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Interim Showcase

September 2017

Welcome to our Interim Showcase for September continue reading

Richard Beesley

Partner, Interim Management


The Miles Partnership Insurance Practice

September 2017

This week The Miles Partnership attended The Reinsurance Rendezvous, a global reinsurance conference which started 61 years ago where the industry begins negotiations for treaties for the year ahead.  Zoe Campbell and Charlie Davies met with Chairmen, CEOs, Chief Underwriting Officers, Lawyers and Regulators to understand more deeply the challenges, themes and strategic plans for the year ahead.

As thousands of people from the Reinsurance industry looked across the sparkling, still blue sea in Monaco, their thoughts were turning to the human loss which Irma was causing as it had decimated islands in the Caribbean and was making its way up the sunshine state of Florida.  Whilst many deals were being done and business was being transacted there was also talk of the insurance gap.

Only 20% of those affected by Hurricane Harvey were insured and no doubt the amount of people affected by Hurricane Irma will be about the same.  This is something the industry was questioning how to rectify.  Behind closed doors companies were trying to understand the impact to their business, steadying their employees and shareholders alike, and getting to grips with the actual figures from the complex losses.   To this end many senior people we knew were flying home early, keen to be on hand for their clients.

Conversations moved to governance, new regulation such as SIMR, Board structure and how to create an effective Unitary Board.  We were also asked about attracting people from other industries including technology.  Insurance has been investing in technology and has one eye on automation, AI and robotics.  The industry is seeing the benefits of hiring from outside to broaden and deepen its talent to create diversity of thought which is impacting their bottom line.  This is not just at board and executive level but throughout their business and we are helping to challenge and enable them to attract diverse candidates and become more creative with their thinking and hiring strategies. This has ranged from looking at online service providers to drive process improvement or drawing on our 21 years’ experience across multiple industries to bring a breath of complimentary experience to the Board room for Non-Executive appointments.

For more information, please contact Zoe Campbell and Charlie Davies, Insurance Practice


 

Interim Showcase

August 2017

Welcome to our Interim Showcase for August continue reading

Richard Beesley

Partner, Interim Management


 

GDPR. Don’t know. Don’t care.

August 2017

Despite the daily headlines about the importance of securing data effectively and the determination of the UK Government to press ahead with wide reaching legislation to mandate good practice, many Chief Executives still see data as ‘someone else’s problem’.

In truth, all consumer oriented businesses – retailers, universities, banks, insurers, charities…anyone who holds the data of private individuals and/or makes online transactions – know that they have a responsibility to protect their customers from both nefarious hacking and accidental loss. However, to purely see the upcoming legislation as an IT (and hence CIO) problem, is seriously underplaying the issue and, perhaps, the opportunity it presents.

Leading a business can crudely be divided into the maximisation of revenue/profit and the mitigation of risk, and Board roles can be perceived to align to one or the other. CEO, Sales Director, Digital Director, CMO…maximisation. CIO, CFO, CRO…minimisation. Hence, for many Chief Executives, because they perceive the upcoming legislation as a ‘problem’, they perhaps feel it to be someone else’s.

However poor data governance is, in truth, less of a problem and more of an existential threat. Consumer confidence is inevitably highly sensitised to the subject, and with all the (justified) media coverage of cyber-attacks, this will only grow. There is every chance that a major business will fail as a result of cyber-crime, but the greatest threat for most will be the gradual erosion of trust, and hence profits, for businesses who don’t tackle data challenges well.

Chief Executives are ultimately responsible not just for the security of their data, but also to know where it comes from, what they are using it for, whether the person whose data it is wants them to have it and how long they should hold on to it.

There are occasions where legislation is implemented in advance (or in spite of) a widespread public desire for an issue to be addressed. This isn’t one of them. Ironically, this means that for the GDPR refuseniks on a Board there is more than a crumb of comfort to be had.

There are significant risks to be mitigated but, for businesses who get data right, there are profits to be maximised.

Many businesses are simply drowning in data. The £ billions spent on Big Data initiatives globally is evidence that many companies are finding it increasingly difficult to manage the volume and myriad sources of their data. Legislation will not, in itself, change, this as ‘the genie is out of the bottle’ and the business world will never return to single sources of clean data. Customer interactions are omni-channel and much too complex.

What the legislation may do is to further encourage those who lead businesses to think more critically about what it means to be their customer. This will create interesting challenges, and some exciting opportunities. For example, consider the multi-channel retailer who holds data on two customers. One is a mature individual (A) who has shopped at their local store and online for many years, and the other is a person (B) in their early 20’s, who has also experienced a multi-channel retailing with the company.

While both are customers of the business and hence probably sit on one or more data sources, security aside, their willingness to allow this to continue, and be effectively marketed to, will depend on how this fits with the way they want to engage. For example, A is likely to be happy to engage with an affinity scheme, use paper vouchers and accept information through the post. B, on the other hand, is more comfortable with offers flashing up on their phone as they walk through the store, facilitated by predictive analytics and augmented reality technology. Think ‘Pokemon Go meets BOGOF baked beans’.

