We talk to the chair of IoD South, and former CEO of EEF South, David Seall, about his achievements and personal business ethos…
Why are you proud to represent the IoD?
The IoD is a unique organisation because it has members working in all types of businesses, large or small, and in any sector. Those members decide to join as an individual, as a personal choice, rather than joining through their company and that’s something very special. The IoD upholds what’s best about business and is independent and democratic in how it decides its policy positions. It’s a great honour to work with the members, branch chairs and the executive team.
What is the IoD’s role for business leaders in your region?
Our main role is to encourage and help our members become better business leaders. We do this by facilitating events and meetings with subject matter that’s stimulating and enables the members to learn something new. We also provide ways for members to meet and share their ideas and experience.
Tell me a little about the members you represent.
IoD South has about 8000 members from sectors ranging from business services and manufacturing to pharma/bio and agriculture. We’re attracting more members in the emerging sectors that reflect the digital age we live in which is great. I’d like to think a proportion of future IoD members will work in sectors we haven’t even thought of yet!
What’s so unique about your region?
Although the region is closely linked to London, with many members working in or visiting London everyday, there is a substantial economy independent of the capital. The South is obviously a very successful region within the UK, making a substantial contribution to the national economy. It’s very competitive with comparatively high land and labour costs so, for businesses to do well here, they have to be innovative, efficient and progressive. There’s certainly a “can do” attitude within the membership.
What does your region offer business leaders?
We’re a leading policy voice in the region and participate in debates on topics including the economy, business support, innovation and infrastructure such including airport expansion.
We’re increasingly focusing on events and seminars that leave the attendee with something of value – whether it’s information on the economy, a valuable piece of professional development or meeting someone who could help their business or spark an idea. We aim for most of our activities to be eligible for CPD points.
What are you most looking forward to in the next 12 months?
Working towards the increasingly harmonised way that we organise and deliver our activities, furthering our work in the policy agenda to greater effect and meeting the person who’ll succeed me next year – to hand over the reins!
Finally, what's your personal business ethos?
For me, good governance is so important. It was interesting reading our first IoD Good Governance review, to discover that the companies I most admired were those that tried their best to do the right thing at all times – and most of them tended to have pretty decent results. For me, doing the right thing is always the best choice of action, no matter how difficult it might be at the time.