Last night at the Financial Times Non-Executive Director cocktail David Eldon, former Chairman of HSBC, Non-Executive Chairman for HSBC Middle East and Senior Independent Director at Noble Group discussed his views on boards, “the good, the bad and the snuggly”.
David has been on many boards across Europe, Asia and the Middle East and, though serious in his message, brought to the discussion honesty, humour and his great gift for storytelling. He had us all in stitches as he warned us of boards who treat their shareholderslike teenagers treat their parents, as a necessary evil inconveniently given to asking embarrassing questions from time to time! He had high praise for the long-term view of some family boards. Special caution was voiced for the risk to reputation of joining boards without proper due diligence.
In conclusion, Eldon left the crowd with these parting words from country music superstar, Toby Keith:
Ain’t no right way,
To do the wrong thing.