Octavius Black

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Octavius Orlando Irvine Casati Black (born 2 May 1968)[1] is a British businessman best known for founding the company The Mind Gym.

Early life[edit]

Black is the son of advertising executive Brinsley Black (1930-2011),[2] a socialite,[3] named as one of the best-dressed Englishmen in the inaugural issue of Men in Vogue in 1965,[4] and his second wife, Lady Moorea Wyatt (nee Hastings) (1928-2011). She was the daughter of the Labour peer and academic Francis Hastings (1901–1990), and Cristina Casati Stampa di Soncino (1901–1953), the only child of Camillo, Marquis Casati Stampa di Soncino (1877-1946) and Italian heiress and eccentric patroness of the arts Luisa Casati (1881–1957). Much of the family's background is explained in the 2014 biography The Red Earl: The Extraordinary Life of the 16th Earl of Huntingdon by Lady Selina Shirley Hastings,[5] the earl's daughter and the aunt of Octavius Black.

Through his mother's earlier marriage to politician and diarist Woodrow Wyatt, Black has one older half-brother, Pericles Plantagenet Wyatt (born 1963).[6] Through his father, Black has a half-sister, Eliza-Jane.[2]

Black was educated at Eton College at the same time as David Cameron;[7] the two have stayed close, socialising together with their wives.[8] Black studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford University.[9]

Business career[edit]

Upon graduating from university, he joined Booz Allen Hamilton as a business analyst, where he worked predominantly in the Financial Services practice.

Black was brought into AGB Research by Mark Booth to help turn around the market research business, owned by Robert Maxwell. After the disappearance of Maxwell the business went into administration.[10]

Black joined Smythe, Dorward Lambert as their sixth employee. Black became the Sales and Marketing Director of the leading employee communication consultancy of its time with 100 employees and a turnover of £10 million. The consultancy was sold to Omnicom in 1996.[11]

Black is also on the Advisory Board of Teaching Leaders.[12]

Black has commented on human performance issues in the press.[13][14][15]

Between 2012 and 2014, he wrote an occasional column in the business section of The Sunday Telegraph on the human aspects of business.[16]

The Mind Gym[edit]

Black, along with co-founder Sebastian Bailey, started The Mind Gym at his kitchen table in 2000.[17] The privately owned company designs and delivers corporate learning and development programmes. It is most well known for its 90-minute-long training sessions known collectively as “Workouts".[18] The company serves 53% of S&P100 and 61% of FTSE100 companies[19] via 400 qualified Mind Gym Coaches delivering in 40 countries. It operates from three offices (New York, London, Singapore).[20]

In February 2018 the Mind Gym was listed in the Top 20 Leadership Training Companies by the Training Industry.[21]

In April 2018 the Mind Gym was listed at No. 36 on the list of the Top 100 private companies with the fastest growing profits by The Sunday Times.[citation needed]

In 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 the Mind Gym featured in the Watchlist of the Top 20 Leadership Training Companies Watchlist according to the Training Industry.[citation needed]

With co-founder Sebastian Bailey, Black co-authored three books (The Mind Gym: Wake Your Mind Up, The Mind Gym: Give Me Time, The Mind Gym: Relationships).[citation needed]

Parent Gym[edit]

Black's Parent Gym, is a six-week parenting programme for parents of children aged 2–11. It is funded by Black’s commercial enterprise, Mind Gym and applies its corporate training knowledge to help teach parenting skills.[22]

It was piloted in 2010 and now[when?] runs 150 programmes every year for parents in areas of multiple deprivation in London and Brighton[23] and Black hopes to roll it out nationwide.[24] London Mayor, Boris Johnson described it as “Just about the most hopeful thing I have seen.” [25]

Personal life[edit]

Black married Joanne Cash, a libel barrister, in December 2007. Friends who attended their exchange of vows "included Ed Vaizey and Michael Gove, [...] Viscount and Viscountess Rothermere, Stuart Rose and Kirstie Allsopp."[8] The Telegraph called Cash a "rising star" of the Conservative Party when she stood for Westminster North in the 2010 general election.[26] When she failed to secure the seat, she accused the media of lying about her and her husband.[27]

