. What is that old phrase about events either scarring you or steeling you?”
There was another silver lining to the story as well. One of SDL’s American clients had terrible top-down communication. As a result, its cross-company product launch teams became the default communication channel of the company, even after they had been formally dissolved. “Our work focused on fixing central communications, but I was determined not to undermine these informal networks. I considered them key to change and success.”
This interest in networks led Anthony to Tapestry in 2003. “I’m a persistent pragmatist and have little time for pure theory,” Anthony says. “But I do think there is a lot to be learned about networks – not just social networks, but real networks that cross borders and industries and make things happen. They can be turned into effective processes that can help management hear what’s going on, inside and out, and then take action.”
Anthony is a board member of America SCORES New England – a not-for-profit youth development program which strengthens urban public school communities through soccer, literacy, and community service.
Be sure to read Leading View, the monthly column Anthony writes for the Financial Times.
Anthony has two teenage children and lives in Waltham, MA.