The Team


For David Atkinson

When you identify the need for change and more importantly the need for help delivering that change and imbedding it into your organisation, the world can seem like a lonely place.

With people like David around, thankfully, you are not alone. His wealth of knowledge and skill is underpinned by his drive and passion to guarantee that you succeed. David understands what makes organisations tick, the buttons to press and the difference that the very highest standards of consultancy services can make to you and your business.

He is the consummate professional.

Mark Hollison, Director of Procurement at Mundipharma International / Napp Pharmaceuticals Ltd

For David Atkinson

“David has worked with me for the past three years in the capacity of as my mentor and more recently this has transitioned into an “executive coach” role. David has been a great help by providing guidance and support, during this time, in helping me manage & deal with particular challenges. It is sometimes difficult to transfer from being a middle manager to a senior executive position without some support & guidance and David has provided this in abundance. He has been a great help and always on the end of the phone. I would highly recommend David for anyone who thinks they would benefit from a confidential sounding board on personal effectiveness or career issues from someone who has lengthy senior blue chip experience.”
Julia Fancourt, Head of Procurement, East Midlands & South West Trains

For David Atkinson and Ed Bradford

“We have been working with Ed Bradford and David Atkinson for many years. They are a great combination and have helped us with many aspects of our International Client Programme blueprint. Recently, they undertook Deep Relationship Insight interviews to explore how our clients viewed the ICP service they were receiving. This was a very useful piece of work covering multiple cross-functional interviews in each client. Their analysis was excellent and helped us to plan our future goals correctly, get our International Client Programme strategy right and focus our investments in the key areas of value to our clients.”
Marco Retel, Strategic Account Management Director, Compass Group plc

For David Atkinson

“David was instrumental in helping us retain and win ££millions. His knowledge of procurement and supplier / customer relationships is second to none. He has ‘been there and done that’ and has the ability to translate that experience into workshops and consultancy that really resonate with commercial directors and sales practitioners, helping them overcome barriers and achieve better results. In the work he did for us he enabled the account teams to go to new places with their customers, improving negotiation plans and relationships. He is tenacious, commercially astute and has a hard determined edge with a real desire to see the client achieve better results.”
Robin Mar, Director of New Business, Royal Mail

For David Atkinson

“David’s expertise in the area of procurement has really helped us to drive important improvements in the way we manage our international key accounts. Moreover, his no-nonsense & direct approach makes the sessions dynamic and refreshing.”
Jeroen Kurvers, Key Account Director – International Clients at Compass Group

For David Atkinson

“David is able to apply his extensive knowledge of procurement practice in giving salespeople and account managers a realistic way to work procurement people. He avoids the ridiculous and inappropriate approach of ‘how to beat Procurement’ taken by so many so called experts in this field”
Keith Francis, President, Peak Force Ltd

For Edmund Bradford

“I would like to recommend Edmund as marketing professional and guru in marketing. We worked with Edmund as we needed marketing expertise and attended a marketing simulation game in retail at Durham Business School. Although the simulation was run for retail, it had marketing prospect in manufacturing and other industries as well.

Apart from his professional attitude, the flavour he adds to the subject and the methodology in reaching understanding is amazing. If you think to get some expertise in marketing, I. would definitely recommend him and the company he represents.”
Omur Pekmez, Deputy General Manager (Technical) at Dirinler Makina

For David Atkinson

“David’s services were enlisted to trian the National Car Rental International Sales Team on how to negotiate and collaborate with professional purchasing team in multi -national organisation. The traing was extremely well received and we saw a good return on the investment very quickly. David also help us work on specific account plans which help us retain and win new business. David is excellent at what he does.”
Ron Santiago, Vice President UK Operations at National Car Rental

For Edmund Bradford

“Ed took his time to really understand our company before delivering a highly successful Key Account Management programme. He aimed for, and won, the hearts and minds of our real estate investment team which under-pinned the programme’s achievements.”
Paula Viner, Associate Director, Marketing at Cushman & Wakefield

For David Atkinson

“David has a great experience in senior procurement and an innovative vision which puts him always ahead of the changings. He helped me understand how procurement works and what procurement people expect and why. This is great value for my professional growth, and produced great results in carrying over my activity. I highly recommend David to anyone who needs high level consultancy and productive training programs.”
Mauro Acquati, Sales Manager Italia, Maggiore Rent Spa

For David Atkinson

“David was facilitating a team which was piloting a business process new to my company. His knowledge of the process and his facilitation skills were exemplary.”
Howard Brazier, Contract Manufacturing Director at Glaxosmithkline

