Past Events

Details of past DHN Dinners

David Campbell Bannerman – “How leaving the EU would benefit the UK”

15.3.16

We were delighted to welcome David Campbell Bannerman. Conservative MEP for the Eastern Counties to Devonshire House on 15.3.16. David was formerly a leading member of UKIP and is a passionate and tireless advocate for leaving the EU. David Campbell Bannerman was educated at Bryanston School, Edinburgh University, and at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Before embarking on his career in Politics, David was in Corporate Communications with Allen, Brady & Marsh, Executive Director of Vantagepoint Communications, followed by Communications Director/External Affairs Director of ATOC, before becoming Head of Communications at UBM in 2000.

He was chairman of the Bow Group from 1993 to 1994 and Special Advisor to Sir Patrick Mayhew from 1996 to 1997 while Secretary of State for Norther Ireland. After joining UKIP in 2004, he was appointed as the Party Chairman in December 2005,

In 2009, he was elected to the European Parliament after UKIP won 19.6% of the vote in the East of England region. Bannerman was the main author of UKIP’s 2010 election manifesto. He served as UKIP deputy leader from 2006 until 2010,

David Campbell Bannerman returned to the Conservative Party on 24 May 2011 and now sits as a Conservative MEP in the European Parliament. Since 2014 he has served as chairman of the Parliament’s delegation to Iraq. In 2015 he became co-chairman of a new Eurosceptic pressure group, Conservatives for Britain.

Given the current national pre-occupation with the forthcoming EU Referendum, DHN members had the opportunity of sharing valuable insights – from a closely involved Insider and not from a media commentator – into many aspects of the for and against arguments in what is clearly the most important political decision shared by the entire UK voting population in a generation. The Chatham House Rule applied here.

David’s book – Time to Jump – A positive vision of a Britain OUT of the EU and IN EEA lite is available from Amazon. It is a factual, comprehensive and persuasive account of the case for leaving the EU. It is an important read.

Lord Stephen Green – “Britain’s trade challenges in a global world”

26.1.16

We readily agreed with Lord Stephen Green that we would not talk about banking or the EU Referendum. Accordingly, we chose the topic:- “Britain’s trade challenges in a global world.”.  Ironically, we thought, this topic very probably lies at the heart of both banking and the EU. – if you see the generation of national wealth as the core of the Brexit debate and see banking as the financial machinery that makes it work. It would also position the serious thinking and the tone at a higher level – the sort of level that you will find through this following link –  http://www.capx.co/the-european-identity/.

Lord Green spoke mainly about the current account deficit. It used to be referred to as the balance of payments. In layman’s terms it is the profit and loss account of the UK – and which has been predominantly negative for several decades. It is the Dickensian Micawber principle which says that, as a nation, more money needs to come in than goes out. Even if they understand it, most politicians don’t talk about it because it’s boring and they don’t know what to do about. The nearest that this current Administration gets to it is to talk about the need to rebalance the Economy. Beyond this, not a lot.

Suffice it to say – and within the restrictions we place upon ourselves through the Chatham House Rule – eighty Devonshire House members and guests listened to and then debated the most eloquent and highly reasoned exposition of what the problem is, where it came from, how it compares with the other major trading nations in the world and how it might play out from now on – given varying and possible interventions from Government and from UK business. Nowhere nearly enough at the moment!

Stephen Green was educated at Lancing College, Sussex, and at Oxford University where he graduated in 1969 with a BA (First Class Honours) in Politics, Philosophy and Economics.  He also obtained a Masters Degree in Political Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1975. He was created a Life Peer in 2010 and was appointed Minister of State for Trade and Investment in January 2011.  He retired from this position in December 2013. Lord Green began his career in 1970 with the British Government’s Ministry of Overseas Development.  In 1977, he joined McKinsey & Co Inc, management consultants, with whom he undertook assignments in Europe, North America and the Middle East. He joined The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation in 1982 with responsibility for corporate planning activities, and in 1985 was put in charge of the development of the bank’s global treasury operations.  In 1992, he became Group Treasurer of HSBC Holdings plc with responsibility for the HSBC Group’s treasury and capital markets businesses globally. In 1998, he was appointed to the Board of HSBC Holdings plc as an Executive Director.  He became Group Chief Executive in 2003 and Group Chairman 2006.  He retired from HSBC in December 2010. Lord Green was Chairman of the British Bankers’ Association from 2006 to 2010.  He also served as a Trustee of the British Museum.  He served as a non-executive director of BASF.se until 2010. He is Chairman of the Natural History Museum, Chairman of the International Advisory Council of the British Chambers of Commerce and is a member of the House of Lords EU Select Committee. He is an ordained priest in the Church of England. Stephen Green has written four books – Serving God? Serving Mammon? [1996]; Good Value, Choosing a Better Life in Business [2009];  Reluctant Meister – How Germany’s Past is Shaping its European Future [2014]; and The European Identity – Historical and Cultural Realities We Cannot Deny [2015]. Stephen Green is married with two daughters

 

Leave or Stay: What does British business want from the EU?”

