People & Business: You never know when a silent seether will snap

If you sit on a company board, there are several important questions you should ask yourself. Are you a "silent seether", who knows what should be said during a meeting but sits in silence, listening to other members make a hash of things?

Or are you a "quiet floater", saying nothing until the end and then agreeing with the majority view? Perhaps you're a "great debater", wasting hours on irrelevant topics, or a "really useless or dead hand", who should have retired years ago.

Patrick Dunne, a director at venture capital outfit 3i, has met all such types during his years visiting companies. Now he's put them down in a book published today, Running Board Meetings, which aims to show how such meetings should be run.

"I had just visited a company that was in difficulty and the board meeting was fairly awful. I decided I had to buy the chairman a book," says Mr Dunne.

"Then I visited a bookshop and found there were lots of books on meetings, but none specifically on board meetings. What worries me is that, with things like the Greenbury Report, a lot of boards are concentrating solely on corporate governance issues. They're forgetting to talk about the business."

As for the silent seether, Mr Dunne observes that they often threaten to resign but never do: "They just continue to sit and seethe. Until they snap."

So there it is - watch out for the quiet ones.

Robert Smith, president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland, is delighted to announce an operating surplus of pounds 359,000 in the 1996 annual report published this week.

No doubt Mr Smith is considerably happier in this role than in his other job as head of Morgan Grenfell Asset Management.

Just last month Deutsche Bank revealed a pounds 430m hit on its 1996 accounts due to the Peter Young unauthorised trading scandal at its MGAM subsidiary. Mr Smith was appointed head of MGAM after the scandal to help clear things up.

The bank still awaits a fine from Imro over the affair, which is widely expected to be over pounds 1m.

No doubt heading the Scots bean-counters is a breeze by comparison.

Hands up everybody who knew that Naafi had a financial services arm? And there was I thinking all it did was serve up grub and cups of tea to the armed forces.

The financial services side may have been around for only 20 years, but yesterday it was subject of a pounds 104.2m buy-in, leaving Naafi with 32 per cent of a new venture, Warrior Group.

Warrior will henceforth provide personal loans, motor insurance and financial advice to the rank and file. HSBC Private Equity forms the other partner.

Chairman of the new company is Ian Lindsay, OBE, a non-executive director of Naafi. He joined Naafi three years ago after a career in retail banking with Robert Fleming. Mr Lindsay says: "I served 20 years in the RAF volunteer reserve, while Bob Jones, chief executive of Warrior, recently retired as a major in the Territorial Army. There's a great RAF/Army rivalry between us, but I think I win because I was a senior rank to him."

The forces of political correctness move at varying speeds inside Norwich Union, it appears. A colleague of mine (let us call him Roger) and his wife have a joint mortgage endowment policy with Norwich. But only Roger has received a letter from the company on the vote for its conversion from mutual to plc status.

Roger and his wife also have a household insurance policy with Norwich. They were recently sent a cheque to pay for repairs to their house. The cheque was made out to both of them but they don't have a joint bank account so Roger inquired whether it would be all right if his wife endorsed the cheque over to him. "No," Norwich replied. "You can't get your wife to endorse it because the law changed last year to stop fraud."

Obviously the law relating to membership of mutual organisations was defined long before political correctness appeared.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
life
News
news

The party's potential nominations read like a high school race for student body president

Voices
A mother and her child
voices
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Arts and Entertainment
Cold case: Aaron McCusker and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvReview: Sky Atlantic's ambitious new series Fortitude has begun with a feature-length special
Voices
Three people wearing masks depicting Ed Miliband, David Cameron and Nick Clegg
voicesPolitics is in the gutter – but there is an alternative, says Nigel Farage
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
i100
News
people
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballI have never seen the point of lambasting the fourth official, writes Paul Scholes
Life and Style
Vote green: Benoit Berenger at The Duke of Cambridge in London's Islington
food + drinkBanishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turn over a new leaf
News
Joel Grey (left) poses next to a poster featuring his character in the film
peopleActor Joel Grey comes out at 82
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Assistant

£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...

Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive

£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...

Recruitment Genius: Technical Report Writer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Technical Report Writer is re...

MBDA UK Ltd: Indirect Procurement Category Manager

Competitive salary & benefits!: MBDA UK Ltd: MBDA UK LTD Indirect Procurement...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee