Seamus Gillen FCIS – Chairperson
Seamus started his career as a Whitehall adviser and civil servant, becoming Private Secretary to John Gummer MP, Secretary of State for the Environment, and then Private Secretary to John Prescott MP, Deputy Prime Minister.
He moved into industry, as the Group Company Secretary and Director of Regulation at Anglian Water (later AWG) plc, and then Head of Public Policy and Regulation at O2 plc (now part of the Telefonica Group).
He became Policy Director at the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA), where he authored a number of influential publications, including ICSA’s guidance on ‘Boardroom Behaviours’, and the UK Financial Reporting Council’s ‘Guidance on Boardroom Effectiveness’, He also created ICSA’s successful annual Awards dinner. He was responsible for the production of ICSA’s technical output, including its best practice Guidance Notes on boards and directors.
Seamus runs his own governance advisory business – Value Alpha Limited – working with boards and directors around the world. He also runs the successful Leadership Development Programme for company secretaries.
Seamus writes and speaks extensively on governance issues. He holds a Degree in Business Studies, and is an MBA and an ICSA Fellow.
Group Company Secretary, Arup
Martin Ansley-Young is the Group Company Secretary at Arup.
Martin joined Arup in 1993 as a Chartered Accountant in the Finance team, undertaking various roles up to 2000 including CFO for the Industrial Division, leadership of the Group financial reporting and tax team, and staffing leader for the Finance Group. He was an officer of the global Finance Executive from 2000 to 2007 when he took on the Company Secretary role.
His current portfolio of Arup activities: includes support to the Group Board and Trustees, Group Chairman and Group COO; leadership of the Company Secretariat including corporate structure and governance issues; and facilitation of the global Community Engagement programme. He is also a member of the Corporate Services Board.
Head of Industry, Capita Asset Services
Jai has gained extensive knowledge of the Share Registration industry having commenced his career at Ravensbourne Registration Services in 1988. As a senior CRM until early 2017, Jai focused on all aspects of Client Development, Maturity and Retention, Opportunity Growth and Engagement whilst also managing some industry change projects including the implementation of FATCA and the CRS data collection / reporting requirements.
Since early 2017, Jai’s focus has turned from Relationship Management to regulatory change and implementation across Share Registration and Share Plan services as the Head of Industry at Shareholder solutions. This role extends Jai’s network into the wider industry including our peers and market participants, Government, not to mention our issuer clients and other stakeholders.
Jai sits on various committees and forums including the ICSA Registrars Group and is a former Director and School Governor at ‘Farnborough Primary School’ – an Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ achieving school prior to its merging under a wider umbrella trust – prior to which Jai provided advice and assistance on all governance matters pertaining to the development of the school, its pupils and the local community.
Senior Editor, Practical Law - Corporate, Thomson Reuters
Chief Executive, Non-Executive Directors’ Association
Louis is Chief Executive (part-time) and one of the founders of the Non-Executive Directors’ Association (‘NEDA’) – the members Association that was set up in 2006-7 to support the specific needs and demands of Non-Executive Directors and Trustees across all sectors and at each stage of their ‘life-cycle’. Louis leads the NED and board training, education and advisory services. In 2016 NEDA published the ‘NED Handbook’ 4th Edition and also celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Non-Executive Director Awards.
Louis has over 20 years’ experience in governance, risk and assurance services and in public practice has worked for all of the ‘Big 4’ Accounting firms and for 6 years was a partner at the UK top 10 audit firm Crowe Clark Whitehill, where he led the Risk & Assurance team. He is retained as a consultant having retired from the firm in 2013, and acts as an Associate with three risk, assurance and strategy consultants, including the risk management software firm Magique Galileo.
Policy officer, TUC
Matthew Creagh is an employment rights policy officer at the Trades Union Congress. He covers areas such as labour market enforcement, employment tribunal fees and family friendly rights. He has previously project managed the TUC union modernisation fund project, which focussed on tackling precarious employment and is currently leading a research project to better understand the challenges that young, working parents face. He previsouly worked in the learning and skills arm of the TUC, unionlearn, working alongside unions to negotiate good quality apprenticeships with employers. He completed a LLM in Labour Law from King’s College London in July 2015.
Senior Manager, Capita Asset Services
As a Senior Manager in our London office, Vicky is responsible for new business development as well as overseeing the delivery of services to clients. She manages a team of qualified and part-qualified chartered secretaries which delivers company secretarial and corporate governance services to global clients with UK listings.
Vicky has undertaken the role of company secretary for companies listed/quoted on AIM and Main Market FTSE 100 and 250 across a variety of sectors. For the past two years, Vicky was Head of our Middle East office, responsible for advising on and leading Boards through flotations as well as working with companies to establish their governance frameworks and Secretariat functions.
Vicky has also been involved in managing projects designed to review the internal processes employed by Secretariat functions including those of FTSE 100 companies. These projects have resulted in the design and implementations of more efficient controls and procedures. Most recently she was involved in a reverse takeover which resulted in the enlarged entity entering the FTSE 100. Vicky joined Capita in 2005 as a trainee.