For Ed Bradford

“I have worked with Edmund over a number of years and during that time he has provided my company with first-class advice, ideas, tools and support around strategic marketing and strategic account management. Together, we have taken the idea of world-class marketing in a complex global organization from theory to reality. Edmund’s ability to think strategically and act practically has been a great help. I highly recommend him.”
Steve Erickson, VP, Strategic Marketing, Parker Hannifin

For David Atkinson

“I would highly recommend David. His understanding of purchasing strategy and procurement processes is unparalleled and he has the ability to apply this expertise to both sides of the process (sales / procurement). As such, whether you need consultancy, mediation or training, David will add significant value and a demonstrable return on your investment.”
Ian Hunt, Director Sales Development EMEA at National Car Rental

For Anderson Hirst

“Anderson is a seasoned learning professional held in high regard by clients, colleagues and learners alike. He has tremendous energy and passion, and is particularly able in handling sensitive discussions at senior level. I have no hesitation in recommending him to prospective clients.”
Michael Brown, Michael Brown Training

For David Atkinson

“David is a highly skilled professional who has assisted in providing a unique insight into his areas of expertise. He has assisted in the training and development of my team which has led directly to improved performance and results.”
David McNeill, Senior Director Global Sales and Proposal Development, EMEA at Carlson Wagonlit Travel

For Anderson Hirst

“Anderson has shown me how professional leadership training should be conducted in order to really make an impression and a difference for the participants. With his warm personality along with his supportive and at the same time demanding style he makes the participants relax and open up which helps them to develop as individuals and leaders.

His project management is top-notch with an eye for quality in every aspect. I have enjoyed and learned a great lot by working with him.”
Håkan Frödée;n, Partner, Capablo AB

For David Atkinson

“I believe David is one of the most forward thinkers in procurement in the UK at the present time. He as considerable experience in application and delivery of practical procurement solutions to difficult work place situations.”
Iain Palfreman, Head of Procurement, Vaultex UK

For Julia Fancourt

“I have worked with Julia through her engagement with the CIPS Centre for Procurement Leadership and as a member of the judging panel for the CIPS Supply Management Awards. She has demonstrable practical knowledge of the subject matter of our profession which is frequently reflected through her contribution to the discussion and shared learning in the environments we have worked in. She is a consummate professional and is able to articulate her knowledge and points of view very effectively amongst her peers. Julia’s practitioner background, is supported by impressive academic accomplishment, making her a very rounded person which has enabled her to hold her own and rise to prominence in the tough, pragmatic business sectors she has worked in. Julia has a very credible, engaging manner; she can clearly deliver immensely challenging targets for the organisations she works for. Above all, Julia is in my experience completely authentic and genuine – she is a pleasure to work with.”

Gerard Chick, Head of Research and Knowledge Management, CIPS

For Ed Bradford

“Edmund’s marketing processes and knowledge enable you to look at your current and potential markets in a constructive and refreshing way. Discussions about our company’s future strategy that would normally have me banging my head against a brick wall suddenly seem to lead somewhere. I am now starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel – thank you”
Suzanne Green, Owner, Liber8ing Ltd

For David Atkinson

“David has helped my team implement Supplier Relationship Management for our critical suppliers.

The results delivered have been first class and his ‘bedside manner’ is perfectly judged to get results from very busy team members.”
Rod Love, Head of Vendor Management and Procurement, Standard Bank

For Anderson Hirst

“Working with Anderson has been very motivating. Not only is he a very personal trainer/ coach, who takes great efforts in understanding the training needs/ requirements, he is a true professional, who focuses on providing results. I can highly recommend Anderson Hirst for sales and presentation training.”
Peter Rouwen, Executive Director Worldwide Securities Services at JPMorgan Chase

For David Atkinson

“I have had the opportunity to work with David on creating a SRM strategy with my stakeholders and the supplier. From the beginning, David has been valuable in guiding and challenging our toughts and the strategy development process. His extensive knowledge on sourcing and SRM has given my stakeholders and I, new insight on how SRM can be conducted/used and the benefits it brings along. Thank you.”
Tim H. Paarup Dridi, Strategic Purchaser, Novo Nordisk

For Julia Fancourt

“I have worked with Julia on several tasks and have been impressed by her knowledge of Category Management and in-depth understanding of processes that lead to effective procurement. Julia ia results driven, proactive and inspiring person and a talented Manager. I am sure she would be great asset to any company and organisation she may be involved with.”