Market in the wrong way to the wrong demographic and the business alienates its customer base.

Hence the security, governance and utilisation of data isn’t just a CIO issue, but an opportunity and a threat for all those with Board responsibility in consumer-centric organisations. This will be seen in the take up of Interim Managers to help navigate these changing times. While the volume in itself may reveal little, the stakeholders of the projects and the backgrounds of those engaged may be more revealing. I expect that the majority will leave it to the CIO to engage a data supremo to curate, but the best businesses will expand the internal stakeholder community of the project and view GDPR as an opportunity to engage with their customer in the most effective way.

To learn more about the value an Interim Manager can bring to your organisation please contact steve.rutherford@miles-partnership.com

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/gdpr-dont-know-care-steve-rutherford

Steve Rutherford

Partner, Interim Management

 


New appointments at The Miles Partnership

August 2017

The Miles Partnership is pleased to announce the appointment of two new Partners; Julia Roberts who joins to strengthen our Public Sector practice and Steve Rutherford, who joins our Executive Interim practice. We are also delighted to appoint Noel O’Curraoin as Principal within the Financial Services team.

Chris Stainton, Chief Executive said ‘The Miles Partnership is committed to being the most innovative and dynamic Executive Search and Human Capital firm in the UK. We are committed to building the very best team of individuals and these recent appointments demonstrates that commitment. Julia, Steve and Noel are outstanding individuals and each bring a wealth of experience and commitment to excellence’ continue reading


 

Dame Helen Alexander dies aged 60

August 2017

An amazing woman of our time.  Dame Helen was a true polyglot, she carved out a career that was so broad in as much as the areas she touched were extensive.  Each time she talked about any of her commitments it was with equal amounts of passion commitment and knowledge.  She was able to display confidence and capability in equal measures.  A great listener, a quiet thoughtful manner.  Her influence and appreciation spread far and wide.  She was one a handful of women to receive the Legion de Honour in 2016.  Dame Helen loved business, education and culture. Her support for an engagement in the need for greater equality for women in the work environment was truly commendable. Just a few months ago she was a key note speaker at a KPMG Senior Women’s Breakfast.  She remained involved in the development of the Hampton Alexander review to the end.  She was a lovely person who will be greatly missed by so many of us.

Katushka Giltsoff, Senior Advisor


Diversity remains high on the agenda in the Boardroom

August 2017

Diversity remains high on the agenda for board level recruitment.  However, the conversation has moved beyond that of debating why boards are comprised of directors who are simply ‘pale male and stale’!  Since the launch of the Davies Report over five years ago, progress has been made on improving the numbers of women on boards, so much so, that we are now looking at how we can develop gender diversity at all leadership levels. This is reflected in the number of organisations that are continuing to sign up to the Women in Finance Charter continue reading

To find out more about our Financial Services and Board Practices please contact Deborah Cooper on 020 7596 9535 or deborah.cooper@miles-partnership.com

The world of work is changing here’s a few interesting facts & views

July 2017

 

Welcome to our Interim Showcase.

The Institute of Interim Management recently published its 2017 survey results. I thought that a few facts and views might be of interest:

  • Interim managers and executives are, by and large, senior and mature individuals, operating at Board and near-Board level, with an average age of 52 (although 27% of those surveyed were in the 40-49 age group)
  • The proportion of female interims has risen over the years, but only accounted for 26% of the survey in 2017 (2014: 30%)
  • There is a southern bias to where interim managers live, with 21% living in London and 29% in the South East
  • “Ferment such as Brexit and times of economic and political change should present an opportunity for interim managers to present a great deal of value, if correctly applied”

This does reflect what I see – a body of highly experienced professional Interims, who have to be geographically mobile (they go where the work is, which is rarely where they live). People are also attracted to this lifestyle at a younger age than twenty years ago  continue reading

For more information, please contact Richard Beeseley Partner, Executive Interim Practice on 020 7569 9559

 


TMP staff get busy fundraising for SOS Children’s Villages – South Africa

July 2017

It has been a busy few weeks on the fundraising front here at The Miles Partnership. On Thurs 6th July, a team of 11 runners picked up the baton and headed off to Battersea Park for the 31st running of the JP Morgan Corporate Challenge, accompanied by team mascot ‘Sausage’. We were delighted to be one of 733 companies taking part in this fundraising effort, which sees JP Morgan donating entry fees to Cancer Research UK in honour of the participants. Furthermore, The Miles Partnership team runners also got themselves sponsored to the tune of over £1300 for our nominated charity, SOS Children’s Villages – South Africa, what a great result all round.

The very next day saw our six-female crew, ‘Team OBOE’, set off on their 300 nautical mile charity sail from Mahon in Menorca, circumnavigating Majorca and crossing over to the mainland of Spain, ending in Barcelona. 3 days and 2 nights at sea, this was no mean feat, especially considering they are all novice sailors!