18.11.15

Our Event on 18.11.15 was a debate.  “Leave or Stay: What does British business want from the EU?”……………  held at the East India Club, 16 St. James’s Square, London SW1Y 4LH.

The idea emerged from a DHN Topical Issues Forum that we organized in June 2014 with Business for Britain, seen as the leading Campaign Group for major re-negotiation of the EU Treaty, failing which they would campaign to leave the EU.  For 2015, we thought, let’s turn it into a debate and bring in the other side to the argument.  In so doing, we finished up with  the two leading Campaign Groups most likely to win accreditation from the Electoral Commission – Business for Britain now known as Vote Leave –  www.voteleavetakecontrol.org and Business for New Europe  now known as www.strongerin.co.uk . (See also www.businessforneweurope.org).

What made this Event really special is that it is probably the first time that the two EU Referendum leading campaign groups – very newly put together have shared a platform together.

The Session was chaired by leading Media figure Giles Dilnot and:-

  • Presenting the case for Staying in the EU was Tim Skeet and Hugo Dixon. Tim spoke as an ICMA Board Member.  Hugo spoke in an independent capacity. Neither are BNE board members.
  • Presenting the case for Leaving the EU was Jon Moynihan OBE, former Executive Chairman of PA Consulting and Matthew Elliott, Chief Executive of Business for Britain and also of VOTE LEAVE.

Speaker Biogs

Tim Skeet 

Tim is a board member of the International Capital Market Association (ICMA). He chairs several committees for the Association, including the Committee of Regional Representatives, the Oversight Committee, investor working group on bail-in and sits on the education committee. He is a frequent contributor to the specialist media and speaker at industry events internationally.

Tim Skeet has worked in the City for almost three and a half decades in a variety of senior roles at investment banks. His focus has been very much on looking after clients and specialising in a range of financial institution financing techniques. He has had wide responsibility for business across Europe and in North America.

He has been very involved in developments in the markets for mortgage finance, having also served on the Steering Committee of the European Covered Bond Council (ECBC). Besides this and other industry engagement, Tim has been Chairman of an aviation museum, and has been very involved in the world of historic aviation.

Tim lives in London and is married with three children.  He speaks French and German, with interests in politics, current affairs and writing.

Hugo Dixon

Hugo Dixon is founder of Reuters Breakingviews, the leading international source of online financial commentary. He is now Editor-at-Large, Reuters News.  Before founding Breakingviews, Hugo spent 13 years at the Financial Times. , the last five as Head of Lex. He is the author of The Penguin Guide to Finance and Finance Just in Time. He was named Business Journalist of the Year 2000 in the British Press Awards. In 2008, he won the Decade of Excellence Award at the Business.  He is also the author of “The In/Out Question: Why Britain Should Stay in the EU and Fight to make it better. (available here). He is a regular broadcaster, appearing on programmes including the BBC’s Today Programme, the BBC World Service and CNBC.

 

Jon Moynihan OBE

Jon Moynihan is the former CEO and Executive Chairman of PA Consulting.  He is currently co-Principal at Ipex Capital, Chairman of Plaquetec Ltd and Semblant Ltd, and on the Board of Aegate Ltd — all four of which he was founder Chairman. He joined PA in 1992, when the company was about to go into bankruptcy proceedings. As consulting.uk put it in 2015: “Following arguably one of the most noteworthy turnarounds in consulting’s history, PA, under the leadership of Jon Moynihan (who also introduced the firm’s fully employee-owned business model) regained its flair, laying the foundation for the firm’s successful heritage over the next decades.”  PA Consulting, named this year by The Independent as “The most important company you never heard of”, was sold, at a valuation of over $1 billion, one year after Jon’s retirement as Chairman.

Prior to PA, Jon worked at Track Records (the management company for The Who and other Rock acts); for War on Want and Save the Children in India and Bangladesh; for Roche; and for McKinsey, Strategic Planning Associates and First Manhattan Consulting Group.   He is a Foundation Fellow of Balliol College; a Distinguished Friend of Oxford University; a Fellow of Gray’s Inn; a member of the Court of Imperial College, London; a member of the Dean’s Board at the Sloan School, MIT; and President of the Royal Albert Hall.” He is a graduate of Oxford, North London Polytechnic and MIT

 

Matthew Elliott

Matthew Elliott is Chief Executive of Vote Leave, the campaign for a ‘leave’ vote in the EU referendum that will happen before the end of 2017. He is also the founder of Business for Britain, the largest business group in the UK campaigning for fundamental change in Britain’s relationship with the European Union. The campaign recently published the seminal work “Change, or Go: How Britain would gain influence and prosper outside an unreformed EU”. Matthew is one of the foremost political campaigners working in Westminster, having led the hugely successful ‘No’ campaign against the Alternative Vote in the 2011 referendum, and founded groups as diverse as the TaxPayers’ Alliance and civil liberties campaign Big Brother Watch.”


