Board Advisory Paternship

‘Chairing in Practice’  is a forum offering professional development for those embarking on, or considering taking chairing roles.  The group operates in two ways: the first is as a structured series of conversations over the course of the year enabling Participants to engage with a broad span of seasoned practitioners, where the conversation centres on  the tools and techniques of chairing. The second  form the group takes is as an active community of those interested in continually raising the bar of their own and their boards’ performance, sharing their observations and learning from the experience of others.

To enquire further about participating in the 2019 programme, please contact us today.


* Charles Berry
Chairman, Weir Group Plc, Centrica Plc (after February 2019)
Charles Berry Charles Berry is Chairman of The Weir Group Plc (international engineering – serving mining, oil & gas and power markets) and Chairman (from February 2019) of Centrica Plc (international energy supply and services Company). He is also a member of the Steering Group of the Hampton Alexander review, which aims to improve the representation of women on FTSE 350 Boards and at executive levels. Prior to building a non-executive portfolio from 2005, Charles was an Executive Director of Scottish Power Plc, a Director of Norwest Holst (a subsidiary of Compagnie Générale des Eaux) and held management positions within subsidiaries of Pilkington Plc. He is a former Chairman of Senior Plc (international engineering – serving aerospace and land vehicle markets), Drax Group Plc (UK power generation), Eaga Plc (green support services) and Thus Group Plc (telecoms and internet) and a former Non-Executive Director of two investment trusts, Impax Environmental Markets Plc and Securities Trust of Scotland Plc. He was also previously Chairman of the Brick by Brick Capital Appeal, which raised £21m for the Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice in Glasgow. Charles holds a BSc (First Class Hons) in Engineering from the University of Glasgow and an MSc in Management from MIT. In July 2015, Charles received an Honorary Doctorate in Engineering from the University of Glasgow, and was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Engineering from Glasgow Caledonian University in November 2016.
* Dame Alison Carnwath
NED, BP Plc, Zurich Insurance Grp SA, BASF SE., Paccar Inc.
Dame Alison CarnwathDame Alison Carnwath practiced as a chartered accountant before going on to hold a number of senior financial advisory roles with Schroder Wagg & Co and the Phoenix Partnership. She has worked as a senior advisor at Evercore Partners (previously Lexicon) since 2005 and has been involved with Livingbridge LLP as chairman of the investment committee and chairman of the strategic advisory board. She is also a non-executive director of PACCAR Inc and Broadwell Capital Limited, and a non-executive director and chairman of the audit committee of both Zurich Insurance Company Ltd and BASF SE. Previous roles include chairmanship of Land Securities Group Plc as well as non-executive directorships of Barclays Plc and Man Group Plc. Dame Alison has also served on the boards of Friends Provident Plc, Welsh Water, Gallaher Group, Vitec Group Plc and MFGlobal Inc. Dame Alison is a chartered accountant, holds a graduate degree, has two honorary degrees and in 2014 was appointed to the order of Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (DBE).
* David Tyler
Chairman, J.Sainsbury Plc, Hammerson Plc, Domestic and General Holdings, The Hampstead Theatre
David Tyler David was appointed as Chairman of the Board of J. Sainsbury Plc in 2009, of Hammerson Plc in 2013 and of Domestic & General Group Plc in 2015. Since 2012, he has also been Chairman of The Hampstead Theatre. He is a Founding Member of the Steering Group of The Chairmen’s Research Group. In the past, David has been Chairman of both 3i Quoted Private Equity Plc and Logica Plc, and a Non-Executive Director at Burberry Plc, Experian Plc and Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc. David’s executive career from 1974 to 2006 was spent in financial and general management in Unilever, NatWest, Christie’s and GUS. He has an MA in Economics from Cambridge University, and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and a Member of the Association of Corporate Treasurers.
* Robert S Webb QC
Chairman, Darktrace Ltd., Luminance Ltd., Director, Holdingham Group Ltd.
Robert WebbRobert is currently Chairman of Darktrace Limited, Chairman of Luminance and a Director of Holdingham Group Ltd. (formerly Hakluyt). He is a Door Tenant of Brick Court Chambers. Until 1998, Robert was a practicing Barrister, a Recorder and Head of Chambers at 5 Bell Yard, London. His field of practice was commercial law, aviation law and mass disaster litigation. From 1998 to 2009 he was General Counsel of British Airways. He is also a past Chairman of BBC Worldwide and of Autonomy Plc, a former Senior Independent Director of the London Stock Exchange and a former Director of Argent Ltd. and of Air Mauritius. He was General Counsel of Rolls-Royce Plc (2012-16). He is a Bencher of the Inner Temple and Trustee of Comic Relief and a former Fellow of UNICEF. Married, with two adult sons, Robert lives in London and Scotland.
* Orna NiChionna
SID, Royal Mail and Saga Plc, Ned Burberry Plc, Chair of Client Services Eden McCullum, Deputy Chair, National Trust
Orna NiChionna Orna is the Senior Independent Director at Royal Mail Plc and at Saga Plc and is Chair of the Remuneration Committee at Royal Mail and at Burberry Plc. She is Chair of Client Service at consulting firm Eden McCallum. She is Deputy Chair of the National Trust and is a Trustee of Sir John Soane’s Museum. She holds a B.E. (Electronic Engineering) from University College Dublin, an M.Eng.Sc. (Microelectronics) from University College Cork and an MBA from Harvard Business School. She joined McKinsey and company in 1983 and became the first female partner in its UK office in 1990. The key focus of her client service was retailing/consumer businesses and she co-led McKinsey’s European Retail Practice for many years until she left McKinsey in 2001.


