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News & Views

To ensure that our members are able to benefit from our events even when they are not able to attend, we write up the key points and publish them on our website below. From time to time, we also come across other items which we think may be of interest to our members in their search for non-executive and trustee roles. These too are included below.

Our most recent additions appear at the top of the page.

Rachel Hubbard: “Start early, start small”

We recently welcomed Rachel Hubbard, currently leading the Social Impact sector at Saxton Bampfylde, to BCKR. Saxton Bampfylde is now 32 years old, with the founder, Stephen Bampfylde, still involved.  They have always been focused on the non-profit world, charities and NGOs. Rachel leads the social impact sector. Different headhunting firms operate different processes and for the candidate and headhunter this process can feel different depending on the type of organisation involved. Saxton Bampfylde does not operate through the ‘little black book’, or by relying on their database.  Their research-heavy model is very different.  They start with a clean bit ...
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Charles Randell: “The best way to get NED roles is through relentless networking”

We recently welcomed Charles Randell, currently Chair of the FCA, to BCKR.  Charles joined Slaughter and May in 1980 and stayed for 33 years, despite various efforts to ‘escape’.  He interviewed widely for other jobs before becoming a partner, but concluded they were equally as ‘bad’.  So, he took partnership but set himself a target to leave by the age of 50.  On approaching 50, he accepted a job chairing a government owned business which was in the process of being privatised but he had a change of heart over the weekend and pulled out.  This decision set him back ...
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Suzanna Taverne: play to your sectoral strengths and develop your network

Suzanna started her career as an investment banker at SG Warburg after which she moved into Finance and Strategy Director roles at Saatchi and Saatchi and then at Pearson.  Her next move was in to the public sector when she took on the role of Managing Director of the British Museum, overseeing the Millennium Great Court project.  This in turn led to a role at Imperial College, in what was effectively a COO role. At the end of that phase she decided she didn’t want to work only in the public sector, so she decided to embark on a portfolio career which she hoped would offer an ...
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Sir Nicholas Young: Lawyers know how to ask the right challenging questions – a much-needed skill in a Trustee

We recently welcomed Sir Nicholas Young to BCKR where he shared his thoughts with us. He began with some facts about the voluntary sector. It is a huge sector with 170,000 charities in the UK with a combined total income of £45 billion per year.  Add in housing associations, private schools the total yearly income reaches £73 billion compared to, for instance, the car industry (£71 billion) or the farming industry (£5 billion). Of the proper established charities about: 45% of their income comes from the public/individual donations 30% comes from central and local government in the form of contracts/fees for ...
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Will Dawkins: Tactics for getting that board role – Get skilled-up, widen your horizons and prepare

This week we welcomed Will Dawkins, Head of Board Practice at Spencer Stuart to BCKR to share his thoughts with us. The current situation The current situation for lawyers on FTSE 100 boards has neither significantly changed nor improved over the last 5 years.  There are currently 12 NEDs who come from a true professional lawyer background on FTSE 100 boards.  In the US it is more like 50% of companies who have a lawyer on their board. The reality of the FTSE 100 market is that there are probably only 780 positions available at any one time and 1% ...
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Kirsty Watt and Gavin Robert: Lawyers are highly sought-after at multi-academy trusts

We recently welcomed Kirsty Watt from Academy Ambassadors and Gavin Robert, former Linklaters partner, to BCKR to discuss academy trusts and how lawyers make a good fit for their boards. NED roles for BCKR members are being offered through Academy Ambassadors who came to speak to the group today, together with Gavin Robert - a BCKR member who found a NED role with England’s largest primary academy trust through the AA – BCKR relationship. Lawyers are particularly sought after for the boards of multi-academy trusts for their ability to provide scrutiny and challenge. Academy Ambassadors provides a free, bespoke service ...
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Lord Falconer: The nerdiest of lawyers can make a decision without reading all the papers or having all the boxes ticked

This week we were delighted to welcome Lord Charles Falconer to BCKR. Looking back Charlie’s experience as a lawyer could seem quite depressing.  Between the ages of 22-45 he was the nerdiest commercial barrister. He had concluded that success was brought about by serious hard work and always being on top of things – mostly on top of reading the papers.  But now – after broadening his career with a stint in politics – he can look back and see how completely absorbed in the day job he was and that there actually other approaches to success beyond being the ...
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Josyane Gold: Networking, focus and persistence – the key to attaining your first role

We recently welcomed Josyane Gold, retired lawyer, to BCKR to share her thoughts with us. Zygos appointed Josyane to the board of Electra Private Equity, a FTSE 250 investment trust, 5 years ago, after retiring from her 25-year career as a corporate partner at S J Berwin.  At that time there was no structure or support for senior partners thinking about life after the law, so she felt she had to be very strategic about her transition, particularly once she’d decided to go down the route of looking for non-executive roles. She spoke to her managing partner about this transition, ...
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Karen Brown: “Why would you want a lawyer on your charity board? Why wouldn’t you?”

