Mercenary and former army officer, Simon Mann was born into the Mann brewing dynasty. He was educated at Eton and then, following the military traditions of his family, went on to Sandhurst and the Scots Guards. By 1976 he held the rank of Lieutenant.
Simon was selected for the SAS and served in Cyprus, Germany, Norway and Northern Ireland before leaving the forces in 1985. He rejoined the British Army for the first Gulf War, serving on the staff of General Sir Peter de la Billiere.
Having left the army, with qualifications in programming and Systems Analysis & Design, he started two IT businesses: in combat intelligence, and in electronic security. These took him to the Persian Gulf and to West Africa.
After that he briefly became an oil and gas exploration executive. When the Angolan guerrillas, UNITA, brutally plunged their country back into civil war he and others formed Executive Outcomes (EO) and turned around the Angolan war on the MPLA government side.
Having also started DiamondWorks Plc, Executive Outcomes went on to help win the Sierra Leone civil war, restoring that government and democracy in the process.
Mann and others also founded the company Sandline at this time, later to become well known for the Papua New Guinea army coup incident, and for the Arms to Sierra Leone scandal, which resulted in the resignation of Robin Cook as Foreign Secretary.
Having built three diamond mines from scratch, two in Angola and one in Sierra Leone, in 1997 Simon Mann retired from DiamondWorks to live in Cape Town. But in 2004 he emerged as the leader of the notorious failed Coup d'Etat attempt against the President of Equatorial Guinea. He served five and a half years in two of Africa's toughest prisons, Chikurubi Maximum Security, in Zimbabwe, and Black Beach, in Equatorial Guinea, before he was given a pardon.
Simon delivers fascinating corporate keynote speeches on strategic planning, teamwork, leadership, political unrest and crisis management and talks anecdotally about what happened during the failed coup that he led and his subsequent imprisonment.