Partner & Head of Data Protection & Privacy Team, TLT Solicitors
Alison advises a wide range of businesses and public sector clients on all aspects of information law. She has extensive experience advising clients on data protection compliance issues, including drafting privacy notices and policies, delivering training, advising on international data transfers, advising on marketing compliance issues, dealing with ICO investigations, conducting audits, managing data breach incidents and advising on data sharing arrangements.
Alison also has significant experience advising organisations on GDPR implementation requirements, assisting with data mapping exercises, updating policies and procedures and drafting contractual clauses to comply with the new regime.
She also advises on freedom of information issues, including protecting information provided to public authorities, making freedom of information requests and the application of exemptions.
She is a member of the National Association of Data Protection Officers and the International Association of Privacy Professionals.
General Counsel & Company Secretary, Architectural Association
Nicholas Eldred is a consultant general counsel, advising companies on legal, regulatory and governance issues. A qualified solicitor, he has held general counsel & secretary roles at O2uk, the BBC and Christie’s. He is a former trustee of BBC Children in Need and was until recently chairman of the Public Service Broadcasting Trust. He is currently general counsel & secretary of the Architectural Association where he is leading a major governance review and has just joined the board of The Conversation UK.
Founder and CEO, eShare
Alister is an actuary and CEO of eShare, a business he founded in 2004. In 2004, many pension funds were in crisis after years of snoozing board members had allowed them to be run down for corporate profit. Pensioners were campaigning naked outside parliament for their lost pensions. Board members of pensions funds needed to improve governance to say the least.
Alister set up eShare and developed BoardPacks to provide them with the technology to do this. This started by establishing a governance forum of some of the best run pension funds so he could identify what board members needed to govern better. Today pension fund boards are better run than ever in no small part due to the BoardPacks product the majority of large funds use.
It turns out that poor governance is not exclusive to pension fund boards and over the years BoardPacks has been developed to meet the governance needs of charities, housing associations, universities, many of the UK’s hospitals and companies in over 25 countries.
As eShare expanded into the corporate sector, Alister was astonished at how multi entity corporates had digitised the board but had failed to take advantage of this to improve subsidiary governance. He lead eShare to develop EntitySquared, a solution to enable multi entity corporates to monitor compliance and board performance of their entity structure and deliver a subsidiary governance solution.
eShare is now the largest UK owned board governance software provider.
Partner – Head of Employment, Labour and Equalities, Gowling WLG
Jane Fielding helps clients to find commercial solutions to workforce issues, from re-structuring through to individual disputes, Jane’s creative and open-minded approach allows her to offer clients the most appropriate solution, not always purely legal.
Discrimination issues in the workplace can be particularly challenging, whether it’s an individual issue around bullying or a structural one such as discriminatory pay practices across an organisation. Whatever the situation, Jane’s longstanding technical expertise combined with her understanding of how people behave at work, enables clients to work through these issues to find the best solution, within the level of risk they are prepared to accept.
Principal Policy Adviser, CBI (Confederation of British Industry)
Holly Harkins is the CBI’s policy lead for corporate governance and led the organisation’s response to the green paper. Holly also leads the CBI’s Value of Business project, CBI’s wider work on public perceptions of business. In five years at the CBI Holly has held a number of positions across the organisation, including in its Employment and Skills and Competitive Markets Directorates.
Head of Client Relations, eShare
Janet Jones is head of client relations at eShare. Jan spent her earlier years in a variety of HR and pensions roles, during which she demonstrated an aptitude for implementing and developing IT systems. Jan and her team support most of eShare’s clients with their use of BoardPacks, a board portal for managing meetings, decisions and resources online. Jan has been responsible for onboarding the majority of eShare’s clients to date; she advises and trains boards to support their adoption of digital board papers. Her team’s focus is on ensuring that the eShare experience for clients is both enjoyable and worthwhile.
Legal Director, Corporate, Specsavers
I qualified as a solicitor in 1993 and worked for Eversheds, one of the world’s largest law firms, specialising in corporate and commercial law, before moving to the Cayman Islands for a two year stint between 1996-1998 covering all aspects of offshore commercial law. I moved in-house with Boots, Nottingham in 2000. I spent six years at Boots handling group’s corporate and commercial legal work, including the sale of Halfords and Boots Healthcare International and the merger of Boots and Alliance Unichem to form Alliance Boots. I have been at Specsavers since 2006 and it still feels like yesterday.
I am responsible for all aspects of the group’s corporate and commercial work covering and providing support to a wide range of teams including Commercial, Supply Chain and Procurement, IT, Finance and Tax & Treasury (basically if it isn’t local to our overseas markets, we do it). This could cover mergers and acquisitions. projects, major contracts and other non day to day activities.