It was a spirited, hard hitting but good natured debate and, for the purposes on this Report, the result was a draw!  We are in the process of  producing a more comprehensive Report on this important debate which we shall  also present as a draw!

Devonshire House does not take sides. We showcase important national debates and key issues.  Our members make up their own minds.


PDF
You can also download our Speaker Programme 2015 in a PDF version here.

 

 

Andy Haldane, Chief Economist and Executive Director, Monetary Analysis & Statistics

20.10.15

andy haldaneWe are delighted that our guest Speaker on 20th October 2015 was Andy Haldane, Chief Economist and Executive Director, Monetary Analysis & Statistics at the Bank of England.  He also has responsibility for research and statistics across the Bank.

Andy Haldane, must be just about the best assessor and explainer of the UK economy – increasingly seen, partly under his influence, in a broader behavioural and social context – and globally that you are likely to hear. And all at a crucial time – as a feeling of sustained UK growth seems to have taken root but amidst some worrying global signals.

Andy’s comments were covered by the Chatham House Rule but he was asked about the EU Referendum – responding that Mark Carney was going to speak about that on the following day in Cambridge – which has now been fully reported in the Press.  He gave insightful answers to a broad range of questions such as – given that interest rates look like staying very low what tools does the Bank of England  have to handle the next recession  and  how do you handle the worsening situation for young graduate professionals with debt around their necks wanting to buy a house (not really an economics question – but still part of the Q&A) and how reliable a guide to economics management is the past given the massive progress in technology and communications. 

With a couple or so DHN Members from Guiseley in Yorkshire, Andy’s home town, one matter NOT covered by the Chatham House Rule was the mutual disappointment about the closure of Harry Ramsden’s in Guiseley, which was seen by many discerning Northern gourmets as the best fish and chip shop in the world!

Andy attended Guiseley in North Leeds. He received a BA in Economics from the University of Sheffield in 1988 and an MA in Economics from the University of Warwick in 1989.

He joined the Bank of England in 1989. He worked in monetary analysis, on various issues regarding monetary policy strategy, inflation targeting and central bank independence.  He has been widely cited as a leading Bank of England expert on Financial Stability and he co-authored with Adair Turner and others the LSE Future of Finance report. Andy draws on behavioural economics to argue that complex financial systems cannot be controlled with complex regulations.

In 2014, TIME magazine voted him one of the 100 most influential people in the world. Andy has written extensively on domestic and international monetary and financial policy issues.

He is co-founder of ‘Pro Bono Economics’, a charity which brokers economists into charitable projects.

We were delighted to have Len McLuskey speaking to us on 8.7.15 and here is the Press Release that we later issued – with full approval from Unite

Press Release – 6.8.15

 

Don’t Demonize Trade Unions who have a vital role to play in creating a better Britain

Unite’s Len McCluskey Speaks at Devonshire House Network Dinner

4th August 2015 – Unite’s General Secretary Len McCluskey told an audience of senior executives at a Devonshire House dinner sponsored by Russam GMS in July not to “demonize” trade unions as they “have a vital role to play in creating a better Britain”.

The dinner marked the final event of the 2014/15 Devonshire House season before the Summer break and is run by Charles Russam. Their high profile events celebrate “the human side of Enterprise”

McCluskey argued that unions help build a sustainable economy and said that the Government and industry/business need to work with the trade unions to “make our nation a better society than it currently is.”

He also announced a major change to one of Unite’s rules which could be a potential ‘game changer’ in the way the Union will operate. Unite’s rule book states that it should fight for its objectives “where it is lawfully possible to do so”.  Unite has now removed that phrase which could give the green light to illegal strike action in the future. Len said that, “if we have to step outside of the law to defend ourselves we will do.” He added: “I don’t want to fight with the government, but one thing I’ve got no intention of doing, is bending and simply making my union into nothing other than an advisory agency.”

He also mentioned that the Government often think unions are “the enemy within” and the media portray unions as “not playing a role people want” in today’s world but this image isn’t correct.

With 1.5 million members, Unite is the largest union in the UK representing a significant number of working people and their families. Len highlighted that 95% of his union time is spent with employers trying to overcome difficult problems. He also said that the unions want to help productivity and profits of the companies they work with and they should be recognised as “a force for good”.

