Paul Chapman

Paul Chapman

Senior Fellow in Operations Management

Saïd Business School
University of Oxford
Park End Street


Paul Chapman is a leading expert on the learning and development of executives, especially those responsible for leading the delivery of Major Programmes/Major Projects typically valued at more than $1billion.

Paul is currently Academy Director for the UK Government's Major Project Leadership Academy, MPLA, a one-year, part-time programme for the Major Project Leaders responsible for delivering the UK Central Government's portfolio strategic projects valued at over £440bn.

Paul is past Programme Director, and current Course Leader of the Managing Performance course, on Oxford's MSc in Major Programme Management, a two-year, part-time programme that attracts senior programme leaders from around the world (50% are based outside the UK) who lead programmes across a range of sectors.

These programmes involve working closely with client organisations and participants to understanding their potential for development and growth through to realising these opportunities. These roles also include engaging teams of faculty and experienced practitioners to create the design and content required to ensure an engaging learning experience. For example, in addition to the MPLA, Chapman’s work with the UK Government extends to include developing and delivering workshops for the Civil Service’s Permanent Secretaries and also for particular Departments that bring together Ministerial teams and their Senior Civil Servants. This means that the insights and capabilities Major Project Leaders develop on the Academy receive better support and can be implemented more effectively in the workplace, which is leading to notable improvements in Major Project delivery.

Paul’s research takes concepts at the heart of operations management, especially engineering and production, and blends these with other insights. For example this includes developing an approach to reducing new product development lead times that enabled organisations to improve market sensitivity and return on capital. Another strand of research brings together operations management with criminology to address product loss through theft and errors. The outputs from this work have been adopted internationally, saving retailers in Europe and the Americas over $2bn in recent years.

Before joining Saïd Business School, Paul was a Senior Research Fellow at Cranfield School of Management and previously was a member of the Warwick Manufacturing Group at the University of Warwick. He continues to be a member of the teaching faculty at Copenhagen Business School, where he has twice been elected teacher of the year on the EMBA. Prior to this, Paul took his BEng, MSc and Engineering Doctorate at the University of Warwick, UK.

Paul is also Chair, Professional Standards and Knowledge Committee, and Board Member of the Association for Project Management (APM).


  • Major programme management
  • Delivering performance improvement
  • Addressing retail losses and retail crime
  • Supply chain management
  • Inter-organisational collaboration


Paul’s research is focused on mechanisms for benefit delivery, especially the role of collaboration between parties within the supply chain.

His work also takes concepts at the heart of operations management, especially engineering and production, and blends these with insights from other disciplines such as criminology, organisational design, organisational behaviour and learning and development.

Major programme management and mega project phenomena

Paul’s work on major programmes includes research into the mega project phenomena, such as the EPSRC-funded ‘Super Value Goods Initiative’. His research on managing projects includes engaging and integrating Small and Medium sized Enterprises, SME, into new product development with Jaguar/Land Rover and delivering productivity improvement in the aerospace sector for companies such as Airbus, Rolls-Royce and British Airways through product design and process reengineering.

Delivering performance improvement

Paul’s work in the automotive, aerospace and retail sectors has led to significant reductions in new product development time, introducing concepts into product design for increased supply chain responsiveness and reducing waste and loss. In the grocery retail sector this work has delivered more than US $2billion in savings in recent years. Paul has a track record of working closely with practitioner organisations to help them realise these opportunities for increasing performance and reducing inefficiencies.

Other areas of interest include supply chain management, collaborative performance improvement and reducing retail crime.

View Paul's research.



Paul’s activities are grounded in the practical application of his work. He is closely connected with both public sector and business communities.

The adoption of his recommendations in the automotive, aerospace and retail sectors has led to significant reductions in new product development time, increased supply chain responsiveness and reducing waste and loss. In Europe’s grocery retail sector this work has delivered more than US $2 billion in savings in recent years. Paul continues to work closely with businesses to help them implement changes to increase performance and reduce inefficiencies.

Paul works as a consultant for a wide range of organisations and corporations across Europe, North America, Latin America, Africa and Asia.  He also regularly works with corporations internationally to develop leadership and training programmes for their executives. As Director of the Major Projects Leadership Academy (MPLA), a UK government-backed initiative from the Major Projects Authority, he will help develop world-class project leaders within the Civil Service to direct major government projects. Over four years beginning in February 2012, 340 project leaders will complete the rigorous year-long Academy programme, which will address major project leadership, technical understanding of major project delivery and commercial capability, strengthening the UK government’s ability to direct major projects and reducing its need to bring in consultants.

Paul is a regular commentator in the media on major programme management and supply chain issues.


Paul directs executive education programmes with a particular emphasis on leadership and major programmes.

He is the Director of Graduate Studies for the MSc in Major Programme Management and teaches the Managing Performance course.

Paul has been responsible for developing and directing a range of custom programmes for major international organisations, including the Major Projects Leadership Academy for the UK Government. He has directed the Leadership module for HEC’s EMBA; the Standard Bank High Potential Directors Programme, and the Infrastructure Development Finance Corporation of India’s Senior Leaders and Future Leaders programmes.

Paul has taught and supervised candidates on postgraduate programmes since 1994. He was Programme Director at the Cranfield School of Management, teaching on custom programmes for companies that included Maersk, BAT, L’Oreal, Coca Cola and HBC and working as Course Director for Cranfield’s Supply Chain Toolbox programme. His teaching experience also took him to the SKEMA Business School as a teacher and the Copenhagen Business School as Director of the International Supply Chain and Operations Management course, where he was elected their EMBA teacher of the year in 2003 and 2005.