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Bob Geldof LeadershipBob Geldof Leadership


Bob Geldof (1954-  )


Irish pop star who organized two pop  concerts for the starving millions of Africa: 

  • Live Aid (in 1985). 
  • Live 8 (2005)

Co-wrote the song, Do They Know It’s Christmas?, one of the biggest selling singles ever, to raise money for his charity, Band Aid.

This was reissued in 2014 to raise money to fight Ebola in Africa. 


Why is he a great leader?


1. Vision

He has a vision of a happy and prosperous Africa, self-sufficient and free from war and famine.


2. Urgent action

Millions saw the starving people in Ethiopia on BBC News in 1985, but only he did something about it, immediately organizing Live Aid concerts in London and Philadelphia in only 20 weeks.


3. Compassion and communication

He really cares about Africa and has communicated that concern brilliantly with clarity, humour (he mockingly calls himself “Brother Teresa”), and the odd four letter word!

In Ethiopia he saw a young boy die and has never forgotten him.

“We made giving exciting”, he said.

 bob geldof leadership

4. Support

He has worked closely with fellow pop stars like Bono of U2 and Midge Ure (pictured right), who helped to organize Live Aid and co-wrote the Band Aid single with Geldof.



5. Creative

He is always thinking of new and better ways of doing things. ‘Why?’ is a question he loves, and never stops telling his children to ask.


6. Energy and hard work

Conscientiously leading the African cause gave him purpose and self-esteem at a time when his music (his greatest love) wasn’t so popular.

His only number one, I Don’t Like Mondays, was back in 1979.

 bob geldof leadership

7. Challenger of authority

He challenges anybody to help Africa, however important they are.

He confronted the British prime minister, Margaret Thatcher (pictured right), about having to pay VAT on the Live Aid single.

She changed her mind!


8. Ruthless and decisive

He’s a tough negotiator, a quick decision maker and ruthless at getting what he wants for Africa, because people are more important than money, he says.


Bob Geldof Leadership

9. Persuader and organizer

He encouraged people to do things for Live Aid by saying, “because it saves lives”.


a) got all the charities like Oxfam together to agree on how the Band Aid money should be spent.

b) set up small groups responsible for getting free supplies to Ethiopia - for example

  • Truckers for Band Aid (for vehicles)
  • Builders for Band Aid (for building supplies).

He believes in small groups, because they give people greater freedom and flexibility.



10. Honesty and integrity

He promised that every penny raised from Band Aid would go to Ethiopia, and it did. People believed in him, because he didn’t trick them.


11. Opportunistic

He seizes opportunities and is prepared to take risks. He doesn’t fear failure and isn’t afraid of making a fool of himself to get what he wants.

 bob geldof leadership

12. Determination

He believes that anything is possible and fought through the death of his mother (when he was 7) and his wife, Paula Yates (pictured right), in 2000 (five years after she’d left him).


Key quotes on society

Mankind at its most desperate is often at its best.


Key quotes on happiness

Music is something I must do, business is something I need to do, and Africa is something I have to do.

Poverty and loneliness are still my greatest fears.

Most people get into bands for three very simple rock and roll reasons: to get laid, to get fame, and to get rich.


Key quote on communication

E-mails get in the way of serious consideration of what you want to do.


Key quote on love

Don't go to the pub tonight - please, stay in and give us the money. There are people dying now, so give me the money. (at the Live Aid concert)



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