Irina Day, Category Manager, Carillion

For David Atkinson

“David’s expertise in Supplier Relationship Management is vast. It’s a pleasure and comfort to train along side David knowing he has the understanding and personal examples to assist clients understanding. He’s also willing to challenge in order to allow clients to explore models and their application in depth.”
Alison Smith, AS Consulting and Future Purchasing

David Atkinson
Founder and Managing Director

David has over 30 years experience in senior management and consulting roles with a range of global organisations including Black & Decker, Lucas and Rolls-Royce. He has an MBA in Strategy and Procurement Management from the University of Birmingham where he is now a visiting lecturer. David is an Accredited Trainer in Mutual Gains Approach at Harvard Business School and holds other qualifications from Cranfield School of Management, the International Institute for Advanced Purchasing & Supply and London Business School. He a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (FCIPS) and holds the Diploma in Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM).

An expert in procurement (with particular interest in supplier performance and SRM – Supplier Relationship Management), David is an exponent of systems-thinking and servant leadership in organisations. The idea is that the role of leader is to enable and support the team in carrying out its mission, looking after the welfare of team members, and then essentially getting out of the way.

David takes his message to universities, the conference platform, and regularly blogs here, at Spend Matters, the CIPS magazine Supply Management, and other publications.

He also performs the role of Director, EMEA for the International Institute for Advanced Purchasing & Supply.

Ed Bradford
Principal Consultant

Edmund has over 20 years of experience in strategic marketing and account management in many sectors in Europe, Asia and North America.

Before joining Four Pillars Ed ran the Global Account Management Programme for an international aerospace business and was Business Development Director for an automotive supplier. He has been Strategic Account Manager for a number of accounts including British Airways, Lloyds Banking Group and DaimlerChrysler. His client experience is extensive and includes Brussels Airlines, BT, Compass Group, Computer Sciences Corporation, Cushman & Wakefield Investors, Parker Hannifin, and a host of small to medium sized businesses

Edmund is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and is on the UK Advisory Board of the Strategic Account Management Association. He holds a degree in Economics, a diploma in Marketing and an MBA from Warwick University.

Anderson Hirst
Principal Consultant

Anderson started his selling career in 1991 as a technical sales representative in speciality chemicals. Inspired by some excellent sales training, he became a training consultant in 1998 and spent 12 years selling, designing and delivering programmes on an international basis.

He has an MBA with distinction from Warwick Business School, where he focused on sales excellence as a research project. Since 2009, he has been actively involved in client work and sales research. He has deep experience in B2B, technical and personal selling environments, as well as intercultural sales, having delivered training in 17 countries.

Anderson has substantial expertise in the design and delivery of sales training, negotiation, key account management, inside sales, sales management, sales coaching, customer service, team development, time management, presentation skills and business development via social media & Linked-in

Recent clients include Johnson & Johnson, VW UK, Cushman & Wakefield, Black & Decker, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, AXA IM and Novartis.

In the clip below, Anderson shares his interest in brewing, selling and helping clients bridge the gap between strategy and ‘perfect execution.

Julia Fancourt
Principal Consultant

Julia has 25 years of international experience in the procurement field, in both public and private sectors, managing complex supply chains for both indirect and direct categories. Her employers have included Ford Motor Group, BMW AG, BTR, MoD, GEC Alsthom, East Midland Trains & South West Trains and, latterly, she was Global Head of Category Management with Carillion Plc where she was responsible for £500m spend across UK, Middle East (Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Oman, Qatar, Saudi, and Egypt), Caribbean & Canada responsible for Construction & Building Fabrics & Finishes.

Julia has an MBA in Strategic Procurement & Business Management from the University of Birmingham and is both a Fellow and Council Member of Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply and a Fellow of The Institute of Leadership & Management from Loughborough University. She is also is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Builders and holds a numbers of certificates in Health & Safety including NEBOSH, IOSH and other topics such as Prince2 and OJEU.

Julia is passionate about helping organisations transform their procurement capabilities and nurturing talent, and has been a member of the CIPS Annual Awards Judging Panel since 2009. She has deep category management and transformation leadership experience, and brings this to clients in a variety of sectors.

PillarBox Media
Video media and marketing

An increasingly important member of our extended team, PillarBox Media are responsible for creating our original video on our website and bespoke videos for our clients that require eLearning content. In addition to video (including the editing of video captured from other sources), PillarBox also provides diligent and creative marketing support for Four Pillars and its other professional services clients.

If you are seeking video media and marketing support then check out their website or contact

Here’s a short video on their services.

Four Pillars also has access to a larger number of associates who, when projects merit particular specialist expertise and/or a more extensive engagement, will be deployed with guidance and oversight by one of our directors.