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Editor’s Letter: Extracurricular activities

In this month’s issue of Financial Director we seem to have a lot of stuff about FDs doing something other than their job. We’ve seen a flurry of FDs taking on non-executive director roles among major companies – Ann Godbehere, the formidable ex-Northern Rock interim CFO, is the top story in our FD careers section while Cadbury’s outgoing CFO Andrew Bonfield joins Kingfisher as a non-exec and Diageo group FD Nick Rose ramps up his corridors-of-power cache with a seat at BAE. While auditors gear up to find non-executives for their businesses, following the Financial Reporting Council’s new code that requires them to do so, FDs could be in the frame for some of those roles. We’ll certainly be watching.

We also look at how FDs can contribute their time, not money, to the third sector. I had the pleasure of meeting the top finance bods at some leading UK charities to find out where they fitted into the Haiti response and how finance contributes amid a decade of natural disasters, conflicts and displacement. While chatting with Joe Ghandhi, head of finance for the UK arm of Médicins Sans Frontières, we got onto the topic of charities crying out for some sort of buddy system whereby corporate FDs would give a day each month across the year to come in and impart their skills.

This struck me as a great idea and one that FDs, in particular, benefit from. Those who might not be at the level of Nick Rose joining BAE as a non-executive, but who seek to extend their network and skills without the strain of committing to a very serious side career as a non-exec could find this work fulfilling, interesting and useful – and it could provide a few warm fuzzies as well. Read Joe’s guest column, ‘Charities could benefit from the experience of FD volunteers’. Let us know what you think – or if you’re one step ahead and already doing it.

Melanie Stern, Editor

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