Diversity is Britain’s greatest strength and should be our secret weapon in increasing our competitiveness in global markets and driving transformation in our organisations.
However, like the NHS, diversity has become difficult to manage and an under-valued national asset. Diversity can be open to misuse with so little information, either through quantitative data or lived experience as to why the benefits lie untapped.
Instead of leading an organisation and its people to continually evolve, with greater relevance and social capital, most target-operating cultures fall victim to ‘groupthink’ with a systematic lack of independent insight influencing and informing critical management decisions.
Through a prism of diversity, inclusion and engagement we can show how the UK’s productivity gap, when compared with the other G7 countries, might be reduced.
However, this lens requires greater confidence to view diversity as a leadership skill and greater competence to leverage it as a core management capability. To unleash the full potential of the talent we have at our disposal and in turn the organisations within which they operate, we need to ameliorate the conditions required for greater trust in corporate actions around diversity, inclusion and engagement.
The individuals in the TOP BAME 100 Leaders in Business list, and other leaders we have been tracking, have a complex role to play here, no longer just an inspirational symbol but rather a catalyst for transformation. These leaders, through their professional lives, create the conditions where authenticity of experience guide more trusted investments in diversity and inclusion and represent a counter-point to groupthink and echo chambers.
Also, by being recognised as both at the top of their profession and an ethnic minority, they have also taken away an easy place to hide for those who are conditioned to say that the ‘right level of talent’ is not out there. The existing culture and economic model of the executive search (and interim management) industries continues to perpetuate the fallacy that the easiest candidate to find and place is what the customer will most happily buy.
Our view is that forward-thinking, modern organisations require a wider, more considered choice. This approach not only futureproofs succession planning but also, through the challenging of assumptions, transform cultures,
values and teams and makes organisations more competitive and more relevant to the society and economy in which they operate.
Traditional head-hunters struggle with this as assertions that have worked for the premium brands for decades in candidate attraction no longer have the same pull factor and often seen as old-fashioned or ‘not for us’. Put simply, client and candidate expectations have changed and the traditional firms either don’t want to meet the changing needs or are so removed from the next generation of leadership talent, they are truly unaware of what it takes to influence them.
Against this backdrop the ability to find and retain trusted, inclusive, authentic and most of all highly effective leaders becomes paramount. As more and more organisations struggle to operationalise tangible business benefits from inclusion, engagement and diversity – the influence and power of leaders from different backgrounds is more critical now than ever before to show the power of difference and the value of change.
Those previously seen as curious anomalies, maverick one-offs or disruptors are fast becoming the bridge that clarifies how to turn aspirations into actions.
These Top 100 BAME Business Leaders stand not only as change-makers but also responsible actors, who through their personal success will allow Britain to fully realise its global potential.
CEO | GREEN PARK
ABOUT GREEN PARK
Since its inception in 2006, Green Park has become one of Europe’s most trusted suppliers of executive search, senior interim management and diversity and leadership development consultancy across the Private, Public and Third sectors. An award-winning supplier, Green Park has consistently featured at the top of the recruitment industry league tables, most recently named Diversity and Inclusion Champion at the Recruitment International Awards 2018.
At Green Park we are passionate advocates of the power of diversity as a source of competitive advantage, setting a benchmark for innovation and commitment to consistently attract diverse groups of appointable candidates. We invest heavily in producing original research to help provide statistically-validated data on the current state of the UK’s leadership and encourage wider conversation and debate around the topic of diversity and inclusion. This includes the Leadership 10,000 and the Public Sector Leadership 5,000, which analyse the ethno-cultural and gender diversity of the most senior positions in the private and public sectors; the FTSE 100 Diversity Index and the BAME100 Board Ready Talent Index.
Green Park’s research has found a distinct lack of an ethnic minority representation in senior leadership positions, as black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) professionals still face a number of challenges and barriers in and out of the workplace. At Green Park, it is our mission to break down these barriers and lead by example, encouraging other organisations to follow suit.
Our Top 100 BAME Leaders in Business report is designed to showcase the talent, experience and expertise of ethnic minority board-ready leaders who are chronically underrepresented in most of Britain’s biggest organisations across the Private, Public and Third sector organisations. It is also the recognition and celebration of much-needed role models who lead by example, driving social and cultural change by actively reaching out to communities, using their skills and networks to transform lives.
As a growing organisation, Green Park has made the important decision to place the promotion of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at the heart of our business. We have an impressive record as change-makers, tirelessly advocating and championing the acceleration of high calibre minority candidates into some of the most senior leadership roles in the UK’s top boardrooms.
Green Park applied a strict selection criterion to identify 800 ethnic minority individuals that comprise the talent pool from which the Top 100 were selected, with the majority occupying Director, Executive and Non-Executive positions.
To establish our shortlist for the Top 100 BAME Leaders in Business report, Green Park applied a propriety scoring methodology focussed primarily on two key areas: measurable success and leading by example.
Deemed to have the necessary knowledge to provide oversight in a governance role, individuals were scored on their ability to deliver sustained growth and profitability within an organisation.
