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Introducing the new Managing Director of Audeliss

Chris and Suki_ rsz

As all of you know, I have made it my life’s mission to further the diversity agenda in business. Whether this is through Audeliss, OUTstanding or the new BAME initiative I have co-founded, UPstanding (audeliss.com/UPstanding100), making the world a bit more inclusive is my goal.

But changing the world is a very difficult task and I can’t do it alone. With that in mind, I’d love to introduce you to the newest member of the Audeliss Team; the new Managing Director of Audeliss- Chris Bernard.

Chris is one of UK’s predominant interim management and executive search professionals. She will be lending her 20+ years experience in these fields to leading across all of Audeliss’ practice areas, as well as managing and strategically directing the organisation. She is a specialist in offering intelligent solutions for her long-term clients in executive search, interim management and consulting services. This loyalty is due to her ability to constantly produce creative recruitment solutions and candidates who are ready to capitalise on the opportunities she presents.

Prior to joining Audeliss, Chris was a senior partner and board director at a City-based boutique executive search and interim management provider and before that was Managing Director of the Interim Management business of a multinational HR consulting group.

I’m sure you will all join me in wishing Chris the warmest welcome to Audeliss and you will be meeting her in due course. If you’d like to introduce yourself or arrange a meeting, you can reach her on: chris@audeliss.com

Boardroom diversity risks slipping into reverse if spotlight dims

boardroom-diversity (1)

The diversity of Britain’s boardrooms risks going into reverse gear over the next 18 months, as the terms of current female Non Executive Directors (NEDs) expire, according to new analysis Audeliss is releasing today on the eve of the final Lord Davies report, which is due out on Thursday.

The latest research shows that the number of female NEDs in the FTSE 100 currently stands at 31.3% of the total. But our analysis shows that female NEDs only average 5.5 years tenure, which means that we are fast approaching a period when many of the current leaders will stand down.

This means that the number of female NEDs will fall to 25.6% by April 2017 if current NEDs follow existing trends and are not renewed in post or stand down due to expiry of their terms. In a worst case scenario this could fall as low as 17%. A similar picture is found when analysing the wider group of 350 FTSE indexed companies.

The situation is compounded by the slim pipeline of female executive talent emerging to replace the current generation of boardroom leaders. The Audeliss analysis reveals that the number of female executive leaders is worryingly low. In the FTSE 100, it stands at 9%. For the FTSE 250, the percentage is 5% and in the FTSE 350 it is 7%.

Our CEO, Suki Sandhu, said, “The data suggests that today’s female NEDs only average 5.5 years tenure, which means that we are fast approaching a period when many of the current leaders will stand down. The question now is ‘who will replace them?’. The female executive pipeline of talent is simply too slim to sustain the progress of the last five years.”

Huge strides have been made to improve boardroom diversity in the past few years. This is a result of government pressure, corporate action, pressure group activity and efforts from executive search firms in sourcing diverse talented candidates. Research has also proven that companies perform better when they have at least one female executive on the board.

But there is no room for complacency, as Sandhu explains, “As the Government spotlight from Lord Davies dims, there is a very real danger that companies could go into reverse gear in terms of their boardroom diversity. Ongoing pressure is needed to sustain and improve on today’s position. “We need companies to focus on nurturing the next generation of female talent with executive leadership programmes and by allowing more flexible working arrangements and other family-friendly policies.”

Helena Morrissey CBE, Founder, 30% Club commented, “I welcome this insightful research by Audeliss – it’s so important that the improvement in women on boards seen over the past five years is sustained, and this new data is a timely reminder of the need to  keep up the momentum and source more talented women who can serve on boards.”

If you’d like to learn more about our analysis, get in touch via info@audeliss.com


There’s still a long way to go!

McKinsey panel

Wow! If we didn’t already believe in the power and importance of exceptional professionals and diversity and inclusion, we would now.

The dais at the offices of our event partner McKinsey, echoed a unanimous and strong message, with all of our panel in agreement that the diversity agenda has undeniably gathered speed in more recent years but we still have a long way to go.

