Role of the board
The Company's Board comprises the non-executive chair, the chief executive, the finance director, the senior independent non-executive director and four other independent non-executive directors. Short biographies of the directors are given in the Leadership section.
The chair undertakes leadership of the Board by agreeing Board agendas and ensures its effectiveness by requiring the provision of timely, accurate and clear information on all aspects of the Group's business, to enable the Board to take sound decisions and promote the success of the business. The chair, assisted by other directors, reviews the effectiveness of each member of the Board no less than annually and facilitates constructive relationships between the executive and non-executive directors through both formal and informal meetings.
The chair ensures that all directors are briefed properly to enable them to discharge their duties effectively. All newly appointed directors undertake an induction to all parts of the Group's business. Additionally, detailed management accounts are sent monthly to all Board members and, in advance of all Board meetings, an agenda and appropriate documentation in respect of each item to be discussed is circulated.
The chair facilitates effective communication with shareholders through both the annual general meeting and by being available to meet with major shareholders, to develop an understanding of the views of the investors in the business. He also ensures that shareholders have access to other directors, including non-executive directors, as appropriate.
The chief executive's role is to provide entrepreneurial leadership of the Group within a framework of prudent and effective controls, which enables risk to be assessed and managed. The chief executive undertakes the leadership and responsibility for the direction and management of the day-to-day business and conduct of the Group. In doing so, the chief executive's role includes, but is not restricted to, implementing Board decisions, delegating responsibility, and reporting to the Board regarding the conduct, activities and performance of the Group.
All directors are responsible under the law for the proper conduct of the Company's affairs. The directors are also responsible for ensuring that the strategies proposed by the executive directors are discussed in detail and assessed critically to ensure they are aligned with the long-term interests of shareholders and are compatible with the interests of employees, customers and suppliers.
Regular reports and briefings are provided to the Board, by the executive directors and the company secretary, to ensure the directors are suitably briefed to fulfil their roles. The Board normally meets six times a year and there is contact between meetings to advance the Company's activities. It is the Board's usual practice to meet regularly with the senior executives of the US, Canadian and UK businesses. The directors also have access to the company secretary and are able to seek independent advice at the Company's expense.