Steve Williams

Advisor, Spencer Stuart

Steve Williams is a graduate of King’s College, London, Steve joined Slaughter & May, after law school, in 1970 where he qualified and was admitted as a solicitor, and a member of the Law Society, in April 1972. Steve practiced in the tax and corporate departments of that firm for some three years.

In 1975 he joined the legal department of Imperial Chemical Industries Plc. In 1984, he was appointed one of ICI’s two assistant company secretaries, working closely with the Board.

In 1985 he was appointed Joint Secretary and General Counsel of Unilever, holding this office for 25 years. In this role, he was responsible for all legal, intellectual property and secretarial services provided to Unilever in both the Head Offices in London and Rotterdam and worldwide throughout the group. This meant that for the first fifteen years he sat with the Special Committee of the two Chairmen, and thereafter, following extensive changes to the governance of Unilever, with the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee. During his career at Unilever, and in addition to his day job, Steve also took the Chairmanship of the Group Contemporary Art Collection and was Chairman of the project to rebuild and redevelop Unilever House in London.

From 1995 until 2004 he was a Non-Executive Director of Bunzl Plc, serving on the Audit and Remuneration Committees. From 2005 until 2010, he served on the board of Arriva Plc where he was Senior Independent Director. In 2008, he joined the board of Whitbread Plc as a Non-Executive Director. He was Senior Independent Director there until 2014 when he took over the Chairmanship of the Remuneration Committee. He retired from the board after 9 and a half years’ service in the summer of 2017. In 2010, Steve joined the board of Croda International Plc as a Non-Executive Director where he currently chairs the Remuneration Committee. In 2011 he was appointed a Non-Executive Director of Eversheds LLP, the international law firm, retiring in the spring of 2017 at the expiry of his permitted two terms. Also in 2011, he was appointed to the Board of Moorfields NHS Trust where he is currently Deputy Chairman and Senior Independent Director.

Steve is Vice Chairman of the De La Warr Pavilion Charitable Trust (having served as Chairman for six years), a contemporary arts centre in Sussex. He is also a Board Member of The Leverhulme Trust, the second largest research grant funder in the UK. He is also a Senior Advisor to Spencer Stuart in London.

Steve has served as a member of the Companies Committee of the CBI and alternate member of the Take Over panel, and also is a member of the Law Society Company Law Committee. He is a member of the RAC, 2 Brydges Place, the Euston Club and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. His interests include contemporary art and architecture, professional football, pulp fiction and vulgar automobiles.