12 May
2021

A seat on the board

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Beingappoin`ted a non-executive director to the right company can be a shrewd careerdevelopment move but as Rob McLuhan discovers HR professionals, who often lackactual board experience, may need to work harder than most to be askedAnon-executive directorship used to be thought of as a perk for retiring Citychairmen or a bolthole for sacked Tory cabinet ministers. These days it isregarded as a serious job, and one that any senior professional can aspire toas a means to broaden his or her horizons.Lookaround at the shambles that some companies seem to create and it is quicklyapparent that non-executive directors have an important monitoring role toplay. Their impartial advice can help avoid causing public outrage withill-advised bonuses to directors (Marks & Spencer), actions that threatenthe environment (Shell with Brent Spar), or disastrous negligence (BaringsBank).Itis to help steer clear of these pitfalls that Stock Exchange regulations insistupon an objective presence on the board for publicly quoted companies. This isalso recommended by the Combined Code of corporate governance commissionscarried out during the last decade, which urges that no less than a third ofthe board should consist of non-executives.TheInstitute of Directors says companies – both listed and unlisted – arevoluntarily exceeding this level to around 40 per cent, while the number ofcompanies with non-executive directors has increased to 60 per cent.Asurvey by the Reward Group shows average earnings by a non-executive directorrunning at around £160 a day, and specialist recruiters say the job can bringin £15-25,000 a year – more in large organisations. In the US there is a trendto pay with share options rather than a flat fee, although that practice hasattracted controversy in the UK as likely to put objectivity at risk.Atfirst sight this looks like money for jam. A non-executive director is expectedmainly to show up for board meetings, which are typically held once a month –fewer in some companies. But a closer look shows the position can actually bequite onerous.”It’sa difficult role to perform,” says Daniel Summerfield, corporategovernance executive at the Institute of Directors. “Non-executivedirectors have to maintain distance from the organisation because they arebringing a wider perspective, but they have also to keep their finger on thepulse.”Thatmeans getting to know the issues, keeping up with the minutes of boardmeetings, chairing committees, and perhaps hobnobbing with important clients.All these activities can seriously cut into regular job hours, which is whymost working professionals would not normally hold more than one such positionat a time. Another potential drawback is the responsibility: under law the non-executiveteam is held equally liable for any criminal or negligent activity.Thornyissues that could engage a non-executive director might be how to handle a bidfor the company that goes against the personal interests of the directors, or aboard appointment that is not working out, as well as disagreements to do withboard succession and remuneration.Butnon-executive directors can also help set strategy, particularly if they haverelevant experience. They may be valued for their City, institutional or evengovernment contacts. And they may have an understanding of issues that relateto changes that a company is going through, for instance globalisation or theimplementation of major new IT systems.”Wesay to clients that we will try to find someone who has experienced what theyare going through,” says Patrick Dunne, director of venture capitalcompany 3i. “That particularly applies to start-up companies, when thereal world intervenes and they have to adapt.”Experienceof HR can be useful to a company that is involved in recruitment issues such asInternet jobsite StepStone (see box). However, this is relatively unusual.Hanson Green, which specialises in the hiring of non-executive directors, saysthere is not much demand from large listed organisations for HR professionals,although it does make placements in smaller companies.”Thedifficulty is that clients want someone with an operational background,”says Hanson Green director David Treadwell. “I personally believe HRpeople are equally well qualified as managing, marketing or finance directors,but many companies perceive that this is not the case.”Boardmembership is usually a prerequisite for large listed organisations, and hereagain HR professionals are likely to be at a disadvantage since so few haveattained this. However,those who have general managerial experience outside the function could beattractive to smaller companies.Akey job for non-executive directors is to chair the remuneration, nominationand audit committees, and the first two at least have a special relevance toHR. Remuneration can be particularly sensitive, given the public scorn acompany can attract if its payment of directors is seen to be excessive.Thejob also requires a particular set of personal qualities. Treadwell says,”The people we approach are senior, established in their roles, and havethe technical skills. They understand how boards work, and are financiallyliterate.””Butthey also have to have skills you can’t teach – tact, a sense of humour, andthe ability to influence without commanding, and if these are absent they areunlikely to succeed in the role.” Some managing directors make poornon-executive directors because they can’t stop taking control, he adds.Andthey should be ruthless where the occasion demands. When the chairman and chiefexecutive of Cable & Wireless were at loggerheads a few years ago, thenon-executive team stepped in and removed them both. Assumingit is possible to acquire a non-executive directorship, the benefits in terms ofpersonal development are generally acknowledged.”Itcould have important advantages for a person’s career, improving theircredibility and raising their profile,” says John Stork, managing partnerof Stork & May, career strategy consultants for senior executives.”Also, it widens their contacts and gives them more options were they toleave that job.”Themoney is not good enough to be a motivation, says 3i’s Dunne, except for thosewho get involved in an entrepreneurial venture with potentially lucrative shareoptions. However, personal development would be a good reason for taking it on,he agrees.”Alternatively,you might want to do it just for the fun of it, as an interesting andchallenging to do,” he suggests.Butgiven the difficulties HR professionals have getting onto the board of theirown companies, should one even consider trying for a non-executive positionsomewhere else? Absolutely,says Dunne. “If you are with a well recognised high-performing company,it’s not unrealistic, as long as you are absolutely clear why you want to do itand what you can contribute.”Asto acquiring a position, some people may be approached by headhunters whileothers will themselves initiate the process by sending their CV to a specialistrecruitment agency. But at this level it is word-of-mouth that often bringsresults. “Mostpeople get appointed through their networks they have or build,” saysDunne. “If you really want to do this and start talking to people, youwill probably get there. Then once you have experience, other opportunitieswill quickly arise.”Rolecan offer great career development opportunitiesLesleyJames former HR director, Tesco. Non-executive directorships: Selfridges, Care UK, West Bromwich Building Society,DTI Insolvency Service Steering Board.”IfI had not been on the board of Tesco I don’t believe I would have been soughtout to join Selfridges as a non-executive. Having got that appointment I wasapproached by Care UK, which provides residential homes for the elderly, andWest Bromwich Building Society.”Thecontribution I make comes less from my understanding of HR than from my generalbusiness experience. In Tesco the job was about changing culture, expansion,and mergers and acquisitions, and Selfridges was going through a demerger whenI joined.”Carewas interested in my background in a leading service company. The same is trueof West Bromwich, it is keen to provide fantastic customer service, and wherebetter to go for insights than someone from Tesco? With the DTI the need wasfor an understanding of how the private sector operates.”Ialso chair the staff policy committee of the Open University, am a trustee of achildren’s charity, and sit on a DTI advisory panel on partnership funding. Theseare unpaid non-executive roles and are as good a development opportunity for HRprofessionals to consider as anything.”MichaelMaher, former group HR director of food company Dalgety, now chairman of printand packaging specialist Jarvis Porter. Until recently he held non-executive directorships with StepStone.com,Motivano.com, and Jarvis Porter.”Mostcompanies will look for other skills besides HR in their non-executivedirectors. I have spent eight of the last 20 years in general management. StepStonesaw itself as unique in having an HR professional on its board. However, I wasnot there to give internal HR advice, but for my understanding of therecruitment and corporate market.”HRprofessionals on executive committees tend to think of themselves as beingthere to do an HR job. I believe that’s the complete opposite of what’s needed,and is why they don’t get on the board of public companies that frequently.It’s not about being an excellent HR technician, but being a good generalmanager, and applying intellect across a wide area of responsibility.”Mymain responsibility in both StepStone and Jarvis Porter was as chairman of theremuneration committee. I was eventually appointed executive chairman of JarvisPorter, which meant giving up my non-executive roles. As chairman I haveappointed two non-executives into Jarvis Porter in the last 12 months. I havelooked for people with complementary skills, recruiting one with an excellentsales and marketing background and another with experience of mergers andacquisitions.” Comments are closed. A seat on the boardOn 12 Jun 2001 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Articlelast_img
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18 Jan
2021

