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Meet Your Chairs

We talk to Alastair Naisbitt King, The IoD City of London chair, about the business leaders in his region


Why are you pleased to represent the IoD?

I am honoured to be chairing the IoD in the City of London. The principal focus of the IoD is to encourage strong and efficient leadership, both in business and governance across many sectors. The opportunity is huge, given the talent, diversity and energy of those of us who work in the City.

What’s the IoD’s role with the City’s business leaders?

The IoD City branch is international, diverse and unique. This branch is in the heart of the square mile and as such our members, stakeholders and partners regularly collaborate with the City of London Corporation and the government. The IoD City branch endeavours to engage our members with local and international businesses, trade missions, embassies and high commissions.

Tell me a little more about your members

Since the branch was founded in 1981 we have grown to 1,000 members who work in a variety of job sectors. These range from small businesses and start-ups to city institutions and governmental positions. In recent years the IoD City branch has attracted a diverse group of younger business leaders and we are delighted that the number of female members is on the rise, something we hope will continue. We have a higher percentage of members under 40 than any other Branch. Our members principal passions lie in the following four sectors:  China, property, financial services and young executives. They are particularly interested in international trade, innovation, entrepreneurship and corporate social responsibility.

What is so unique about your region?

The IoD City branch is based in the centre of the financial capital of the world. It is blossoming in areas such as Fintech, Green Finance and Islamic Finance. This is not only advantageous for our City members but for all of our members nationwide. The City is once again in a period of growth and it is an exciting time for innovation and entrepreneurial activity.

What does your region/branch offer business leaders?

Our branch not only has strong ties with Livery companies in the City but also with the City of London Corporation. Several IoD City Chairs have gone on to become Lord Mayors, including most recently Sir David Wootton.

We aim to host several events throughout the course of the year. These are always well attended. The events tend to be on general business topics or focused on one of our four special interest sectors. One of our most prominent events is our annual dinner, and the All Party Parliamentary China Group meeting at the House of Commons.

What are you most looking forward to, as IoD regional chair, in the next 12 months?

I look forward to working alongside the committee, with input from our stakeholders and decision makers to ensure that we can continue to build upon our events programme. I would like to further develop the four key sectors of interest for our members, whilst highlighting and promoting business innovation and achievement. I would like to strengthen our ties with the City of London Corporation, the voluntary sector and the Armed Forces.

Finally, what is your personal ethos?

I have three clear beliefs. Firstly, for a business to succeed it should have exceptional management and governance in place. Secondly, effective teamwork is crucial for creating and encouraging innovation. Respect in the workplace is essential for business success. Diversity and originality are the ways to differentiate business in this competitive market.

We talk to Reena Dayal, Acting Chair for IoD Central London.

How did you first get involved with the IoD?

I joined IoD Advance membership 3-4 years ago to fulfil a need I felt as I was at start up stage of my leadership coaching business - to be part of a business community. A lot of us feel that need when we transition from Corporate life, as I had, and are used to being part of teams and a global network. The blend of tradition, professional set up and friendly vibes I got in my first few visits as a guest had me intrigued and then I thought - what a gorgeous Pall Mall building this is. I was sold.

What is your vision for IoD CLB?

IoD CLB is supported by strong IoD leaders at national and regional level. Working with them and our members, my vision is to uphold the principles of IoD on strong governance, being an active voice for the London business community and offering valuable professional support and networking opportunities to members and non-members, within this metropolitan city that I love and the wider global community.

What advice would you give your former self?

Be more patient. Consciously live your values in every aspect of life and work. Continue to speak your mind. Stay on track - your vision is good.

What would you write in a letter to yourself for the future?

Glad you stayed on track and let wisdom guide you. You exist because you believed in yourself and collaborated with others. And, thank you for thinking big and always challenged the status quo.

What is the single thing you have found most useful in your business life?

The ability to collaborate with others. You learn more, you progress more, you think differently, you grow more and of course, together you win more!

Who is your hero / mentor?

My parents, my grandparents and my older brother are my heroes. My line managers have been my mentors. Currently my clients are my mentors - they teach me and inspire me into being more skilled as a leadership coach and trainer. And, yes I have a coach myself - not just one. A couple within IoD as well.

Why should anyone join the IoD?

If you want to be part of a membership community that is backed by a historic institution which stands for strong governance, professional development and being an active voice for the UK business community then the choice is clear - you should be part of IoD. This is an amazing network to build connections and friendships that would last a lifetime. The best part being no matter which branch you join you have access to all IoD events and networks. That being said, I encourage you to consider joining IoD Central London!

Why did you join the CLB Committee?

Two reasons really. The first being, one of my aspirations of becoming an entrepreneur was the personal need I had to do at least 25% of my time doing pro-bono work giving back to communities I operate in. The first few years of becoming an entrepreneur I mentored women in Africa through The Aspire foundation and Cherie Blair foundation for Women. At the time I joined IoD as a member I was thinking of a new pro-bono role and approached by two committee members who explained that IoD was going through transformation and were looking for diverse talent to support this agenda. Transformation has been my forte in my erstwhile life as HR Director across sectors and diversity is in my blood. I attended a couple of meetings and immediately felt it was a good time to be part of the IoD and support its evolution as pro-bono Committee member. This was around 2018.

Who is IoD Central London?

The IoD is a membership organisation that has a very strong presence in UK and also present another countries. In the UK there are difference regions, one of the largest being London. Within this region we have two branches which allow members to engage effectively - IoD City and IoD Central London. Central London in currently the latest branch in the IoD with over 4000 members - one that I see growing at an accelerated pace in the next year as we fine tune the member value proposition.

Within the Central London branch we work actively on themes that are led by Committee members who are chairs to these ‘special interest groups’ I encourage you to review them and join them irrespective if you are a member or non member. Members obviously enjoy certain benefits and can be part of the pro-bono leadership teams however non members can equally be part of the community and engage in events and discussions and make new connections.

Our Special interests groups (SIGs) are:

  • Young Directors Forum (YDF)
  • Tourism and Hospitality
  • ERP/Digital
  • International Trade
  • Education

Is there a Central London Committee? How does it operate?

Yes, there is a Committee made up of IoD members and IoD staff. IoD members contribute their time and efforts pro-bono. The committee is led by a Chair and supported by a Vice chair. In addition its members have a specific role to play as well as contribute to the overall IoD Central London strategy and agenda.

We are are membership voice in and out of the IoD national team and members. It helps that we are all first and foremost IoD members.

We meet once a month on a set agenda which includes branch matters such as membership stats, budgets, social media, marketing & PR, new initiatives such as IoD’s new webinar channel and SIG progress/ events and updates.

If you would like to connect with the IoD Central London Committee then please contact us here