When is a non-executive not a non-executive? Ask Stelios!

You may have heard of easyJet. You may have flown with easyJet. You may be Stelios, in which case the public thinks that you own easyJet, but you actually only own a minority interest. The public also thinks that you’re the CEO, but actually you’re not even an executive director.

What you do own, if you happen to be Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou is approximately 66 million easyJet shares and the easyJet brand, which you licence to easyJet.

Sir Stelios is the public face of a company that he founded and grew to a state of financial health where it could buy its most bitter rival, list on the London Stock Exchange and generally grow up rather quickly.  He resigned as an executive director in 2003, becoming a non-executive.

In 2008/09, he had a major difference of opinion with the executive directors over the strategy of the company.  Having been outvoted, Sir Stelios (a non-executive director, remember) sought to increase his equity ownership of the company again to a level where he could appoint some favoured nominees of his own as executive directors; thus giving him (a non-executive director) effective control once again.

Sir Stelios was naturally acting in the best interests of the company as he saw them. The Tyson report lists four duties of a non-executive director (see our ExPress notes if these don’t trip off your tongue! /expand/14-p1_professional_accountant.html) These include scrutinising executives, but not sacking them if they disagree.

It all makes it easier to see why the UK Combined Code requires that non-executives should be paid a basic salary only and have no shares or share options in the company, as well as requiring you to wait at least five years outside the company if you’d previously been a senior executive there!

You are (probably) a liar...

Here’s a nice ethical question for you – have you lied recently? My guess is that you have. Now before you get all righteous about[..]

Zooming in...

At the start of the year zoom calls were relatively uncommon. Now though, with the global pandemic, they are a common feature of business life[..]

I'll stick to that...

New product innovation is vital for lots of organisations. Sometimes though the idea for a new product can come from unusual places. VELCRO is a[..]

Out of this world advertising...

Getting professional photos taken for advertising can be expensive but this particular photo shoot for Estee Lauder is expensive. Very expensive in fact. 4 hours[..]

An Apple for 100 Companies..

Whilst a lot of companies around the world are struggling or going out of business due to the Covid-19 pandemic, some are doing very well.[..]