Natalie Sykes, regional director, Institute of Directors
The IoD is on a mission to decentralise and embrace the UK regions and nations.
Just this week, we have appointed a national events manager, Rose Riley, to support the delivery of the IoD’s national and regional events programme.
Some may think that this is an extremely brave decision given the impending impact of COVID-19 on this very important sector to the UK economy.
However, in the times that we live in today where super storms and super viruses may become the norm, we still need to work, connect and develop. The question is more around how do we innovate our ability to keep calm and carry on in times like these.
Back to the role. This is a role that would traditionally be based out of our famous head office at 116 Pall Mall but Rose will be based in the North of England – in fact, at Old Broadcasting House, Leeds, home of the IoD in your region.
It’s quite a departure but one that is necessary, and hopefully the first of many such appointments. It’s an exciting development for us.
The new government places great emphasis on ‘levelling up’ prosperity across the UK, and I’m acutely aware of the need to rebalance the economy so that investment and opportunity spreads out from the capital and across the country.
Our new director general Jon Geldart has spent his first few months in the role touring the country, meeting members and laying down plans that will put the UK regions at the heart of his strategy.
The IoD is the UK’s number one organisation for business leaders and we hope to use our influence to encourage more people to look to the North as a ‘solution’ to borrow the phrase of Leeds City Region LEP chair and IoD National Council member Roger Marsh (who will be delivering our Annual Lecture at the Rose Bowl, Leeds, on 31 March).
We know our Prime Minister likes to make a big impression, so what better way to assure people that he is a man of action (rather than a purveyor of soundbites) by delivering on the government’s suggestion that the House of Lords could be relocated to York.
It has been reported that the Prime Minister’s chief of staff has visited the region to view a potential site.
We need to understand the feasibility of the idea and whether it would be a permanent or temporary move. And while we understand that such a move would not rebalance the economy overnight, it would send out an important statement that the government is serious about the concept of ‘levelling up’, following on from the news that it has committed ongoing support to the building of HS2.
I have long been a supporter of York as a business location. This former capital of England is superbly located and hosts our annual Director of the Year Awards – this year on 2 July at the Principal York Hotel.
The deadline for nominations and submissions is 30 March and I’d encourage business leaders from the private, public and third sectors to enter. Winning one of our awards is a fantastic accolade and those who triumph go on to compete at the IoD’s UK finals in October. Our new Regional Chair, Delroy Beverley, is a former winner and if you would like to meet him, join us on 16 March, 5.30pm at the Grand Hotel in York.
Our 2018 Non Executive Director award winner was experienced dealmaker Jo Haigh, founder and CEO of fds, who will be delivering our next Directors’ Skills Day, again at the Grand Hotel, York.
Jo will explore with delegates what it takes to become a board director and the top five things every director should know. We have limited places available – Yorkshire Post readers may take advantage of our members’ rate: https://www.iod.com/events-community/events/event-details/eventdateid/17519
• To enter the Director of the Year Awards Yorkshire and North East, go to: https://www.iodawards.com/yorks-northeast