We recently welcomed Karen Brown to BCKR to share her thoughts with us. When asked the question why would you want a lawyer on your charity board, Karen’s response would be – why wouldn’t you? Maybe the better question might be “why would a lawyer want to be on a charity board”? Things have changed dramatically in the last 5 years. There has been a huge shift in governance with the external environment requiring much more formal governance procedure to be in place. Some charities are still adjusting to this. How lawyers would be viewed on boards depends very much ...
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The Lawyer: What law firms are doing about retirement assistance – and where they’re failing

By Matt Byrne 6 March 2018, The Lawyer magazine The idea of offering partner retirement assistance is heartily supported by top law firms. However, the results of our survey reveal that what they actually provide lacks the structure and innovative thinking found at the big accountacy firms. “To what extent do you think that both firms and partners nearing retirement benefit if the former provides specific retirement-related assistance to the latter?” While UK law firms continue to face criticism in many quarters for their approach to retirement-related issues, the results of our survey suggest that an overwhelming majority have at ...
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Denise Jagger: “Being on a board gives you skills – which can help your law firm”

We recently welcomed Denise Jagger to BCKR, who shared with us her wealth of expertise acquired on her non-executive journey which, rather unusually, began when she was in her 30s. Top tips: Getting a portfolio takes a long time, so you do have to start early and put in the effort. Do not underestimate the power of your network. Denise found her most interesting roles on her own. Your contacts are important; you can use them for several things, not just getting you introductions to roles but also later on to introduce donors to charities, for example. Do not assume ...
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A Presentation from The Fore Trust: Focusing on smaller charitable organisations

The Bulldog Trust owns and operates The Fore Trust, founded in 2012. They operate out of the stunning Two Temple Place, built by William Waldorf Astor in 1895. The Fore Trust make grants to small charitable organisations. They are a seed investor in the charity sector, looking for small organisations at the early stages looking for an injection of cash to take them to the next stage. Funding for first timers is hard. You often don’t get any feedback on failed applications. It is easier for corporate funding to go to larger charities. Not only do they get a pronounced ...
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“Enthusiasm over aptitude!  If they like you, you are 80% there” Anna Ponton and Stuart Morton – Odgers Berndston

This week we were delighted to welcome Anna Ponton and Stuart Morton from headhunters Odgers Berndston to BCKR to share their thoughts with us. Law firms are generally not very good at helping their partners and alumni to make the transition to life outside law. Unhappy alumni are not useful alumni; some law firms are beginning to react and ask for advice on how to improve. How they work Both Anna and Stuart are lawyers.  They run the Professional Services team at Odgers Berndtson and both sit on the board practice, chaired by Virginia Bottomley. They understand the challenges that face ...
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Nick Vetch: Pick your NED role with care

We recently welcomed Nick Vetch to BCKR.  Nick is on the board of several companies and is a trustee at Bedales School and also of The Fund for Global Human Rights.  He has NEDs and is a NED.  His experience of being a NED for a commercial organisation versus a non-commercial is that there is some commonality – dependent on the size and sophistication of the organisation.  Large organisations differ from smaller ones.  In general, the NGO sector is some way behind on a corporate governance and organisational front. A major trap around becoming a NED is that you either ...
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The Lawyer: How to deal with retiring partners

In their March 2018 issue, The Lawyer is to undertake an analysis of retirement-related issues facing law firms. "UK law firms should be doing significantly more to assist partners in the run-up to retirement and could benefit materially by doing so, experts have claimed." Click here to read Matt Byrne's introductory article where BCKR Director, Elizabeth Holden, suggests that law firms could be "missing a trick" by not sufficiently investing in their retirees ...
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Naziar Hashemi: ‘Know Your Numbers’

BCKR recently welcomed Naziar Hashemi, Non Profits Audit and Risk Partner from Crowe Clark Whitehill to speak to our members. Please find a copy of her presentation here. To add depth to her presentation, Naziar added an example set of charity accounts for our members to examine ...
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Chris Saul: When retirement is not an option

BCKR recently welcomed Slaughter and May's former Senior Partner, Chris Saul, to share how he has successfully cultivated a new working life away from law. In the months leading up to his retirement Chris spoke to a lot of people. He adopted four guiding principles to his life after Slaughter and May. 1. Retirement was not an option 2. He wanted to stay in the business world 3. He wanted a balanced involvement with the not for profit world 4. He wanted to maintain an element of teaching and contact with the next generation So, what job in the business world? • ...
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Looking for your first role? Try govt or 3rd sector, get the right CV and do your research

We recently welcomed Wendy Barnes, portfolio non-executive and an independent consultant in cyber security to a BCKR breakfast event. Wendy’s first non-executive role was at GCHQ in 2002.  It was one of the first government departments to go through a proper recruitment process.  The private sector was moving towards greater transparency.  It turned out to be a great role that led to many others. How to go about finding that first role. Getting a government or 3rd Sector role is easier than gaining one in the private sector which relies more on your CV, your reputation and who you know.  The ...
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Professionalising the Family Business

Do family firms have an "image problem" when it comes to recruiting talented staff? Do people question their rigour when it comes to governance? These are some of the interesting questions posed by BCKR associate Rosalyn Breedy in the following article first published in Wealth Briefing. ________________________________________ UK family businesses have been shown to be less productive than their peer group of  Non-family businesses in UK in a recent survey by the Office of National Statistics (ONS). According to Rosalyn Breedy of Wedlake Bell, ‘Key points made by the ONS survey are that lack of professional management and an inability ...
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The importance of the transition period – from Lawyer to Boardroom

This week we were delighted to welcome Stuart Popham to our BCKR breakfast event. Stuart started thinking about what he was going to do next, about two years before stepping away from his role as Senior Partner at Clifford Chance. He realised he needed board experience so joined the board of Chatham House – though the firm had some concerns about conflict of interest. Stuart would recommend that you take time to make the transition before jumping into a board role.  It can be a challenging role but can also be very interesting.  It takes a bit of time getting ...
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Sean O’Hare: Inside RemComs

This week we welcomed Sean O'Hare to our breakfast event to discuss The Remuneration Committee. The UK Corporate Governance Code has 2 pages in Section D on what RemCos do, and most other governance codes cover something similar.  Sean would really recommend ANY NED of FTSE listed companies to read it. The FRC has also published a Guide on Board Effectiveness which defines the roles of Chair, CEO, NED and Senior Independent Director and what is expected of each role.  This code is very straightforward.  The Remco must: Set the remuneration for the Executive Director and Chairman and Promote the ...
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Changing direction? Let people know you’re there – Sally Springbett

