As we come to the end of 2009, a year that has been both challenging, but also extremely successful for many who have taken advantage of the opportunities that the year presented, I would like to take this opportunity to take stock of the year ahead.

To help Criticaleye Members shape and drive the agenda in 2010, we have put together an extensive events programme for the New Year. Here are the confirmed dates for the first quarter. Please take the time to click on descriptions of the events which are relevant to you and register your interest:

19 January: Monetising Online Content - Most media organisations have spent a great deal of money on producing online content yet the returns from advertising have not yet matched this expenditure. Are there simply too many sites that provide free content?

21 January: Aspiring Non-executive Directors - These events are designed to give aspiring non-executives the opportunity to hear from seasoned non-executives, to gain insight into what it takes to build a portfolio career and what it is like when you get there. At this event, attendees will hear from Janet Gaymer, Commissioner for Public Appointments and Civil Service Commissioner.

27 January: New Business Models - Rapid transformation has characterised our economy and the business environment in recent decades. With this change comes a need for new ways of working; business models that are flexible enough to cope with the increasing speed of change.

28 January: Accelerating Growth Through Divestitures and Carve-outs - Can divestitures be part of a strategy for high performance in the current economic environment? The combination of a drop in confidence, falling asset values and increased competition for buyers would indicate that divestiture is a risky move right now.

3 February: CEO Breakfast - These events are designed for CEOs to gain insight into the leadership issues at the top of their agenda with their direct peer group. The debate will be driven by those at the event, with participants encouraged to put forward the topics that matter most to them.

3 February: Towards a Common European Power Market - Should the UK power market be integrated with that of Europe? This Criticaleye Discussion Group will ask whether the emergence of common energy markets will increase security of supply for individual countries and contribute to more commercially robust environmental protection measures.

4 February: Executive Member Dinner - This dinner, exclusively for Executive Members, is an opportunity for you to meet your peers from across the Criticaleye Community. A diverse range of industries, sectors, backgrounds and interests will be represented, and you will be able to make valuable and varied connections in a relaxed informal environment. This dinner is hosted by Niel Golightly, VP Downstream Communications and Sustainable Development, Shell.

10 February: AIM CEOs Breakfast - These events are designed for CEOs of AIM-listed companies to gain insight into the leadership issues at the top of their agenda with their direct peer group. The debate will be driven by those at the event, with participants encouraged to put forward the topics that matter most to them, and will be chaired by Matthew Blagg, CEO, Criticaleye.

25 February: Inspiring Non-executive Directors - Criticaleye non-executive events aim to keep chairs and NEDs abreast of new thinking and business issues, as well as affording them the chance to interact with peers they might not otherwise meet. Over champagne and canap├ęs, attendees will hear from Helen Alexander, President, CBI.

3 March: CEO Breakfast - see description on 3 February

10 March: Private Equity CEO and NED Breakfast - These events are designed for CEOs and NEDs of private equity-backed companies to gain insight into the leadership issues at the top of their agenda with their direct peer group. The debate will be driven by those at the event, with participants encouraged to put forward the topics that matter most to them, and will be chaired by Matthew Blagg, CEO, Criticaleye.

16 March: CEOs of Listed Companies Breakfast - These events are designed for CEOs and NEDs of listed companies to gain insight into the leadership issues at the top of their agenda with their direct peer group. The debate will be driven by those at the event, with participants encouraged to put forward the topics that matter most to them, and will be chaired by Matthew Blagg, CEO, Criticaleye

18 March: Aspiring Non-executive Directors - These events are designed to give aspiring non-executives the opportunity to hear from seasoned non-executives, to gain insight into what it takes to build a portfolio career and what it is like when you get there. At this event, attendees will hear from Bernard Cragg, Associate, Criticaleye.

24 March: Public Sector CEO and NED Breakfast - These exclusive, invitation-only events are designed for CEOs of Public Sector Organisations to gain insight into the leadership issues at the top of their agenda with their direct peer group. The debate will be driven by those at the event, with participants encouraged to put forward the topics that matter most to them, and will be chaired by Charlie Wagstaff, Managing Director, Criticaleye.

As you can see from the list above, we are working hard this year to cover a range of topics. By scheduling more Member-hosted events in 2010, and being more flexible in terms of format, Members will get more exposure in the Community and freedom on the discussion points the events include.

Have a lovely break and I look forward to seeing you in the New Year.

Matthew