John Nicholas



This year has been a much quieter and more stable year in terms of Governance activities after the past two years during which the Board was substantially refreshed and more formal Governance policies and processes developed and implemented.

This period of stability has provided an opportunity for me to focus on both the principal tasks and objectives that arose from the Board’s Strategic Review held in June last year and the recommendations that arose from the external evaluation of the Board carried out in September last year. Similarly, both Anne Thorburn and Andy Smith have this year settled into their new roles as Chairs of the Audit and Remuneration Committee respectively, following their appointments last year.

In June this year, the scheduled Board meeting was largely devoted to reviewing the progress achieved to date in addressing the key objectives and actions agreed at our Strategy Meeting held the previous year. One of these tasks related to the greater emphasis to be focused on finding high quality acquisitions and it was therefore very encouraging to have completed three new acquisitions this year which have both broadened  the Group’s activities into new geographies and market sectors. Overall I am satisfied that we have made good progress this year with delivering  a number  of the objectives we identified at our Strategy Meeting and we hope to continue with this next year.

We have an ongoing objective to ensure that the Board has an opportunity to meet with management and employees of our businesses by holding  at least one scheduled Board meeting each year at one of the Group’s operating companies. In March we visited the Clarendon facility in Leicester during which we received presentations from management of the Clarendon specialty fasteners businesses and had an opportunity to talk with employees who work at this facility. Further visits to our businesses have been planned for the next financial year.

Succession planning continues to be a principal focus of the Board. Following Iain Henderson’s retirement from the Board earlier this year, good progress has been made by the Chief Executive Officer in setting up a formal Executive Management Group comprising a small group of senior managers drawn from across the businesses. The Board is encouraged by the breadth of experience and challenge this team has brought to the Group’s operations and look forward  to continuing this development in the future.

The coming financial year brings a busy work load to the Board with Anne Thorburn leading the Audit Committee’s audit tender process as we approach the tenth year with Deloitte LLP as Company  auditor and with Andy Smith commencing the formal triennial review of the Board’s policies governing Directors’ remuneration. The result of the audit tender is likely to be announced later in 2017 and the proposed policies on Directors’ Remuneration will be put to shareholders  for approval at the AGM in January 2018.

Finally, as ever I do hope that as shareholders  in the Company you will be able to find time to attend our AGM on Wednesday, 18 January 2017. It provides an excellent opportunity to meet the Board of Directors and challenge them on any matters you feel are important to the development of the Company.

Read the full Corporate Governance Report 2016