Tim Parker - 11 April 2018
Tim Parker, Chair of the Post Office, delivered a lecture as part of the Bristol Distinguished Address Series entitled "What makes a good Chair?".
What makes a good Chair?
Tim’s lecture was a masterclass in what makes a good chair based on his extensive knowledge and experience within different contexts.
Tim opened his lecture by explaining the history of the chair and how the role has evolved from the 17th Century to today.
He discussed the role of the chair to include the following; to provide leadership, to take responsibility for planning and coordinating meetings, to ensure focus, to oversee induction and development and to support the Chief Executive.
He emphasised the key factor for success being the relationship between the Chair, the Chief Executive Officer, the Senior Exec and the need for an effective interface between the CEO and the wider organisation as a whole.
Furthermore, Tim suggested the most important function of the Chair being the appointment and retention of the CEO and the careful management of that relationship. The Chair needs to fully understand their role and the boundaries of this, in particular; knowing when to step in, when to take a step back, and when to make tough decisions.
The role of the Chair also includes ensuring the right CEO is in place and to plan for succession if required. In terms of personal traits, the Chair must have integrity, be honest, reliable and committed to the role.
In summary, being a successful Chair is about having the right people, managing people correctly, working well with the CEO to ensure a good relationship, understanding the executive board, selecting the board properly, and then communicating properly within the organisation.