Chris Stainton, CEO commented, ‘I am so pleased we as a firm and a team can get things done like this – a real team effort, personally challenging, a worthy cause and seemingly a lot of fun too. You have set the bar high for others now!’. We are all very proud of Team OBOE’s achievement, which resulted in a massive £4000 in fundraising donations for our charity, SOS Children’s Villages.


Audit Chair Succession Planning Considerations

25th November 2016

An effective audit committee is essential to strong corporate governance culture and the Audit Chair plays a key strategic role in how effective the committee can be, and it is a position of ever increasing strategic importance to our clients. We have extensive experience in advising companies across all industries around their Audit Chair, and we are frequently asked by candidates and clients what particular issues should we be mindful of when making this appointment. All are aware that the bar has been raised with Audit and Risk particularly under scrutiny and a high expectation that skillsets are current and relevant. We keep up-to-date through regular dialogue with regulators who see governance as being key to successful business and customer/member outcomes.

Since March 2016, Audit Chair roles come with specific responsibilities related to SMR (Senior Managers Regime). This includes needing regulatory pre-approval, compliance with the FCA’s and PRA’s new conduct rules and the presumption of responsibility. Potentially this could have made nominated NED positions harder to fill than notified, and we have certainly found that the bar is higher for nominated candidates when their technical knowledge of financial services is assessed. Surprisingly, newer non-executives are less deterred by the SMR regime at interview than anticipated. The bigger issue is attracting longer serving Committee Chairs, some of which are opting out of the role and remuneration expectations can be higher than that on offer. When working for mutuals, the following key challenges are prevalent. Firstly, the size of talent pool: with increasingly centralised structures and specialised functional skillsets, there are fewer rounded candidates with Board experience.

When seeking current and relevant experience, many can be conflicted. Our analysis of the top 10 building societies’ audit chairs show that all are from financial services background (ranging from corporate finance to insurance), there is little gender and ethnic diversity and as you would expect, former audit partners are popular. We’ve also found that some candidates are happy to sit on a committee but do not want to Chair Audit, perceiving it as a quasi-executive role. This leads to the second challenge: demand for talent. There is a continuous demand for high calibre ex CEO, audit and risk candidates. There are also a significant number of new entrants into banking who can offer compelling reasons to attract the talent that we are also seeking.

Thirdly, the mutual sector and scale can be less attractive for some as they believe that there are too many resource/investment constraints and the opportunities are more limited to achieve sustainable growth (in comparison to larger financial institutions). Despite this backdrop, the Building Society Sector is very attractive to individuals who have an affinity with the sector and are keen to work with great Boards who support the ethos of the Modern Mutual.

For more information, please do contact our Board Practice, Deborah Cooper 020 7569 9535

A Summer of Leadership Challenges, What Next for 2016

This summers geo political events have focussed our minds on the significance of leadership at all levels in our society and work place.

The political landscape in both the United States and across Europe serves to demonstrate the push pull between radicalism and conservatism- and the need for leaders to stay connected to their constituents and stakeholders. Leadership must stay relevant to endure and influence- and to do so must constantly evolve in response to contextual demands.

Domestically, ‘Brexit’ has been an event which has created a huge emotional response in the UK, across geographies,  sectors and all walks of life.  It is still early days but already it has been interesting to see reactions from leaders which cover a wide spectrum including  ‘panic’; ‘wait and see’; ‘opportunistic’ and ‘lock down’. Few can genuinely say they anticipated the outcome.

These reactions and the way in which they are delivered remind us of the  importance of leadership in setting the emotional tone and that a leader’s responsibility is far broader than strategic planning and operational execution.  The unfolding story of Sports Direct reinforces this- and BHS also raises questions as to the overall purpose of business and leadership.

Additionally, it has been interesting to observe the contrast between organisations that have a viable leadership succession plan and process- and those that do not. Domestically, Labour and Tory responses to the need for leadership transition have taken each organisation to a very different place in the short term. What price a vacuum of leadership at this time? Can any organisation afford not to have a sustainable plan of action on leadership?

In such uncertain times, leadership is at its most challenged, and valuable. Chairmen, CEO’s and Boards, both Executive and Non Executive, have much to offer but also need support in making leadership transitions work for their organisations.

We can help. To find out more about The Miles Partnership Board Practice please contact us on 020 7495 7772.

Cyber Attack – The Unseen Enemy

11th August 2016

As the recent attacks on TalkTalk, the Irish Garda has illustrated, the damage and adverse publicity associated with cyber-attack is both obvious and ever present. The source of attack is almost limitless. The target for attacks encompasses almost every business in the UK, with two-thirds of UK Businesses thought to have been a victim.

The attacks are in some cases state sponsored intelligence gathering (both military and commercial) ranging beyond that to terrorism, crime, commercial sabotage or simply malice. The UK has in theory been limited to ‘scares’ hitherto- unlike the US where the scale of attack has prompted government to direct considerable focus and resource to addressing the problem. Our national position is arguably complacent- the recent attack is in reality the tip of a cyber iceberg where the problem is in fact far wider than perceived.