He said that 20 years ago 65% of GDP went into workers’ wages, today that has gone down to 53%. This 12% drop he said, as many economists will tell you is “devastating” and making the gap between rich and poor even wider. “You don’t stop this by making Unions weaker”, he added.

He suggested that the solution is to better engage with Government and industry to change the current economic climate and he reiterated that the “demonization of the trade unions needs to stop.” For 25 years Unite has campaigned under the slogan “manufacturing matters” and that manufacturing is the only way to achieve sustainable growth.

He highlighted that British workers have less protection than the rest of Europe and the trade unions want to assist in developing the economy for the good of workers and Britain as a whole.

He appealed to the government and to industry opinion formers stating, “Let’s work together. Let’s try and change the climate where, yes we might have political differences, but in terms of what we do, in terms of our nation’s economy, we should work together. Work with us, try to make certain that we create a climate where people can seek common ground and try to take our nation on to a better society than it currently is.”

In contrast to this, mentions of “flexible pay” and “zero-hours contracts” put him into poorly disguised militant mode (and why not?) and answering a question about “Don’t you think tube drivers earn enough already” (Google says this is £53k per annum) allowed us a glimpse of what an effective trade union leader at the top of his game does in day to day life for his Members!

Len highlighted Unite is pro Europe and will be campaigning for a ‘yes’ vote and the free movement of labour – but did not dwell on the issue of negotiating a better deal. He also said that the government needs to address the exploitation of immigrant workers by UK bosses, and flexible working adding that the human stories behind things like zero hours contracts are “shameless.”

Whilst acknowledging that tube strikes are “unpopular” with the public, he said that people need to understand that it’s the employers and management that push people into strike action and the unions shouldn’t be blamed. McCluskey referred briefly to the old days now being recognised as characterised by poor quality management as a major contributing factor in poor industrial relations.

In his vote of thanks, Partner Firm Russam GMS Managing Director, Ian Joseph, summed up the overall mood as one of gratitude for Len’s candour and generosity and some slightly unexpected insights into tomorrow’s national prosperity, but a process that always needed to be treated with respect and kept in balance.

For more information about Devonshire House and its programme of events for 2015/16 season please visit http://www.devonshirehousenetwork.co.uk/

Press Release issued by Kayak PR.

For further information please contact:

Kathryn Hughes

Kayak PR

Tel: +44 (0)20 8 549 3879 / 07801 823 839

Kathryn@kayakpr.co.uk

The Devonshire House Network is a people-focused membership club for Director-level professionals in leadership roles who have an instinctive focus on the human side of enterprise.  Set up about 40 years ago, DHN is privileged to enjoy a strong tradition of hosting top UK business leaders to address them.  Events are held under the Chatham House Rule – but, on this occasion, Len waived it.  www.DevonshireHouseNetwork.co.uk

 Kathryn Hughes
 Director | Kayak PR Ltd

 www.kayakpr.co.uk 
 Tel: +44 (0)0208 549 3879 | 07801 823 839
 Add: 22 Cross Road, Kingston Upon Thames, KT2 6HG

 This e-mail (and any attachments) is confidential and may contain personal views which are not the views of Kayak PR Ltd unless specifically stated. If you have received it in error, please delete it from your system. Do not use, copy or disclose the information in any way nor act in reliance on it and notify the sender immediately.

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Len McClusky, General Secretary of Unite the Union

08.06.2015

Len-McCluskey

This is what we said when we first announced in August 2014 hat Len was going to speak to us:-

Len will be talking to us a few weeks after the General Election – and it will be fascinating to see how the UK – or what is left of it (written here pre-18.9.14) – is being positioned by both controlled and uncontrolled forces – and what Len thinks about it!

……… and this is what we said in the days preceding 8.7.15, when Len spoke to us:-

How different the UK seems now!  We’re in many different and clearly unexpected places compared with last summer, notably, Scotland, Europe, the Economy, the Government and it now seems, Industrial Relations. Is Len McCluskey (still?) the Labour Party Kingmaker? Otherwise, he heads up the biggest Trade Union in the UK at a crucial time – for a number of reasons. Strong views. Compelling listening. Things that clearly make a difference. All of which could make you change your own views.

And this is what we say after Len’s talk – not forgetting that a tube strike was starting on the evening of 8.7.15 – partly orchestrated by Len’s Unite Union – and some who were keen to hear Len speak had been denied that opportunity!