Season Two of Broadway Balances America Premieres in August

first_imgGrab an extra cup of coffee because your mornings are about to get a Great White Way-sized makeover! Lifetime Channel’s award-winning morning show The Balancing Act will present the second season of its six-part special series Broadway Balances America, sponsored by Broadway Across America. Season two of the series, which takes you backstage of some of Broadway’s most-beloved musicals, will premiere on Lifetime in August.Broadway Balances America provides behind-the-scenes excerpts and interviews highlighting the shows that are featured on Broadway Across America’s 2015-2016 Broadway series nationwide, including Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Kinky Boots, If/Then, The Wizard of Oz, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music and Cabaret. Our hosts get up close and personal with the casts and crews, even experiencing what it’s like to dance in their shoes!“Broadway musicals are not just the New York art form; they are the great American art form,” said Lauren Reid, CEO Theater Division, Broadway Across America. “We thank our network of local theater partners nationwide and The Balancing Act for helping us share Broadway with that wider audience across the country.”So, do you want to know what the second season of Broadway Balances America has in store for you? Of course you do! You’ll meet the leading lady of Cinderella and find out how she balances raising her son with performing across the country, get an exclusive behind-the-curtain look at the Tony-winning musical Kinky Boots with pop superstar Cyndi Lauper, learn the inspiration behind the contemporary new musical If/Then, find out how The Wizard of Oz has been reconceived for the stage with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, receive a first look at the reimagined The Sound of Music and meet the quadruple-threat Kit Kat Klub girls of Cabaret.“We are so happy to take The Balancing Act viewers behind-the-scenes of the most popular Broadway shows, meeting some of the actors, directors and choreographers who bring it all to life,” said Jeanne Kelly, Supervising Producer for The Balancing Act. “These productions are hitting the road as their national tours get underway and heading to a stage near you. Everyone can now experience the excitement, music and magic that is Broadway right in their local community.”The air dates for Broadway Balances America will be:Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella on August 25 & September 1Kinky Boots on September 22 & 29If/Then on October 20 & 27The Wizard of Oz on November 17 & 24Rodgers + Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music on December 1 & 8Cabaret on January 26, 2016 & February 2The first season of Broadway Balances America included segments on the national tours of Annie, Dirty Dancing—The Classic Story on Stage, Pippin, Newsies, Motown The Music and the Broadway Classroom workshop in NYC. View Comments Broadway Balances Americalast_img read more

