IoD Branch Ambassador Introduction
IoD East of England are pleased to be represented across our vibrant and successful region by IoD Ambassadors who are specialists in their fields. Our IoD Ambassadors are charged with leading in a chosen topic area/function that is their expertise or focus, whilst also promoting the benefits of IoD membership and the CPD route to Chartered Director.
Below you will find an introduction to one of our highly valued Ambassadors who would be pleased to connect with you via Twitter or LinkedIn. Please contact the IoD East of England regional office for more information regarding becoming an IoD Ambassador.
Your name: Graham Kill
Your title/role and company name: Various roles in a portfolio
Your IoD branch: Suffolk
Your IoD Branch Ambassador roles: Chair of Suffolk Branch
Your social media handles e.g Twitter, LinkedIn etc: Twitter, LinkedIn
View LinkedIn profile
Q: How long have you been involved with the IoD?
For just over 10 years. I set about becoming a Chartered Director when I lived in China. I felt I had little to no formal education in being a company director even though I was a board member of companies all over the world. Having to comply with the USA’s Sarbanes-Oaxley Act requirements was a wake-up call to be properly educated. I passed the IoD’s Diploma in Company Direction in 2007 and became a Chartered Director. I am now a Fellow of IoD.
Q: Can you tell us a little about your career to date?
I returned 3 years ago to the UK after 24 years abroad to live and develop a portfolio of business and volunteering activities in the UK – my ‘third’ career.
I am: investor in and CEO of Conga in Ipswich; investor in and consultant with ScaleUp ; Chair of start-ups and scale-up technology companies; Seckford Foundation Trustee; Chair of Suffolk Branch of the Institute of Directors; and a Prince’s Trust Business Mentor.
My ‘first’ career (1983-1991) was a Mining Engineer managing underground operations in coal and gypsum mines in the UK.
After my MBA (1993), I joined the Naspers Group’s (www.naspers.com) FilmNet company, a European B2C pay TV group, in corporate finance and business development – the start of my ‘second career’. I joined Irdeto, a B2B media technology company, also part of Naspers, in 1995 as its CFO and Operations Director. I was Irdeto’s CEO from 1998 until my resignation (March 2015).
Whilst CEO, Irdeto grew from an engineering-led, in-house technology team (50 people) with US$25M annual revenue to a US$240M global, market-orientated company. The 1,000 strong team based in 25 countries served customers worldwide. The Irdeto team achieved this growth through: customer acquisition globally; new product/service introductions; diversification of the portfolio; and acquisitions.
My qualifications include: BEng (Hons) and MBA degrees; Diploma in Company Direction; Chartered Engineer and European Engineer; Chartered Director; Member of IMMM; and Fellow of the Institute of Directors.
Q: What do you hope to achieve as an IoD Branch Ambassador?
Whilst I fill in for Ambassador roles that we are seeking candidates for, my main role is as Chair of IoD Suffolk Branch. My focus is on making a successful transition from a Committee to a Leadership Team with a cross-sector team of Ambassadors. I am hoping that we will be able to realise high value from our volunteers as highly talented people that will spend less time on organising events and more on shaping our local economy.
Q: If you could give your 21 year old self some advice what would it be?
I am very happy with what the 21 year old me was doing at the time - managing a team of 25 guys on shifts on a 1.2m high coalface 1.5km underground - it was tough and dangerous - and I would not have changed that experience for the world.
Q: What keeps you busy outside of work?
My family - we have four boys so there is always something going on from watching a match to manning the rescue boat on the Deben for the rower in the family. Cooking (particularly Chinese food), sailing and volunteering.
Q: Are there any business related or policy issues that keep you awake at night?
I have been fortunate to work all over the world in good times and challenging times. Generally, we are all playing on the same pitch with similar conditions and need to adapt our play to the prevailing conditions. What does concern me is when the pitch is skewed in favour of one country versus another, for example, a regulation discriminates in favour of some companies and not others etc. I just have no clue how Brexit will pan out. I like to be optimistic that we can craft a fit for the 21st Century solution that allows Britain to thrive, but it feels that our pitch is getting waterlogged compared to others at the moment.
Q: Why do you think business leaders should join the IoD?
You join the IoD as an individual and not as a company. Investing in yourself and personal development are easy to sideline when leading a company. IoD is a great platform to avoid that sidelining. IoD’s Continuous Professional Development programmes are of a very high quality.