Nick Cooke-Priest – Keynote Speaker

Former Commanding Officer of the HMS Queen Elizabeth, Europe's Most Powerful Warship

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Specialist Subjects

  • Leadership
  • Management
  • Complexity
  • Pressure- operational
  • media
  • government and hierarchy
  • Personal resilience
  • Danger


  • English


Nick Cooke-Priest has an extraordinary talent of running complex organisations in fast moving and challenging scenarios. At 49, Nick Cooke-Priest took command of his fourth major warship, the largest warship in Europe and the most advanced aircraft carrier in the world, HMS Queen Elizabeth. Such an appointment would only go to the Navy’s most capable and operationally experienced officers.

The challenges and pressures of commanding the most valuable asset in the Royal Navy’s history and her 1300 crew, jets and helicopters, is considerable. Not only was Cooke-Priest responsible for the myriad of day-to-day activity in a 65,000 ton warship travelling at 30 knots, conducting inherently dangerous and concurrent operations, he also prepared his crew to take on the next layer of difficulty, that of managing fast-paced combat operations, at the same time responding to the pressure and scrutiny of the highest levels of command in the Navy and Government, all against bar taut timelines.

For 30 years Nick Cooke-Priest has been tested in delivering robust plans and operational success across multiple developing scenarios whilst always mindful of a bigger strategic picture; providing those under his command with a fine balance of direction and autonomy to carry out each task, and clear precise decision making is at the core of his output. Like those in the rapidly changing commercial world, his training and experience has enabled him to understand how the very latest technology can be employed to better achieve his objectives.

From counter-piracy, terrorist and narcotics operations and facing down Iranians in the heat of the middle-east, to the cold mountainous seas of the southern ocean and Antarctica, disaster relief operations on stricken Caribbean islands to migrant rescues on a biblical scale in the Mediterranean and combat operations in Libya, Cooke-Priest has seen and led the full spectrum of maritime operational activity.

Nick Cooke-Priest provides a completely unique insight into an unknown world, where courage, commitment, trust and resilience provide the foundations for success and where a clear vision, strong and consistent leadership, resilient communications, emotional intelligence and adaptable management are the key enablers. His experiences and expertise are applicable to all in leadership and management positions.

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