Editor Tom Broughton on the week's news
The gravy train for non-executive directors and lazy chairmen is finally coming to a halt. The remuneration package and two-day-a-month lifestyles have become a little more onerous and demanding. There is new thinking. For example, take this week’s cover star Paul Manduca (see page 22). The Aon chairman knows that his role has never been so pressured – especially in the light of Aon’s £5m FSA fine for failing over bribery checks.
Manduca describes his role as acting as a “guide” providing a necessary “reality check” on the plans and restructuring of his chief executive Peter Harmer. It’s a long way from the days of the mundane quarterly board meeting or being rolled out to provide gravitas to age-old repeat clients while the rest of the firm drums up new business. But look ahead and it is clear that the regulatory landscape will demand that such roles be made more accountable, as well as eliminate the cosy band of friends in some organisations. Instead, arguments will be tested, strategy probed and the decisions of rapidly-promoted risk managers scrutinised like never before. After all, just how will your outfit respond to the growing concerns of sophisticated corporate risk buyers (see news analysis, page 14)? Or deal with the politics of that tricky legislation heading your way?
The job of a backseat driver will not be as much fun in years to come, but it is a necessary evil. And it is unclear how non-executive directors, in particular, are to be made more accountable. There is likely to be a process of attrition, as shareholders decide to vote with their feet by offloading the workshy, while the big-hitting personalities are asked to really earn their bucks. Let’s just hope that a generation of industry knowledge and experience is not lost as those in the know size up better opportunities or simply do not fancy the grief.
Join the Pack
This week we launched the IT Pack for new brokers (see page 16). The London event revealed the hopes, dreams, ambitions and gripes of a new generation of young brokers looking to make the next step up the career ladder. Over the coming months Insurance Times will come to each UK region to understand how new brokers view the world. A star from each region then will be asked to present at a grand finale at the end of the year with a winner unveiled at the Insurance Times awards in December. To be considered for a place in the IT Pack, email Eleanor.email@example.com