Council member and Trustee
You could call me a bit of an odd job man. I’m director of an Asian-oriented investment bank, a Competition Commissioner, a disciplinary tribunal member over chartered accountants, President of an old trout fishing society, and, in my ordinary life, a passionate advocate of cycling.
In a previous life, I was Chairman of Sustrans, a cycling charity and an appointing body to the National Trust’s Council. When I retired I was asked if I’d be interested in becoming its appointed person. ‘Yes’ was my quick and simple answer. I was curious as to how the Trust worked, and it was a great chance to use my long-held interest in open space, and social and architectural history. I’m a long-held member of the Trust too.
As a Councillor, my role is to offer advice on new policies and proposals, and to hold trustees to account for their governance of the Trust. In many ways, we’re members of the Trust’s ‘parliament’, holding the keys to power but not powerful in normal circumstances. That may sound negative, but in an organisation with three and a quarter million members, it’s a very useful and important role.
It’s a position with real responsibility too. The Trust is a big business – albeit with non capitalist aims – and it requires business skills as well as sympathy for the conservation cause which underpins it. It has the considerable challenge of promoting long-term perspective in a frenetically short-termist world. That challenge is mentally stretching and immensely satisfying.