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Ellis Watson

Ellis Watson is the former head of Syco Entertainment, running the global format and commercial strategies for 'X Factor'. He is now CEO of DC Thomson, one of the world's largest family owned media groups.


About Ellis Watson

Ellis Watson is known as one of the most inspiring, instinctive and intelligent speakers in Britain. He’s also enormously entertaining and witty; and with real experience to back up his content, has a great business message.


Ellis Watson is Chief Executive of DC Thomson, one of the world’s largest family owned media groups. He was previously head of Syco Entertainment, the joint venture between Simon Cowell and Sony – running the global format and commercial strategies for ‘X Factor’ and Got Talent, as well as the recorded music businesses.  The Syco appointment followed spells on the board of Menzies and FirstGroup, the huge public transport operator with brands from First Great Western to America’s Greyhound Bus network.

Before that, he was at the helm of Mirror Group Newspapers, which ran five national titles.  Ellis’ first break came as a young Marketing Director at ‘The Sun’ and ‘The News of the World’, moving on to take charge of the new digital business and reporting directly to Rupert Murdoch. After ten years at News Corporation, he became CEO of Celador International – licensing ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?’ to 100 countries and overseeing 130 consumer products.

In presentations, Ellis argues that a significant external shock like a recession can be a springboard for positive internal change. He shows how to inspire passion, especially when under pressure, and how to progress from mission statements to true company culture – where quality, integrity and diversity are all properly harnessed.

Ellis is known as one of the most inspiring, instinctive and intelligent speakers in Britain. He’s also enormously entertaining. He might well reveal what it was like to work for the idiosyncratic Murdoch – or how the Colombian Minister of Information insisted on hosting their ‘Millionaire’ show himself, giving glamorous female contestants a helping hand. To watch Ellis’ TEDxGlasgow talk, Disrupt Yourself or Die Trying.

Speech Topics

Culture Change & Spreading the Passion

Booking Information


"Ellis was simply outstanding! Witty, enthusiastic, entertaining and with a great ability to captivate an audience and get his point across. His advance research on our sector was impeccable and as a result , he was able to blend into the conference seamlessly. He left our delegates buzzing and was an absolute pleasure to work with. I hope our paths cross again in the future."


"Ellis met our brief exactly. He understood where our business is and where we are going. He entertained from the moment he stepped onto the stage and left people inspired and ready to challenge the way they do things in the future. He got across a complex message in a down to earth, humorous way that everyone from the CEO to the post room staff could identify with and understand. Everyone was wowed by Ellis, people felt genuinely inspired by his content and felt like they had the ability to take on new challenges and play a key role in driving the business forward to be the best that it can be."

Key Retirement Solutions

"Ellis Watson was excellent. He spoke at an internal event for our sales people – demonstrated great research into our company, tailored his words to suit the audience, struck the right balance of humour and strong sales messages and overall provided an uplifting end to our event leaving everyone on a high. Would thoroughly recommend. Everyone loved him – was a definite buzz in the room."

Capgemini UK plc


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