This is a programme about the very practical aspects of chairing. It has been devised for those taking on new positions of board leadership.

The concept is that a faculty of experienced Chairs, SIDs and Committee Chairs share their experience with a group of participating board members who have just, or are likely to take on a first board leadership role in the near future. The sessions take place over working breakfasts and, less often, dinners.

The aim is to cross-pollinate learning across sectors and help flatten the learning curve involved in one’s first Chairing, SID or Committee Chair role.

Historically, one could only learn from observing the outcomes brought about by the styles and techniques of the Chairs on whose boards one sat. This is generally a low number. The programme is structured so that, diaries permitting, in a small group, one can engage with between 20-35 different Chairs in discussing the practicalities of the role. Good Chairmen and women evolve their own system and continue to learn from others.

The programme schedule is detailed overleaf. From that you will see that there is an outline ‘syllabus’, in which the role is analysed and discussed through the lens of a Chair’s key relationships. Sessions are led by either 2 Chairs or 1 Chair plus a specialist contributor who lead off with their experience before the majority of the session is spent in a single conversation. Effort is made to combine speakers with differing backgrounds and approaches. We keep the group small, c10 in the room in any session, and keep our focus on the very practical tools and techniques of chairing.

The programme operates with the guidance of an Advisory Group made up of Dame Alison Carnwath, Charles Berry, Orna NiChionna, David Tyler and Robert Webb QC. The Faculty of Contributors appears later in this Guide.

The Key Committees:
Chairing Audit & Risk and the Remuneration Committee

In addition to the sessions on chairing a main board, five sessions each focus on the issues to be managed by the Chairs of the Audit and Risk, and the Remuneration Committee. One can participate only in these or join them in addition to participating in the overall programme. They follow a similar format, being held over breakfast with a sitting Committee Chair discussing how they have learned to best achieve the Committee’s purposes.

To participate:

Overall the group is run on an expenses-only basis with the faculty contributing their time without fee. There is a fee payable on joining which covers administration and catering. In subsequent years, many participants continue to join sessions for which a per session fee is payable. Now in its 5th year, it is clear that a powerful and engaged group of board leaders is evolving and becoming an active resource to each other.

