2011.10.18 The Journey to the Board


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2011.10.18 The Journey to the Board

  1. 1. The Journey to the Board and Board Effectiveness Warwick Business School – London Alumni Event, 18th October 2011 Louise Redmond, Director Law Debenture Governance Services
  2. 2. The Destination• Chairman of the Board?• Running your own company?• CEO of a major company?• A plural career?• An adviser to boards?• Trustee on a charity board?• A pension fund director?
  3. 3. Getting onto a Board• Being clear on the destination• Find out about what success looks like• Start early with some good career choices• Be clever with your tacticsThere are other ways to be fulfilled.
  4. 4. Enterprise in the UK• 4.8m enterprises in the UK – 97% employ up to 50 people – 2.5% employ 50 – 250 people – 0.5% employ over 250 peopleMost enterprises are “sole traders” or limited companies with one director Data from the Office for National Statistics
  5. 5. Companies Main Market Companies 1600 £2.50• Data from the London Stock 1400 1200 £2.00 Market Capitalisation £tn Number of Number of companies Exchange (LSE) reveals 1000 £1.50 Companies 800 listing trends 600 £1.00 Market Capitalisation £tn 400• New member admissions to 200 £0.50 AIM were highest in 2005 0 2003 2005 Year 2007 2011 £0.00 (519)• New member admissions to AIM Liste d Companie s AIM dropped to only 102 in 1800 1600 2010 1400 Current Num ber of com panies 1200 Companies• The LSE Main Market has 1000 800 New Admissions dropped from 1416 600 400 companies in 2003 to 997 in 200 0 2011. 2005 2007 Year 2010• Are they listing elsewhere?
  6. 6. What Board?• Public listed company• Private limited company• Operating company• Charity• Public sector eg NHS, NDPB• Education• Pension fund
  7. 7. How have Boards changed?• Think Maxwell, Enron, the banks• From the great and the good to the qualified and the committed?• Shareholder rights and activist investors are more interventionist• Regulators vet candidates (such as the Financial Services Authority)• Boards are reviewed regularly
  8. 8. Why Boards have Changed• Capitalism: You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull. Your herd multiplies, and the economy grows. You sell them and retire on the income.
  9. 9. Why Boards have ChangedENRON Capitalism: You have two cows. You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt/equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows. The milk rights of the six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a Cayman Island company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who sells the rights to all seven cows back to your listed company. The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more. You sell one cow to buy a new president of the United States, leaving you with nine cows. You provide no balance sheet with the release. The public buys your bull.
  10. 10. What makes a Board Effective?• A clear constitution and remit from the owners (e.g. the major shareholders)• A good mix of directors, all of whom add value• Rigorous decision making processes particularly on the use of capital• Executives held to account• Good relationships with the owners and others with outside interests• Strong strategic directions• Ability to deal with the unexpected
  11. 11. title
  12. 12. Key Principles• Look to the future• Build on strengths• Address weaknesses
  13. 13. So, you really want to be a Director?Statutory Duties 2006 Companies Act (Sections 171-182)• Act within their powers• Promote the success of the company• Exercise independent judgement• Exercise reasonable care, skill and diligence• Avoid conflicts of interest• Not to accept benefits from third parties• Declare an interest in a proposed transaction or arrangement• Declare an interest in an existing transaction or arrangement
  14. 14. Risks for the Board Director• If a non-executive director, how can you effectively challenge the executives?• How can you evaluate difficulties ahead?• How can you balance the Opportunity and the Risk?• How can you assess appropriate rewards?• Could your reputation be affected?
  15. 15. What Role?• All directors have the same duties in law – whether executive or non-executive• If you have a specific role there will be greater expectations of the qualifications you have for that job eg the finance director• Boards are getting smaller so fewer executives are on the board
  16. 16. How to Choose a New Director• What makes this company successful at this point in time?• What will make this board even more effective?• What is wanted in a new director?• Who fits the bill?
  17. 17. Enhance the Reputation“Lose money for the firm and I will beunderstanding. Lose a shred ofreputation for the firm and I will beruthless.” Warren Buffett, 1990
  18. 18. What it will be like on the Board?“If we are all in agreement on the decision - then I propose we postpone further discussion of this matter until our next meeting to give ourselves time to develop disagreement and perhaps gain some understanding of what the decision is all about.” Alfred P Sloan 1875 - 1966
  19. 19. Effective Directors – Inputs and OutputsYou put in: The company gets out:• Your own capability in • Impact on strategy and action on culture. And in some• Your clarity on role and cases on execution? duties • Risk + Crisis +• Your decision-making Opportunity = Agility contribution • Reputation and funding• Your coaching to improve through Connectedness executive capability great networks
  20. 20. The Journey• Start early• Set a goal• Network from Day 1• Pick the right roles along the way• Ask for help• Help others• Tell people about yourself• Assume nothing
  21. 21. Career Management – what Role?“Just because people watch out for #1 doesn’t mean they manage their careers intelligently” John Kotter
  22. 22. Career Stages1. Dependency2. Independency3. Through Others4. Across businesses5. Transforming industriesThe contract, the contribution, the outlook and the outcomes change at each stage
  23. 23. Characteristics of a Developmental Role1. Success or failure will be obvious and measurable2. Assertive, take charge leadership is required3. Must deal with new situations and people4. Creates increased personal pressure5. Requires the ability to influence without authority6. Tasks are ambiguous – no easy answers7. High visibility8. Involves a fix-it/greenfield/turn-around situation9. Breaks new ground10. Interaction with significant senior leaders11. Something important is missing Centre for Creative Leadership
  24. 24. Getting on the Board – Best Tactics• Become an executive director• Become a board adviser, with breadth• Select roles which are valued on the board – P&L responsibility is the best, next finance• Understand key markets – get international experience (and a lot of it) as early as possible• Take risks and learn
  25. 25. Why do some do less well than others?• Poor choice of profession and job roles• Personal interest comes above relevant experience• No line experience• Less prepared to travel or live abroard• Avoid the tough roles eg long hours, high visibility• Accept second choices e.g. the COO role• Not prepared to start again• Too deferential
  26. 26. Some interesting findings“The team’s research found that women were four times more likely than men to be self- deprecating, use humour and speak indirectly or apologetically when broaching difficult subjects with board members in order to avoid conflict. And it doesnt always work.” The Guardian on Judith Baxter’s research, 27 July 2011 Dr Judith Baxter, Lecturer in Applied Linguistics, Aston University
  27. 27. A key ingredient for a board director?“When you find everyone agreeing with you, change your mind.” John Maynard Keynes 1883 - 1946