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The Chairman’s Perspective with Sir Stephen Waley-Cohen former Chair of RADA and theatre empresario

Sir Stephen Waley-Cohen
Date & Time
1 November 2021 09:00am

This is a talk which should inspire anyone interested in getting more involved with the arts, revealing how someone can move seamlessly from one professional City career into a hugely successful artistic life.  There are definitely roles for NEDs and Stephen will help us understand how to get them.

Stephen started his career as a financial journalist straight from reading law at Cambridge, and, aged 23, was a founder of Euromoney Publications.

But his principal interest over the last 40 years has been the theatre – and he has, since 1984, been a West End theatre owner and manager of– not all at the same time – 11 leading West End theatres including the Victoria Palace, the Vaudeville, the Savoy and the Ambassadors. Most famously, perhaps, he held the licence to produce The Mousetrap (from Agatha Christie’s grandson to whom she gave the rights as a ninth birthday present), which Stephen acquired from Dame Agatha’s original producer who had launched the show 42 years earlier.

Once in the theatre, Stephen took up a number of NED positions, first in the Lloyds insurance sector where his roles included Chair of Willis Faber & Dumas (Agencies), as well as chairing two small listed companies, one in insurance and one in publishing, as well as his largest commercial NED chairmanship at Portsmouth & Sunderland Newspapers.

Alongside the management roles, he has also held a number of positions in the Not for Profit sector. He retires this year after 14 years as Chair of the Council (Board) of RADA and, in 1997, he founded the education charity, Mousetrap Theatre Projects, which has taken over 100,000 disadvantaged young people to the theatre. He was a trustee of The Theatres Trust, President of the Society of London Theatre and remains Chair of Acting for Others (which funds support for all theatre workers through its 14 member charities) and the Garrick Charitable Trust which supports performing arts and literature.  He is now standing down as President of JCA Charitable Foundation after 25 years during which he has transformed this 130 year old Jewish charity.

The Portfolio Lawyer with Lynn Hiestand former partner at Skadden Arps

Lynn Hiestand
Date & Time
18 November 2021 5.30pm

Lynn spent nearly thirty years in international corporate restructuring, mostly at Skadden Arps in Chicago and London, before moving to Heartland Alliance International, a human rights organisation aimed at assisting marginalized populations. She has recently been Country Director in Iraq where HAI aims to provide legal, mental health and other services to vulnerable Iraqis throughout the Kurdistan Region and Southern Iraq.

Alongside this, Lynn is a NED or trustee for JUSTICE, Wellbeing for Women, Literature for All of Us and Georgetown University Law Center, roles based in the US and the UK.

What marks out Lynn’s CV to us, is that her non-executive career started many years before that, in the 1990s.  We will learn how Lynn manages to juggle so many strands of life, on an international basis, and why she made the move into the human rights sphere on an executive basis where she did.


The Questions the Board is asking about the Markets with James Ayling at JM Finn

James Ayling
Date & Time
Wednesday 1 December 2021 9:00am

We thought members should know what boards are asking about the markets as we emerge from the throes of COVID and we’re delighted that JM Finn has agreed to help us on this.

James Ayling is a Research Analyst within JM Finn’s Equity Research team responsible for UK and overseas equity coverage.  He will guide members through the high and low points for market investors, what you would be expected to know and how you should, as a director, often take market movements with a pinch of salt and concentrate on the core messaging. Prior to joining JM Finn, James worked in venture capital both investing and advising. Outside of work, James runs a small cufflink enterprise (Off The Cuff) and every now and again he attempts to strum a few cords on his dusty guitar.