At this week's breakfast event, we were delighted to welcome Sally Springbett from Sapphire Partners, who gave us the benefit of her many years of executive search experience. According to Sally, the biggest step you can take in becoming a NED or when considering a change in direction, is to let people know you’re there.  Lawyers can be gods in the legal world but not known outside.  Changing can be scary and Sally often sees fear in people’s eyes when they are contemplating it, often at a later stage in life.  ‘Retirement’ has such negative connotations that Sally has stripped it ...
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“A good lawyer tells you how to do it” – Life After Law with Tim Freshwater

This week we were joined at BCKR by Tim Freshwater. Since leaving the law, Tim has held a variety of non-executive roles, here in the UK and in Asia. He currently chairs Goldman Sachs Asia Bank, is the SID at Savills PLC and is a NED on the boards of Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing, Swire Pacific and Chelsfield Asia Limited. Tim is also a Senior Advisor to the Brunswick Group, the corporate communications firm. Tim’s mix of advisory and board work across two continents and cultures will allow members to see how lawyers can reinvent themselves to take advantage ...
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Ian Meakins – The Chief Executive’s Perspective

This week we were delighted to welcome Ian Meakins to talk to our BCKR members. Having started his career as an advisory consultant Ian then switched into business working in both PE and listed companies including Travelex and Alliance Unichem. He finished his executive career as Chief Executive of the Wolseley Group at which point he made the transition into a NED career. He currently Chairs Rexel, a global electrical distribution company listed in Paris and TLN, a Dutch publishing distribution company. Here is a summary of Ian's very practical advice on how to go about getting your first NED ...
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Lawyers – A Great Fit For NHS Boards

We were delighted to welcome Laura Carstensen and Janice Scanlan to our BCKR Breakfast Event this week to discuss the value of joining an NHS Trust and how you might go about it. Laura's wide ranging portfolio includes being a non-executive director of NHS Improvement where she sits on the committee with responsibility for trust leadership, directly appointing to NHS Trusts and influencing the role in Foundation Trusts. She works closely with Janice who heads NHS Non-Executive Development. Laura was a partner at Slaughter and May until 2004, when she began her portfolio career, successfully combining business and public service ...
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Why Networking is the Key to Your Next Board Role – with Gavin Orr.

At this week's Breakfast Event we looked at life from the Headhunter's Perspective with Lomond founder Gavin Orr. Lomond is an entrepreneurial search firm focusing in large part on board appointments in the financial, consumer, business services and natural resources sectors. Gavin founded the firm and heads their Private Equity arm, counting many leading and emerging brands amongst his clients. Gavin combines a genuine interest in his clients, their businesses and their sectors – believing in teamwork, transparency and a straightforward approach to doing business. In case you didn't make it, here is a summary of what Gavin had to ...
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Stuart Chambers – The Chairman’s Perspective.

We were delighted to welcome Stuart Chambers to BCKR for our latest Breakfast Event. Stuart spent much of his executive career with Mars, Pilkington and Nippon Glass, before turning to portfolio life. He has since chaired technology company ARM Holdings and packaging giant Rexam, with NED roles on Associated British Ports, Smiths Group, Manchester Airport Group and Tesco. He currently sits as a NED on the Takeover Panel, on the advisory board of Spencer Stuart, is a fellow of SAID Business School and mentors senior board members. Here is a summary of what we learned; Stuart's vast boardroom experience, his ...
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Meet the portfolio lawyer with a love of sport – Ian Metcalfe

Joining us recently was Ian Metcalfe, former Managing Partner of Wragge & Co, who is now embracing a broad and varied portfolio career; in private companies, the listed world education and sport. He is a NED on the boards of Mercia Technologies PLC and Terberg RosRoca Group Limited, and is a governor of the Foundation Board of the Schools of King Edward VI. He chairs Rugby’s Professional Game Board, is SID on the board of the RFU and chairs the board of Commonwealth Games England. Ian was also a director of England Rugby 2015. In case you missed it, here ...
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The Portfolio Lawyer – Thomas Keevil chats to BCKR

We were delighted to welcome Tom Keevil to our latest BCKR Breakfast. An experienced lawyer, trustee and non executive director, he was full of useful insights and advice. Here is a summary of what he had to say. Tom was a partner at Simmons & Simmons, before going in-house as GC for three FTSE 100 companies -Gallagher, United Utilities and Barratt. He is now Chairman of City West Properties (Westminster City Council's public/private housing management operation, with 21,000 properties and he sits on the board of the Land Trust). Tom stressed there is a whole panoply of options for NED ...
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Towards Your 1st NED Role – The Headhunter’s Perspective

At our last BCKR breakfast meeting we were delighted to get the headhunter's perspective from Deborah Cooper - a partner at leading search firm, The Miles Partnership. Deborah specialises in top level recruitment, including non-executive directors. She has extensive experience in this field, having worked previously at Warren Partners, Heidrick & Struggles and Norman Broadbent. Deborah wanted to let us know more about what she looks for in candidates, and what lawyers can do to increase their chances in this highly competitive area. She started by saying that since we can only remember 3 things at a time it is ...
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Why Not Lawyers? Board Advice From Sir Damon Buffini

Our most recent guest to BCKR was Sir Damon Buffini - businessman and governor of the Wellcome Trust. He was formerly head of the private equity company Permira. Here is a summary of what he had to share with us. Why should a lawyer get onto a board? When anyone looks for a new board member, the first port of call is often an accountant, which is surprising given their specific focus and lack of breadth. Lawyers could also be labelled as being too specialised, not financial, and people say 'We've already got too many lawyers in the room'. However, ...
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The Portfolio Lawyer:Amanda Burton former COO Clifford Chance