Denise Collis, former Chief People Officer of Bupa, hit the nail on the head when she said, “There seems to be a check-list of batches of different diverse groups. We need to stop bandying certain phrases around and actually get under the skin of what they mean and how we can promote a working environment where true diversity is encouraged and welcomed.”

Mervyn Walker, former Group Director- HR and Corporate Affairs at Anglo American, also drew attention to the role of board members, commenting, ““What we need to change is the perception that an accountant, for example, will be more valuable on a Board than an HR professional who understands people issues.”

The recent call for diversity in the workplace means that HR leaders are invaluable to success; they need to be champions of diversity if we are to move forward and the presence of HR Directors on Boards as non-executives is thus essential.

An insightful event with McKinsey


We are so excited to be putting on an event in partnership with McKinsey in their offices which was discussing HR leaders and their journey to the boardroom. We have a fantastic panel lined up which was moderated by the BBC’s Jane Hill. Our esteemed panel included:

Anne Minto, OBE
Served as Group Director of Human Resources at Centrica Plc. She is now Non-Executive Director at Shire plc., an Independent & Non Executive Director of Tate & Lyle plc. and a Non Executive Director of Exlservice Holdings, Inc.

Mervyn Walker
Mervyn Walker is a Non-executive Director on the board of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, Non-executive Director on the board of De Beers, Chairman of the board for Vergelegen, Chairman of Pension Trustees for AMEC plc. and Chairman of Pension Trustees for British Airways. Formerly, Mervyn was Group Director of Human Resources & Corporate Affairs, for Anglo American.

James Smith
In addition to his role as Chair of the Carbon Trust, James is chair of the Conservatoire of Dance and Drama and Chair of the advisory board of the Grantham Institute at Imperial College and LSE. He is a Trustee of the Science Museum. James retired from Shell UK in April 2011 after 7 years as Chairman.

Denise Collis
Denise is Chair of the RemCo at the British Heart Foundation and Deputy Chair on the International Advisory Board to Leeds University Business School, and is also on the Advisory Board to Exeter University Business School. Formerly, she was Chief People Officer of Bupa.


We are very excited to have such esteemed speakers at the event and are looking forward to hearing their perspectives.

Introducing Jane…

I am delighted to announce that Jane Roskilly has joined Audeliss as Head of Research for our Board Practice. Her and I have been speaking about this move for quite some time so I’m incredibly excited to finally have her in the Audeliss family. Her values and commitment to making a genuine difference greatly resonated with me. She has an envious track record of executing FTSE100 and FTSE250 non-executive director appointments. She will help continue our drive to make the boardroom more diverse and I wish her all the best in her new role with us.

This is the EXCITING news I’ve been wanting to share for weeks!!

This is the EXCITING news I’ve been wanting to share for weeks!!

As of this week, Dr Neil Bentley, former Deputy Director-General of the CBI, is taking over as CEO of OUTstanding.

I will be the Founder & Chair and will still very much be involved with OUTstanding, but with less of a day-to-day role. Joseph Galliano will remain Deputy CEO.

Neil brings a wealth of experience from working with business leaders across the economy over twelve years at CBI, on issues ranging from energy and climate change and public service reform to employment and skills policy. Over the past three years, Neil has been a trustee and Deputy Chair of Stonewall and has recently been advising the Science Council on its strategy for diversity and inclusion. His PhD is in race equality in the workplace.

Neil’s main focus will be to create a step change in the conversation about LGBT diversity in business and amplify the voices of OUTstanding’s corporate and individual members about the benefits of authentic and diverse leadership.

His role also extends to heading up the new Board Practice for Audeliss where I will continue as Founder & CEO.

Neil is the dream addition to the OUTstanding and Audeliss teams – I designed the dual-role specifically with his skill set and experience in mind. OUTstanding will provide Neil with the platform to champion LGBT diversity and inclusion in business leadership and Audeliss will provide the vehicle for him to proactively appoint diverse candidates into the boardroom for Non-Executive Director and Trustee roles. Neil shares our values and has a strong belief in our mission. It is time for a disruptive and game-changing proposition to radically improve diversity in the highest echelons of the business world and this dual-role for Neil allows us to do this. I am incredibly excited for his arrival. Together, we are going to make a real impact on the boardroom.

Here’s to another OUTstanding year for us all!

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