CEO of the World Gold Council – David Tait – speaks candidly about ethics, Everest and his traumatic early life

Former investment banking tycoon, David Tait, has revealed the truth about his abusive childhood, admitting that he has donated his bonuses to the NSPCC since the start of his career.

The candid confessions can be heard in an interview on the Culture de-cooded podcast, hosted by entrepreneur, Charlie Coode.

Launched in January 2024, the show gets up close and personal with prominent leaders, sharing their unique views on success and culture – a topic close to the host’s own business and heart.

Now in its fourth episode, Charlie, sat down with David to discuss his unique business journey, spurred on by a traumatic upbringing – and saved by learning to value ethics.

Speaking about Sulphur and White – the autobiographical film he made in support of the charity back in 2019 – David reveals “It tells my life story from the perspective of an abused child and what it does to that person. But most importantly, it’s what that person does to others”.

Less than proud of the people he fired early on, David admits it was the trauma that allowed him to thrive in such an “elbows-out” environment.

“It was the collateral damage that someone like me was capable of, and the damage I inflicted on so many people over that period”, says David, admitting that the film he made was far from a “vanity project”.

Driven by the desire to change, David admits that he saw his new role as CEO of the World Gold Council as an opportunity to turn things around. And it all started with revolutionising culture.

“I flattened the hierarchy”, states David, explaining how this brought younger, more talented people to the fore. Then, it was a question of encouraging gold miners to care.

“They didn’t really give a damn where it went”, David tells listeners, who successfully brought four disparate councils together, transforming the gold market for the better.

No mean feat for the five-time Everest champion, David reminds listeners that “the only way, sometimes, is to think the impossible” – a mentality that saw him become first man to attempt a double traverse of the world’s most dangerous mountain.

According to David, it was all about cleaning the industry’s act, refusing to accept unethical practices such as the involvement of children in mining – yet another nod to his own difficult youth.

David’s full story – “A journey through investment banking to gold council leadership”, is available to listen to via Culture de-cooded on all major podcast channels.

Host of Culture de-cooded, Charlie Coode, is committed to helping organisations succeed. In 2015, he launched Culture15 – an innovative SaaS platform for the rigorous management and measurement of company culture.

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