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Michael Spiers

The Board Directors' Programme

Michael, how did you come to choose Henley’s Board Directors’ Programme?

‘I was already very familiar with what Henley offers, having studied there whilst I was at Sainsbury’s and Centrica. So when I was promoted from HR Director to Chief People Officer at London City Airport, and wanted a programme that would give me insights and knowledge about the new challenges facing me as a board member, I knew Henley would have an appropriate programme.’

So did the programme live up to your expectations?

‘Yes definitely. Throughout the programme, the teaching style was excellent, ensuring that it maintained our interest. Andrew Kakabadse is a very credible programme director, who delivers so much great content with authority and clarity.

‘The outside speakers added an extra layer of breadth to the programme. Having knowledgeable practitioners talking about their challenges and issues meant it wasn’t just theory, but was a balanced learning experience with an engaging structure.

‘It provided me with a deeper understanding of the commitments and obligations that we, as individuals, face when we take on the responsibilities of being a board member.

‘And there is added value from networking opportunities, which provide real depth to the whole experience. Being able to discuss in an informal dinner setting the challenges that board directors face was a great additional benefit.’

What has been the impact of the programme, for you and for the airport?

‘From a personal perspective, I’ve gained a lot of knowledge and a greatly enhanced level of confidence that I am doing the job in the right way.

‘As an organisation, it’s crucial that we are seen to be acting with integrity and appropriate governance. I’ve already recommended the programme to a peer in the organisation.’

And what advice would you give to any prospective or existing board members who are considering this or a similar programme?

‘I’d say: do it. It’s an exceptional blend of practice and theory, so whether or not you’re going to sit on a board, it’s a very useful upgrade for your knowledge. I also sit on a school governing board and the crossover knowledge is just as applicable.

‘Henley has a wonderful campus, with a unique blend of cutting-edge teaching in a traditional learning environment. It’s a lovely place which is conducive to learning.’

Find out more about The Board Directors' Programme