There is hardly a business, large or small, that does not rely on the Internet. The ability however to eavesdrop or hack phones and systems has never been easier. The risk and method of compromise is paradoxically seldom understood and thus the route to solutions is seen as tiresome and also imperfectly understood. Great technological change is also being effected in the marketplace in parallel- digitisation and proliferation of online commerce for example- that tends to cloud the issue rather than highlight the downsides and possible solutions.

Expertise is thin on the ground. Boards are furthermore generationally not usually attuned to the complexities of cyber-attack. The consequences of cyber corruption seem obvious, but rarely are that clear. Collectively, it suggests a problem not to be ignored as the costs financially, commercially and reputationally are writ large.

At The Miles Partnership we are teamed with specialist experts in the field of cyber-attack and the solutions. This is available at consultancy, interim or permanent level.

Examples of projects completed include:

  • Cyber security strategy advice and threat assessment to European and Middle Eastern Government Departments and Agencies
  • Delivered cyber defence capabilities and services to detect threats to and protect celebrity and high net worth individuals’ communications
  • Provided secure (against cyber threats) communications systems to a range of commercial clients
  • Interim placements – for example the Chief Information Security Officer for the National Air Traffic Service (NATS).
We will be delighted to help advise in what is arguably the single greatest threat to UK commerce, but also the least understood. Contact us here

Broadcasters and Social Media – Friend or Foe?

It is generally accepted that the worlds of sport, media and technology are increasingly converging around a central point: Content. In a world of convergence, cord cutting and catch up TV one form of content remains essential live viewing – Sport.
On the 2nd of June, The Miles Partnership hosted a dinner with senior influencers in sport, media and technology where there was a lively discussion, under Chatham House rules, around convergence / content disruption. A number of themes emerged from the discussion. Will new market entrants outbid traditional broadcasters for sports rights? How can sports rights owners balance the commercialisation of rights whilst protecting the intrinsic value of sport, in an increasingly fragmented field of bidders? How should content now be packaged and commercialised?

Recently concluded deals, on both side of the Atlantic, are evidence that social media platforms are quickly becoming key players in the battle for sports rights. Our guests agreed that whilst this trend is likely to continue, broadcasters were unlikely to give up the crown jewels of live sport without a fight. The real time engagement of live sports with consumers, and subsequently advertisers, is too valuable an opportunity to miss out on.
Such interest from competing parties drives up prices and puts major rights holders firmly in the box seat, with demand for their product outstripping supply.
But is this ‘power’ always used effectively and could some organisations be accused of chasing a cheque at the cost of wider visibility for their sport? Recent history in the UK suggests that whilst rights holders have increased their bottom line, corresponding viewing figures have dropped significantly.

What about rights holders of smaller or niche sports that don’t have broadcasters banging at their door? Is it a case of innovate or disappear altogether from the conscious of consumers? Or do social media platforms actually facilitate far better visibility and fan engagement than was ever achievable via broadcasters?
What is clear, is that in both cases social media has a role to play in driving visibility as well as fan engagement. Whether it be YouTube’s well publicised live broadcast of the Europa League and Champions League Final in the UK or Facebook’s live streaming of a Women’s La Liga fixture, change is upon us.

Euro 2016 presents a golden opportunity for the establishment and the new kids on the block, to partner together to drive fan engagement whilst achieving their independent goals. However, what remains to be seen, is for how long this marriage will remain amicable.
The Miles Partnership is a long established, fast growing C-Suite level executive search firm with a thriving Sports, Media and Digital Practice. Our diverse international client base includes broadcasters, digital publishers and sports rights holders.


 Executive Interim Management In The 21st Century – The Use of “Fixers”

I have been fortunate enough to work in Executive Interim Management for nearly twenty years, providing quality interim resources to a wide variety of clients.

The use of professional Interim Managers grows year on year, but there are still many misconceptions surrounding what they do…

  • Aren’t they just posh temps?
  • Can’t they get a proper job?
  • I don’t have any gaps to fill, so why would I need one?

So what are the facts?

Professional  Interim Managers have already been successful in a corporate career and are serious achievers. They have generally had a “window” of opportunity, allowing them to reflect on the way forward – they choose to operate through their own limited companies and share their expertise with clients, being rewarded on a daily rate basis. If they don’t deliver, they don’t survive…

They love variety and challenge – they are “Fixers”, who solve problems and can accelerate change for clients, often in situations which need unlocking by an outsider, with a fresh set of eyes.

They are good leaders and get people “on side” quickly (they must have great interpersonal skills). They don’t pose a threat to company staff, often enabling the the flow of ideas and communication.  Indeed, many of the solutions to problems in organisations are already there – they just need “unlocking”.

Once they have achieved the agreed objectives, they move on – no lengthy notice periods, LTIP’s, pensions or bonuses to consider. Before exiting they make sure that the knowledge gained during their stay is transferred to the client.

So how would they answer those questions?

  • Posh temps” – Interims assess a problem, put together a plan to fix it then roll up their sleeves and deliver through the people in the business. They are not temps, doing a repetitive job, nor posh.
  • Proper job” – this is a proper job, not only delivering great personal satisfaction, but also offering a real alternative to clients when speedy action can be of great value.
  • Gaps” – the word interim suggests gaps, but the assignments are not about keeping a seat warm.

