Admiral Sir James Burnell-Nugent, KCB, CBE, MA, was the Commander-in-Chief Fleet of the Royal Navy until 2007 and now runs his own business – Orchard Leadership - giving strategic and operational advice in the private and not for profit sectors.
James Burnell-Nugent joined the Royal Navy in 1971 after reading Mathematics at Cambridge. He commanded in every rank from Lieutenant to Admiral. His first command was the conventional submarine HMS Olympus 1979-80, followed by the nuclear powered submarine HMS Conqueror 1984-86, carrying out many Cold War patrols. In command of the frigate HMS Brilliant 1992-93, he was involved in the early stages of the Bosnia Crisis. He commanded the aircraft carrier HMS Invincible when she made two joint operational deployments to the Gulf for air operations over Iraq and then conducted further air operations during the Kosovo War. As Commander UK Maritime Forces 2001–02, he was Maritime Commander of the UK Joint Force and the Deputy Maritime Commander of the Coalition for the first 6 months of the the period immediately after "9/11"; a force of 40,000 men and women in 104 ships.
In between these operational duties he has served several times in the Ministry of Defence and gained cross-Whitehall experience while seconded to HM Treasury for a year. In most of these posts he has been involved in leadership and management of change issues.
In 1999 as a Rear Admiral, he joined the Admiralty Board as the Assistant Chief of the Naval Staff - Strategy Director for the RN. On promotion to Vice Admiral, he became Second Sea Lord and Commander-in-Chief Naval Home Command – effectively HR Director for the RN. In 2005 on becoming Commander-in-Chief Fleet, he was responsible for the preparation and operation of all the ships, submarines and aircraft of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines – effectively Chief Executive with a budget of £3.6B per annum. He also had a NATO appointment as a Maritime Commander. In this final post he was described by the Secretary of State for Defence as showing "intelligence, insight, logic, enthusiasm and charismatic leadership". He left the Navy in 2008.
He was awarded the CBE for inspirational leadership in 1999 and knighted in 2004. He is a Younger Brother of Trinity House, a Freeman of the City of London, a Honorary Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge and a Governor of Stowe School. He is President of the HMS Ganges Association. He is married with 4 children, 8 grandchildren and has a smallholding in South Devon.