My career has been in business, most recently as chief executive and chair of Guinness and, after the merger with Grand Metropolitan, chair of Diageo. I also spent six years as deputy chair of BT and was chair of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority.
I have always been interested in the power of education to transform people's lives. My family trust, the Minton Trust, was already supporting a St Giles Trust programme to help disadvantaged young people increase their skills and employment prospects when I was approached to be chair. I did my due diligence and was happy to accept in early 2009.
I see my role as supporting the management through advice, guidance, introductions and constructive criticism. I don't guarantee funding through my own trust or any other source, but I will help St Giles to attract sustainable funding for its work with offenders to help them build productive lives. At the end of my trust's funding commitment I will evaluate the results of the programme. I want to support programmes that are manifestly producing the intended results for their target audience and I would not want St Giles to run programmes that don't fulfil those criteria.
Being a chair is about much more than turning up to four meetings a year, and the amount of time you put in varies depending on the charity's needs and situation at any given time. I'm not sure how long I will be at St Giles: there needs to be a reasonable turnover.
It is still early days and I'm not in any hurry to prescribe any changes at St Giles. I have been greatly impressed with the dedication and professionalism of the St Giles staff. With that degree of commitment you don't go changing things in a hurry.