Given Len’s reputation and public perception, no-one quite knew what to expect! What we saw was an engaging champion of working people, dedicated to righting their wrongs, injustices and inadequate pay and conditions and keen to work with management in creating a better industrial future for the UK.  In contrast to this, mentions of “flexible pay” and “zero-hours contracts” put him into poorly disguised militant mode (and why not?) and answering a question about “Don’t you think tube drivers earn enough already” (Google says this is £53k per annum) allowed us a glimpse of what an effective trade union leader at the top of his game does in day to day life for his Members!

A more comprehensive account of the evening’s discussion is being prepared and will be published shortly after approval from Len’s office.  Len waived the Chatham House rule on this occasion.

Unite is Britain’s biggest union with 1.42 million members in every type of workplace.  Unite describes itself as the union for the 21st century meeting the great challenges facing working people in the 21st century- and as a Union which is “a democratic and campaigning union which fights back for employees in the workplace, is taking trade unionism out to the millions of un-organised workers and is a union that stands up for equality for all and advances its members interests politically. “

Unite’s vision is of a prosperous society in which employers and employees work together to build successful businesses and safe, healthy working environments. All those who contribute to their success receive the rewards, respect and recognition they deserve.  Making a bit of noise along the way is one of the features often observed by many in Len McClusky’s management!

Len McClusky first became a trade unionist in 1968, whilst working on the docks. He became a shop steward aged 19, and was a campaign organiser for the TGWU in Merseyside throughout the 1980s after becoming an officer of the union in 1979.[ He supported Militant during the 1980s, but was not a member.  He has also been a member of the Labour Party since 1970.

He was elected as the National Secretary for the TGWU General Workers Group in 1990, and moved to London to work in the union headquarters. He later became the TGWU’s national organiser for the service industries in 2004. In 2007, he was appointed as the Assistant General Secretary for Industrial Strategy for the newly merged Unite the Union.

In 2010, Len McClusky became General Secretary of Unite, being re-elected in 2013.

 

02.06.15

John Moulton

We were delighted that our guest Speaker on 2nd June 2015 at the East India Club, 16 St James’s Square, London SW1Y 4LH was Jon Moulton, Founder of Better Capital. We were looking forward to hearing what Jon described as some of his new material – and we were not disappointed. With a crowded room of about 70, we were treated to a critical analysis of the burgeoning red tape epidemic now threatening to stifle UK business – particularly in the volume and nature of  material now required in published accounts.  The crucial question was – for whose benefit?  Whilst the Chatham House rule precludes us publishing Jon’s judgements here, many of Jon’s listeners were clearly thinking that the winners in the remorseless tide of regulation documentation were the accountants and the lawyers. Investors, it was felt,  did not have the patience or time to go beyond the major fundamentals – which were often difficult to find – although it was felt that many would get their accountants and lawyers to advise.  There was a significant body of opinion that doubted if extra regulation would be enough to stop the sort of unwanted crises that have happened in the last ten years – manly in financial services but also elsewhere.   

What follows here is the text that we wrote before Jon’s Presentation.

Jon Moulton has spoken at Devonshire House on a previous occasion.  We remember, in particular, Jon’s well-known liking for challenging accepted practices and beliefs in Private equity and M&A and associated areas.  Jon Moulton has earned a reputation for outspokenness – and, it could be said, for a number of contrarian views.  At different times over the past few years, he has criticised attempts by private equity firms to deflect criticism, spoken out against the favourable tax treatment of private equity, accused private equity firms of abusing a generous tax regime and criticised the accountancy profession for what he described as a loss of integrity in due diligence work on private equity buyouts.  We are delighted to welcome him back – and to see what –  if anything – has changed and what is new! Most of us will see this as quite considerable. We’ll also be very keen to work out what  is likely to change when we know who our new political masters are.

Jon Moulton is the founder and managing partner of the Better Capital, and is the former managing partner of the private equity firm. Alchemy Partners. Perhaps, Jon Moulton is best known for leading Alchemy Partners’ bid to buy MG Rover from BMW in 2000, which ultimately lost out to a rival offer from the Phoenix Consortium. Hindsight, for many, is critical of what actually happened! Jon has long experience of turnarounds, having invested in them for 30 years and with considerable success. He is a Chartered Accountant, a CF and a Fellow of the Institute for Turnaround Professionals. A former Managing Partner of Alchemy, Jon also previously worked with Citicorp Venture Capital in New York and London, Permira and Apax.  Jon is a Trustee of the UK Stem Cell Foundation. He is a very active angel investor.  He is Non-Executive Chairman of FinnCap, the stockbroker and a Member of the Advisory Board for the £3.1bn UK Regional Growth Fund.

Jon’s talk will be followed by our usual substantive Q&A session, which tends to be about 30 minutes

 

Key Info re-education, Schools and the future.

