Activism in the Board Room: A dialogue on the shifting dynamic of boards in today’s economy
It was a broad ranging discussion with a good deal of interaction with and amongst the attendees.
Amongst the topics discussed:
- What the board actually does, what it should do, what it shouldn’t do
- Why should anyone care about whether or how boards do their job?
- What does an independent director do – what does independence mean?
- What is the difference between executive and non-executive directors?
- How have boardrooms have changed in the past 10 years?
- How have the role and responsibilities of non-executive board directors evolved over time?
- Healthy dynamics and dynamism in the board room
- What size should a board be?
- Diversity in the board room – why is diversity of colour, age, gender, international perspective, etc. valuable?
- Should the role of CEO and Board Chair be separated?
- The changing role and time commitment of board committees, including audit, risk, remuneration
- Succession planning for the board, the Chief Executive, and in management
- The role of an active director – what they should do and what they shouldn’t do – where are the boundaries?
- How do UK, European, US, and Global boards differ in operation and culture?
- Boardroom refreshment and re-skilling
It was a great opportunity for interaction and discussion, and after the formal part of the event ended, the conversation continued late into the evening with informal discussion.
Background Articles & Information for the Evening’s Topic:
- The Role of Non-executive Board Directors Today
- Beyond Optics: Why Board Diversity Really Matters
- Changing the Landscape of Corporate Governance: Twitter, the Board Directors’ Resource
- Compliance Week: Activism in the Boardroom Podcast
AMELIA FAWCETT is the Chairman of Guardian Media Group plc in London and a Non-Executive Director of State Street Corporation in Boston, Massachusetts. Until June 2010 she was also Chairman of Pensions First LLP, a financial services and systems solutions business, based in London,
Prior to joining the Boards of GMG, Pensions First and State Street, Ms Fawcett worked for Morgan Stanley, first as an executive and then in a non-executive role. She started her career at the US law firm of Sullivan and Cromwell, first in New York then in Paris. She joined Morgan Stanley in London in 1987, was appointed Vice President in 1990, an Executive Director in 1992 and Managing Director and the Chief Administrative Officer for the Firm’s European operations in 1996. In 2002 she was appointed Vice Chairman reporting to the Chairman. As Vice Chairman and Chief Operating Officer, she was a member of the European Management Committee and the Boards of Directors of the Firm’s major European operating companies. She stepped down from her executive role in October 2006 and was a Senior Advisor to the Firm until April 2007.
Ms Fawcett is Deputy Chairman of the National Portrait Gallery (and Chairman of the Gallery’s Development Board) and a Governor of the London Business School, and, until recently, a member of the Court of the Bank of England (and Chairman of the Bank’s Audit Committee). Ms Fawcett was awarded the DBE in the 2010 Birthday Honours List and the CBE in the 2002 New Year’s Honours List for services to the finance industry and the Prince of Wales’ Ambassador Award in 2004. She received an honorary degree from the American University in London (Richmond) in 2006.
LUCY P MARCUS is the Founder and CEO of Marcus Venture Consulting, Ltd. Committed to fostering sustainable success for funding organisations, Marcus Venture Consulting works with clients from around the world in venture capital and private equity funds, institutions and corporations to help them create robust businesses with strong foundations for their funding efforts, and to ensure that they are recognised as smart and good money in what is a competitive and challenging funding environment. She is also a Fellow at the University of Cambridge’s Judge Business School, teaching and researching on leadership & innovation, and exploring the changing landscape in funding in biotech, pharma, and cleantech.
Lucy serves as non-executive chair of the Mobius Life Sciences Fund, chair of the Mobius Life Sciences Fund Investment Panel, non-executive director and chair of the board audit committee of BioCity Nottingham, independent non-executive director and treasurer on the board of the International Step-by-Step Association (ISSA) and served as a non-executive director and board treasurer of the British-American Project. She is co-founder, judge and chair of the board of the Aspen Institute Energy and Environment Awards, a member of the international advisory board of the Instituto de Empresa Business School in Madrid, is also on the board of the Wellesley College Business Leadership Council. She recently completed two consecutive terms on the advisory board of the University of Cambridge’s Judge Business School. Sheis the co-founder and Chair of the Leadership in Conflict project which is developing leaders in conflict and post-conflict zones. Lucy is also the Chair of The Global Task Force on Building Women Leaders, and the Founder of HighTech Women.
Bringing a 360 degree perspective, Lucy has worked in a numbers of sectors from software and the internet to government and financial services. Prior to founding Marcus Venture Consulting, Lucy was co-founder and VP of Marketing and Sales of an enterprise management software company, she was in charge of Marketing and Business Development for EMEA at Infinity Financial Technologies, ran the EMEA operations of a communications consulting company, and worked at Price Waterhouse in the East European Services Division and at the US Treasury Department’s Economic Policy Division.
Selected as a World Economic Forum Global Leader for Tomorrow, Lucy is also a fellow of the Aspen Institute Henry Crown Fellowship Program and a fellow of the British-American Project, and was selected to take part in the BMW Foundation Herbert Quandt Transatlantic Forums, and the Council of the United States and Italy’s Young Leaders Forum. Lucy was featured as “Director of the Month” in Director Magazine for December 2009. She has been listed as a “face to watch” in Management Today Magazine’s list of Britain’s 50 Most Powerful Women and in Business Age Magazine’s “10 Women Changing the Direction of British Business”. Lucy also served on the jury to select The Wall Street Journal Europe’s Most Successful Businesswomen in Europe, and on the “Digital Democracy” steering group of the John Smith Memorial Trust.
A regular speaker on global economic trends and best practices for investment, private equity, venture capital, entrepreneurship, technology, corporate governance, and women in business, Lucy is frequently quoted in the press, including the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, the International Herald Tribune, Newsweek, Reuters, Investment Dealers’ Digest, Les Echos, the Guardian, Globes, Financial News, Venture Capital Journal, Infoconomy, and Red Herring. She has been profiled in the Financial Times, Tornado-Insider Magazine, and Lynne Franks’ Seedfusion. Lucy has appeared on CNBC, Sky Business Report, and BBC World Service; her articles have been published in Management Today Magazine, Tornado-Insider Magazine, netimperative, and Business 2.0. She was also profiled in the book “Powerful Women: Dancing on the Glass Ceiling” (Wiley 2001), and contributed to “Women in the New Economy: A Regional Perspective” (The Smith Institute 2001).
A dual American and British citizen, Lucy holds a B.A. from Wellesley College (Wellesley, Massachusetts) and an M.Phil. from the University of Cambridge (Cambridge, England).