Non-Executive Recruitment

BRE is the world's leading building science centre


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Our people are our greatest resource. There are around 550 of us and each has an important role to play in our drive for a better built environment...

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Non-Executive Director Role

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Piers White, Chairman, BRE Group

"As a member of the Risk and Audit Committee, you’ll have Board oversight of our new Risk and Audit function which will be tasked with delivering a more unified approach to risk management in particular."

Piers White, Chairman, BRE Group

Welcome

Thank you for your interest in this important appointment.

We are seeking to strengthen our Board at a critical time in BRE Group’s history as we collectively review and reset every aspect of our business.  This activity is not only a response to current market challenges, including EU departure and the Covid-19 pandemic, but also reflects our general need to re-shape, refocus and professionalise to secure our future.  We are very proud to approach our centenary and of the heritage of our business, but we recognise that we need to evolve to continue to remain relevant for our markets and customers. Given consistently disappointing financial performance in recent years, we are cognisant that unless we pay attention and respond positively to the changing world around us, ensuring that our offerings, capability and ways of doing business are modern, relevant and market leading, we will not survive in the medium to long term. 

It is now more than 20 years since BRE Group was privatised and ownership passed from the UK government to the BRE Trust.  Whilst we have much of which to be proud, not least our reputation for exceptional scientific capability, we have not to date transformed our business (either culturally or operationally) from the government laboratory we were, to the commercial entity we must be if we are to maximise our positive impact on the global built environment.  Whilst we are owned by a registered charity, we are a commercial entity that generates profit for purpose. We must be externally focused and agile moving forward, with a commercial culture and skill set that will enable us to maximise our intellectual capital for the benefit of our customers and stakeholders, whilst at the same time ensuring that we remain aligned to our overall purpose as an organisation.  Our business has become dated in many respects and we must respond to our deficiencies with a degree of urgency to ensure that we can look ahead and focus on future growth. There is a clear opportunity to have a substantial and positive impact on society through improved building safety and supporting the carbon reduction agenda,  but we must improve our business on all fronts before we can truly fulfil our fundamental purpose. 

Appointed a year ago, our CEO, Gillian Charlesworth has inherited numerous legacy issues (including inconsistent trading, under-investment and a substantial pension deficit) and these are all being dealt with swiftly and decisively as we move forward.  Gillian is currently leading a business turnaround programme to this end, making changes to her executive team, delivering efficiencies through reducing costs and introducing new ways of working to protect the business at an unprecedented time.  The progress of her leadership team in this regard has been impressive and the company’s trading position has shown some significant improvement. We traded profitably in 2019/20 and have done so in the first three months of this financial year despite the crisis.  However, whilst we’re confident that we’re moving in the right direction, there is still much to do to secure further efficiencies and set the scene for future profitable growth. 

The Board has a substantial role to play in overseeing the direction, performance and governance of BRE Group at this challenging time, but it too is subject to refocus and improvement.  Our appointment of a high-calibre Non-Executive Director – Risk and Audit will serve to strengthen the Board as we set new standards of professionalism in support of required business progress and best practice. 

As a member of the Risk and Audit Committee, you’ll have Board oversight of our new Risk and Audit function which will be tasked with delivering a more unified approach to risk management in particular.  You will bring an important new frame of reference to this end, ensuring that as a business, we are thoughtful about our risk appetite, proactive and joined up, investing as appropriate to anticipate and mitigate financial, operational and reputational risk. This is an important appointment in which you must build effective relationships with the Executive team in order to strike an appropriate balance between strong risk governance and business performance.  If this sounds like the opportunity for you, we’d love to hear from you.

Piers White
Chairman, BRE Group

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