In a wide ranging review of Education and schools, Dr Tim Hands lamented the way in which Education has become increasingly driven by exam results, and little else. Pastoral care and extracurricular activity are also of prime importance in producing the best citizens of the future. If we can help to make that emphasis happen we will be ensuring a better future for us all.  Tim also pointed to  the perceived lack of serious career advice available to leavers – not only in Independent Schools but in all schools – and, secondly, the interesting question about what is the optimum percentage of school leavers that should go to University – given that Tony Blair had said 50% – and the way any change might  create unexpected financial and economic damage with many local university-dominated areas through a  reduction in this percentage – particularly now it seems to be more difficult to recruit foreign students – or certainly where negatively linked with immigration.  It has never occurred to many that there was a cause and effect situation here.

“Education, Schools and the future“

Some supporting Notes for Dr Tim Hands Talk on 28.04.15.

We were delighted to welcome Dr Tim Hands to Devonshire House on 28.04.15.  Tim is Vice Chairman of  the HMC (the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference) , having previously been Chairman – www.hmc.org.uk – .  HMC represents the Heads of the world’s leading independent schools.

Dr Martin HandsOur next Devonshire House Dinner will be on 28th April 2015 at the East India Club, 16 St James’s Square, London SW1Y 4LH  – We are delighted that our guest Speaker will be Dr Tim Hands who will talk to us – only days before the General Election – about the hugely topical and debatable “Education, Schools and the future “.  Whilst the national focus will inevitably be on state education, finding out more about what is happening with independent schools- at home and abroad – is needed to develop a balanced view – whether we be parents, employers, investors, futurists, abolitionists or otherwise associated with the education industry in its broadest forms.

Dr Hands will summarise the key current issues as he sees them for about 20 minutes  and has planned this around the following  themes:–

  • Why HMC (the oldest and leading professional association of head-teachers in the world, it claims) exists – opposition to the state, and care for the child.
  • Whether there is any justification for independent schools in current times: a look at standards, and at the philosophy of education and the child.
  • The importance of British education, as exemplified in independent education globally. British Education as an export industry.
  • The contribution of independent schools to the national economy.
  • What is going on in the General Election and what might things look like afterwards?

By necessity, Tim will – “ keep things a bit fluid at this stage because the last bit, post-election, might be what people are most interested in, and yet will need to be done at the last moment, as we will be in the final days of the campaign.”  As usual , Tim’s talk will be followed by our usual substantive Q&A session, which tends to be about 30 minutes.

Tim is Vice Chairman of  the HMC (the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference) , having previously been Chairman – www.hmc.org.uk – .  HMC represents the Heads of the world’s leading independent schools.  HMC exists to serve and support its members, to represent their views and to exemplify excellence in education. In particular, HMC seeks to promote and protect the independence of HMC schools, promote the discussion of national and international educational issues; and, importantly, influence policy and public opinion with regard to the independent sector. HMC Vice chairman, Dr Tim Hands is also Master of Magdalen College School in Oxford.  He was co-chair of the HMC/GSA Universities Committee for seven years and Chairman of HMC for 2013-2014. Tim’s interests include writing (three books on Thomas Hardy, for example), sport (especially cricket and rugby) and music – he was conductor of the Oxford University Chamber Choir, the Schola Cantorum of Oxford, for three years, and is now Vice-Chair of the Choir’s Board of Trustees.

You can book here:-   The Eventbrite link coming here.  Tickets cost £69 + VAT.

You can bring a guest, if you wish – have a word with our office. The evening starts with Drinks from 6.15pm. Dinner will be at 7pm and Tim will speak to us at as close to 8pm as we can get with  formal proceedings scheduled to finish at 9pm – enough time for more conversations and/or to still get home in reasonable time!

As you will see from our website, Devonshire House was set up about forty years ago – and we re-modelled it last year.  The strong core purpose remains… we are Director-level professionals in leadership roles who have an instinctive focus on the human side of Enterprise. DHN members have a serious interest in all aspects of people at work and how people can flourish within whatever and wherever the work environment and context may be. I am sure that you would find many amongst our group both congenial company and professionally stimulating.

Your reasons for joining us on 28.4.15 are to do with the overall DHN offering – the Speaker, the Topic, the Director-level people you meet and good food – all  very much likely on  28.4.15!   We do hope you will be able to come.  I would be happy to have a conversation if you wish – or you can email me at charles.russam@DevonshireHouseNetwork.co.uk.

Our practice  is to distribute the guest list a few days before the Event and invite responses that will help us allocate people to tables (of ten) each (usually)with its own host, whose task it is to make sure that everyone is introduced to everyone else and there is an acceptable allocation around the table.  The table plan will be emailed shortly before the Event if we’re able to do that – otherwise, published on the night.  But if you have any special requests, let us know.  Reflecting forty years of Devonshire House ambivalence (!) on this sensitive matter, our re-modelling included this quaint but short mantra which seems to have gone down well – We are all open for business but being spotted selling is bad manners!

