Stephen Pain, Board Mentor, Criticaleye

Stephen Pain

Board Mentor


Having retired from full-time executive life, Stephen is now developing an exciting portfolio career.  He is Responsibility and Reputation tutor for Henley Business School’s Global MBA programme (ranked among top 40 business schools globally in 2023 by FT) and teaches in Finland, Denmark and South Africa.  He undertakes selected consultancy assignments as well as providing mentoring and advisory services for senior leaders - particularly those involved with reputation management and those involved in embedding and communicating sustainability in business strategy and transformational change.
Stephen has extensive experience in corporate communications and organisational change, working across a range of leading FTSE 100 companies. Until 2022, Stephen was the VP of Sustainable Business and Communications at Unilever plc, one of the world’s largest consumer goods companies. Over many years there, Stephen led the internal and external communication of Unilever’s purpose-driven, sustainable growth strategy - the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan and Connected for Growth (C4G) - the company’s transformational change programme. As a self-confessed ‘joiner-of-the-dots’, Stephen established a research-based communications strategy, upon which Unilever’s integrated approach to global communications was established. He business partnered with the Chief Marketing and Communications Officer and the Chief HR Officer and was a member of their respective Leadership Teams. 
Before this Stephen was Group Corporate Affairs Director of Aviva plc, one of the world’s largest savings, investments and insurance groups. He led the communications team during the merger and integration of CGU and Norwich Union in 2000. In 2002 he was the award-winning ‘architect’ of the Group’s transformation from 40 brands to one global brand - Aviva. Prior to that, he was Corporate Affairs Director at retail group, Storehouse plc, and at Severn Trent plc, the water and waste services company. 
Stephen’s own purpose is: ‘Being with others to grow something good’.  He is a Board Mentor at Criticaleye, the peer to peer Board Community, where he works with senior leaders and Boards on leveraging communications to improve effectiveness, developing thought-leadership and supporting professional wellbeing.
As a Visiting Executive Fellow at Henley Business School he has a focus on the behavioural aspects of sustainability and has co-written the following papers:
·         Better Balance: A Psychological Approach to the Problem of Sustainability
·         Extending the Better Balance Model: How Psychology Could Help to Solve the Problem of Sustainability
In addition to family, Stephen’s interests include the outdoors (gardening in particular having been brought up on a tomato farm), tennis, golf plus health and wellbeing.  He practices Ashtanga yoga most mornings in an effort to stay fitter for longer and became a qualified yoga instructor to satisfy his curiosity in the discipline.

Eightfold AI Google AlixPartners Workday Concentrix Amazon UK LDC NATS Redwood Bank Tullow Oil plc Salesforce Mayborn Group Lightsource bp Royal London Group Bunzl plc E.ON UK Eton Bridge Partners Robert Walters Veolia Water Technologies Accenture GlaxoSmithKline plc London Stock Exchange Legal & General Investment Management Experian Drax Group plc