Image of Craig Bentley

Member Spotlight Craig Bentley

Get to know local IoD member and branch chair Craig Bentley

Position/company: Co-founder / Ignite AI Partners

How would you describe your business to a total stranger?

Co-founded by two colleagues with practical industry experience of digital transformation and AI implementation, Ignite AI Partners is a new consultancy aiming to help organisations demystify and make the most of artificial intelligence opportunities.  We help businesses understand how AI can help them achieve their goals – whether that’s to improve operations, reduce costs, enhance customer experience, or open up new revenue streams, we partner with clients to help create an AI roadmap and support them in delivering it with the right technology.

Your previous roles:

  • Director, Bentley Management & Consulting
  • General Manager, Haulotte UK
  • General Manager, Caterpillar Logistics Services
  • Various commercial and operations leadership roles with Caterpillar and others

Other information (eg other positions held, charity roles):

  • IoD Branch Chair, Leicestershire & South East Midlands
  • Enterprise Advisor, helping connect further education providers with the local business community.
  • Mentor with Warwick Business School
  • Vice Chair of Governors, Brockington College
  • Former Chair of Midlands Alumni Network for Warwick Business School

What do you do outside work?

I love to travel and have been fortunate to travel extensively both for pleasure and professionally across much of Europe, India, and US.  I work out at the gym regularly to stay in shape and enjoy squash from time to time.  I’m a football fan but from my sofa where I can also be found listening to audiobooks on anything from biographies to technology.  I’m married with teenage kids and a dog and like getting out for walks whenever possible.

How long have you been an IoD member?

I joined in 2019, became Ambassador for Governance & Policy in 2021, Branch Vice Chair in 2022, and been serving as Branch Chair since April 2023.

Why did you join the IoD?

I’ve always been a keen networker which both supports my business and allows me to create valuable connections for people, so I joined IoD to broaden my network, connect with people locally, and to access to the superb range of resources and CPD on offer.  I also saw membership as a way of staying current on important issues to support my conversations with clients on strategy, growth, and the wider economic issues affecting their business.

Which parts of IoD membership do you value most?

The Information & Advisory service is fantastic!  I’ve used the service many times for requests as diverse as competitor and market info to consulting agreements and tax advice, every time the team have exceeded my expectations!  I’m also currently on my journey towards Chartered Director, the quality of the courses is excellent, and I’m enjoying it immensely.

How would you describe your branch area to a total stranger?

We’re centrally located with great links to just about anywhere in the country, two easily accessible airports, and London is just a couple of hours away, consequently our region is very diverse with several large multi-national businesses based here but also a rich variety of SMEs which creates a vibrant business community and lots of opportunities to make connections.

What is the most important issue for the government to tackle?

The huge drop and variation in living standards we see across our region and the country.  Inequality has never been starker which means less opportunities for people, lower social mobility, lower standards of educational achievement, and a stagnant economy.  I’d like to see levelling up be more than just a slogan, more investment in skills improvement plans, and creation of greater and more diverse opportunities for young people.

Looking back, what advice would you give yourself when you started out in business?

Don’t worry about making mistakes, take every opportunity to learn from people around you, don’t ever try and be the smartest person in the room, and listen more than you speak. These are some of the principles that have guided me throughout my career and helped me grow as a leader and an entrepreneur. I think they are universal and applicable to any field or industry.

What do you hope to be doing in 10 years’ time?

In 10 years’ time, I hope to be reflecting on a decade of running a successful AI consulting business, where I have worked with some fun and talented people, delivered some exciting and innovative projects, and created opportunities for people to learn and grow in the field of AI. I also hope to have a portfolio of non-executive director roles in addition to my voluntary work, where I can share my insights and expertise with other organisations and contribute to their strategic vision and governance as a Chartered Director. I believe that AI has the potential to transform the world for the better, and I want to be part of that journey.

LinkedIn profile:

Interested in finding out more about IoD membership? Email [email protected]

Better directors for a better world

The IoD supports directors and business leaders across the UK and beyond to learn, network and build successful, responsible businesses.
Internet Explorer
Your web browser is out of date and is not supported by the IoD website. It is important to update your browser for increased security and a better web experience.