Leadership advisory firm Marlin Hawk this week hosted a seminar for CEOs, with guest speaker Lord Allen of Kensington sharing his views on the modern role of a non-executive chairman. Delegates represented several industry sectors including retail, FMCG, media and telecoms.
In his address, titled ‘The Chair - CEO mentor or tormentor’, Lord Allen discussed how a non-executive chairman can make a real difference in today’s corporate environment. The emphasis was on leveraging knowledge and experience to ‘conduct the orchestra’, driving a healthy debate and co-creating ideas in a mutually respectful, consensual team.
Lord Allen said: “As Chair my job is to offer cheer and challenge in equal measure. I coach and motivate CEOs, as well as providing an objective counterview. I do occasionally have to keep them focused when it comes to matters of governance, but the underlying intention is to bring clarity of purpose and wise counsel.”
Lord Allen’s distinguished career included CEO and executive chairmanship positions at Granada, Compass, EMI Music and ITV. He has held non-executive directorships at Virgin Media and Tesco. He currently serves as chairman on a number of boards, including Global Radio Group, ISS AS, 2 Sisters Food Group and is advisory chair of investment bank Moelis.
Julian Wolfinden, Associate Partner at Marlin Hawk, said: “As well as prompting lively debate, Lord Allen shed light on how a chairman can get the best out of the CEO. The CEO does not need to have all the answers. Without treading on toes, the chairman can help lay down stepping stones and, through mentoring and trust, guide CEOs on their journey.”