I read Jim Davies’s piece on the value of a non-executive director with interest (DW 16 February). Navyblue invested in two non-executive directors in our tenth year – one based in Edinburgh with my partner and one working as a mentor alongside me in London. All the things quoted by Davies are relevant – the wisdom, the fat contact book and so on – but, for me, one of the greatest benefits has been in making me lighten up.
Being managing director can be a lonely job. Every day brings a new challenge and sometimes it is difficult to stand back and realise how well you are actually doing, and how well people in your team are doing. Having someone who is not afraid to breeze in and say, ‘Cheer up, you miserable bastard’ or ‘Did you remember to say thank you to the designer?’ is worth its weight in gold. Making me laugh and encouraging me to enjoy what’s happening NOW rather than always planning for the future. Davies is right – employing a non-executive can be very worthwhile.
Geoff Nicol, Managing director, Navyblue, London EC1V