Corporate governance message getting through – IoD award winner

Britain’s business leaders are getting the message on corporate governance, according to an award winning West Midlands executive.

And Craig Errington, chief executive of Birmingham-based Wesleyan Assurance Society, said the response was producing higher quality boards.

His comments came as the last call went out for nominations for the 2013 Director of the Year Awards.

Mr Errington said in the last few years an increased focus had fallen on corporate governance, in part sparked by the enforcement activities of regulators and in part by negative publicity towards the culture and behaviour of certain companies and organisations.

“That has helped businesses take a long hard look at themselves and take action to make sure their corporate governance is as robust as it can be,” he noted.

“It has built an understanding in the boardroom of the importance of the issue.

“To rise to this sort of challenge requires a higher standard of individual.”

He went on: “The pressure on directors to set the cultural tone from the top and ensure that the highest standards of governance are adopted has never been greater.

“But this should not conflict with their need to deliver financial objectives; in fact it paves the way for them to do so in a more sustainable manner. It creates an even stronger environment in which companies are able to deliver greater long term value to stakeholders.

“Those directors who fail to recognise this are likely to get left behind and those that aspire to be directors should build their understanding of what a modern board will expect. Most of my executive directors either have or are in the process of achieving Chartered Director status via the IOD’s Director Programme.”

Mr Errington said the UK economy and the world economies generally still had many financial problems to resolve – the business environment was likely to remain volatile for some time to come.

“That being said, many individual organisations are thriving in the Midlands – Jaguar Land Rover and the Wesleyan being just two good examples of this. With positive equity markets so far this year and very early signs of firming property prices, we may be seeing a few green shoots at last. But as we have seen before, it would only take another minor crisis of some sort and all of this could fade away. Let’s hope not this time!

“I feel reasonably confident that the Midlands business community will make good progress over the next two years.”

The IoD West Midlands Director of the Year Awards 2013 are a champagne breakfast event, taking place on Tuesday, May 14, 7.30 to 10.00, in the 1882 Suite, Edgbaston Stadium, Warwickshire County Cricket Club. Tickets are £35 plus VAT (£42). Tables of 10 are available at £315 plus VAT (£378).

Arti Halai, local broadcaster and director of Fleet Consulting, will be the compere.

Entry to the competition is free; valuable sponsorship opportunities are also available.

Nominations are now being accepted, and an application form can be downloaded from

They cover the following categories: Large Company; SME; Young Director (under 42); Family Business; Environmental/CSR; and Not for profit/public sector.

An overall West Midlands winner will be selected once the categories are decided.

The awards are open to all directors or those of similar status. This includes LLPs, partners, appropriate sole traders and public sector employees. You do not need to be an IoD member to enter.

In both 2011 and 2012 West Midlands winners going on to the national awards in London have walked away with major accolades.

Two years ago Mr Errington was named overall Director of the Year, also taking the Director of the Year (Large Company) category.

He said the award had been a source of pride for staff and customers alike.

“Whilst I was the one fortunate enough to collect the award, I did so knowing it belonged to everyone in our organisation. The considerable success achieved was the result of an enormous amount of effort from all staff as they set about delivering our vision and strategic objectives.

“To have their efforts recognised by such a prestigious body as the IoD created a real sense of achievement and spurred everyone on to deliver record breaking results once again in 2012.”

Last year Dean Walton, sustainability director of West Midlands construction group, Alumet, was victorious in the Environmental/Corporate Responsibility honours on the national stage after previously taking the regional award. West Midlands Director of the Year Peter Maskell, chief executive of the Birmingham-based BHSF healthcare, was highly commended in the Director of the Year (Small and Medium-sized Company) section as was Richard Close, of Briggs Equipment UK, Large Company. And Samantha Porter, marketing director with Birmingham’s Wesleyan Assurance Society, was highly commended in Young Director of the Year.