Best wishes

Charles

 


 

For a number of reasons, we postponed our DHN Dinner which we had scheduled for 26th March 2015 at the East India Club, 16 St James’s Square, London SW1Y 4LH.  Our guest Speaker has kindly agreed to a new date early in 2016, to be published soon.  Professor John Womersley, CEO of the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) which is a UK Government body and is one of Europe’s largest multi-disciplinary research organisations.

26.3.15

Our next Devonshire House Dinner will be on 26th March 2015 at the East India Club, 16 St James’s Square, London SW1Y 4LH  – We are delighted that our guest Speaker will be Professor John Womersley, CEO of the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) which is a UK Government body and is one of Europe’s largest multi-disciplinary research organisations.

The STFC goal is to deliver World Class Research, Innovation and Skills for the benefit of the United Kingdom and its people – and for the world more broadly. STFC is the largest of the seven UK research councils – comprising Research Councils UK – through which around £3 billion is invested in research every year in the UK.

Do you remember the Government banging on about ”a balanced recovery”? If you take the view that what this really means is that science, technology, innovation, high-tech manufacturing – all using research to push forward commercial and economic progress – is vital, then you won’t be surprised to find the STFC at the beating heart of this crucial process.

STFC’s annual budget for 2013-14 it is £489 million. It supports over 750 grants worth £450m and invests £100m in university research each year. It employs nearly 1700 staff, has 65 Live Patents at the moment, currently funds over 900 PhD studentships, and provides over 1700 academics with support in astronomy, nuclear and particle physics. STFC consists of four operations –of which The Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire which provides a thriving and collaborative environment for research in particle physics, space science materials, astronomy, photon science, computational and e-science. Biology, biomedicine and chemistry is the best known.

John will start by telling us what STFC does, where its impacts can be seen and what its target areas are and what the implications of Science, Technology and Research are for the future of UK businesses.  I have asked him to focus this on what he sees are the key issues  and which we can then discuss in greater depth in the Q&A part of the evening.  I guess that what Devonshire House people are keen to discover – particularly in the Q&A – is how their own firms can benefit from their research work – directly or indirectly – and what can we do to develop our thinking,  ourselves and our people to reap the harvests of world-beating new technologies of tomorrow.  I imagine that this will cover some quasi-political areas such as skills shortages, apprenticeships, immigration and state funding,  One practical example of where these new and exciting sentiments are being felt is with the increasing educational focus on STEM subjects. This is an extract from the website of The STEM Centre – Society appreciates that science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills are vital to building economic prosperity for the UK, by enabling innovation and technological advance. For young people, studying these subjects can help them fulfil their potential and open doors to rewarding careers. For employers, STEM skills are crucial in maintaining and developing business, increasing investment and achieving growth.

This is part of what the STFC say about themselves:-  Helping build a globally competitive, knowledge-based UK economy, STFC is a world-leading multi-disciplinary science organisation with our goal is to deliver economic, societal, scientific and international benefits to the UK and its people – and more broadly to the world. Our large-scale scientific facilities in the UK and Europe are used by more than 3,500 users each year, carrying out more than 2,000 experiments and generating around 900 publications. Our facilities provide a range of research techniques using neutrons, muons, lasers and x-rays, and high performance computing and complex analysis of large data sets.

You do need to have a good look at their website to appreciate the technical leading-edge enormity and complexity of what STFC does – www.stfc.ac.uk.

Note that due to sponsorship of this Event, we have been able to reduce our standard ticket price to £69 plus VAT. You can book here:-

You can book your place here.

Note that due to sponsorship of this Event, we have been able to reduce our standard ticket price to £69 – both plus VAT.

You can bring a guest, if you wish – have a word with our office. The evening starts with Drinks from 6.15pm. Dinner will be at 7pm and John will speak to us at as close to 8pm as we can get – with  formal proceedings scheduled to finish at 9pm – enough time for more conversations and/or to still get home in reasonable time.

As you will see from our website, Devonshire House was set up about forty years ago – and we re-modelled it last year.  The strong core purpose remains… we are Director-level professionals in leadership roles who have an instinctive focus on the human side of Enterprise. DHN members have a serious interest in all aspects of people at work and how people can flourish within whatever and wherever the work environment and context may be. I am sure that you would find many amongst our group both congenial company and professionally stimulating.

Your reasons for  joining us on 26.3.15 are to do with the Speaker, the Topic, the Director-level people you meet and good food – all  very much likely on  26.3.15!   We do hope you will be able to come.  I would be happy to have a conversation if you wish – or you can email me at charles.russam@DevonshireHouseNetwork.co.uk.