The market for their services has been interesting over the last economic cycle. When the downturn came in 2008 firms tended to hold on to enough of their senior permanent talent to run projects and change scenarios (almost entirely relating to downsizing). This was different from previous downturns, when the most expensive staff were often exited quite quickly and Interim Managers were often brought in to keep things running.

Experienced Executive Interims (some have been engaged in this type of work for 10-15 years) mostly kept working, but there was a flood of potential new Interim Managers who had been displaced from their roles. Sadly some thought that interim work was a route to permanent work – it’s not since the agendas are completely different. Some new entrants have “made it”, many have not.

In the last couple of years the market has improved for Executive Interims, there are more roles and daily rates have started to return to their  previous levels. Confidence is returning in the economy, although austerity is still part of everyday parlance, and there is a belief that we will see a greater flow of roles where Interim Managers can make a real contribution to the economy.

More clients are starting to see the benefits of using Interims strategically, by maintaining a well qualified core staff and supplementing it with senior, experienced people who can be switched on and off at will, either to undertake change work or sometimes to backfill for others doing this.

A few examples of use:

  • Post merger integration
  • Delivering complete turnarounds
  • Developing and launching new products
  • Communicating change (internally and externally)
  • Controlling costs, refinancing, improving cash management
  • Creating sales pipelines and marketing strategies
  • Reducing spend through improved procurement
  • Undertaking due diligence
  • Downsizing / Restructuring
  • Bid management
  • Systems recovery and enhancement

Fixers” can provide a valuable service to clients, solving problems and delivering project success  in times of transition, crisis or change. The payback on their intervention is often a large multiple of the investment.

Do get in contact if you would like to find out more. Richard Beesley, Partner, Executive Interim

The first 100 days and beyond..

A conversation between Deborah Cooper and Chris Stainton – 12th May 2016

The first days in a new role can be critical to the success of both the individual and the organisation. The Miles Partnership provides advice to placed candidates to help them make the best start. Deborah Cooper, Partner and Leader of the Financial Services  Practice has decades of experience in guiding candidates and clients through this crucial period, but has recently found herself as the new hire after joining us. Here she reflects on her time on this side of fence and how it would shape her advice in the future.

Having enjoyed  six months gardening leave Deborah returned to the fast pace of corporate life to join us, as we focus on our own ambitious growth agenda.  She was brought in to strengthen further our leadership team which has trebled in size through widening its proposition and attracting talent from our competitors.    Working alongside colleagues in the Board Practice and Financial Services she is executing our clearly defined strategy and has already secured several mandates. This is what she has learnt along the way and how might it shape the advice she offers to all those starting a new role.

The first few weeks:

Ensure you have a planned induction in place and if arranging one for others don’t underestimate the impact of going the extra mile to create a warm welcome for new employees.

Before you join an organisation, always understand the type of induction planned for you. Its true to say that the first three months in any role offers you the opportunity to build a positive impact; secure your place in the organisation and build a solid platform for on-going success.   Within The Miles Partnership, this was very well managed and on day one I had a schedule of meetings which varied from 1:1s to practice meetings as well as a guide of the TMP process and systems.  A very welcoming gesture was a reception drinks evening where the whole firm was invited and the majority were able to attend.

Your relationships count:

Invest time in getting to know all the team both as individuals and professionally.  Feeling an early sense of belonging makes a huge difference and  enables you understand where you focus your energies to undertake your role effectively.  Be visible and communicate your understanding of your role and focus on an on-going basis both to build trust and manage expectations..

Practicalities:

It was enormously helpful understanding quickly ‘how do we do things around here’ which means  getting up to speed with processes and technology quickly.  In the first few weeks, it felt very similar to driving a new car – windscreen wipers going rather than the indicators!  In view of this, be kind to yourself in your first month, some tasks take a little longer.

Be strategic as well as focused on execution:

It worked well investing time up front to ensure clarity around about our business strategy and plans so that we could then ensure we were developing our relationships in a joined up manner and galvanising the team strengths and experiences.  Ensuring you’re aligned in what you’re doing and being transparent about your own focus/agenda creates allies as well as synergies.  Be prepared for some people taking more time than others to trust, personalities vary. Being consistent and being yourself pays off.

Top Tips:

  • Agree comprehensive induction plan with outcomes
  • Invest time in developing internal relationships at all levels and be visible
  • Develop short, medium and long term deliverables – add value and deliver against your remit
  • Don’t allow yourself to be distracted, establish boundaries and keep focused
  • Ensure its not all about work and you create time to have fun!

Changing boardroom dynamics: How boardroom makeup has changed since the turn of the century

28th April 2016

Slowly but surely boardrooms are becoming more diverse environments. Long gone are the days when boardrooms were confined to white, middle-class, middle-aged men, with ‘Oxbridge’ degrees and ‘Queen’s English’ accents. Today, boardrooms are more embracive of diversity, with women refreshingly playing an important role in board of directors’ meetings. But is enough being done to create truly diverse and equal boardrooms in Britain?

