“Good Governance – Bad Governance” – the Aberdeen Conference

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Tesla Motors’ Chief Technical Officer, JB Straubel and Saul Klein – Former Partner at Index Ventures

I’ve been working hard so I gave myself the luxury yesterday of half a day off to find out about how good governance can help investors get more from their investments. Forget the swanky surroundings and the top-dollar grub, this was a day where I learned the real value of what goes right when you do the governance well and what goes wrong when you don’t.

As bad news sells better than good, one of the stars of the show was Michael Woodford who after a lifetime with Olympus, (the Japanese camera and healthcare firm) , was promoted to be President of the company. Eight weeks in he discovered a massive fraud and three months later he was fired by his Board and had to flee Japan to save his life.

Here he is – interviewed.


But Michael’s moving story was only one of four stories which have left me thinking.

The second was the testament of David Milliband on what is really going on in Syria and the Magreb. Milliband was brilliant, eloquent, concise and consistently on the money, a great panel session became a Q&A with 400 delegates with Andrew Neil and some quality journalists and economists watching on in admiration.

The third story was the account from Sir David Ormand – who ran GCHQ – about how Britain has not succumbed to terrorism (as Brussels is succumbing to terrorism).

But – for me personally, it was the session on nurturing innovation through start-ups which was best of all. My question to Tesla Motors’ Chief Technical Officer, JB Straubel and Saul Klein – Former Partner at Index Ventures was simple.

“How do I save my start-up company as I partner with firms many times my size”

The answers were simple but brilliant

  1. Keep your eye on the prize, it is what you want your company to be in 10 years that will guide you

  2. Make sure you have every commercial angle covered

  3. Stay in control of yourself.

As I rode home on my Boris Bike, I thought how this could be applied to governance in general, and concluded that this is all we can do when we invest in something- whether with our time, our money or with our love.

Thanks to Aberdeen – it was an exceptional event that showed your organisation for what I knew you to be, an organisation that invests properly. As an advertisement for your values, this could not be bettered – and your values are those I follow.

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About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen, Director of First Actuarial, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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