CIPR Corporate and Financial Group AGM - Chair's report - June 2016

14 June 2016

CIPR Corporate and Financial Group AGMChair’s report – June 2016

The last two years during which I have had the privilege of chairing the Group have just flown by – and I can’t believe the time has come for me to pass on the baton to my successor, Beth Saint.

In looking back over that time, particularly over the last twelve months, the Group has delivered a great programme of events that I hope has helped our members develop their skills, their networks and their careers.

Our programme of speaker lunches continues to be the backbone of our activities and in the last year we have heard from journalists including David Wighton (WSJE), John Foley (Reuters BreakingViews), David Smith (Sunday Times), Christian May (CityAM), Kirsty Good (Sky News) and James Ball (Buzzfeed).

We supported the CIPR’s Ethics Month through our social media breakfast where a panel of journalists and communications leaders discussed the new core skills for corporate communications. Our annual debate provided a different perspective on the EU Referendum, looking at the communications strategies with senior figures from both the remain and leave campaigns, complemented by Anthony Hilton and Deborah Mattinson.

Within a year of so many highlights, two things have stood out for me.?

  • Firstly, the Group’s 40th Birthday. Having the opportunity to celebrate, complete with cake and champagne, in the Palace of Westminster, was incredibly special. We were joined by so many past chairs and it was great to be able to reflect on how the Group has evolved and grown since its inception. I’m particularly grateful to Baroness Grender for hosting the reception and to Simon Lewis for being our keynote speaker.? 
  • Secondly, our sponsorship of Debating Matters. This is the second year we have co-sponsored the London Region heats of this competition together with the CIPR and the Public Affairs Group. I judged three heats plus the regional finals and I found it really inspiring to listen to young people properly debating and arguing over some of the key issues facing society today. I hope that the Group can continue to be involved with Debating Matters in the years to come.

The Group would not have been able to achieve any of this without the help and support of AXA and Newgate who have let us use their rooms for speaker lunches during the year, DWF who hosted our social media breakfast, Instinctif who have very kindly let us have our committee meetings and our EU referendum debate in their offices and of course Olswang who once again allow us to use their wonderful roof terrace for our Summer Party. We are also indebted to Kantar Media and in particular to Paul Barnes for their sponsorship, advice and support.

My own thanks go to the committee who have worked hard on all our behalves. They give up their time willingly to support the Group and have helped to contribute not just to our programme of activities but to the future strategy of the Group. In the last year we have welcomed Beth Saint and Louise Ray-Hill to the committee and said goodbye to Hannah Marwood. Tonight we also say thank you to my predecessor, Annette Spencer, and to Helen Tarbet, both of whom are standing down at our AGM.

I would like to say a massive thank you to Sue Owen, the Group’s administrator. I have no doubt I have tested her patience over the last two years but I am incredibly grateful not just for the help and support she has given me but also for everything that she does for the Group.

Finally, I would like to say a huge thank you for giving me the chance to chair the Group. It’s not just been an honour - it’s been enormous fun – and I hope that Beth and those who come after her get as much out of it as I have.

Simon Thompson

June 2016


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