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Governance Stories

Welcome to ‘Governance Stories’. In this section you can read about governance in action. Many of these stories highlight and reflect on common governance issues, and provide excellent learning points.

Peter Dunt is Chairman of The Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and the governing body of Queen Anne’s School, Caversham. From 2002-2007 Peter was Chief Executive of Defence Estates,the MOD’s property arm, managing an £18bn property portfolio. He retired from the Royal Navy in 2007 and subsequently joined a number of public and private sector boards.

From BBC News NI, 2 May 2013: The chief executive of the troubled Northern Health and Social Care Trust is to step aside from his post. Sean Donaghy will take up a new post with the Health and Social Care Board.

Adapted from an article authored by William George, a professor of management practice at Harvard Business School, a former CEO of Medtronic and a veteran of ten corporate boards (February 2013)

Sir Adrian Cadbury is a founding father of corporate governance. After the collapse of Polly Peck and Coloroll, Cadbury, a scion of the chocolate dynasty, was drafted in to sort out corporate governance. That was in 1991. Soon
after, the Bank of Credit and Commerce International collapsed and Robert Maxwell’s pillaging of his empire emerged to add to the Cadbury committee’s workload.

A charity aimed at helping poor and injured soldiers that boasted Liam Fox, the former UK defence secretary, among its patrons has been damaged by allegations of financial mismanagement.

Sir Brian Souter hopes it’s second time lucky as he plots route to hand over the chief’s reins at Stagecoach and although part-time as Executive Chair, he says will “devote whatever time is necessary” in his new role. This was first reported in August 2012.

The following discussion is based extracts from a paper sponsored by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. It is a thought piece on corporate governance. It raises the question, “What companies should be responsible for in the light of challenges highlighted since the onset of the global financial crisis?”

Former City minister Lord Myners has quit the board of the troubled Cooperative Group, amid criticism of his plans to reform the business. As reported by BBC News 10 April 2014.

“If current trends continue it will be 212 years before British boards achieve gender parity. Two more centuries of squandered talent and economic and social loss.” So says Lynn Martin, professor of entrepreneurship and director of the Centre for Enterprise at Manchester Metropolitan University School of Business and Law.

The last number of years have been a proving ground for companies and it is important that we learn from the difficult times and use the knowledge gained to make sure that we make the most of the recovery as it strengthens.

Leading View from Robert Swannell, Chairman of Marks & Spencer and Chairman of the Governing Body of Rugby School. He was formerly Chairman of HMV, Vice-Chairman of Citigroup Europe, and SID of British Land and 3i.

Executive summary from the report, Life in the Boardroom 2013: Chairman and Non-Executive Director Survey conducted by Directorbank Group UK.

Glasgow Rangers manager Ally McCoist hopes the appointment of new chief executive Graham Wallace will bring some much-needed stability to the club at boardroom level. Wallace was named as Craig Mather's successor, while David Somers' role as acting chairman was made permanent.

Even big names like Rupert Murdoch are called to account by shareholders. Rupert Murdoch is accused of running News Corporation as a 'personal fiefdom' in a lawsuit brought against directors.

Tesco faces pressure from big shareholders to start “shock and awe” price cuts after Wm Morrison sent tremors through the industry by promising to plough £1bn into discounting.

For two months, a power struggle had raged behind the scenes between Andrew Tinkler, CEO of the Stobart Group and an executive chairman parachuted in by his biggest shareholder to keep an eye on him.

Marks & Spencer has been warned by top investors to rein in its expensive turnaround plan unless it can deliver quick results. Several of the retailer’s 10 biggest shareholders vented disappointment at the lack of tangible progress since Marc Bolland set out his vision for M&S in November 2010.

The chairman of WPP will step down next year as part of a sweeping overhaul of the advertising giant’s boardroom. Phil Lader will tell investors at the company’s annual meeting on Wednesday 12 June 2013 that he plans to quit by Christmas 2014 after chairing the world largest marketing agency since 2001.

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