Having interviewed Sir Win Bischoff, following a NEDonBoard panel evening, there are some clear skills and considerations which best enable a Board to work effectively in harmony. Following on from Part I, Part II highlights the importance of engaging with board members to ensure effective governance.
Message to non-executive directors to ensure effective governance
Engage with your chairman.
Hopefully, he is the person who actually does embrace it [effective governance] and is the guardian of it.
Engage with the chairman of committees [such as the] remuneration committee and risk committee, for example….the remuneration committee because remuneration is the elephant in the room.
I always say there are two important things: one is, you have to like the business model of the company that you join. And secondly, you have to feel that you can work with the people on the board and the executive committee. There are some people who take it the other way round. I happen to think that the business model is more important, a sustainable business model is more important than people, because you can always change the people. A business model is much more difficult to change.
I think interaction. Don’t be too shy in the beginning but give it a day or so before you actually make some very substantive statements. But you shouldn’t be shy, if you feel really very strongly about something, say something.
And get feedback from your chairman. Chairmen are perfectly willing to give feedback. Sometimes they [can] feel that slightly adverse feedback is not welcome. I have always found that non-executive directors would like to hear what other people think of them, particularly what their chairman thinks of them and what other board members think of them, which they pass through the chairman. So, be open about it.
Sir Win Bischoff is Chairman of the Financial Reporting Council in the United Kingdom and Chairman of JP Morgan Securities plc. He is a Director of S&P Global Inc, and is a member of the International Advisory Board of Akbank TAS, Turkey. He is the former chairman of Lloyds Banking Group. He previously served as Chairman and Interim CEO of Citigroup in 2007.
As an experienced or aspiring non-executive director, it is important to continue to strive for best practice and continue your learning and understanding of the role you are in. Next Event in London, November 28th. If you are prioritising your NED career, then the perfect opportunity to do so is at NEDonBoard’s upcoming Non-Execs and Board members Event in Central London.