The first board “retirement” is here

The first board

Six years of serving on the board of governors of London Metropolitan University come to an end today. As this is my first “retirement” from a board since I began my boards portfolio life, I am feeling a bit emosh about it all. 

The experience gave me opportunities to feel most of the 9 emotions – navrasa in the Indian classical dance tradition – but I leave with a feeling of contentment both with the direction the University is headed under the chairmanship of Tijs Broeke and an almost wholly new board and Lynn Dobbs as Vice Chancellor, and with my contribution over the years. 

A chance meeting with John Raftery, the then-Vice Chancellor, led eventually to an interview. Among other things I was asked to articulate my view of the higher education sector’s travails. I am a systems thinker, and I like to illustrate points with stories, poetry or otherwise memorable sound-bytes. I distinctly remember using the word “clusterfuck” to describe the state of affairs. A moment of stunned silence was followed by a ripple of laughter around the table, with me thinking, “yep, blew it, but at least I have not falsely advertised myself to be someone I am not“. Safe to say I started as I meant to carry on. 

During my tenure, I have had the opportunity to serve in many capacities: interim chair of the board, vice chair, chair of audit and risk committee, chair of governance committee, member of remuneration and earlier of governance committees, chairing and serving on senior hiring panels including for the current Vice Chancellor and the current chair of the board, several governor hiring rounds, introducing the Board Apprentice programme (and mentoring the two Board Apprentices, who subsequently were able to join the board as vacancies arose and they successfully passed the interviewing hurdle), advising and supporting the leadership team on many aspects of risk and technology and digital oversight, and a few other things I’d rather not recount here.¬†After all this and with other commitments, there was little time left and what suffered was my desire to attend our students’ graduation fashion shows and theatrical performances. I do highly recommend the students’ Christmas market which is a great source of gifts and festive goodies.

The biggest thanks through the years are reserved for Nikki Le Faou for capable and timely company secretarial support. I cannot thank Nikki enough if I had all the big words in the dictionary in my vocabulary. 

Last but not the least, I am very grateful to have a beautiful memento of my time on the University board on my walls, as I was kindly given a farewell present. It is a framed photograph created by our award-winning student/ alumnus Lakruwan Rajapaksha (see image in this post). The chosen photograph is from his Blue-Tailed Bee-eater’s Dreams series. I encourage you to look up his haunting, beautiful work. You can follow him on Instagram here.

(Disclaimer: These are my own views and do not reflect the views of the boards of JP Morgan US Smaller Co.s Investment Trust or Temple Bar Investment Trust or London Metropolitan University or Harmony Energy Income Trust, or Witan, where I serve as a non-exec director, and chair various committees at the time of writing.

%d bloggers like this: