What Makes a Good Chairman?

This morning I am joining a panel at KPMG to discuss:


what makes a good Chairman of a company?


what are the biggest challenges?


On my way to the event my main thoughts are:


Ensuring that the right CEO is selected and successors are developed. (Don’t forget that UK listed companies change CEO inside four years.)


Ensuring that the organisation faces outwards and senses and shapes change. As we contemplate the decline of high street retail I think of the outward vision of then John Lewis Chairman Stuart Hampson under whose leadership JLP invested serious money in buying an internet distribution business.


And finally for listed companies we need chairs who will ensure the board has defined its mandate. Boards need to be clear who put them there, what success looks like, what they stand for and what their time horizon is. If they do that they are emboldened in the face of short term opportunitist takeover bids and activist shareholders who don’t care about longer term wealth creation