The couple are reported to live in Notting Hill,[27] within the Westminster North constituency, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.[28] They have a daughter.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Octavius Orlando Irvine Casati BLACK". Companies House. GOV.uk. Retrieved 2 August 2018.
  2. ^ a b "BLACK, Brinsley Graham". Telegraph Announcements. Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 29 April 2018. Brinsley died peacefully at home on 25th September 2010, aged 81. Beloved husband of Moorea, brother of Hilary, father of Octavius and Eliza-Jane, stepfather of Pericles and proud grandfather of Bronte
  3. ^ "Brinsley Black". Getty Images. Retrieved 29 April 2018.
  4. ^ Anthony Quinn (30 June 2017). "Men's magazines: an A to Z". Magforum. Retrieved 29 April 2018. Contents of the first issue of Men in Vogue in 1965: 'The Englishman: the best dressed man in the world?' Featured James Astor, Cecil Beaton, Brinsley Black, Nigel Lawson...
  5. ^ Clee, Nicholas (23 November 2014). "The Red Earl: The Extraordinary Life of the 16th Earl of Huntingdon – a daughter's biography of her father". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 April 2018.
  6. ^ "Woodrow, Verushka, Pericles and Petronella: welcome to the world of the Wyatts". The Independent. ESI Media. 20 November 2004.
  7. ^ Sherwood, Bob (7 April 2010). "Affluent enclave sitting on political front line". Financial Times. Retrieved 29 April 2018.
  8. ^ a b Eden, Richard (7 February 2009). "David Cameron finds new 'guru'". The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 29 April 2018.
  9. ^ Turner, Janice (4 August 2012). "David Cameron's go to parenting guru". The Times.(subscription required)
  10. ^ The History of TAM – AGB to Nielsen AGB Nielsen, December 2004 Archived 1 August 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "Acquisition: The motives behind Omnicom's latest buy - Omnicom has had its chequebook out again, this time to buy up Fleishman-Hillard. The move mirrors the approach it has taken to building its advertising agency networks". PR Week. Haymarket Media Group. 18 April 1997. Retrieved 6 October 2013.
  12. ^ Partners and Supporters Teaching Leaders Archived 13 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ Hannah Richardson (8 October 2010). "Business coaches offer skills to struggling parents". BBC News.
  14. ^ Ravi Mattu (6 October 2010). "Give more power to your people". FT.com. Financial Times.
  15. ^ Octavius Black (9 August 2010). "I don't have time to think". FT.com. Financial Times.
  16. ^ The Telegraph[dead link]
  17. ^ Ivy Pasic (1 August 2009). "Meet the savvy company revolutionising the way we use - and improve - our grey matter". EasyJet Traveller. EasyJet.
  18. ^ "Quick fix". Personnel Today. DVV Media International. 1 May 2001.
  19. ^ About us Mind Gym
  20. ^ Companies House (2014). "Annual Report and Financial Statements Year Ended 31 March 2014; Company Number 03833448". Missing or empty |url= (help)
  21. ^ "2018 Top Leadership Training Companies". Training Industry. 23 February 2018.
  22. ^ ParentGym[dead link]
  23. ^ ParentGym[dead link]
  24. ^ Robert Booth (18 May 2012). "Mind Gym tycoon wants to roll out free parenting lessons across country". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media.
  25. ^ Boris Johnson (11 October 2010). "The road to a university place must begin when a child is five". The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group.
  26. ^ "Rising stars: new face of the Conservatives". The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. 10 September 2009. Retrieved 29 April 2018.
  27. ^ a b "Joanne Cash concedes defeat with rant at the press". Evening Standard. 7 May 2010. Retrieved 29 April 2018.
  28. ^ Lonsdale, Sarah (6 September 2006). "Greenpiece: switching to green power is easy". The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 29 April 2018.

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