Last week we were delighted to welcome Amanda Burton, former global COO of Clifford Chance to BCKR to discuss the role of The Portfolio Lawyer. Amanda’s legal career has very successfully combined law, management and board roles. After qualifying as a solicitor in 1982 at Slaughter and May, Amanda moved into industry. She became an executive director of Meyer International at the age of 38, leading their Timber division while continuing her role as their Legal and Corporate Services Director. She took on her first non-executive role in 1998. In 2000, following Meyer's takeover by Saint-Gobain, she joined Clifford Chance ...
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Investment Banker Simon Warshaw with – The Outsider’s View

This week we were delighted to welcome Simon Warshaw from Robey Warshaw to our regular BCKR Breakfast meeting. As a leading investment banker Simon regularly comes across lawyers and chairmen, and is well placed to tell members how lawyers are perceived by the boards he advises. Simon is also a NED himself and sits on the Corporate Advisory Board of the National Theatre - which advises and supports the Theatre's relationships with the corporate sector. Simon set up Robey Warshaw with Simon Robey after 27 years as a global investment banker at UBS. While the firm’s work is focused on ...
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Non Executive Roles – Are They Worth The Hassle?

A provocative title for this article in the winter edition of City Solicitor which we thought we would share with you because it is about us! Enjoy these words of wisdom from our founders. The fun begins on page 7. Click here to see article ...
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The Chairman’s Perspective – Paul Myners

This week we welcomed Paul Myners to BCKR. Paul’s career to date has covered almost every aspect of commercial and public life. His first career was principally in the City with Gartmore. He has subsequently chaired Marks & Spencer, Guardian Media Group and Land Securities. He has chaired the Trustees of the Tate and the Low Pay Commission and he was City Minister in the last Labour administration, a role which led to his appointment to the House of Lords. He has recently been appointed Chancellor of Exeter University. Here is our summary of what he had to say; Paul ...
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The World of Sport With David Gregson

This week we were pleased to welcome David Gregson to BCKR to tell us about the World of Sport. David Gregson is chairman of one of Britain’s most significant sporting bodies The Lawn Tennis Association as well as the Karma Group, the UK’s largest independent marketing services agency. He is also a Director of the London Legacy Development Corporation, which is transforming the Olympic Park following the 2012 Games, and a member of the Advisory Boards for the Sutton Trust, promoting social mobility through education, and of the Education Endowment Foundation. Previously, David was a co-founder and Chairman of Phoenix ...
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Non Executive Directorships – The Lawyers Point of View – With Tim Eyles

This week we were pleased to welcome distinguished lawyer Tim Eyles who gave us the benefit of his wisdom as an experienced Non Executive Director and Trustee. Here is a summary of what he had to say. Tim chairs the Jerwood Foundation, which over the years has given over £100m to the arts. His passion for the arts alongside his role as managing partner of Taylor Wessing makes him a fantastic example of a lawyer managing serious NED roles alongside a substantial legal career. Tim started at Goodman Derrick, chaired by Lord Goodman who was very well connected, and it ...
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Robert Swannell (M&S) – The Chairman’s Perspective

Last week we were pleased to welcome Robert Swannell, Chairman of Marks and Spencer and UK Government Investments, to BCKR. Since retiring from 30 years in investment banking, Robert has developed a broad and varied non-executive portfolio. He has been SID of both British Land and 3i Group, and, for two years, chaired HMV Group Here is a digest of what he had to share with us. Robert started out as an investment banker at Schroders in 1977 and stayed for 33 years. He came to the conclusion that managing large numbers of investment bankers was not what interested him ...
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Anthony May On Why Regulatory Boards Are Ideal For Lawyers

This week we were happy to welcome Anthony May from leading legal headhunters, Hedley May. He joined BCKR members for a mid week breakfast to speak about regulatory boards. Hedley May has always known a lot about lawyers. It also knows a lot about the boards of regulators, frequently being called upon to find NEDs and chairmen for the numerous City regulatory bodies, such as the PRA, FCA and their various committees. Anthony has advised major law firms, Big Four accountancy firms, FTSE 100 corporates, financial institutions and Government entities on legal search, strategic consultancy and leadership projects since 1993 ...
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Winning Over The Headhunters – Keys to Success with Rosemary Martin

BCKR recently welcomed lawyer and experienced Non Executive Rosemary Martin. Alongside her role as General Counsel and Company Secretary at Vodafone, Rosemary sits on the board of HSBC Bank PLC (the European arm of the HSBC Group), is a member of the FSA’s Listing Authority Advisory Committee, is an advisory board member for the Oxford Internet Institute and has taken numerous charitable and fundraising roles alongside. Here is a summary of what she had to share with us. Rosemary began her career with a vague goal of being a partner by 30 and a GC by 40 but the way ...
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Make Yourself Relevant – Advice From International Search Experts

This week we were pleased to welcome to BCKR, Dom Loehnis from Egon Zehnder, one of the leading international search firms. Dom was joined by his colleague Fiona Packman and together they spent time talking to us about the Headhunter's Perspective on seeking a board role. Here is a summary of what they had to say. Egon Zehnder have the biggest board practice in the UK, but even they only do about 60-70 board appointments a year, all with very specific, and in fact increasingly specific criteria to fill a particular role in the team. Think more broadly than using ...
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How do lawyers get on the board? A summary of what we’ve learned so far.

This week we have been pulling together all the advice we have received during these sessions and taking stock. Our guide was BCKR's resident executive careers coach Nick Aitchison. Here is a summary of what he had to say. Having attended most of the BCKR sessions over the last 18 months, I thought it was time to reflect on what we have learnt, and ask ourselves: • should we be encouraged or discouraged? • and what should we do next? We have not been short of good advice, for example from Roger Carr, Mervyn Davies, Marcus Agius; from Lloyd Dorfman ...
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Start Early: Advice On Your NED Career From Mark Chambers.

