Executive Summary – Leadership Forums | 18th – 29th May

  • Thought Leadership

Willie Finlayson, Co-Founder, FWB Park Brown

Key Themes Emerging from FWB Park Brown Cross Sector and Function Forums

During last week our teams again arranged a series of interesting virtual forums, from which we are delighted to continue to have had some tremendous feedback from participants. There is no doubt that the opportunity to informally exchange views on the latest issues of the day (and there are of course many) with members of one’s peer group is proving both very interesting and invaluable.

Last week we held sessions for groups representing: Chairs & Non Executives, CEOs, CFOs, HRDs, The Charity Sector, Family Business, Business Development, Offshore Wind Energy and the Technology sector. All in all these forums touched more than 250 organisations across the country during last week – giving us a really interesting, up-to-date and informed view of where we are as a nation and as an economy.

A big thank you to Bob Brannan, Chair of the venerable Walkers Shortbread, for hosting the CEO forum – held by my colleagues Adam Brown and Michael Dickson.  Walkers have had much coverage during Covid-19, having chosen to close production, to fully assess the situation and then to get the business back up and running again – one of the first to do so. Bob’s insight into many of the issues and challenges they faced was fascinating and very helpful.

Special thanks also our friends at Charlotte Street Partners who we co-hosted on the topic  “Are your people remotely interested?” and to Danielle MacLeod of Remarkable Women on “Creating powerful connection and cohesion in virtual times”. Thanks also to my other colleagues Alix Meekison, Ailsa Sutherland, Graham Burns, Jamie Brown, Judy Wagner and Scott Black in Edinburgh and Stuart Cochrane, John Cameron and Nia Lynch-Cryle in Aberdeen for their great work in hosting these.


There were so many interesting points and observations made but if I were to pick out a few coming out of all of this I would say:

  • No matter the sector, there has been 10 years of planned (and often undelivered) change done in 10 weeks – which very few would have thought possible.
  • Most business leaders are crying out for less uncertainty and continued indicative dates when they can return to work. The scale of the economic collapse is becoming increasingly obvious. Getting back to work isn’t just an about business –  it’s about everyone’s wellbeing and for everyone’s sake.
  • Whilst business is right on top of controlling its new cost base, what it still can’t predict with any degree of certainty are its revenue streams going forward – and that continues to make planning, forecasting and ultimately key decision making very difficult.
  • The initial shock of the Covid / oil price ‘perfect storm’ has abated and commodity prices are slowly recovering. However the sector is really looking to 2021 with little prospect of a recovery this year. Continued diversification is high on the agenda, reflected in a large attendance at our Offshore Wind energy session, where Alistair Dutton kindly led the discussion.
  • In the ‘new world’  the roles of the CIO and HRD have never been at a greater premium.
  • Business (and this is the depressing bit) would be crazy not to have a ‘second wave’ firmly built into its scenario planning and a ‘V’ recovery will not happen – much slower than that….

For a downloadable copy of the above article please click here.

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FWB Park Brown
FWB Park Brown continues to deliver its full range of services which includes providing support and advice during the Covid- 19 Public Health and developing global economic crisis.
We have established a range of cross sector as well as sector focused discussion forums for Chairs, NEDs, CEOs and all the main business management disciplines.  We are also working closely with the Scottish HR Leadership Group to provide constructive support including discussion forums and Q & As.
Summaries of the discussions will be posted on our news section and also on LinkedIn.
For further information about any of these forums please contact us via enquiries@fwbparkbrown.com

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