Happy New Year and welcome to the first Criticaleye Community Update for 2009. As we begin what will be a challenging year, executives and non-executives will be looking at ways of adjusting and re-shaping their businesses to ensure they are in the best place possible to weather the storm and perhaps even capitalise on our current downturn.
NEDs will clearly play a key role for organisations in 2009, not least in bringing their experience of past recessions to the table when it comes to planning and strategy for the next 12 months.
So what are the key concerns for Non-Executives as we enter a difficult market which, as the pundits are saying, could last into 2010? Rob Wirszycz
, who acts as a non-executive for a range of companies, is focusing on a number of issues: "Re-planning the business in the context of the new landscape will be a key concern for NEDs over the next few weeks. From a personal point of view, I will be making sure that all of the companies which I serve as a non-executive are going concerns. I will also be taking a close look at the executive teams and their resilience in the current climate. In a difficult economy, you need CEOs who are pragmatic and detail-focused, rather than the romantic notions of the detached visionary leader." Bob Mann,
NED for a number of small, venture-backed technology companies, is looking to ensure that the organisations' he advises maintain their value proposition: "As we continue in a difficult market, my priority will be making sure our investors
believe in the continuing value of
the company and have confidence in their investment and the management team.
On an operational level, I will be making sure the executive team is operating as efficiently as possible and that cash management is at the forefront of the CEO's mind at all times. Cutting out any spending that does not deliver maximum ROI is critical at this time." Events
As always, you will find a range of Criticaleye Events
on our website focusing on the issues raised in this newsletter. On 17 February, for example, we are holding one of our regular Inspiring Non-Executive Directors
Breakfasts, giving NEDs the opportunity to share and learn from their collective experience. In addition to this, Rob Wirszycz, quoted above, will be speaking at one of our Aspiring Non-Executive Directors
Dinners on 22 January, a series of events for non-executives of the future where attendees have the opportunity to hear from a seasoned executive on what it takes to be a successful NED. Click on either of the events above to read the full description.Insights
In terms of the research and articles on the role of NEDs in 2009, please see What Makes An Exceptional Non-Execuitve Director
which focuses on the changing role of NEDs in the context of a riskier environment where they are held more accountable than ever. And Risk Management: What Do The Independent Directors Do?
which looks at the relationship between executives and non-executives when identifying and managing risk, a topic which is especially important in the current climate. Matthew Blagg, CEO, Criticaleye