60 seconds with… Judith Greensmith CBE

Chair of the board

2 min read

Judith Greensmith CBE is Chairman of The Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospital NHS Trust.

What would make UK boardrooms more effective?

Boards need to be more efficient and streamlined, with fewer committees and greater focus on decision making. We need to rebalance the way boards spend their time, and in particular more emphasis should be given to considering how strategy is implemented. Strategic planning is vital, but it is the implementation of the strategy that determines its success — a great strategy is not great if it is not implemented well. We also need to dedicate more time to forward thinking, planning and longer-term issues.

Has the way boards operate changed much in the last few years?

Corporate governance has been brought to the fore with directors’ responsibilities being re-emphasised and a sharpening of the governance role they play. The pace of change inside and outside the boardroom has increased dramatically and so boards have had to become increasingly flexible and we’ve had to become smarter about the way we use our time and how we bring information to the board.

What single government policy change would you like to make to support British enterprise?

Banks must start lending again to SMEs, the engine of British enterprise, and the government needs to make sure it is encouraging our banks to do so.

Which companies would you back for the next decade?

I would back technology firms that have created, implemented and own their I.P. We have some great innovation in the UK but we need to get better at implementing and safeguarding our ideas to lock in their value. I would also invest in companies that are focused on a sustainable future and that have high quality leadership.

What was the smartest business decision you’ve witnessed?

It was a stroke of genius when Tesco launched the Clubcard in 1995. Tesco’s ability to capture customer data in such detail that they know what you’re doing and where has made them a supremely powerful customer marketing machine.

What book is on your bedside table?

I’ve had ‘A History of Venice’ by John Julius Norwich by my bed for a while. It’s something I dip into when I have the time and it is a beautifully written book, full of rich history.

What is your golden rule?

Always tell the truth and guard your integrity.

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