London, 17 November 2021 – easyJet plc’s company secretariat team has been named ‘Team of the Year’ at The Chartered Governance Institute UK & Ireland’s 2021 Awards, after helping the Luton-based company to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and emerge well-positioned to benefit from the post-pandemic recovery. The Awards, which were hosted by BBC Breakfast presenter and Strictly Come Dancing contestant Dan Walker at the London Park Lane Hilton Hotel last night, recognise those individuals and teams who have excelled in good governance, helping their organisations to better serve their stakeholders and local communities in the process.
Sara Drake, chief executive of the Institute says:
“Company secretaries make a significant contribution to organisational performance, in particular to the effective working of the board, yet the discreet nature of the role means that sometimes they can be an undervalued and underused resource. This is clearly not the case with the small, three-person team at easyJet, who have played a major role in supporting the easyJet Board through the trials of the COVID-19 pandemic. They had what one judge described as a “phenomenal” number of board and committee meetings, a cyber-attack, rights issue and takeover approach, plus Brexit, to contend with as the business fought for its survival. The team were in the thick of it all, making sure the board had the right information, at the right time, to make the right decisions.
“As John Barton, chairman of easyJet wrote in support of the team’s nomination ‘We have had an extraordinary 18 months at easyJet, with a range and complexity of issues which were uniquely demanding of the Board and management. This included over 100 board and board committee meetings, two General Meetings (as well as two AGMs in the same period) – and all conducted with altered working practices and using new technology. This could not have been achieved without an exceptional company secretariat team.
‘In a world full of uncertainty, continual change and personal stresses, they were the bedrock upon which the Directors and I relied to help overcome these challenges. This was not just a question of administrative excellence, but an appreciation of what was critical as opposed to merely urgent, and an ability to anticipate the needs and operational concerns of executives and non-executive directors alike. Under this most extraordinary workload, conducted under very high pressure, they maintained an aura of calm professionalism and personal affability, a combination which impressed all Board members. They were instrumental in helping get easyJet where it is today: well positioned to benefit from the post-pandemic recovery.’
“The easyJet team faced stiff competition from the four other company secretariat teams who were shortlisted for this award: AstraZeneca PLC’s Board and Corporate Support team; Chelmer Housing Partnership’s Governance and Assurance team; Coca-Cola Europacific Partners’ Company Secretarial team and National Grid plc’s Company Secretariat team. All of the teams shortlisted should be extremely proud of the fact that their hard work, skills and knowledge have been recognised by their organisations in this way. It is a clear sign that their boards and peers value their governance expertise and contribution to organisational success.”
The full list of 2021 Awards winners can be found at www.cgi.org.uk/awards
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