An internationally-renowned hostage negotiator who never stops reading and loves heading to the hills in a classic car.

Andrew B Brown is an internationally renowned negotiator with specialist knowledge and experience in dealing with kidnap for ransom and hostage/crisis incidents, particularly in maritime environments; in designing conflict de-escalation skills for military operations.

He is acting as an expert witness to judicial inquiries on the response to hostage taking, specifically the Lindt Café siege, Sydney, Australia.

He develops negotiation skills for major corporations and world-class sports coaches through executive coaching and guides people though crises to better their lives, both professionally and personally.

Andrew is a key member of the Mind over Matter Consultancy team.

Andrew, welcome to the Leadership interview

How do you start your day?

I like to do things the old fashioned way and peacefully indulge in traditional shaving to start my day, before the chaos of work and family life.

What was your first job and what is the worst job you have ever done?

As an active member of the Falkirk Otters, my first job was as the Lifeguard at the old Falkirk Baths in the Pleasance; a great job that lead me into coaching a range of different sports.

My worst job, by far, was attending to and dealing with fatal road collisions, particularly those involving children, as an accident investigator in the Police.

What advice would you give to others about furthering their careers?

Never stop reading; form your own thoughts; try things out; don’t be afraid of failure, it is just deferred success and most importantly believe in yourself, you’ll be surprised at what you can achieve.

Who inspires you and why?

  • “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”                             
  • “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” 
  • “Never, never, never give up.”

 All quotes from Sir Winston Churchill that have inspired me through some pretty tough times. This, along with my conviction to help others, has led me to guide both people and organisations through critical and crisis events.

Do you think a talent to lead is nature or nurture?

I think it is a combination of both. Whilst some are natural leaders, we can all learn and develop our leadership skills to become better.

How can a leader fail? Do you have a personal example?

Occasionally, I have seen leaders fail where they have lost sight of where they want to go and is often combined with the feeling of isolation at the top.

I have guided a leader back on track after he derailed in the middle of a crisis, not able to cope with the pressure.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

I have been blessed with the ability to keep calm under intense pressure I become focussed, actively listen and am comfortable making decisions in challenging environments. Described as a ‘gentle giant who is very tactically aware’ and a ‘well of wisdom’ by others.

Sometimes, I expect others to meet my standards constantly and recognise that we are all different, so nurture them to improve.

What do you find most challenging about being a leader?

I’m comfortable taking the lead, but it’s sometimes the challenge of maintaining a healthy work/life balance that eludes me. I have improved this balance with age.

What are you most proud of?

I’m proud of my family; my children and that I have been blessed with helping so many people in crisis over the years. I feel very special to have the ability to walk people through hell and take them out the other side onto a better and more deserving life.

What’s your biggest self- indulgence?

Classic cars. I love to drive and enjoy wafting about in the family car or heading to the hills in my old Range Rover.

Could you negotiate with a kidnapper?

Andrew runs our high performance programme #Taken: Out of Your Comfort Zone – a live kidnap/hostage scenario.

Follow Andrew on LinkedIn and Twitter

Mind over Matter Consultancy works with world leaders in their fields running Extreme Corporate Away Days for high performers, as well as Executive Education and Team Development programmes.

These range from kidnap/hostage scenarios, Grand Prix, SAS, Tivoli roller coaster crash, dance and RNLI immersive experiences.

For more information please email us at or call us on 01234 964020.