Our practice  is to distribute the guest list a few days before the Event and invite responses that will help us allocate people to tables (of ten) each (usually)with its own host, whose task it is to make sure that everyone is introduced to those who they do not already know.  The table plan will be emailed shortly before the Event – but if you have any special requests, let us know.  Reflecting forty years of Devonshire House ambivalence (!) on this sensitive matter, our re-modelling included this quaint but short  mantra which seems to have gone down well – We are all open for business but being spotted selling is bad manners!

Best wishes

Charles


 

DHN Event Review

Welcoming Angela Knight to DHN on 27.2.15

Supported by Partner Firms, lawyers Charles Russell Speechlys and Russam GMS, the Devonshire House Network (DHN), run by Russam GMS founder Charles Russam, welcomed guest Speaker Angela Knight CBE to its February Dinner Event held at the East India Club on Tuesday 17th February 2015. Angela talked to us about Energy, Angela Knight has been an MP, a Government Minister, Director General of the British Banking Association, MD of Energy UK as well as holding two FTSE NED appointments.

From a number of perspectives, Energy has now become a crucial item on our nation’s current agenda – more so as we approach the General Election.  No-one fully understands the impacts – negative and positive and sometimes both – of the major reductions in the price of oil now being played out with the – as yet unquantified – ripple effects through our everyday business and personal lives – and those of our businesses and the people who work with us.  Does this Government – or any new Government – have an Energy Policy? Many think not. If there is one, is it a viable one?  Will all our lights go out – and when?  Will we meet our green commitments – enshrined in law, now, for several years?  And what damage and cost will be incurred in that journey?  What are the relative merits of solar, wind, tidal, coal (still lots of it and still an important part of the mix) gas and oil?  What a shame that current nuclear plants will have been switched off before any new ones get switched on – and what a shame that the UK, which used to lead the world in nuclear technology, is now forced to buy these in from foreigners? (And just how financially sound are these overseas suppliers?)

The fact is that we don’t really know how all this is going to affect our own businesses, directly or indirectly – nor what would then happen when the oil price moves back upwards and when.  Director level people with influence need to decide for themselves where all this is heading and what the risks are.

As you will see from our website, Devonshire House was set up about forty years ago – and we re-modelled it last year.  The strong core purpose remains… we are Director-level professionals in leadership roles who have an instinctive focus on the human side of Enterprise. DHN members have a serious interest in all aspects of people at work and how people can flourish within whatever and wherever the work environment and context may be.

RGMS Managing Director, Jason Atkinson, says, “We are delighted to support Devonshire House and its Director level Dinner Events not only because it gives myself and my colleagues excellent opportunities to hear about topical business issues first hand from world class speakers but also to share these insights and some new knowledge with other top business leaders, affording us perfect opportunities to get to know our own clients better and in congenial surroundings.”

Atkinson also adds that, having worked for many years with Charles Russam in the Russam GMS business, he hopes that the remodelled Devonshire House, under his direction and management, continues to flourish with its carefully conceived formula built around a high-level Speaker, a carefully selected topic, the prestigious venue, good food and, above all, with other Director-level decision-makers sharing the event.

Charles Russam sums up the mood of the evening, concluding that there was a view that, probably, we will simply leave it to the politicians in the hope that decades of dithering and indecision and the absence of any meaningful action will be replaced in true British “In one bound, Jack was free” style with a happy ending – painless, inexpensive, green and smoothly rolled out.  What a hope!  What a problem!

At least Devonshire House helped some top executives to get a clearer view of the issues – and, for all of that, we are grateful to Angela Knight.

If you think Devonshire House is for you, have a look at the DHN website and its forthcoming Speaker Programme: http://www.devonshirehousenetwork.co.uk/events-and-speakers/forthcoming-events/.  If you’d like to join us, send us an email – charles.russam@DevonshireHouseNetwork.co.uk

Best wishes,

Charles Russam
Managing Director – Devonshire House Network Ltd

 


 

Angela Knight, CEO of Energy UK

17.02.15 (please note the change of date from the 24th)

angela knight

Energy has long been centre-stage in the UK’s list of major national concerns – at all levels.  Are all our lights going to go out?  – has been the trendy question. Recently – and amazingly unexpectedly – the Energy world has been turned upside down with t unprecedented fall in the oil price.  We, who run businesses,  need to have a view on exactly what it means.  What are the real reasons, the real implications and how should we react?  We also need to have a view on when oil prices will reverse – and what will happen then.  Government, energy producers, scientists, environmentalists  and consumers all have differing views – as well as some common views – but mostly centred around the belief that we are all, in differing ways and to different extents, behind the curve in preparing for the futu