Photo: board meeting

I began by mixing non-executive and part time executive chair roles. The first non-executive/advisory role came through a contact with whom I had worked on a turnaround for 3i, who then recommended me to another PE house. The second was a part time executive chair role, also on a turnaround, working for an American PE fund with investments in Europe. This came from a previous chair with whom I had worked as his CEO. It was a short term project which has lasted nearly ten years and has now turned into a “proper” non-executive role. I have also had two long term non exec roles with the NHS, both of which were frustrating but useful in helping me to stop behaving like a CEO and develop some non-executive skills. I can think of two important lessons, the first is that you need to understand what it is that you are looking for and where you can add value, the second is tapping into your contact base. With the exception of the NHS roles all my opportunities have come through referrals from existing contacts in recruitment consultants, PE houses, or erstwhile colleagues.

Julian Nicholls

Portfolio Chair / NED including Deputy Chair Horsforth Holdings, Chair 1Life Management Solutions, Chair OBL Group - former Group Managing Director Reliance Security Group plc