This week we welcomed Mark Chambers to BCKR - Mark has combined numerous non-executive roles with his challenging legal career. Here is a summary of what he had to say. First, Mark would really encourage you to take on a role in a not-for-profit early – while you are still in your full time career. If you are doing something like this on the side it makes you a more rounded individual, it positions you better for the transition you might want to make later in life from executive to non-executive and above all – it's fun! Mark has been ...
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You’re Successful – Now Define Why – Advice for Prospectve NEDs

This week we welcomed David Grigson to BCKR - Chairman of Trinity Mirror plc, formerly the CFO of Emap and Reuters. Here's a useful summary of what he had to say; David’s first executive board position was at EMAP in 1989 going on to become FD at Reuters. His first NED position was at Carphone Warehouse while still at Reuters, but when Reuters merged with Thomson in 2008, he decided to take a year off to ponder his next move. In choosing what to do next David thought what about what he would miss from his executive life. • Building ...
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Margaret Mountford gives BCKR the lowdown on Academy Schools

We were luckier than usual this week to have not one but two fantastic speakers on a subject that his been in the headlines a lot recently, Academy Schools. Margaret Mountford, an experienced Chair, and one time expert on the BBC's Apprentice was joined by Academy Trust Chair Simon Staite. First, here is a quick look at the main points on Academy Schools. The headlines on Academy Schools: • They are independent schools – maintained by the state • They are funded directly from government • Having evolved from city education colleges under Blair they are now generally highly respected ...
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Guy Beringer’s Blog: Governance in the third sector

I closed my first blog with a reference to the governance challenges which face the third sector. It is worth considering how these challenges have arisen. Successive governments in this century have committed themselves to devolution of central power in a range of different ways. The political dimension of this has belatedly begun to receive the scrutiny it requires. The notions of big society or one nation have produced an equally important shift in the structure and delivery of many public services on which society at large is now reliant. There has been little consideration, however, of the consequences of ...
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A trustee’s guide to the board with Louis Taylor – Chief Executive UK Export Finance (UKEF)

This week BCKR was pleased to welcome Louis Taylor to our monthly Breakfast Event - here is a summary of his talk, including valuable information about serving on public sector boards and how lawyers can help. Louis Taylor is the Chief Executive of UK Export Finance (UKEF). He started his career with 8 years at JP Morgan, before moving in-house, working in corporate finance and strategic planning at several major corporates. He worked for many years for Standard Chartered, eventually running Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia for them, before moving into the public sector. Although he does not have a legal ...
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Cyber Security – What Future NEDs Must Know

Arno Robbertse is one of the managing partners of G3 and is in charge of cyber security - he came into talk to us last week and here is a summary of what he had to say; G3 which was founded by a senior former director of Kroll gives advice on how to access information on the internet and how your own information can be accessed. Cyber security will be a permanent feature of corporate life from now on and so all NEDs must have a reasonable understanding of issues of cyber security. The internet provides so much - connectivity, ...
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Tips For Working With Headhunters to Get the Role You Want

Last week we were pleased to welcome Sophia Copeman from Perrett Laver - the global executive search firm. Sophia talked us through how she conducts searches, how clients and headhunters come up with their shortlists, what she looks for in candidates and their CVs and the views that the headhunting profession and their clients have of lawyers on boards. Here is a summary of what she had to say... Perrett Laver was set up by two former partners of Saxton Bampfylde who wanted to concentrate on the non-profit and higher educational clients, and to draw out high quality talent from ...
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Charity Commission Warning – Why Lawyers Could Be The Answer

Today we are prompted to think of the governance challenges which face the third sector, as William Shawcross, chairman of the Charity Commission for England and Wales officially reminds the people who run charities of their legal duties and responsibilities. Here, one of the BCKR founders, Guy Beringer considers how these challenges have arisen and argues that professional service firm partners are ideally placed to help charities meet these challenges... Successive governments in this century have committed themselves to devolution of central power in a range of different ways. The political dimension of this has belatedly begun to receive the ...
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Guy Beringer’s Blog – How can lawyers contribute to better boards?

This is the first in a series of short blogs which consider the contribution which lawyers might make to the governance and boardroom world and the challenges which might arise in doing so. A good starting point is the extent of that contribution as it currently stands. There is no wholly reliable source of information but Boardex shows that there are currently 1159 partners at the UK's 150 top law firms. From this group, 104 partners from 42 law firms currently hold 173 non-executive roles in aggregate which are known to Boardex. It is certainly the case that many of ...
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BCKR Profile – Elizabeth Holden

What boards do you sit on? My first non-executive directorship was with Great Portland Estates, the FTSE 250 commercial property developer. Alongside BCKR, I also sit on the board of YourLifeSpace, the development arm of Circle Housing and HML Holdings, the AIM listed residential block management company. Why did you decide to become a director? After 20 years of front line M&A, I decided to rebalance life. Rather than simply take a less high-pressured legal job, I wanted instead to get closer to a variety of businesses, learning more about each of them than I could ever do as an ...
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Bringing Your Skills to the Arts – Neil Adleman tells us why Lawyers Think Differently

This week we were pleased to welcome Neil Adleman to BCKR to hear his thoughts on board membership in the field of theatre. Here is a summary of what we had to say; Summary of meeting with Neil Adleman – 9 February, 2016 Neil has been a partner in Harbottle & Lewis for 12 years, having escaped from the City. His practice focuses on theatre, live entertainment and the arts and for some years he has sat on the boards of arts organisations. He currently serves on: • The Peggy Ramsay Foundation. A £6million grant giving foundation, where the key ...
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“The corporate world needs high calibre people providing good advice” – Paul Skinner