The second area of focus is to identify proactive leaders that have impacted the world beyond their company by giving back to the community. The judges looked for individuals that have fostered dialogue and action across a variety of platforms, creating a positive role model for the younger BAME generation to emulate as they strive to become future leaders.
Judged by an independent panel of experts, the shortlist helped to identify candidates’ professional achievements and commitment to delivering positive change. The top scoring individuals comprise the final Top 100 BAME Leaders in Business.
MEET OUR EXPERT JUDGES
CHIEF PEOPLE OFFICER Tesco Group
Natasha is an experienced HR professional with 20 years’ experience at Tesco, enjoying a varied career with people at the heart of them.
Starting in a store Natasha has worked across a number of People/HR roles, from regional based generalist HR to functional leadership roles, always enjoying the pace and people retail environments bring. Her first directorship role was as Customer Service Director for the UK, enjoying operations so much she went on to be an Operations Director for retail support.
Natasha has recently been promoted from People Director for UK & ROI to the Chief People Officer for Tesco Group. A huge opportunity at an exciting time for Tesco and the retail industry.
As a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development, learning and having a curious mind is important for Natasha, as well as staying connected through a number of HR leader’s networks and forums.
WPP UK Country Manager MEDIACOM UK Chairwoman
Karen is a proven business leader with a track record in creating vibrant cultures, energising teams and consistently delivering business growth and success. She is currently UK country manager for WPP, the world’s largest marketing services group, and Chairwoman of MediaCom, the largest media agency in the UK.
Karen champions diversity and equality of opportunity throughout the advertising industry. In 2012 Karen launched the first ever government backed apprentice scheme for the sector.
In June 2014, Karen received an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday honours and in 2015 Karen was the first business woman to be named Britain’s Most Influential Black person in the Power List.
Karen is an external advisor to the UK Government Civil Service and a Business Ambassador to the Department of International Trade. Karen sits on the board for Creative England, is a Council Member for the Creative Industries Federation, and Chancellor of the University of Portsmouth.
NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR BBA Aviation PLC
Amee Chande is a senior executive and non-executive director. She was most recently the Managing Director for Global Strategy at Alibaba Group. Prior to joining Alibaba, Ms. Chande held MD/CEO roles at NutriCentre, a health and wellness subsidiary of Tesco, Staples UK business, and Marketside, a division of Wal-Mart.
She began her career as a strategy consultant with McKinsey & Company where she spent over five years advising a broad range of retail and consumer goods companies. Ms. Chande sits on the board of BBA PLC, and is on the advisory board of Living Bridge, an award-winning Private Equity Firm, and British Petroleum. She volunteers actively with the Girl Guides, and is a member of the board of the Kensington & Chelsea Foundation.
SIR KENNETH OLISA OBE
CHAIRMAN Restoration Partners
Ken is Founder and Chairman of Restoration Partners, the boutique technology merchant bank and architects of Inogesis formerly known as The Virtual Technology Cluster model. Ken’s technology career spans over 30 years commencing with IBM from whom he won a scholarship while at Fitzwilliam College, University of Cambridge. In 1992, after twelve years as a senior executive at Wang Labs in the US and Europe, Ken founded Interregnum, the technology merchant bank. He was elected as a Fellow of the British Computer Society in 2006.
He is currently Chairman of Interswitch (Africa’s largest e-payments company). He is a former Director of Thomson Reuters, a former Deputy Chair at the Institute of Directors and Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation (ENRC) where he coined the famous epigram More Soviet than City to describe the manner of his departure.
Ken is a Freeman of the City of London, Liveryman and Past Master of the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists, Patron of Thames Reach (for which he received an OBE in 2010), and Chairman of charity Shaw Trust. He was an original member of the Postal Services Commission (PostComm) and the Independent Parliamentary Standard Authority (IPSA) and is the Founder and Chairman of the Aleto Foundation. He is a past Sunday Times Not for Profit Non-Executive Director of the Year and was named Number 1 in the 2016 Powerlist’s roster of the UK’s Most Influential Black People. In 2013 Ken and his wife, Julia, endowed the Olisa Library at his alma mater Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge. In 2015, Her Majesty the Queen appointed Ken as Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant for Greater London and he was knighted in the 2018 New Year’s Honours List for services to business and philanthropy.
CHAIRMAN J Sainsbury PLC
David’s executive career from 1974 to 2006 was spent in financial and general management in Unilever, NatWest, Christie’s and GUS. Since 2007, he has had a Non-Executive career. He is currently the Chairman of two listed companies: J. Sainsbury PLC (since 2009) and Hammerson PLC (since 2013). He has also been the chairman of a private-equity owned company, Domestic & General Group Limited, since 2015.
He has in the past been Chairman of 3i Quoted Private Equity PLC and of Logica PLC, and a NED at Experian PLC, Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC and Burberry Group PLC. He is the CoChair of The Parker Review Committee on ethnic diversity on UK Boards. He has also been Chairman of Hampstead Theatre since 2012. He has an MA in Economics from Cambridge University, and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and a Member of the Association of Corporate Treasurers.