Contributing Chairs and Speakers

Liz Airey
Jupiter Fund Management Plc

John Allan CBE
Tesco Plc, Barratt Developments Plc, President, CBI

Adele Anderson
easyJet Plc, Intu Properties Plc, Spire Healthcare Plc

Vindi Banga
CD+R, Marie Curie, SID GSK Plc

John Barton
easyJet, Luceco, Mathieson & Co, SSP Group

Celia Baxter
RemCo Chair, Senior Plc, Bekaert SA, NHI Magnasita NV

Sir Brian Bender
London Metal Exchange, UK Water

Charles Berry
Centrica Plc, Weir Group Plc

Sir Win Bischoff
FRC, JP Morgan Securities, McGraw Hill Inc

Charlotte Boyle
Chair, RemCo, Capital&Counties Plc

Ruth Cairnie
Rolls Royce Holdings, Associated British Foods Plc,
Contourglobal Plc

Stuart Chambers
Anglo-American Plc, Travis Perkins Plc

John Coghlan
Chair, Audit+Risk, Severn Trent, Clarion Housing

Philip Cox CBE
Drax Plc, Kier Plc

Jonathan Dawson
River and Mercantile Plc, SID, National Grid Plc

Andrew Duff
Severn Trent Plc, Elementis Plc

Alan Ferguson
SID & Chair Audit, Johnson Matthey Plc, Croda Int’l Plc, Marshall Motors Holding plc, NED AngloGoldAshanti

John Fingleton
Fingleton, Risk Audit & Compliance, Coles

Anthony Fitzsimmons


Sir Peter Gershon, CBE FREng Hon CIPS
National Grid Plc

Richard Gillingwater CBE
Janus Henderson Group Plc, SSE Plc

Noel Harwerth
Chair, GE Capital UK Ltd., Export Credit Guarantee; SID, Sirius Minerals Plc and Charter Court Plc

Conor Kehoe
Snr Partner, McKinsey & Co.

Patrick Kennedy
Chairman, Bank of Ireland Group Plc, CarTrawler

Matthew Lester
Chair, Audit Capita Plc, Man Group Plc

Andy Martin
Hays Plc, The John Lewis Partnership, easyJet Plc, Capita Plc

Orna NiChionna
SID, Royal Mail Plc; SID + Chair RemCo, Saga Plc;
Chair RemCo, Burberry Plc

Andrew Ninian
Corporate Governance and Engagement Director,
The Investment Association

Oliver Pawle
Chair, Board Services, Korn Ferry

Tim Score
Chair, British Land Plc, Chair Audit, Audit, Pearson Plc

Robert Sharrock
YSC Ltd.

Robert Swannell CBE

Michael Tory
Managing Partner, Ondra

David Tyler
Chairman, Sainsbury Plc, Hammerson Plc, Domestic & General, Hampstead Theatre

Tony Watson CBE
SID, Witan Investment Trust Plc

Robert S Webb Q.C.
Darktrace, Luminance Ltd.

Harlan Zimmerman
Cevian Capital Senior Partner

Calendar 2019

Spring Dates

26th March Chair & SID, Breakfast Phil Cox, Drax Plc; Tony Watson, formerly SID, Hammerson;
John Allan, Tesco, Barratt Developments Plc, CBI
27th March Chairing Audit & Risk, Breakfast Adele Andersen, Chair Audit Intu Properties, Spire Healthcare, formerly also easyJet
1st April Chair & CEO, Dinner Sir Win Bischoff, JPMorgan Europe, FRC;
Oliver Pawle, Chair, Board Services, Korn Ferry
10th April Chairing Audit & Risk, Breakfast Alan Ferguson, Chair Audit Croda, Johnson Matthey, AngloAshanti Gold, Marshall Motors
25th April Shareholder Relationships, Breakfast at Cevian’s office, Cavendish Sq. Andrew Ninian, Investment Association;
Harlan Zimmerman
, Partner, Cevian Capital
30th April Chairing in PE, Dinner Patrick Kennedy, Chair, Bank of Ireland Plc and CarTrawler;
Conor Kehoe, Snr Partner, McKinsey & Co
2nd May Chair & RemCo, Breakfast Orna NiChionna, Royal Mail, Burberry, Saga
7th May The role of the Board in the development of strategy and decision-making, Dinner at The Stafford, London Sir Peter Gershon, National Grid Plc,
Conor Kehoe, McKinsey & Co
8th May Chairing Audit & Risk, Breakfast John Coghlan, Chair Audit, Severn Trent, Clarion
9th May CEO Succession, Breakfast Robert Swannell, UKGI; Robert Sharrock, YSC Ltd
14th May Chairing a regulated subsidiary, Breakfast Sir Brian Bender, LME, Water UK;
Noel Harwerth
, GE Capital UK
15th May Chair Audit & Risk, Breakfast Matthew Lester, Chair Audit & Risk, Capita Plc; NED, Barclays, Man Group Plc
16th May Participants’ Dinner  