The Miles Partnership explores the changing boardroom dynamics and how boardroom makeup has evolved during the last two decades.

Putting women in the boardroom

In 2011, the Davies Review set a target to ensure that 25% of all FTSE 100 board positions are filled by women by 2015. Former trade minister Lord Davies of Abersoch called on company chairmen to announce their aims to “ensure that more talented and gifted women” are given the top jobs.

“Currently 18 FTSE 100 companies have no female directors at all and nearly half of all FTSE 250 companies do not have a woman in the board,” Lord Davies said in 2011, adding:

“Radical change is needed in the mind-set of the business community if we are to implement the scale of change that is needed.”

So has the Davies Review met its targets?

2015 figures indicate the UK’s leading companies have made “enormous progress” in gender diversity and have doubled the amount of female boardroom members.

In March 2015, Lord Davies announced that women, at the time, accounted for 23.5% of FTSE 100 board members, a 11% rise from 2011.

If we were to backpedal a decade or so, having a quarter of a boardroom made up of women would have been deemed nigh impossible, so the fact companies are actively seeking more female leaders can be hailed as a positive step in boardroom gender equality!

A positive impact of business performance

The benefits of having a more gender-diverse boardroom have been well reported. For example, a French study that analysed the makeup of boardrooms in relation to performance of the French CAC40-listed companies between 2008 and 2012, revealed that boardrooms which comprise of females have a positive and significant impact of economic performance and that gender diversity, “reduces corporate inefficiencies and enables firms to come closer to their optimal performance.”

Separate studies have proven that organisations which have more women in their boardrooms experience greater financial performance.

Ethnic diversity

So it seems inroads have certainly been made in terms of gender diversity in the makeup of boardrooms in recent years, but what about ethnic diversity?

The 2010 General Election was regarded as being historic for the representation of ethnic minorities. This was principally due to the fact the Conservatives, for the first time ever, staged a bid for a Parliamentary increase in the number of MPs from ethnic minorities.

However, a similar push for ethnic minority representation cannot be related to the boardroom dynamics of many British companies. Whilst there are greater levels of ethnic diversity amongst boardroom directors in UK organisations than there was say 20 years ago, efforts to diversify the ethnic makeup of company directors seem to be falling.

According to the ‘Green park Leadership 10,000: Spring 2015’ report, which analysed the profiles of 100,000 executives from Britain’s top companies, there has been a decline in the number of non-white leaders.

Referring to what has been cited as a “diversity deficit” that is “extremely disappointing”, the Green park report stated:

“The research shows that there are still no senior East Asian or Chinese heritage Executive Directors on any Main Board in the FTSE 100, and in fact fewer than 60 people of East Asian or Chinese heritage in the entire 10,000 in the study.”

The findings of the report distinctly contrast to the former business secretary Vince Cable’s campaign to ensure all companies operating in Britain recruit at least one non-white director before 2020.

Whilst major inroads have certainly been made in changing boardroom dynamics and bringing greater diversity into the recruiting of company directors, there is still a long way to do in the quest for boardroom equality, particularly in terms of ethnic diversity.

As Denise Wilson from the Lord Davies Women on Board Steering Group told Radio 4’s Today Programme when asked about getting women into executive roles in Britain’s top companies:

“We always recognised this was going to be the toughest nut to crack.”

If you require any advice, information or assistance in executive and board level search, contact The Miles Partnership, aimed at recruiting the highest level of talent and to provide leadership consulting designed to help your business excel.

Qualities of a CEO: The essential attributes that can help lead your company to success

28th April 2016

Business leaders face a challenging environment, as do the organisations recruiting them. Quality leaders possess strong skills and capabilities and exploit their attributes to develop a business and ensure it remains competitive. With the variety of attributes and skills among candidates today, in a fiercely contested market, The Miles Partnership explores the widely considered qualities to look for in a CEO that can put your business on the road to prosperity.

A successful CEO doesn’t merely require knowing his or her job description, but is required to know how to measure their success, conduct themselves to retain their success and avoid the pitfalls of the job that almost inevitably raise their head. If a CEO manages such high demands, the benefits they bring to a business are second to none.

The story of Ixia’ recent history makes the perfect case in point of how choosing the right CEO for your business can make such a positive impact on performance and results, and even turn a company’s ailing fortunes around.

Before the appointment of current CEO Bethany Meyer, Ixia was reported as making an $18 million loss in Q1 of 2014. In his article for CIO.com, Rob Enderle highlights the positive impact Bethany Meyer made after her arrival at Ixia:

“They just announced financial results and in a market where both IBM and HP have seen revenue declines, Ixia is growing strongly.”

CEO reputation influences company reputation

In a recent survey of 1700 executives worldwide (below CEO level), research conducted by public relations firm, Weber Shandwick’, found that:

“Half of executives expect that CEO reputation will matter even more to corporate reputation in the next few years.”