Professional Support Lawyer, Addleshaw Goddard
Katie is a Professional Support Lawyer for the Commercial team, covering a range of areas including commercial contracts, outsourcing and intellectual property. Her work involves devising and managing the team’s internal training programme (including tailored training for lawyers at different stages in their career) and supporting the team through know how and maintaining precedents. Katie also takes an active role in supporting the firm’s clients in these areas, and has particular expertise on advising companies on compliance with the supply train transparency requirements of the Modern Slavery Act 2015.
Before stepping into her current role, Katie worked for many years as a lawyer in the Commercial team at Addleshaw Goddard LLP. She has also worked as Senior Legal Counsel for an international sports management business, where she advised on a number of high value global services agreements. Katie combines this experience to create an approach which is commercially-focussed and mindful of the challenges faced by the firm’s clients.
Founder, Cerno Solutions
Michele Law is a former diplomat and human rights adviser. In the United Nations Michele was based in Baghdad, Iraq, as legal counsel and advisor to the Iraqi government on constitution making, including providing legal and political advice on the Human Rights Chapter and establishment of an Independent Human Rights Commission. In Kabul, Afghanistan, she advised the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Afghanistan on its rule of law programme. In the UK Department for International Development (DFID), Michele was a conflict adviser focussed on Security Sector Reform (HMG SSR Lead) and Violence Against Women and Girls. She was responsible for policy and programming advisory services up to UK Ministers and across DFID’s global portfolio. Michele held the role of Deputy Director and Legal Advisor in the Office of the Commonwealth Secretary General, where she also assisted in the mediation of various political conflicts including in Pakistan, Zimbabwe, and in the Fiji Islands. Michele began her career as a New Zealand trade negotiator (WTO/APEC) and Private Secretary to the NZ Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
In 2016 Michele established Cerno Solutions Limited with Paul Garlick QC, a leading UK Barrister in bribery and corruption, because they could see that issues of human rights and modern slavery were becoming an international and HMG policy priority, and they wanted to use their skills to assist business meet these challenges. Paul brings the read-across with bribery and corruption, while Michele brings an HMG developmental perspective of how it wants businesses to address the impact they are having on human rights and modern slavery. Cerno works alongside corporate legal counsel, by providing the “back-office” guidance you need to properly address issues of human rights and modern slavery, e.g. strategy, risk assessments, setting a baseline, adaptive programming, monitoring and evaluation, training and communication of good stories/compliance reporting. We take a developmental approach which we know is what the regulator wants to see, as it is the best method of affecting greatest change by building your internal capacity.
As a mediator and access to justice specialist, Michele also brings significant experience to assist companies implement Pillar III of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: access to remedy. Remedies is not a requirement of the MSA, but is a category that the new Corporate Human Rights Benchmark ranks.
In addition to her role as Director of Cerno, Michele currently sits on the following advisory panels/International Call-Down Rosters: UNDP Rule of Law Expert (Access to Justice/Modern Slavery); HMG Stabilisation Unit Deployable Civilian List (Conflict/Modern Slavery), and the International Security Sector Advisory Team (Justice/Security/Modern Slavery). Michele also co-chairs the Slavefreetrade.org certification in supply chains working group.
Senior Manager Company Secretarial Services, Capita
Diane is a Fellow of the ICSA and has over 20 years’ experience in a range of company secretarial roles, predominantly in the retail and financial services sectors. Since joining Capita in March 2014 she has worked with clients on IPOs and restructurings and has acted as company secretary to private companies, joint ventures and main market listed companies, providing Board and general meeting support and advice on regulation and best practice governance.
Board & Leadership Solutions, Nasdaq
Director, Legal, Entity Governance & Compliance, PwC
Matt is a director in PwC’s Entity Governance and Compliance (EGC) team, forming part of a global EGC practice with teams in 160 countries.
Matt has key responsibility for the relationships and delivery of corporate secretarial services to a client base covering the Fortune 500 and FTSE 100. Matt is a member of the UK Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (Chartered Corporate Secretary).
Matt understands the challenges and how to plan a successful legal entity management project. He has extensive group reorganisation experience and has recently been advising multinational groups needing to respond to increased regulation and focus on legal entity structures, such as FATCA, the Fourth Money Laundering Directive, and Dodd Frank, and the impact this is having on their future legal entity governance and compliance obligations.
Laura previously trained as a regulatory and compliance lawyer before becoming a licensed insolvency practitioner specialising in solvent liquidations. She has 24 years experience in corporate simplification and restructuring across a range of industries and jurisdictions.
Based in London, but leading PwC’s international corporate simplification specialism, she assists multinational clients to restructure their businesses, advising clients on optimising and implementing their revised corporate structure and strategy. She brings to bear her expertise in developing corporate simplification plans cross jurisdiction and managing due diligence.
She works across industries and sectors, but has particular expertise in technology, financial services, energy and mining. Managing a team in London, she has considerable experience of leading European and global projects, transferring assets in excess of £3 billion as part of group restructurings.
Recent work has involved advising and project managing a restructuring of a technology business across 35 jurisdictions, a restructuring project for a professional services firm in 19 jurisdictions and managing simplifying across 40+ jurisdictions for a mining conglomerate.