Autumn Date         **denotes new dates

1st October Relationships with Govt & Regulators, Breakfast Robert Swannell, UKGI; Richard Gillingwater, Janus Henderson, SSE; John Fingleton, former CEO, OFT
2nd October Chairing RemCo, Breakfast Charlotte Boyle, Chair RemCo Capital & Counties,
Coca-Cola HBC
2nd October The Relationship of the Chair and the SID, Dinner ** Andrew Duff, Severn Trent and Elementis; Stuart Chambers, Anglo-American and Travis Perkins
3rd October The strange underperformance of the FTSE 100, Breakfast ** Research by Ondra Partners.
Michael Tory, Managing Partner, Ondra
3rd October Chairing in a Crisis, Dinner Sir Win Bischoff, JPMorgan Europe, FRC
8th October Crises - prevention and management, Dinner Robert Webb, Former Chair, Autonomy and GC, BA and Rolls Royce Plc; Anthony Fitzsimmons, Reputability Ltd
10th October Chairing in PE, Dinner Vindi Banga, Operating Partner, CD&R / Tbc
14th October The relationship of the Chair and CEO, Breakfast ** David Tyler, Hammerson + Domestic and General;
John Barton, easyJet and Luceco, formerly Chair, Next
16th October Chairing RemCo, Breakfast Celia Baxter, Chair RemCo, Senior, Bekaert SA,
RHI Magnestia NV
16th October Board Development – Succession, Group Dynamics,
Board Review, Dinner **
Charles Berry, Centrica and Weir Grp
23rd October Chairing RemCo, Breakfast Jonathan Dawson, Chair River&Mercantile,
Chair RemCo National Grid.; Orna NiChionna, Chair RemCo, Royal Mail, Burberry, Saga
31st October Chairing RemCo, Breakfast Ruth Cairnie, Chair Babcock International,
Chair RemCo Rolls Royce, ABF
7th November Chairing Audit & Risk, Breakfast ** Andy Martin, Chair Hays Group, Chair Audit, Intertek Plc, JLP Ltd, NED, EasyJet; Tim Score, Chair British Land and Chair Audit, Pearson
12th November Cognitive biases: a perspective for boards, Dinner ** Liz Airey, Jupiter Fund Management plc; Antony Fitzsimmons, Reputability + Prof Peter Ayton


Breakfasts 07.45 - 09.15   Clarke’s, 124, Kensington Church Street, W8 4BH
Chairing the Committees 16.00 - 17.45    8-10 Hill Street, London, W1J 5NG
Dinners 18.30 - 21.15   Clarke’s, 124, Kensington Church Street, W8 4BH
Spring and Autumn Drinks 18:00 - 20:30 Brown’s Hotel, Albemarle Street, W1S 4BP

To discuss any aspect of the series, please contact Kate Donaghy on or Jo Dixon on


The Sessions

A balance of breakfasts and dinners:


With an 07.45 start, keeping the conversation focused, we conclude at 09.15 in order to minimise cutting into the working day.  At each breakfast, 2 Chairmen with differing disciplinary and sector backgrounds join 6 participants.  They lead with their experience of the given topic – sharing their direct experience and both the principles underpinning what they do as well as the lessons that they have drawn and the tactics that they have developed over time.  After about 30 minutes, the conversation becomes an open discussion.  At each session we keep the number around the table to no more than 9 people.


The format differs in that a single Chairman addresses a topic in the manner of a case study with 8-10 participants.

Chairing the Committees

In 2017 we will be running two new and additional ‘mini-series’ in tandem with the core sessions. These will address the issues faced on taking up Chairing the Committees - Audit and/or Risk, and the Remuneration Committee.  These are currently being scheduled and can be seen as operating independent of the core series.

To talk to us about joining the series, call Kate Donaghy or Jo Dixon on 020 7129 1133 or email
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