“In an increasingly connected and transparent world, keeping a low profile is no longer an option for business leaders. CEOs have entered a golden age of opportunity in which to tell their company story and join the conversation. This new era is marked by the recognition that CEO engagement is particularly critical to corporate reputation and is facilitated by high demand for content to help grow the business.”

The study also found that 49 percent of those surveyed, concluded that CEO reputation correlates directly to that of the company’s reputation and is placed fourth highest among the categories listed in the full report.

 ‘Putting Personality before CV’

The Virgin logo is instantly recognisable and the brand is globally respected.  A true UK commercial success story. Its charismatic owner – Sir Richard Branson –  in an interview with Dan Schwabel for Forbes, puts emphasis on the importance of personality when selecting a leader:

“I’m quite involved in hiring for leadership and I look to hire my weaknesses. Personality before CV. A person who has multiple degrees in your field isn’t always better than someone with broad experience and a wonderful personality,” said Branson.

‘Out of chaos, comes order’

The best CEOs are able to ‘see round corners’ and identify trends early in order to stay ahead in a rapidly evolving and competitive landscape. Effective CEOs have an agility in decision making, and are not afraid to experiment and try new things. They have a tolerance for ambiguity and are able to work towards uncertain goals with unclear outcomes.

Neitche, the respected German philosopher of the mid-to-late 1800s, spoke of how the best leaders are able to bring ‘order out of chaos’, a sentiment that has seem to have caught the attention of many modern day interviewing panels.

It is a sentiment that is certainly upheld by Justin Menkes, a leading expert in the field of executive assessment. In his article for Harvard Business Review, Menkes writes the three traits every CEO needs as being, realistic optimism, subversion to purpose, and finding order in chaos.

Three would also appear to be the magic number for successful CEO and entrepreneur Joel Trammel. In his article for Forbes, Trammel pinpoints the “three C’s” he believes are the essential qualities for effective CEOS as being – credibility, competency and a caring attitude.

As well as having an ability to focus on vision and communicate that vision to stakeholders, effective and successful CEOs are proficient in hiring strong management teams and supporting management’s decisions.

Above all, quality CEOs are able to empower those around them through clearly mapped out ethical and behavioural guidelines, proving that their own principles are consistent with the values of the business.

If you require any advice or assistance finding a top-quality CEO that can help take your business to greater heights, get in touch with The Miles Partnership.

LUNCH AT THE SHARD WITH ECHO LU

14th April 2016

The Miles Partnership recently hosted a highly successful HR lunch at The Shard at which Echo Lu, until recently the Managing Director of Homebase spoke about her personal journey, from growing up in rural China, to forging a successful career in HR before ultimately a successful move into general management. She has almost 20 years’ experience in blue-chip companies covering a broad range of functions gained in the USA, UK and across Asia and has an excellent track record of growing businesses and leading teams in complex multi-cultural environments.

Having graduated from Fudan University in her native China with a degree in International Economy and Finance, Echo moved to the United States to study for a Masters in Industrial Relations and Human Resources at West Virginia University.

Her first permanent job came at US pharmaceutical company Bristol Myers-Squibb in 1997, where she spent seven years in a number of roles including Human Resources director for China.

In 2004 Lu was snapped up by Tesco, having been headhunted by The Miles Partnership, where she became Human Resources Director for Asia. Three years later she was placed in charge of the supermarket giant’s commercial buying for grocery in the UK, part of the CEO Development Programme.

By 2010, Echo was named as Tesco’s new Operations Director in East China, a £760m business, before becoming Chief Operations Officer for China the following year.

Echo was placed in charge of Tesco’s UK and Ireland property portfolio in 2012 in which she was responsible for a property portfolio worth over £17bn. Her final role with Tesco was Group Business Planning and Insight Director when she left the retailer in 2014

In March 2015, Echo was appointed as Managing Director of Homebase, taking over from Paul Loft.

She credits her success in terms of cross-functional moves due to her adaptability, self-awareness,  intellectual curiosity and desire to learn.

Looking back at her time as HR Director, she shared her thoughts with regard to things she wished she had known at the time. These included: developing impartial views of key talent, identifying key capability gaps before the CEO does and being stronger and more proactive in driving cultural change.


SURVEY – WORKING FATHERS

10th April 2016

The Flexible Fathers research is an important study looking at fathers’ workplace experiences across different sectors in the UK.  The research forms part of a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) qualification at Henley Business School and is in partnership with the 30% Club.

The research investigates the extent to which organisational culture influences a father’s decision to work flexibly and take a more active role in childcare responsibilities.  The results of this study will be published in Summer/Autumn 2016 on the 30% Club website and will be publicised in the media.

We’d like to hear from as many fathers as possible who:

  • Are employed by an organisation (not self-employed)
  • Work in the UK either in the public, private or third sector
  • Have at least one child of primary school age (11 years old) or below
  • Are in a relationship with the mother of their child/children

We’re keen to hear experiences of men who work flexibly (either formally or informally) and who don’t work flexibly too.

