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Click here to read Brexit: An Extraordinary Disruption - Reflections from the Board Room

LONDON October 6th 2016 – Board members are still waiting for the impact of Brexit to hit but now is the time to act, according to new analysis from leading global professional services firm Alvarez & Marsal (A&M).

Building on its research with Henley Business School published earlier in the year (‘Boards in Challenging Times: Extraordinary Disruptions’), A&M analysed the boardroom response to Brexit through a series of interviews with seasoned UK executive and non-executive board directors, as listed below.

This analysis found that despite the likelihood that Brexit will take months or years to play out, there are some sectors already experiencing and reacting to the consequences to the referendum. Notably, the research highlights that some private equity funds, which tended to conduct greater quantitative analysis before the result, are already refocusing new investment into the Americas and Asia – seeing the UK and Europe as “too difficult”

Other findings reveal a ‘get on with it’ attitude in the British boardroom, with many directors asking that Brexit not be used as an excuse for delaying business decisions or poor performance.  One board member interviewed said: “The biggest worry in the short term is that it becomes the totem excuse.”

Malcolm McKenzie, Managing Director, Alvarez & Marsal said, “By analysing Brexit using the framework we developed with Henley Business School, it becomes clear that there are many factors yet to be addressed. What is crucial now, is for boards to continue to scan the horizon for the issues that continue to arise from Brexit, without this prohibiting their ability to act and deliver business performance in the meantime. Agility will be key for both the board and executives as they successfully navigate these disruptions.”

“When we undertook our research earlier in the year, one of the core principles identified for addressing a hostile disruption such as Brexit was to ‘generate pace’. No matter what extent your business is affected, boards need to act now – if your business is badly affected, start negotiating with suppliers now. If your business isn’t affected, seize the opportunity to get ahead of your competitors.”

The research defines Brexit as a series of ‘hostile’ disruptions, each with unpredictable knock-on effects for the board to manage. Whilst some of these disruptions have already occurred and been managed by businesses, such as major currency changes, there is more to come with implications for the wider UK economy still to play out. As the Prime Minister outlines the timescales for triggering Article 50, the majority of executives interviewed are focused on building sufficient agility into their businesses and leading successfully through this disruption.



About Alvarez & Marsal

Companies, investors and government entities around the world turn to Alvarez & Marsal (A&M) when conventional approaches are not enough to activate change and achieve results.

Privately-held since 1983, A&M is a leading global professional services firm that delivers business performance improvement, turnaround management and advisory services to organizations seeking to transform operations, catapult growth and accelerate results through decisive action. Our senior professionals are experienced operators, world-class consultants and industry veterans who leverage the firm's restructuring heritage to help leaders turn change into a strategic business asset, manage risk and unlock value at every stage.

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About Henley Business School

As the UK's first business school established in October 1945, Henley has distinctly addressed the challenges faced by leaders and managers in the private, third and public sectors. With an international presence in countries as Finland, Denmark, Oman, Dubai, South Africa, China, Henley Business School has focused on growing leaders across all sectors across the world to realise their full capability. The research undertaken by faculty on the nature and qualities of world class leaders is globally recognised. Thus the joint study with Alvarez & Marsal further adds to the unique position held by Henley concerning the development, coaching and mentoring of senior managers and public servants.

Participant’s Name

Current Role & Key Former Roles


Dame Helen Alexander



Non-Executive Director

Huawei Technologies (UK) Co Ltd


University of Southampton

John Barton


Easyjet Plc, Next Plc

Former Chairman

Cable & Wireless Worldwide Plc, Wellington Underwriting, Brit Insurance Holdings NV, Catlin Group

Sir Win Bischoff


Financial Reporting Council

Former Chairman

Lloyds Banking Group Plc

Former Chairman and CEO

Citigroup Inc

Stephen A. Carter CBE

Group CEO

Informa Plc

Non-Executive Director

United Utilities plc

Former CEO


Ann Cairns

President, International Markets

Mastercard Inc.

Non-Executive Director

Astrazeneca Plc

Former CEO

ABN AMRO Transaction Banking

Antonio Capo

Operations Partner

TPG Capital

Former Senior Director

Alvarez & Marsal

Bob Carnell

Managing Director

Kerry Foods (part of Kerry Group Plc)

Stuart Gent

Managing Director

Head of European Portfolio Group

Bain Capital Private Equity

Former MD

Avis UK

Board Member

Atento, ICBPI and Wittur

Former Board Member

Worldpay, Brakes and EWOS

Sir Peter Gershon CBE


National Grid Plc, Tate and Lyle Plc

Former Chairman

Premier Farnell Plc

Mark Gillett

MD & Head of Value Creation

Silver Lake Partners

Former Corporate VP

Skype Technologies, Lync

Stephen Hester

Group CEO

RSA Insurance Group Plc

Non-Executive Director

Centrica Plc

Former CEO

RBS Group Plc, British Land Plc

Jeff Hewitt

Independent Non-Executive Director

Foreign & Colonial Investment Trust Plc

Non-Executive Director

Cenkos Securities plc

Ian King


BAE Systems Plc

Former Non-Executive Director

Rotork Plc, Alvis Plc

Former CEO

Alenia Marconi Systems SpA

Jérôme Losson

Senior Partner and Global Head - Operations Team

BC Partners

Current Board Member

Car Trawler, OVS spa, Dummen Orange, Allflex, and Keter Plastics

Frank Meysman


Thomas Cook Plc, JBC N.V.

Sir John Parker


Anglo American Plc, Pennon Group Plc

Non-Executive Director

Carnival Corporation and Airbus Group

Former Vice Chairman

DP World Ltd

Former Chairman

National Grid Plc

Alan Roux

Senior Managing Partner

CVC Capital Partners

Advisory Board Member


Former Operating Partner


Lisa Stone

Partner & Member of the Portfolio

Management Team

HG Capital

Non-Executive Director

Achilles Group Limited

Former Director of Strategy & Business Planning


David Thomas


Barratt Developments Plc

Former Deputy CEO and Group CFO

GAME Group Plc

Former Group Finance Director

Millennium & Copthorne Hotels Plc

David Tyler


J Sainsbury Plc, Hammerson Plc, Domestic & General Group

Former Chairman

Logica Plc, 3i Quoted Private Equity Plc