Saturday, 7 June 2008

Harriett and wine

If you are a keen fan of the aecvo website you will have observed the rather tasteful photo of me and James depending on your tastes you can view the charming Secretary of State for Work and Pensions or my tie.

But to weightier matters . As Chair of FutureBuilders I have been heavily involved in interviews for our new Board members . And we have pulled of a coup for the Chair of our Investment Committee . Harriett Baldwin was , until recently, Managing Director at J P Morgan , the investment bankers . She stepped down recently when Gordon Brown was threatening an election as she is also the Tory parliamentary candidate for Worcs West, so will become Elgar's MP at the next election . She is the brains behind the Tories plans on social enterprise , having written their policy with Greg Clark. She was name checked at the recent Green Paper launch by Cameron .

As well as chairing the Investment Committee ( which has full delegated powers ) she will be my Vice Chair . A pretty impressive line up at the top ; we combine the best of knowledge of the third sector and investment banking. I have to say I took to Harriett immediately when we had a one to one ; she said quite brazenly that she was the perfect candidate for me . And she was right . I like someone who does not mess around . And for someone who has been in the Fortune top 50 chief exec list I doubt she takes prisoners.

But that is not all . We have just announced our new line up . It combines such talent as Jo Wiliams of Mencap , Rob Owen of the St Giles Trust, a local sector body in South London , the irrepresible Craig Deardon- Philipps , ( the published social entreprneur ) and Anne Longfields of the children's charity. Then there are stars from the city . Rupert Evennet , who chairs the incredible BTCV , the volunteering charity and was at Merrill Lynch , the former Chief of Virgin Media ( who is now running Lynx venture capital ) Rob Banner who chaired Rethink and was in banking and then Peter Clarke of Charity Bank who gives us continuity with the previous Futurebuilders as he was on their Board.

I wanted a diverse board which combined talent from investment banking and venture capital and great people from the sector. And we have managed to get sector people from small , medium and large charities and a social enterprise . But to confess. We have done this at the expense of a perhaps too large a Board. But in time people leave so it will work out I guess. A challenge for the Chair. It will keep me om my toes ; but that is good . I do not like the supine. Nothing better than intellectual challenge to sharpen decision making.

But as we begin a new week tomorrow I am dedicating this blog to our Home Secretary , Jacqui Smith , who I like and who I hope will battle with the Puritans in her department . Pablo Neruda was a great Chilean poet at the time of the heroic Allende Government . I heard him read his poetry at the Royal Festival Hall in happier times before the evil Pinochet. He wrote on wine. This one is for you Jacqui as you write your persistent drinking Bill .

An Ode to Wine ;

I love the light of a bottle of intelligent wine
upon the table when people are talking.
That they drink it,
That in each drop of gold or ladle of purple,
they remember that autumn toiled
until the barrels were full of wine.

Time for lunch.

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