Governance North

Creating a sustainable future


Tuesday 10 November 2020


Hilton Leeds City
Neville Street
Leeds LS1 4BX

Due to the changing circumstances around coronavirus (COVID-19), we have rescheduled this event for the 10 November 2020. The details below are currently correct but may be subject to change.


More than ever before, the work of governance professionals is taking place against a backdrop of fast change, innovation and insecurity. Not only do they have to deal with the challenges and tensions that come from operating in the boardroom, they also increasingly face some very significant, and often unexpected challenges.

Increasingly, boards are having to get to grips with issues that lie beyond traditional regulation and compliance – issues such as cyber security and data breach, modern slavery and supply chains, environmental and social governance, and the changing demands and expectations of customers and employees alike. These are very high-profile, complex issues and addressing them requires some cutting-edge thinking – boards cannot simply ignore them.

Join us at Governance North, a one-day conference in Leeds to discuss how organisations can create a sustainable future and ensure that their governance is fit for the 21st century.



Registration, tea and coffee


Welcome and introduction

Peter Swabey, Policy & Research Director, The Chartered Governance Institute UK & Ireland


Keynote: Forward with purpose

The idea that profit and purpose are mutually exclusive has been challenged in recent years as the public, stakeholders and regulators alike look for greater transparency about organisations’ social and environmental impact. This is borne out by studies which show that embracing a higher purpose is indeed a good thing. Our panellists discuss how and why organisations with a strong purpose outperform those that don’t.

Keynote Speaker:

Fiona Robertson, Senior Lecturer, Leeds Beckett University, Member of The Good Governance Academy


Trust me, I’m listed: Restoring purpose in corporate reporting

For many companies, reporting is viewed solely as a statutory exercise, a complex bit of coordination that draws on multiple teams to get the final report across the finishing line. In this session, we go back to first principles and explore some of the big questions around what reporting is really for, and how companies can produce informative, authentic and effective reports which engender trust with their stakeholders, and make employees feel proud of their company. 


Peter Swabey, Policy & Research Director, The Chartered Governance Institute UK & Ireland


Claire Bodanis, Founder and Director, Falcon Windsor




Networking break


STREAM 1: The company secretary forward and beyond

Do you consider yourself to be a pioneer, always moving forward, implementing new ways of working, finding innovative solutions to familiar problems and adapting quickly to new situations? Or would you like to become one?  In this session, our panellists ask: what does it mean to be a company secretary and a pioneer? How is the secretarial role evolving in the 21st century? And what skills and aptitudes are secretaries developing to undertake that role?


Liam Healy, SVP & Managing Director, Diligent


Anna Pridmore, Chartered Company Secretary and Governance Professional
David Whincup, Deputy Company Secretary, Provident Financial Group
Laura McNeil, Assistant Company Secretary and International Share Plans Manager, Blue Prism

STREAM 2: Workshop: Improving employee engagement

Government enthusiasm for having employee representatives on boards may have ended as quickly as it began, but recognition is growing that there is value in recognising employee interests – and that’s reflected not least in the latest iteration of the Corporate Governance Code. In this session, delegates explore how organisations can make their employees’ voice a key part of their governance best practice and consider strategies for effective employee engagement.

Workshop leader: Theodore Spyrou, Ashridge Associates


Panel: Facing up to ESG

In September 2019, millions of people around the world came out in mass protest, calling for urgent action on climate change. Along with the rising public awareness of modern slavery, it was the surest sign, if any were needed, that environmental and social governance concerns have raced to the top of the agenda for governments, individuals and organisations alike.

So how can organisations realise the importance of placing ESG at the heart of what they do?  How can governance professionals assist that and implement section 172 specifications such as how to predict the consequences of any decision in the long term run?


Sakis Kotsantonis, Managing Partner at KKS Advisors


Sam Plant, Company Secretary, Pz Cussons
Alexander Simpson, Legal Director, Amazon


Networking lunch


Building a cybersecurity culture: current trends and practical guidance

Recent years have been record breakers when it comes to the number of organisations experiencing data breaches. It’s a massive problem, and one which demonstrates the urgency with which organisations generally – and their boards, in particular – need to make cybersecurity a priority. In this session, we explore the importance of cultivating a culture of cybersecurity and data protection, and offer some guidelines on how to raise awareness in the boardroom.


John Noble, Non-Executive Director, NHS Digital




STREAM 1: Influencing in the boardroom

Experienced governance professionals are often called upon to play the part of trusted advisor, providing expert insight and constructively challenging and supporting the board. Their insights can be invaluable in creating an effective governance culture. But what about when toxic behaviours poison group dynamics in the boardroom? This practical and interactive session explores the critical role governance professionals can play in managing tensions at the top.

