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The 2023 Annual NED Debate


Wednesday 22 February 2023


16:30 - 17:00 - Arrivals & Registration
17:00 - 18:30 - The Debate
18:30 onwards - Drinks & Networking


WTW, The Willis Building, 51 Lime Street, London, EC3M 7DQ



On Wednesday 22 February 2023, the Non-Executive Directors’ Association (‘NEDA’) and WTW are hosting the annual NED Debate, in association with CMS and sponsored by Georgeson.


“This House believes good Chairman are born, not made”

Background to the Debate: 

Creating the ‘Effective Board’ is a central theme for all organisations, ensuring that they are well governed and well managed. The leader of the board is ‘the Chairman’ and so the simple equation to consider is “a good Chairman = a good Board.”

This post-Covid Annual Debate will seek to explore the role of the Chairman, especially how the role has evolved, including the language and terminology in current use – should reference be made to the traditional title of Chairman or what is seen to be more inclusive use of ‘Chair’ or even ‘Chairperson’? Given the pivotal nature of the role the essential factor is to make sure you have the right person in post. The problem is individuals may take on the role as the “next person in line”, rather than having the appropriate blend of capabilities - the knowledge, the skills, the attributes and the experience needed. Can ‘the Chairman’ be trained and educated, or are they born with the innate ability to draw on their personal traits and bring out the best in their team?


The Debate Chairman will be Barry Gamble who has previously chaired a number of NED debates. Alongside his board advisory and NED roles he regularly writes, speaks and leads debates about the challenge of boardroom best practice. The letters column of the Financial Times has published a number of his thoughts on corporate governance matters and he has also been Editor-at-Large at BoardRoom magazine. 

In adopting the debate format to explore this very topical issue we are recognising there may be a close parallel between a debate and a boardroom. In each situation, there must be careful listening, respect for the opposing view and an atmosphere of constructive challenge to allow insights to fully develop. A good decision will hopefully result through the examination of alternative approaches.


The formal debate style really has its place particularly when tackling difficult and contentious topics. The debaters will be speaking without ‘PowerPoint presentations’ or props and relying on words alone to persuade, win over and sway the Floor.


The Debate teams have been hand-picked to provide a broad range of views and perspectives.

Proposing the motion:

Page Nyame 

Criminal Barrister; 2020 Sunday Times NED to Watch; Vocalise, Koestler Arts; Former President, the Cambridge Union; and Trustee, National Children's Bureau, seconded by:

Justin van Wijngaarden                                                                           

Board Chairman of AQA, Board Chairman of Reliance Bank, Board Director (International) StoneX Group Inc.; previously COO and CFO at a range of international financial services companies, including Chief of Staff (International) at Lehman Bros.

Opposing the motion:

Richard Day 

Board Chairman of The British Honey Company; Board Chairman of Alchemac; President of Hayat Capital; Board Chairman at Eden Geothermal; SID and Deputy Chairman of ATOME Energy; Board Director at EGS Energy, seconded by:

Shefaly Yogendra                                                                                       

Chair of ESG Committee at Harmony Energy; Chair of Nominations Committee at Temple Bar Investment Trust; Vice Chair and Chair of Audit and Risk Committee at London Metropolitan University; Chair of Remuneration Committee at J P Morgan US Smaller Companies Investment Trust; Women on Boards Ambassador; Member of Advisory Council at Elevate City; FTSE 100 Women to Watch.

[Note: No one should assume that the Debater's personal views either do or do not coincide with the side of the motion for which they are arguing].

The Debate will be a lively, interactive session with an indicative vote on the Motion at each end of the formal debating process and in the past votes have moved and been swayed by both the debaters and participants from the Floor - we therefore encourage YOU to attend and to get involved and make a difference from the Floor.


WTW, The Willis Building, 51 Lime Street, London, EC3M 7DQ


16:30 - 17:00 - Arrivals & Registration
17:00 - 18:30 - The Debate
18:30 onwards - Drinks & Networking


“I really liked the format and the way it was facilitated and set up” 

“Excellent job and the format allowed more easily for contrasting points of view. The participants did a very good job - nice balance of views and styles” 

“I thought the debate itself was great with some very interesting leaders and proposals with great chairing by Barry 

“9/10... Don’t ask me what would get a 10/10, but you have to leave something to go for next time!”

“10/10 for a debate rather than a speech. Excellent choice of panel of speakers and inclusion of the floor” 

“Very well chaired by Barry Gamble. Brave speakers”

“This was a very good event, the speakers/debaters were excellent and the location very good”

“I enjoyed the evening and learnt a good deal. Nothing but good things to say about it!”

“A very good debate, superbly hosted by Barry!... I just disagreed with the result!”

Please note that attendee name and organisation details will be shared with WTW, CMS and Georgeson in order to process registrations for this event.

To book your place at The Debate please click the link above.




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