Authentic leaders talking openly about themselves and their journey so far

Paul Drechsler


Whilst establishing an early and extremely successful career in the world of engineering, Paul Drechsler always had a sense from a very young age that he wanted to be the chief executive or leader of a large organisation.
Now, as the newly appointed Chairman of charity TeachFirst, he shares his visions and values of the charity as it strives to ensure that “no child’s education is limited by their social and economic background”. And on business, he talks of the importance of listening to hear and believes “business is a force for good.” Exploring his responsibility as a leader of influence, Paul shares his take on leadership, stating "'business is all about people.”
Married to Wendy, Paul shares how the family supported his incredible international career journey which took them all around the world - and the positive effect that this experience has had on all of their lives.

Official Biography

Paul Drechsler graduated from the University of Dublin, Trinity College, with a Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree in Engineering Science.
He was appointed Chief Executive of Wates Group in September 2004 and became Chairman and Chief Executive in April 2006.  His tenure saw Wates win the Best UK Family Business Awards by J.P. Morgan and Coutts banks (2007) and BitC Company of the Year (2011) as well as Contractor and Employer of the Year at the Construction News Awards (2011).
Paul has been recognised for his leadership in the Construction industry having himself been named KPMG Chief Executive of the Year for Building Magazine in 2009 and in 2011 he was awarded a place on Construction News’ Leaders Roll of Honour and was named PwC Private Company Chief Executive of the Year.  In 2009, Paul was named by the Institute of Directors as Director of the Year for the London and South region.
Prior to joining Wates, Paul spent 24 years with ICI PLC, holding senior positions and living in the UK, Brazil, the USA and the Netherlands, which culminated with five years as Chief Executive of one of ICI’s principal international businesses and as a Main Board Director.
Paul was appointed a Non-Executive Director of Essentra plc (formerly Filtrona plc) in May 2005 where he is the Senior Independent Director and also Chairman of the Remuneration Committee.
Paul is a member of the Trinity College Dublin Business School Advisory Board, a board member of the CBI, a board member of Business in the Community and Chairman of its Education Leadership Team.  Paul is Chairman of the Board of the charity, Teach First and he is also Chairman of the National Skills Funding Agency Advisory Board. 
Paul is married to Wendy, who is Professor of Physiotherapy at the University of East London. They live in London and they have three children – two sons and a daughter.
He enjoys a wide range of music, especially Blues, reading and skiing.