If you know of any other fathers in your network who meet the above criteria, please forward the survey on.  It’s important we get a large number of responses so the findings can influence policy and make recommendations about how organisations can create positive work cultures for men and women.

The survey will take approximately 10 to 15 minutes to complete and guarantees confidentiality and anonymity.  None of the information obtained will be attributed to any individual and your responses will be treated in the strictest confidence.

The survey will close on Monday 25th April, Take Survey Here:

If you have any questions regarding the study, please email admin@avenirconsulting.co.uk

THE DIGITAL BOARD AGENDA

24th March 2016

It is generally accepted that UK boards need to become more digitally literate if they are to continue to be relevant in an age where technology-led change has very rapidly and fundamentally transformed business. Rightfully, the drive to create more diverse Boards has expanded to include the need to appoint more Digital Non-Executive Directors. The Miles Partnership hosted a breakfast with Digital Non-Executive Directors (Digital NEDs) and Digital leaders to discuss how, in reality, this specific remit translates to a PLC NED role. What are the challenges?

The summary of the discussion can be downloaded by filling out the form below:






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SUCCESSION PLANNING AND THE BOARD

18th February 2016

Annabel Parsons has put together a white paper on succession planning and the role of the Board based on The Miles Partnership’s extensive track record in providing Executive, Leadership and Board services. In this, we consulted many clients including CEOs and Chairmen, Board evaluation results and research data. Respecting confidentiality has meant that candid views have been offered and are recorded here.

The paper offers our thinking on the impact of business strategy and culture, the role of the Nominations committee, Board evaluation, pipeline, diversity and the role of the institutional investor. We give both observations and suggestions on solutions to each aspect.

In summary, we suggest the following specific remedies may deliver benefits in terms of improved succession planning and outcomes:

  • Enhancing the clarity, positioning and capability in the Talent functions
  • Ensuring Board composition includes strong HR capability
  • Clarifying the remit and focus of the Nominations Committee and ensuring that composition, process and reporting reflect this remit
  • Mandating reporting of people risk
  • Improving reporting and performance against specific metrics including remuneration, selection process impact and benchmarks on best practice
  • Further progress towards professionalizing Executive Search
  • Overall reinforcing of existing requirements and best in class selection process

We welcome feedback and comments, do download the white paper by filling in the form below.






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 The Miles Partnership appoints Zoe Campbell and Charlie Davies

20th January 2016

The Miles Partnership is pleased to announce the appointment of Zoe Campbell and Charlie Davies as Partners to strengthen The Miles Partnership’s market leading Insurance Practice.

Zoe Campbell brings a breadth and depth of insurance expertise having worked and fostered strong relationships within the sector.  Zoe has an extensive track record covering a range of Executive Management, class and functional placements across the ILS/Capital Markets, Reinsurance and Lloyd’s through to the Consumer Products arena encompassing General Insurance and Life Wealth and Pensions markets globally.  Zoe offers specialist knowledge coverage across actuarial, risk and regulation, underwriting and claims, as well as Board placements including CEOs, Chair and Non-Executive Directors.  Prior to her recent role with Eliot Partnership, Zoe worked with NED specialist Hanson Green and brings 14 years search experience.  She began her career as a legal journalist focusing on offshore financial markets and holds a MA in Newspaper Journalism and Copyright Law.

Charlie brings a wealth of long-standing relationships in the International Insurance marketplace as well as his detailed knowledge of the Re/ Insurance market and in particular Lloyd’s. Whilst much of his time has been spent in the underwriting and broking space, he has an extensive network at Board and Executive Committee level as well as key senior Specialty individuals.  Prior to joining The Miles Partnership, he supported Eliot Partnership in building its Executive search business in London, Europe, Singapore and USA. The predominance of Charlie’s career has been spent in the Insurance Market where he worked for over 35 years mainly as a senior Reinsurance Broker with Jenner Fenton Slade, and subsequently Aon Re, dealing with both LMX and Continental clients. In 2004 Charlie moved to Aon Risk Solutions to work in carrier management and latterly in Aon GRIP Solutions dealing with Lloyd’s Managing Agencies and their high level relationships with Aon.

Chris Stainton, Chief Executive, said “I am very excited to welcome Zoe and Charlie to the team to build on our traditionally strong specialist insurance practice and take it to the next level.  We already have strength and depth in Financial Services and we are now adding Zoe’s and Charlie’s considerable experience in insurance.  Their appointments will also further accelerate the growth we are seeing across the firm.  I know that they will add great value.”

 

To arrange a meeting with Zoe or Charlie please contact them on:

Zoe Campbell | zoe.campbell@miles-partnership.com

Charlie Davies | charlie.davies@miles-partnership.com

 

Notes about the Miles Partnership

  • The Miles Partnership was founded in 1996 and celebrates its 20th year in 2016
  • The Miles Partnership is an executive and board level search, interim management and leadership consulting firm
  • The Miles Partnership has 20 Partners
  • The Miles Partnership has four different industrial specialisms (Financial Services, Industrial and Energy, Life Science, Media and Digital, Retail and Consumer) and two functionally focused practice groups (HR and CFO)