14 March 2018

Pick your non-exec role carefully

Nick Vetch, Co-founder and Executive Chairman of Big Yellow Group plc shared his insights of non-executive roles with BCKR.


In our previous article we spoke about how BCKR encourages lawyers and their firms to have greater involvement in the outside world, by helping lawyers of all ages to take boardroom roles and in due course, to create a fulfilling life after law, through a portfolio career or otherwise.

BCKR runs a series of events at JM Finn’s office across three terms during the year, where lawyers, NEDs, trustees and headhunters offer their personal experience of life within the boardroom.

Nick is on the board of several companies and is a trustee at Bedales School and also of The Fund for Global Human Rights.  He has NEDs and is a NED.  His experience of being a NED for a commercial organisation versus a non-commercial is that there is some commonality – dependent on the size and sophistication of the organisation.  Large organisations differ from smaller ones.  In general, the NGO sector is some way behind on a corporate governance and organisational front.

Nick warned that a major trap around becoming a NED is that you either end up running the organisation or having no role at all. If you’re running it you have misjudged the organisation which is possibly blighted with poor management and no vision.

If you have no role then you’ve become a non-exec of an organisation where you have no influence; either because they are so big that nobody has any influence and you attend endless board meetings and talk of nothing but corporate governance which can be frustrating and boring.

So, Nick advises that you pick carefully and don’t fall into the trap of becoming too involved or unable to make a difference.  There is a sweet spot in between where organisations are looking for involvement from outsiders.

For more of Nick’s insights please click here.

BCKR is an organisation that encourages lawyers and their firms to have greater involvement in the outside world, by helping lawyers of all ages to take boardroom roles and in due course, to create a fulfilling life after law, through a portfolio career or otherwise.

BCKR runs a series of events at JM Finn’s office across three terms during the year, where lawyers, NEDs, trustees and headhunters offer their personal experience of life within the boardroom.  For details of the events programme and past speakers, click here.

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