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Diageo Board Evaluation

Diageo logoDiageo is the world’s leading premium drinks business, with an outstanding collection of beverage alcohol brands across spirits, beer and wine.  Strategically the business aims to drive top line growth and margin expansion in a sustainable and responsible way, whilst delivering consistent long term value creation for its shareholders.

Board Evaluation is undertaken to evaluate the effectiveness of an organisation’s top leadership team. It typically involves a review of the roles, structures, and procedures of the board, along with the behaviours of board members. In this way, shareholders and other relevant stakeholders (including the board themselves) can gain re-assurance that the organisation is being properly managed and/or obtain steers about areas for improvement.

The process for each Board Evaluation differs depending on the goals of the study and the context in which the organisation operates. Diageo wanted a light touch approach where the supplier would engage subtly, credibly and effectively with the board members. These conversations needed to encourage openness from very senior individuals with regard to the board’s performance, and also provoke reflection and challenge. Diageo was looking for a partner who brought an intrinsic understanding of the international nature of its business and the global character of the board. Most of all, they wanted an evaluation which went beyond ticking the boxes and gave them concrete views as to how they could improve the board’s effectiveness.

Wickland Westcott had undertaken the Board Evaluation for Diageo three years previously, so we were delighted to be invited back again. Diageo were keen that our latest evaluation drew upon both our earlier work, and the previous year’s internal evaluation they had conducted themselves. All of these requirements were defined in a tight brief specifying clear deliverables.

Diageo is not the first international business for whom we have undertaken a sequence of evaluations, and our experience in being able to bring a longitudinal perspective to board performance helped differentiate Wickland Westcott in their minds.
This latest Board Evaluation consisted of data gathering via specifically designed questionnaires, along with individual meetings with each board member. The findings were presented first to the Chairman, and then to the board as a whole.

The Chairman, Dr Franz Humer selected Wickland Westcott because “in the discussions with us they were thought provoking and showed a real desire to engage with the Diageo board in a way which we believed would help us improve. The results did not disappoint.” 

For a conversation regarding board assessment call Stuart O’Reilly on 0207 224 2071