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Could Your Business Benefit From a NED?


What is a Non-Executive Director?  

Non-Executive Directors (NEDs) are experienced senior executives who have a broad view of business and the sector and can reflect a good view of a business strategy. They are often a key element in business governance, making them the line of defence for decisions that can impact the business. NEDs have the same legal duties, responsibilities and potential liabilities as executive directors, more details of which can be found here: Being A Company Director

What qualifies someone to be a NED?

Plainly experience is a key element, the ‘been there, done that’ is important, but that can be from another sector sometimes, if it relates to the business or offers different but relevant insight. For example, retailers like to have NEDs from the supply chain, as agri-food businesses like NEDs from retail. However, process and discipline are important too. They should know about the key requirements of being a director, such as a fiduciary duty, so that they can set a good example of professional care.

Qualifications in finance and accounting are often seen as valuable. Marketing or HR backgrounds are also advantageous. The common theme is bringing expertise, insight and wise counsel to the business.


Are NEDs paid? 

All NEDs are different, and all businesses’ requirements are different. Some businesses may need lots of input from their NED, while others see the value of having a NED on a retainer or as a consultant on a day rate for a few days a year to act as that counsel. It is important to agree from the outset what is expected from both parties. 

Some SMEs might have an active investor who acts as a chairperson or NED to support their investment.


For how long should I appoint a NED? 

Because a NED acts as a critical friend, neither party will want the relationship to become too familiar and friendly, therefore agreeing a formal fixed term is a helpful way to avoid awkward “moving on” conversations. This also allows for different views and expertise to be brought into the business at different stages of the business lifecycle.   

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How do I know if I need a NED?

If you’re not sure that your business needs a NED, download and complete our Board Skills Audit below to identify if there are gaps in your business where a NED could be beneficial in helping you achieve your growth plans.  

Board Skills Audit Matrix

A company’s Board should be a team made up of complementary skills, knowledge, and experience. The Board Skills Audit records the level of skill, knowledge and experience of each Board member. The result will identify the gaps in the business.

When carrying out the Skills Audit, remember that governance is a ‘thinking’ not a ‘doing’ role, the skills and knowledge required are those that enable Board members to ask the right questions, analyse data and have focused discussions that create robust accountability. 

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Example Non-Executive Directors

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Experienced Managing Director in the food and drink sector, with a strong track record in general management and scaling up of high-growth food and drink businesses.  Grew a small farm business into a £100M+ global business. 


Areas of Expertise: 

Business Strategy; Commercial development; NPD; Marketing; Supply Chain; Operations; Governance; Investor Relations; Business Scale-up

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General Manager with over 40 years’ experience in the food industry covering a broad portfolio of management, commercial and technical expertise, with an appetite for challenging work and personal achievement. Extensive network connections in the industry enables knowledge sharing and best practice to be achieved. 

Areas of Expertise: 

Succession planning, streamlining systems and operations, increasing productivity. 


A 40-year career in the food industry with a broad experience of building and running successful businesses, including large multinational companies, encompassing a wide range of product categories, markets and routes to market. A strong background in operations management, category marketing, organisational design and development, strategy development and an understanding of  'what good looks like'.


Areas of Expertise: 

Business leadership, Building customer relationships, People and cultural development, Food Industry skills and Knowledge.

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An experienced, respected and highly productive senior commercially minded marketing professional with a reputation for delivery within the food and beverage sector - dynamic, inquisitive, considerate, and well organised. 



Areas of Expertise: 

Product, brand, category, shopper and retail marketing, including process/structure/tech/data approach for commercial excellence.

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A Chartered Engineer with over thirty years of working in food businesses, including executive roles in small and large firms, accountable for all aspects of operations and supply chains including procurement, owned and out-sourced manufacturing and logistics, health, safety & environment, food safety & quality, engineering & capex, product innovation and customer service.


Areas of Expertise: 

Operations, Supply Chain, Strategy & Change, Project Management

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42 years in the finance sector, including running own businesses twice. Financial experience has included debt, equity, mezzanine and asset-based funding investment, and solutions for start-ups to public limited companies.  In the last ten years has specialised in assisting companies through growth plans and although helped businesses in many fields, have spent a lot of time with food, drink and leisure businesses.  


Areas of Expertise:

Succession, building management teams, seeking the correct investment, growing a business.


Podcast: Mike Woods & John Taylerson

How do you know if your business would benefit from having a Non-Executive Director on board?  


Welsh business, Just Love Food, has not just have one but two NEDs involved in their business. Programme Manager, John Taylerson, sat down with the Managing Director, Mike Woods, to talk  about how NEDs have benefited and supported Just Love Food's growth plans. 


Next Steps

Has the Board Skills Audit shown gaps in your Board’s skills, knowledge and expertise? 

Does your business need a fresh and impartial perspective?

Do you need help to find new customers, business partners, suppliers, team members, or investors which can accelerate your growth?

Do you need help in assessing whether your business’s performance and strategy is sufficient to ensure that it is operating effectively?

Do you need help in finding and securing investment?

If you have answered yes to one or more of the questions above, then you may benefit from having a NED. Complete the expression of interest form below and one of our Regional Cluster Managers will be in touch to discuss further.  

Register Your Interest

To register, please fill out the information below.

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