John Dodds (chairman)
The committee met on four occasions during the year, primarily to consider the interim arrangements necessary to ensure continuity in Ian Lawson's continued absence and the further changes needed when Ian left the business in February 2018. For the majority of the year, whilst I was acting as executive chairman, Kevin Whiteman acted as chairman of the nominations committee, but I resumed my role as chairman on 1 February 2018.
The primary function of the committee is to deal with key appointments to the board, and related employment matters. The responsibility of the committee principally falls into the following areas:
- To review the structure, size and composition of the board.
- To make recommendations to the board for any changes considered necessary.
- To approve the description of the role and capabilities required for a particular appointment.
- To ensure suitable candidates are identified, having due regard for the benefits of diversity on the board, including gender, and are recommended for appointment to the board.
The committee's terms of reference are available on the Group's website (www.severfield.com) and on request from the Company secretary.
The committee had to consider interim arrangements to ensure business continuity following Ian Lawson's illness in March 2017 and, drawing on the succession planning work undertaken over the previous three years recommended to the board that Alan Dunsmore should be appointed as acting chief executive officer and Adam Semple as acting Group finance director. After Ian's departure from the business, the committee reviewed their performance during the year and recommended to the board that they be offered the positions on a permanent basis. As a result, one new board appointment was made in Adam Semple and the board has consequently been at full strength, and considered to be operating effectively all year. The board consists of nine directors, four of whom have been directors of the Company for less than five years.
We truly value diversity and a culture of inclusion at all levels within the Group. Our formally adopted equal opportunities and diversity policy sets out the key actions that will be taken to ensure we have a more diverse workforce throughout the Group. We consider diversity to include diversity of background, race, disability, gender, sexual orientation, beliefs and age and encompasses culture, personality and work-style.
We support the principle of seeking to increase the number of women on FTSE boards, and to improve women's representation in leadership positions. The Group, however, does not believe in the concept of gender quotas, our preferred approach being much more directed at the selection of the right talent, experience and skill.
In the sectors in which the Group operates, female representation at a board level is unusual and as at 31 March 2018, the board had no female directors. Notwithstanding this, female representation on our executive committee is two (18 per cent). The board recognises that gender diversity below board level continues to remain an issue, particularly in management and technical roles within the construction industry.
The committee ensures the continued effectiveness of the board through appropriate succession planning. The value of this work was borne out this year when the new chief executive officer and the new Group finance director were both selected from candidates who were part of our succession plan. We shall continue to undertake succession planning across the Group.
The committee (led by Kevin Whiteman) performed an internal evaluation using the process described in the corporate governance report. The results of the evaluation were positive, following the significant changes made to the board four years ago. The key points arising from the evaluation were documented and discussed with the chairman.
Chairman of the nominations committee
20 June 2018