We were pleased to welcome Paul Skinner to BCKR in January - a highly experienced chairman and non-executive director who, following his executive career at Shell, quickly established himself in the portfolio world. He chaired diverse private and public sector organisations such as Rio Tinto, Infrastructure UK, the Commonwealth Business Council and the UK Chamber of Shipping. Paul is currently Chair of Defence Equipment and Support, a trading entity within the Ministry of Defence, responsible for the UK’s defence procurement. He is also a NED of Standard Chartered plc, Air Liquide, S.A. and of Tetra Lavel Group and sits on ...
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Defining the Trustee Role with Barbara Frost of Water Aid

We welcomed in the New Year with guest speaker Barbara Frost, Chief Executive of WaterAid who had some very clear messages about the role of the trustees on charity boards. She went on to tell us what she looks for when selecting trustees and of course the strengths that lawyers bring to the table. Here is a summary of her talk; Most NGO boards are entirely non-executive and generally unpaid. There can be a confusion about who is working for free in the voluntary sector. Most staff are not volunteers but they do work with volunteers, including the board of ...
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Headhunter & Career Strategist John Stork on the secrets of a successful CV

At the end of 2015 we were delighted to welcome old friend and Stork & May founder, John Stork to BCKR where he shared career advice and tips on perfecting your CV. Here is a summary of what he had to say. John’s career has changed direction approximately every 12 years. He suspects that lawyers with one career only, could learn a little from that. He has also reviewed or written more than 10,000 CVs over his career, as both headhunter and career strategy adviser, so believes he is well qualified to understand what makes a good CV. Often you ...
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Essential Resources

If you would like to begin your journey to the corporate boardroom, charities offer younger people a very good starting point. You can gain high level experience which will serve you well as you move towards commerical board positions. Here is some essential reading on becoming a Charity Trustee to help you on your way. CHARITY TRUSTEE: WHAT'S INVOLVED? Please click here to view CHARITY COMMISSION GUIDELINES - The essential trustee: what you need to know, what you need to do - click here ...
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Getting Hired – Crucial Advice From Search Firm; Odgers Berndston

Sam Colt from the search firm Odgers joined us for breakfast last week and had some important information and advice for any lawyer seeking a position on the board. This is a summary of our chat with Sam. Odgers Berndston is the largest UK-headquartered search firms and is the sixth largest globally. Odgers cover all the main areas of the Private sector and, in the Not for profit space, they are leading providers of recruitment services in Government, Health and Education, and also in Sam's specialism - Arts and Heritage. 70% of Sam's work in this field is at Board ...
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BCKR Breakfast with Sir Roger Carr

This week we were pleased to welcome Sir Roger Carr, Chairman of BAE Systems and Vice Chairman of the BBC Trust to our members Breakfast. Sir Roger has had a distinguished career in the UK Boardroom. His executive career was spent primarily at Williams Holdings – a conglomerate which he built into a major industrial group with Brian McGowan and Nigel Rudd – where he was ultimately Group CEO. He has subsequently been Chairman of Chubb (when Williams Holdings was emerged into Kidde and Chubb), Mitchells & Butler, Cadbury (which included the contested take-over by Kraft) and Thames Water. He ...
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“Use your contacts & prepare for knock-backs” – Nigel Carrington on winning NED roles.

We were delighted to be joined today by Nigel Carrington, former Managing Partner of Baker & McKenzie. Nigel currently has a full time role as Vice Chancellor of University of the Arts, London plus 7 non-executive roles, all linked to university or the arts. He left law in 2000 havving already had a role on the advisory board of the LSO. His first post law role, as CEO of McLaren, came about serendipitously, having been their commercial adviser whilst at B & M. The controlling shareholders decided to sell a 40% stake to Mercedes Benz and Nigel was seen as ...
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Why All Charities Aren’t Kids Company

The case of Kids Company has cast a shadow over the charity sector - but there is a great deal of good work and good governance out there. This article from the NCVO makes the case that All charities are not Kids Company - Click here to read ...
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Why Lawyers Looking for NED Roles Should Get Back to School with Academy Trusts

Ever considered becoming a school governor? Or helping to run a large group of schools? This week we welcomed back Kirsty Watt, who runs Academy Ambassadors Forum, part of the government sponsored New Schools Network. One of the main aims of the forum is to find suitable candidates for the boards of Academy Trusts and they are always on the look-out for lawyers interested in working with academy schools. Here is a summary of what Kirsty shared with us... Background Four years ago there were 400 academy schools nationwide which had mainly been either failing schools or single outstanding schools ...
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Making the most of social media – advice for professionals from Cilla Snowball

Last week BCKR members were treated to a talk on how professionals can make the most of social media by advertising guru Cilla Snowball. Cilla is chief executive of the UK advertising and communications business, AMV/BBDO. She also chairs the Advertising Association and sits on the boards of BBDO Worldwide, Comic Relief and the Women’s Business Council. Here is a summary of her presentation; How can we make social media work for the risk averse legal profession? Until recently, you could allow your work to speak for itself but as a means to an end, whether or not you are ...
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BCKR talks to The American Lawyer about lack of support for retiring lawyers.

