Words .....that work

used with discretion and in harmony, to excite, persuade or merely reveal


Your Bluff May Be Called By Necessity Mr Cameron

Posted on February 9, 2012 at 7:45 PM

I've just realised I started this blog almost exactly a year ago (February 7, 2011). It was  because I was fed up of the level of debate in the UK and in the media at large about 'women and the boardroom.' We seemed to be stuck in a world of verbal repetition ('glass ceilings' blah blah) rather than action. Lord Davies was due then to report in a few weeks on his review into the subject of business productivity and wasted talent - the lack of women at top levels in the boardrooms of UK p...

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Lessons For Aspiring Chairmen To Ponder

Posted on December 28, 2011 at 6:30 PM

Chairman succession planning is not widely discussed in most  UK plc boardrooms . Not surprising, as there are few formal mechanisms for addressing the issue. But perhaps there should be more, as the role is getting harder, requiring wider experience than is possible from a straight shift from being a CEO to Chairman.

Headhunters Spencer Stuart have done some interesting analysis. They say that at the time of writing (December) , some 42 FTSE150 companies had appointed ...

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Lower The 'Heat' And Let More Into The 'Kitchen'

Posted on December 15, 2011 at 12:15 AM

You would have thought chairmen would know better than to rely on hackneyed metaphors when it comes to the serious business of reassuring investors. So Antonio Horta-Osorio, CEO of Lloyds Banking Group, is going back to his job on January 9th. Sir Win Bischoff, Lloyds chairman, apparently told the Financial Times that Mr Horta-Osorio  wasn't going to be "mollycoddled" and "if you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen."

This implies that nothing about the role of C...

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Plain Speaking On Banks And Boards

Posted on December 12, 2011 at 10:10 AM

It has only taken three years. But at least the UK's Financial Services Authority (FSA) long-awaited report on the disasters at the Royal Bank of Scotland has teeth. It says the law should be changed to allow directors of failed banks to be banned automatically - and fined, and stripped of their pay.

Banks are different from other types of company, says FSA chairman Lord Turner - "the failure of a bank is  a public concern, not just a concern for shareholders". Interes...

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Time To Mentor Chairmen Of UK plcs

Posted on December 5, 2011 at 3:20 PM

Something to note from Resources Global Professionals, the consulting firm which recently published its FTSE100 Resources Governance Index for the third year running. This is an independently produced report in conjunction with University of Edinburgh business school which scores companies for compliance, capacity and commitment to governance.

On the plus side, there is a clear 'premier league' of high performers holding the same rankings year on year. GlaxoSmithKline leads ...

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The Boardroom: Last Remaining Unchallenged Cost Centre

Posted on December 5, 2011 at 12:10 AM

This blog has not been abandoned : events have conspired to make it seem so.

Sunday morning thoughts: which I have to confess are not mine alone, but originate from (that theoretically rare species) a clever female non-executive director (NED) in the UK.

What is the only 'cost centre left' unchallenged in a business? The boardroom. 

Has anyone ever seen a redundant NED as a result of cost cutting, or a reduced number of boa...

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The Way To Go About (Not) Putting Women On UK PLC Boards

Posted on October 13, 2011 at 11:45 AM

A kind female NED on several UK plc boards has taken pity on my weary state and my determination not to neglect this blog in the face of a huge amount of evidence that it may be pointless. Humour is one antidote.

So, before I come back to yesterday's revelations at No 10 Downing Street on where we are on women on boards, here is a list to follow (if you are not already doing so) to make sure you take until at least 2015 before you end up with a woman on your board.

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'Institutional Inertia' Rages Through UK PLC

Posted on October 13, 2011 at 12:10 AM

It's just so depressing I'm not sure I have the heart to blog about it.

Only 33 companies in the FTSE-100 have paid any attention to setting targets for women on their boards, despite the call by Lord Davies to do just that after his government-inspired review .

"Institutional inertia" it seems is all the rage in the UK when it comes to doing this. And I didn't have to attend any Downing Street events to find that out. All I had to do was read

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ENRC Quietly Does Very Little; Reliance Under Scrutiny

Posted on October 1, 2011 at 3:45 PM

Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation (ENRC) clearly has difficulty coming to grips with the concept of a 'comprehensive review of corporate governance', although those were its words in June.

It now says: "The review concluded that the Group will be best served with Dr Johannes Sittard remaining as Chairman. Felix Vulis has agreed to withdraw his resignation and will continue as Chief Ex...

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It's Time To Give Lord Davies A Hand

Posted on September 22, 2011 at 6:05 PM

It's time to ramp up the pressure on the chairmen of FTSE 350 companies - a staggering 250 of them - who have not yet disclosed their plans for employing more women directors, as laid out by Lord Davies of Abersoch on behalf of the UK government in February this year.

The Davies report called for companies to ensure 25% female board representation by 2015. This lot haven't even bothered to respond by the deadline. Clearly they are being very British and hoping that - like b...

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