Gooch & Housego

Chair of Audit

Case Study

It was of key importance to the Board that Warren Partners presented a diverse list of suitably qualified candidates capable of chairing Audit Committee.

Background

Gooch & Housego (G&H) is an AIM-listed global leader in photonics technology and manufactures advanced photonic systems, components and instrumentation for applications in aerospace and defence, biophonics and life sciences, and industrial and scientific research sectors.

Challenge

Following the tragic death in 2019 of a Non-Executive Director (NED) on the G&H Board, Warren Partners were appointed to identify a replacement. The G&H Board had no female representation at that time and the NED requirement provided an opportunity to address the gender imbalance on the Board. It was of key importance to the Board that Warren Partners presented a diverse list of suitably qualified candidates capable of chairing Audit Committee. The process also coincided with the start of the pandemic and the first lockdown. Whilst the preliminary interviews were conducted in person, the final stage of the process had to be concluded via video which included G&H facilitating a “virtual” tour of the UK manufacturing site in Ilminster for the shortlisted candidates.

Outcome

The Board were delighted with the appointment of Louise Evans, an experienced Chief Financial Officer (CFO) who had recently transitioned to a plural career. Louise had recently become Chair of Audit for AB Dynamics plc and a Board Advisor to low carbon commodity broker, SCB Group. Her executive career as a CFO was varied and included both listed and privately owned technical engineering groups. Previously she was Group Finance Director of Williams Grand Prix Holdings plc and more recently, Braemar Shipping Services plc.

Peter Bordui, Chair of Nominations Committee said “Julia and the team were very easy and enjoyable to work with. We were presented with a shortlist of four female candidates who were all qualified to do the role but two proved to be a closer cultural fit. Julia was quite proactive in looking for ways to move the process along. I felt we had the right balance. Jo Meek did a fine job too with a number of things relating to logistics and scheduling.”


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