"The partnership demographic at U.K. law firms is a ticking time bomb” says The American Lawyer magazine. BCKR founder Guy Beringer,former senior partner of U.K. Magic Circle firm Allen & Overy has been talking to them about the lack of support for retiring lawyers and BCKR's work helping lawyers to make the move into Non Executive roles. Click here for the full article ...
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Why solicitors are well equipped to enter the boardroom

Encouraging lawyers to value their diverse boardroom skills is at the centre of BCKR'S mission. Here, founding partner Guy Beringer talks to the Law Society Gazette about how more lawyers can embark on a useful and interesting second career as a Trustee or Non Executive Director. Click here for article ...
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“Lawyers Can Be Effective NEDs” says Korn Ferry Chair Oliver Pawle

After a summer break we are back in the swing - holding Breakfast Meetings to help our members further understand the best way to present themselves to boards as candidates for Trustee and Non Executive Director positions. Here is a summary of our latest meeting with Oliver Pawle who chairs the Korn Ferry Board's practice. Oliver began by saying that he is passionate about getting UK Boards to use the talents that the Professional Services has to offer, particularly for smaller-scale Boards. In terms of 'Life after Law', there are only currently a small number of lawyers on PLC Boards, ...
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Getting Lawyers On Board – Great Advice From Lesley Knox

We are pleased to bring you a summary of the last BCKR members briefing with banker,lawyer and experienced Non Executive Director Lesley Knox. Lesley Knox's career started at Slaughter and May, but she soon took up an International Law scholarship in Amsterdam, qualified as a US lawyer and worked as a lawyer in New York for a year too. Along the way, she discovered that she really enjoyed business more than law, so transferred into financial services with her first position in Kleinworts. At that time, only two lawyers had ever joined the bank – the perception being that “lawyers ...
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Selling yourself to the board – advice for lawyers from Tessa Bamford.

This week we were very pleased to introduce to our members Tessa Bamford, a key member of Spencer Stuart’s Board Practice. Tessa is an experienced NED at Wolsely plc and also Barratt Developments. Before this she founded Cantos communications, an online corporate communications company and spent her previous 18 years with BZW and then Schroders. Tessa took members through what she looks for when appointing NEDs and what lawyers can do to better their own chances. Here is this weeks summary; For commercial boards, (Tessa's area of focus) the recent general drive for diversity on boards has not really helped ...
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A BCKR success story shares his route map to success.

Last week we were pleased to welcome back Richard Gubbins. He is a former BCKR member and success story having found a role as chair at Henderson Value Trust plc. He was joined by Tim Stephenson of Stephenson & Co, the headhunter who was instrumental in his appointment. They shared their route map to success with us. Here is a summary of what they had to say. Richard's journey Richard's journey started in 2010 when he met BCKR directors Guy Beringer and Bill Knight at a presentation at Ashurst. Charlie Geffen, former Ashurst Senior Partner, had already formed a group ...
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A Flair For The Quirky & Unusual – Summary Of Our Meeting with Lloyd Dorfman

We were delighted to welcome Lloyd Dorfman to BCKR this week. Lloyd is a leading British businessman and philanthropist. After a brief time at the Bar, Lloyd founded the currency exchange group Travelex. He is a major supporter of the arts - the Dorfman Theatre is named after him and he has a great deal of experience as a Non Executive Director - notably at the National Theatre, the Royal Opera House and the Roundhouse. He is also governor of St. Paul’s School, a trustee of the Prince’s Trust and an Honorary Fellow of St. Peter’s College, Oxford. Here is ...
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Why Would Boards Appoint Lawyers? Advice From Leading Headhunters at Norman Broadbent

Last week we were pleased to introduce you to Neil Holmes and Julian Ortner from search firm Norman Broadbent. Neil, who joined Norman Broadbent in 2011, focuses on Board appointments across all sectors. He covers listed and private companies ranging from small and medium sized to FTSE 250 and FTSE 100 companies. His colleague Julian Ortner, who leads Norman Broadbent’s Legal Practice also has a keen interest in developing lawyers’ talents for the boardroom. Together they talked about Norman Broadbent's constructive approach to building a non-executive career in the private and listed sectors. Here is a summary of what they ...
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What Makes a Good Board – with guest speaker Sir Nigel Rudd.

BCKR members were this week pleased to be joined by experienced chair Sir Nigel Rudd. Sir Nigel currently chairs BBA Aviation, Heathrow Airport Holdings, Aquarius Platinum Limited and the Business Growth Fund. He is a NED of Sappi Limited (a South African pulp and paper company) and a Senior Advisor to Barclays. Previous chairmanships include Invensys, Alliance Boots, Pendragon and Pilkington and followed his executive career as founder of Williams plc, seeing that company through to its de-merger in 2000 into Chubb and Kidde. Sir Nigel is Chancellor of Loughborough University, Deputy Lieutenant of Derbyshire and a Freeman of the ...
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Tony Angel – How are lawyers viewed by the outside world?

This week we were joined by Tony Angel, one of the few lawyers to move out, and then back into the profession. In the period between running Linklaters and DLA, he held executive board roles in both Standard & Poor's and Vantage Diagnostics. While at Linklaters, he also spent 8 years as a trustee of the Cystic Fibrosis trust. Here is a summary of what he had to share with us, in particular how lawyers' commercial skills are viewed by the outside world. Summary of Tony Angel Event – Thursday, March 12, 2015 Having joined Linklaters in 1976, Tony became ...
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Cherie Booth – set to become Renault Non Exec

Leading lawyer Cherie Booth is to join Renault as a non executive director. The French car maker says it wants to increase female representation on its board. The FT reports; "Renault — the world’s fourth-biggest carmaker by sales through its alliance with Nissan of Japan — said Mrs Blair had been approached because, as a British woman, she would improve the “balance” and diversity on its board, and would add useful experience in human rights and employment law." Read more here - ...
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Practical tips for lawyers from Joelle Warren of Warren Partners

