A conventional view of non-executive directors is that they govern from afar.
In today’s business world, particularly given the increasing risk, governance and public scrutiny environment, that simply doesn’t work, and it doesn’t exist at National Express. We believe that connection with and understanding of the business are key fundamentals for our Non-Executive Directors if they are to maximise their contribution to an effective Board. That’s why, as part of an ongoing development programme, we aim to take the Board out of the boardroom and visit the business twice a year. This increases the visibility of the Board and provides the Non-Executives with valuable opportunities to engage with local management and employees, and increase their working knowledge of the Group’s operations and market dynamics.
With this in mind, the Board went to Madrid in June to meet with ALSA’s management and various business teams. In September, the Board went to Washington DC and visited four of our bus and transit Customer Service Centres (‘CSCs’) in the area, and the local Safety and Training Centre. The Directors toured the facilities and received presentations from management and employees about the business and their role in the operation. They spent time with drivers and maintenance technicians gaining valuable feedback on the Group’s culture and values and how those are interpreted and exist locally.
The Directors also had a unique and insightful opportunity while in Washington to meet with Congressmen Holding and Rokita and Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers during an evening visit to Capitol Building. They heard relevant political views on Brexit and its potential impact on the future trading relationship between the US and the UK, and the importance placed on safe customer services in the areas of transport in which we operate.
In September, the Board visited Capitol Building in Washington DC and met with three Congressmen/women.
It’s always a pleasure and source of inspiration to meet our front-line colleagues and drivers – teams absolutely committed to the children and communities they serve. The stand out for me from the Washington trip was to see our investment in DriveCam CCTV being rolled out and in action. Already we can see the power of this investment, its contribution to driver learning and coaching and of course the early signs of a significant improvement in some of our safety metrics.
Jane Kingston, Non-Executive Director