Anna Bateson FCG, Founder, Cutting through the grey

STREAM 2: Succession planning: The board’s role in nurturing talent

Recruiting new board members from outside an organisations is a good way to bring fresh perspectives onto the board, but it often means a lengthy process of search and induction, followed by a period of orientation and settling-in. In this session, we find out how organisations are investing in internal development programmes to nurture talent and create their own viable pipeline to the boardroom.


David Gracie, Director - Head of Global Entity Management Services at KPMG


Jane Rothery, Company Secretary, One Manchester
Annette Andrews, Chief people officer Lloyds TSB


STREAM 1: Workshop: Harnessing creativity and diversity of thought: personal introspective session

More than ever, organisations are aware of the value of diversity in the workplace, and are investing time and resources into recruiting from a wider range of social or organisational backgrounds. But what about cognitive diversity? How do you build a team of people who genuinely think differently? In this session, we explore how organisations can build and empower truly diverse teams and set up the conditions in which they can thrive. 


Rob Baker, Founder, Tailored Thinking

STREAM 2: Panel: Ensuring an ethical chain supply

The 2015 Modern Slavery Act was instrumental in highlighting the issue of forced labour around the world and the role that organisations need to play in ensuring goods and services are free of exploitation. But with modern supply chains so complex, how can organisations ensure they are robust, stable and ethical? How do they manage those extended relationships? And do boards give them the attention they deserve?

Moderator: TBC


Catherine Thomas, General Counsel and Company Secretary of the Travelodge Hotels group




Crisis management

All organisations will face a crisis at some point in their life. Ensuring management is ready to handle a crisis is an important part of the board’s risk oversight role, and directors may find themselves taking an active role if the situation spins out of control. Good governance means knowing where your weaknesses are before a crisis hits, and having crisis management planning firmly in place. So, is your board prepared?

Speaker: TBC




Closing remarks from Chair

*This is a draft programme and may be subject to change


Annette Andrews,Chief People Officer, Lloyds TSB

Annette Andrews is an experienced Senior Executive and Human Resources Professional; she has an MBA and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. She is also a qualified Coach and Mediator.

She started her career in HR at Ford Motor Company, completing 14 years in the Manufacturing Business and then four years in Ford Credit, the Finance and Insurance part of the Company. She originally joined Ford from University as a HR Graduate Trainee, developing through the HR function doing numerous generalist and specialist roles on a UK, International and Global basis. The experience gained whilst at Ford provided an invaluable and broad foundation for her career.

Annette then spent six years at Lloyds Banking Group where she had a number of roles within HR, including working on the team that supported the Integration process with the Bank of Scotland and three years as Head of HR for the Americas. On her return, she was appointed as the HR Director responsible for Recruitment across the Group.

She then moved to the Specialist Insurance Sector, firstly joining Catlin where she was the Human Resources Director for the UK, working with the business to develop the ‘People Strategy’ for the UK. She then became the Chief People Officer for the Lloyd’s Insurance Market reporting to the CEO; operating at Board and Executive level, responsible for developing and leading the Talent Strategy for the Corporation and Market. A very diverse and far reaching role, with considerable change achieved across the people agenda.

In addition, Annette has sat on advisory groups for the City and the UK government, spoken at conferences and events, and presented to senior leaders and HR professionals as a subject matter expert. She is a founder member of the HR Guild, is currently the Senior Warden and will be moving to the role of Master in October 2020.

She is a single mum with two sons who are now at University; she is incredibly proud of them and regards them as her greatest achievement. Outside work she is active in her local community, this includes providing pet therapy support to groups and individuals with her dog Barkley.

She has now founded ‘Acaria Coaching & Consulting’ so that her knowledge and experience can support individuals and organisations with Coaching, Mentoring, Mediation, Event facilitation, interim roles and specialist projects. She also enjoys speaking at events and participating in Leadership and Development programmes.

Rob Baker

Rob Baker

Rob is a specialist in bringing positive psychology to work and brings zest and curiosity to all that he does. He is the founder and Chief Positive Deviant of Tailored Thinking, a leading evidence-based positive psychology, wellbeing and HR consultancy.

Rob is world-leading when it comes to bringing job crafting to life within organisations. His work, ideas and research on how people can personalise work and bring their whole and best selves to the workplace have been presented at academic and professional conferences around the globe.

Rob is a Chartered Fellow of the CIPD and a Chartered Fellow of the Australian HR Institute. He has a first-class Masters in Applied Positive Psychology from the University of Melbourne and continues to research and collaborate with academics from the University’s Centre of Positive Psychology.

