'Put us on the corporate board', says Bubb

Government should force top companies to take on charity chiefs, Acevo leader argues

The Government should force large companies to recruit people such as charity chief executives to their boards in the wake of the economic crisis, according to the head of third sector leaders body Acevo.

Stephen Bubb told delegates at a lecture organised by the Demos think tank yesterday that recruiting more women, charity chief executives and community leaders would help corporate boards widen their range of expertise and prevent a repeat of the governance failings that have taken a number of high-profile banks to the brink of bankruptcy.

Referring to the huge pension secured by former RBS chief executive Sir Fred Goodwin, Bubb said: "Having charity chief executives on boards won't make a huge change, but if some of my members had been on the board of RBS, they might have said: ‘Can you repeat that number, Fred? Do you really need so much?'"

He said legislation was needed because previous attempts to encourage FTSE companies to voluntarily recruit charity chief executives had gone "absolutely nowhere".

In 2004, in the wake of the Government-backed Tyson report on making corporate boards more diverse, Acevo sent the top 250 FTSE companies a list of more than 200 charity chief executives willing to be recruited.

But only one company replied, asking to be removed from Acevo's mailing list (Third Sector, 30 June 2004).

Bubb said the sector was at a tipping point. He said that if it became more professional and transparent, and the Government recognised the huge progress it had already made, it could be at the forefront not only of mitigating the effects of the recession but also of leading the recovery and promoting new social models that would prevent a repeat.

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