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17 Sep
2020

Uncertainty hovers over USC basketball

first_imgIn between drills during Thursday’s morning practice at the Galen Center, senior guard Jio Fontan picked up a loose ball and slowly made his way down the length of the floor.On his way to the basket, Fontan slowly mimicked movements that seemed all too real just a few months ago.But just as USC’s supposed star attraction went up to punctuate his coast-to-coast journey, something was simply missing.He couldn’t get off the ground.The mirage of what could have been for the Trojans this season is apparent every time Fontan — who tore his ACL during a July trip to Brazil — picks up a basketball.For a team that bares little to no resemblance to the squad that nearly cracked the field of 64 in March, Fontan represented the promise of a new day. He was supposed to be the glue that would hold together last year’s late-season success with a group that’s about as diverse as any in Division I basketball.USC has been without Fontan throughout all of training camp, and it won’t have him for Saturday’s scrimmage against Long Beach State, or next Friday’s season opener against Cal State Northridge at the Galen Center. And it likely won’t have him for most of the season.In his absence, we know this about USC coach Kevin O’Neill’s inexperienced band of freshmen, transfers, misfits and unproven talents: They will do so having more holes than people to fill them.Sophomore guard Maurice Jones instantly becomes the team’s do-it-all scorer at the offensive end. Only one problem: He’s a pass-first point guard who averaged fewer than 10 points per game his freshman season. At 5-foot-7, 155 pounds, Jones’ fearlessness at the basket is laudable, but his perimeter game still doesn’t scream crunch-time performer. When the game gets tight, is this really the guy you want taking the final shot?I don’ think so — at least not yet.Freshmen guards Alexis Moore and Byron Wesley infuse athleticism and unselfishness into an offensive system that was sorely lacking at times last season. But the two are just months removed from their high school proms, so expecting them to instantly develop college-level basketball IQs overnight is naive to say the least.Apparently, 6.6 points and 7.8 rebounds per game at Antelope Junior College can also create quite the buzz.That’s what Trojans’ big man sophomore Dewayne Dedmon has brought to the table entering this year. The defensive-minded center might be a force to be reckoned with on the boards and in the shot blocking department, but his offensive game leaves much to be desired. Combine that with a fracture on his shooting hand, and USC’s primary post scorer suddenly doesn’t seem so intimidating.Junior transfer forward Aaron Fuller from Iowa brings many intangibles to the table at the power forward position.  From offensive put backs to defensive intensity, he is an O’Neill guy through and through. Against the Cal Poly and Morgan States of the world, his 6-foot-6 frame might not be an issue, but against some of the tougher interior teams in the Pac-12, like Oregon, UCLA and Washington, matchup issues are bound to ensue.From top to bottom, I will admit there is a lot to like about this team despite my apparent sense of cynicism. Sophomore forward Garrett Jackson has beefed up and appears to have developed some maturity out on the court during the off-season after supposedly being involved in an altercation with former USC guard Bryce Jones.JUCO transfer junior guard Greg Allen will definitely provide a spark off the bench from the 3-point line á la Donte Smith. And junior James Blasczyk, a transfer from Lee College, provides USC with welcomed depth and raw aggression in the post.But there’s something to be said about having to replace four of your top six players from a year ago, especially when one of them, Nikola Vucevic, was recently selected 16th overall in the NBA draft.O’Neill has faced more than his fair share of challenges in a coaching career that spans more than three decades. From replacing Lute Olsen at Arizona to working with a poorly assembled roster in 2003 with the Toronto Raptors to motivating a USC team with no postseason to play for because of sanctions, the colorful coach as been there and done that.But something tells me this set of circumstances was never in the job descriptions O’Neill never really desired.You can put lipstick on a pig, as O’Neill has done in recent weeks, but sadly sometimes it still remains a pig.Though you can bank on this team playing hard every night from November to March, at the end of the day will that really be enough?“I know one thing, regardless of how things play out, it’s going to be a roller coaster this year,” O’Neill said on Thursday.The question remains: How long will the coaches, the players and the fans stay along for the ride? “For The Love Of The Game” runs every other Friday. To comment on this article, visit dailytrojan.com or email Dave at [email protected]last_img read more

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