This week BCKR members were delighted to be joined by Joelle Warren, founder of Warren Partners, a search firm with a strong specialist board practice, which makes a big point of knowing their candidates as well as their clients. She had some extremely useful advice for lawyers looking to move into Non Executive Director roles. A summary of her main points can be found below. Notes from Joelle Warren; There is an annual maximum of c.700 FTSE 350 board vacancies. So, as a NED candidate, broaden the landscape and look at opportunities elsewhere. Around 75% of non-executive appointments still depend ...
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BCKR Event: Marcus Agius – the Chairman’s perspective

There was a positive message for BCKR members this week from Marcus Agius, former chairman of BAA and Barclays and former SID at the BBC. Marcus currently chairs both the trustees and friends of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. He talked about being Chairman of Barclays during the financial crisis and had much to say about the future for lawyers wanting to take a place in the boardroom. Here is a summary of his talk; Notes from Marcus Agius Event We all need to think through from first principles what the board is there to do - to help the ...
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BCKR Event: Philip Marsden – the headhunter’s perspective

Philip Marsden speaks to BCKR For the last 18 years Philip has worked in senior recruitment and founded Ridgeway Partners, the international leadership advisory firm, in 2004. Philip has a refreshing approach to getting lawyers onto boards, being prepared to think outside the box. Philip also has himself extensive board experience at executive and non-executive level. He has sat on the boards of two public companies and he is currently a trustee of the Royal Academy of Arts in London and Chairman of their Corporate Board. He also acts as an advisor to two educational trusts. Here is a digest ...
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BCKR Event: High Tide Festival Theatre

This week we were joined by Steve Atkinson - Chief Executive of High Tide Theatre Company - and former lawyer, Graham White, who has taken the interesting step of becoming involved as one of their board members. They shared their ideas and experiences with us and you can read a summary here: Introduction to High Tide and its board High Tide Theatre arose because the majority of plays that theatres commission are by writers already known to them. Many great plays by unknown writers never get produced. High Tide Theatre was created in 2006 to change that. Steve Atkinson is ...
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BCKR Event: Stuart Popham – the former lawyer

BCKR were delighted to welcome Stuart Popham, former Senior Partner of Clifford Chance, who spoke about his career since leaving the firm. Stuart gave members some advice on the key skills lawyers should pick out in their CVs to make them more ‘board-friendly’: 1. Leading teams 2. Managing people 3. Change management 4. Integration of companies (e.g. M&A transactions) 5. International experience (cross-border, multinational, integration of different cultures) 6. Financial understanding (e.g. balance sheets, firm finance committee) 7. Mentoring people and human development 8. Dispute resolution ...
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BCKR Event: Academy Schools Trusts

John Acland-Hood of the The Academy Schools Trusts addressed members this week with a positive message for lawyers wanting to pursue Trustee roles in education. Here is a summary of what he had to say; The background: Academies were started in 2003 by the labour government as a way of turning around underperforming ‘sink’ schools. Schools were removed from local authority control and sponsored by local business. Schools were given control and freedom over their own budgets and curriculum. This initiative was continued under the current Conservative government with academy status also being given to good, high achieving schools who ...
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BCKR Event: Paul Drechsler – the Chairman’s perspective

BCKR members met Paul Drechsler - Chair of Teach First and experienced business leader on November 4, 2014. He shared his ideas on the public and private sector and gave us some valuable pointers on how to prepare yourself for a non executive role. Here is a digest of this valuable talk. Paul believes there is nothing more rewarding than leading a great organisation. He was with ICI for 25 years and on its board for 5 years. He then joined The Wates Group, a 4th generation family-owned business. Though there were many reasons why he might have chosen not ...
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BCKR Event: Lucy Armstrong – private companies

BCKR members were pleased to welcome Lucy Armstrong this month. The Chief Executive of business growth accelerators "The Alchemists", is also an experienced chair and non executive director - she spoke to us about how lawyers can best position themsevles to add value as a non executive member of the board. Here is a summary of what she said: Private Equity NED roles in Private equity (PE) could not be more different from those in the Public Sector. Involve shorter timescales and a different attitude of mind from roles in Public Sector, or indeed PLCs or most privately/family held companies ...
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Could quotas be the answer to more diversity in the board room?

Frist came moves to encourage more women to take up roles as non-executives now Vince Cable plans a review into the lack of ethnic minority FTSE directors. Could quotas be the answer? Moni Mannings, partner at Olswang, non-executive director at Polypipe and BCKR member thinks quotas could have a place. Read the full article in the Sunday Times here ...
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BCKR Event: Mervyn Davies – the Chairman’s perspective

This week we have been delighted to welcome Mervyn Davies as our guest speaker. Baron Davies of Abersoch CBE is a former banker and was a UK government minister until 2010. He is Vice Chairman and Partner at Corsair Capital and non-Executive Chairman of PineBridge Investments. He is Senior Independent Director at Diageo, and Chair of the Advisory Board of Moelis and Co. He is chairman of Chime Communications plc. In November 2013, he was announced as the inaugural chairman of the Garden Bridge Trust, planning a planted bridge over the Thames in London. During his talk he gave us ...
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Why Trustees Should be on Social Media

If you thought social media was only for the very young or the very foolish it may be time to re-appraise. Social Media is becoming a vital tool for any trustee wanting to do an excellent job. Read more here ...
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BCKR Events – Stephen Bampfylde – The Headhunter’s Perspective

Stephen Bampfylde On September 11th Stephen Bampfylde gave us the headhunter's perspective on lawyers seeking board positions. Stephen co-founded Saxton Bampfylde, a leading recruitment consultancy specialising in the charity and not for profit sector. For 27 years he has been involved in the recruitment to senior positions across all sectors and in this meeting gave members a valuable insight into the NED world. Stephen’s opening comments - without wanting to be too blunt – confirmed what we all already know - that lawyers are not attractive to nominating committees because of the following all to familiar misconceptions; Lawyers have no ...
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