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WACL NED Talk: What does a good Chairman look like?

Jun 15, 2017 – 7:00 pm

What does a good Chairman look like?  How do you recognise one when you meet one and importantly, how do you recognise a bad one?  And what, exactly, does a plc chairman actually do?

It may seem like a daft question, but in our celebrity culture of Dragons' Den, The X Factor and Britain's Got Talent, it can seem that there is space in the nation's boardrooms for only one star performer: the chief executive. Theirs is the kudos of ultimate responsibility, the biggest pay cheque and the lion's share of the glory, balanced somewhat by the spectre of dismissal if things go really pear-shaped. The role has it all: power, money, risk, excitement and all the glitter of the limelight if things go well - including a passport to bigger and better things!

The Chairman's role, by contrast, is less obvious and much less well understood. The task of running the Board rather than running the company can appear limited and process-heavy, a lot of dull admin to be tackled while the CEO has all the fun. But there is much more to it than that: a good Chairman is at least as important for the long-term prosperity of a business as a good CEO, and often harder to find. While the CEO may run the company, the Chairman runs the Board.

In our final WACL NED lunch for 2017 we will have the pleasure of spending time discussing this topic with two extremely well informed individuals -  Dominic Schofield from Korn Ferry Whitehead Mann and Neil England, Chairman at Blackrock Emerging Europe plc, and former Chairman of Silverstone.

Dominic Schofield

Dominic is a Senior Client Partner in Korn Ferry’s Board & CEO Services Practice and works across the industrial, retail, FMCG, technology and financial services sectors and specialises in the appointment of Executive and Non-Executive Director positions alike.  Prior to joining Korn Ferry five years ago, he served as a consultant with another major international firm, focusing on boardroom and industrial appointments and before that Dominic worked for a leading British political party as a senior aide to the then party leader and deputy head of research and policy - additionally serving as an advisor to the Home Secretary (Interior Minister) in the British Government between 1995 and 1997.

Earlier in his career, Dominic lived and worked in Russia where he was a journalist for a number of publications and media outlets. He has also lived in Kazakhstan and the Middle East and, not surprisingly, is fluent in Russian (he also speaks Italian, Spanish and Arabic too!)

Neil England

Neil started his career in a very WACL-like way – as a marketing and advertising executive at Mars plc - rising to become Vice President of Mars CIS, responsible for all Mars' commercial operations across the CIS, including the Russian Federation.  Neil held a series of positions in the manufacturing and sales divisions of Mars Confectionery (UK), latterly as the subsidiary's Sales Director, then becoming Marketing Director for the Mars drinks group and Global Vending Director. He moved on to be Group Commercial Director of Gallaher Group PLC and served as Chairman of Gallaher's Ukrainian business, involved in mergers and acquisitions work in Russia and Eastern Europe.

Neil has been a Non-Executive Director of ITE Group Plc since March 18, 2008 and served as a Non-Executive Director and Senior Independent Director of Wincanton plc until 2012. Neil is currently Chairman at Blackrock Emerging Europe plc and was most recently Chairman of Silverstone Holdings Limited and continues to act as Chairman and investor in a number of private equity backed businesses.

Following our normal format I know that Dominic and Neil will both bring their years of experience and engaging personalities to share with us all. As usual, Chatham House rules will apply, and please come ready with your most incisive questions for them both – after all, having spent so much time in looking for our NED appointments our first choice, significantly influenced by the Chairman, will play an instrumental part in shaping our NED experiences and careers moving forwards.

The lunch event will be hosted on the 15th of June 2017 between 12:15 and 14:00 at the fabulous new venue The Devonshire Club , 5 Devonshire Square, London EC2M 4YD ( closest Tube Station is Liverpool Street station)

A light lunch will be provided

This is a members-only event and free of charge, capacity for the room is 20 people so please let Francesca know soonest on Francesca@Ecsery.com if you would like us to reserve you a seat.