As a senior HR leader and consultant, Rob has delivered sector-leading and award-winning people initiatives and business transformation projects working with companies across sectors ranging from multi-national banks to digital start-ups.

An avid runner, Rob has previously competed on the international stage, having represented Great Britain in mountain running and orienteering. These days, Rob runs and cycles purely for fun and reflection and enjoys outdoor (mis)adventures with his family in Durham.

Anna Pridmore

Anna has worked at Board level supporting directors, providing governance advice and leading governance system developments. Anna has lead governance projects that have resulted in changes to understanding and arrangements within Trusts.

Anna is an associate member of the institute and has undertaken the Company Secretary Development Programme and has a post graduate certificate in Managing Health and Social Care.

Dr Fiona Robertson PhD, MA, CA, PGCAP FHEA, BA

Fiona currently works as a senior lecturer in accounting and finance at Leeds Beckett University. She is also an associate director of The Centre for Governance, Leadership and Global Responsibility where her research interests include Integrated Thinking and Reporting. She passionately believes that the focus of corporate leaders should be in the best interests of the long-term health of an organisation, which requires the recognition that the three dimensions of sustainable development, the economy, society, and the environment, are indivisible and integrated.

She is currently lead researcher on two funded research projects. The first project involves creating innovative solutions for sustainability in higher education and the second project aims to provide practical tools for implementing Integrated Thinking and Reporting in SMEs. She chairs an Integrated Reporting Group at Leeds Beckett University made up of practitioners and academics, who meet quarterly to promote and develop Integrated Thinking and Reporting.

She completed a PhD in Integrated Reporting in 2016, where she conducted 36 interviews with leading executive in seventeen FTSE 100 companies on their perceptions and experiences of Integrated Reporting. She has published several articles based on her research in leading academic journals and practitioner magazines and has presented her research findings at leading conferences.

She has previously worked for 25 years in senior finance roles in industry, with particular expertise in compliance, internal audit and project management. Fiona qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1988 and is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) Corporate & Financial Reporting Panel which represents ICAS in relation to financial reporting and broader corporate reporting issues and undertakes proactive initiatives to contribute to the debate on how reporting could improve into the future, to better meet the needs of stakeholders.

Katherine Thomas

Katherine Thomas

Katherine is General Counsel and Company Secretary of the Travelodge Hotels group, having joined in 2014 to build the group’s legal function.  Prior to that she spent 6 years advising on corporate law in private practice.  Katherine heads the growing legal team which provides support across the breadth of the business as Travelodge aims to become the favourite hotel for value.  She has a particular focus on strategic projects and compliance and is passionate about empowering her team.


Sakis Kotsantonis,Managing Partner,KKS Advisors

Sakis is the Managing Partner and co-founder of KKS Advisors, a consulting firm advising leading organizations on bold and effective strategies that pave the way to a sustainable society. Sakis leads a team of advisors in London (UK) through consultancy projects for clients including large corporations, investors, foundations and non-profit organizations. Sakis is a research partner to the High Meadows Institute, assisting with the Institute’s Future of Capital Markets project, which explores the role of business leadership in contributing to a framework for a sustainable capital markets system and has also served as a strategic advisor to the Rockefeller Foundation’s Revalue Ecosystems team. Prior to KKS, Sakis spent several years working for major consulting firms including Deloitte and IBM Global Business Services. Sakis holds a PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from Imperial College London (UK) and an MSc in Mining Engineering and Metallurgy from the National Technical University of Athens (Greece).


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SANNE’s Corporate Services business delivers high quality corporate services to its institutional client base through an experienced and dedicated team of professionals with specialist experience and expertise.

Our expert corporate services include Governance, fiduciary & administration services, executive incentives, investment & treasury services and regulatory reporting & tax compliance services as well as TISE listings.

Each area of specialism is led by directors with extensive industry experience and expertise in their field and our teams are made up of multi-skilled and multi-jurisdictional staff who are professionally qualified.

SANNE is delighted to be sponsoring the Governance North conference and we are looking forward to the event. Please get in touch with us should you require any information about the services we can provide:

Lucy Baird, Head of Corporate Services
T. +44 (0) 1534 700913   e.   W. 

Booking information 


Tuesday 10 November 2020


Hilton Leeds City
Neville Street
Leeds LS1 4BX


Attendee Category

General Admission 

(October 2020 - November 2020)

Summer Special

(April 2020 - September 2020)

Non-member £340 £270
Professional subscriber £295 £235
Member £250 £200
Student £90 £70

All prices listed above do not include VAT.


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