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The best chairmen have cool heads

Stefan Stern

Financial Times

12 February 2015 

PA Consulting Group’s Non-Executive Chairman, Marcus Agius, is quoted in the Financial Times. Marcus spoke to the FT’s Stefan Stern about the art of chairing boards.

Stefan asks Marcus about his experience leading a board during a takeover bid. While at BAA Marcus and his board initially fended off a hostile bid from the Spanish group Ferrovial in 2006, but accepted an increased offer later that summer. Marcus talks about why it made sense to keep more than just the core defence team involved: “You want people to feel they are getting all the information they can.”

Marcus explains that, as there is still a business to run, boards need to involve as many people as they can to maintain morale.

Talking about his experience with Barclays at the height of the financial crisis Marcus says that while speed of response was vital so was keeping the board together, meaning extra meetings were scheduled: “The key was to ensure all board members felt they had the opportunity fully to participate in the crucial judgments and decisions.”

Marcus goes on to discuss why boards are wrong to err on the side of caution in response to the financial crisis: “Management should know that, after the challenges, they have full support of the board.” 

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