Aug 152014

Michael Horgan, Chairman of the Health & Safety Authority and Governor and Honorary Secretary of the Rotunda Hospital, has recently obtained designation as a Chartered Director, having successfully completed the Institute of Directors in Ireland (IoD) Chartered Director Programme.

chartered directorOver 470 participants have undertaken the Chartered Director Programme to date, which is now in its sixth year in Ireland, and having obtained his Certificate and Diploma in Company Direction, Michael went on to become a fully accredited Chartered Director.

Michael, who holds a BSc in Computer Science, an MA from the University of Dublin (Trinity College) and an MA in Industrial Engineering from UCD, is former Chief Executive of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. In 1999, in his role as Deputy Chief Executive of the RCSI, Michael proposed the development of an online surgical training programme, which has evolved to become Basic electronic Surgical Training (BeST), an online instruction programme for surgeons in training, which led to a joint venture being established between RCSI and Harvard Medical School.

Over his career, Michael has developed significant relationships throughout the Middle East and Far East, especially in Bahrain, where he was awarded the Order of Bahrain First Class, by the King of Bahrain in 2006. Michael was also conferred with Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in 2009.

Michael is Chairman of InterPay, the regulated entity of the Taxback Group, a non-executive director of eLearning company, Intuition, and was previously a member of the Senate of the National University of Ireland and a member of the board of Beaumont Hospital.

Reprinted from IFSC Article Published: 14/08/2014

Aug 122014

After 31 years with the Met Office, Chartered Director Rob Varley is to be the new CEO

chartered director rob varley

By Olivier Vergnault Western Morning News

Rob Varley is a weather man through and through. Meteorology and a love of weather patterns has always been in his blood.

Now, after 31 years with the Met Office, Rob is the Exeter-based organisation’s new CEO. Olivier Vergnault went to see him to find out what’s so special about the weather.

What’s your background?

I was born in the Cotswolds. Now I live in Mid Devon near Tiverton. I have three grown-up kids. My daughter is a mum so that makes me a granddad to a one-year-old girl. My elder son is a geophysicist about to start a PhD at Durham. My younger son has learning difficulties and lives in a very special community in South Devon where he enjoys pottery, weaving and looking after the chickens.

How long have you been working for the Met Office for?

31 years this summer.

How did you come to work for the Met Office?

My father was a weather forecaster. He joined the Met Office in 1950 and worked as a weather forecaster for 34 years. I grew up with the Met Office and my dad was obsessed with weather. It must have rubbed off on me. I studied meteorology at the University of East Anglia then joined the firm in 1983. My dad retired a year later.

What do you like about the study of weather patterns?

A lot of science is fascinating but can be a bit abstract. But meteorology is quite special. It is not like most other sciences. It is tangible. You can feel it. You can touch it. It is also an extremely challenging and complex science. You study the big problems facing mankind, like our changing climate and the impact it has on the environment. But at the same time it is also immediate and tangible. Whether it is the violence of floods and destructiveness of storms or whether it is the beautiful sunshine beaming on Devon while the sky is blue. It’s all weather, and the sky is our laboratory.

What does the Met Office do?

Most people will be familiar with our Public Weather Service, providing forecasts and warnings via TV, radio, web and mobile. But as well as this we provide weather and climate services to a huge range of customers in the public and private sectors and to international clients. This includes two-thirds of the world’s long-haul aviation and the UK military wherever they are serving – we have had staff in Afghanistan since 2001.

How does the Met Office make money?

We are a Trading Fund Agency within the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills. Eighty-five per cent of our revenue come from the public sector through trading agreements with various organisations such as Defra, the MoD, the Environment Agency, the Civil Aviation Authority, the Department of Energy and Climate Change. The other 15 per cent is from commercial contracts.

What is the Met Office’s turnover?

Last year it was £208 million.

How many staff do you employ?

We employ around 2,000 people, of whom 1,400 work in Exeter. This includes over 500 research scientists. We also run our own college to train the future weather experts from all over the world.

In your 30 years at the Met Office what has changed?

The science, as in other fields such as medicine, has improved tremendously. And our understanding of weather and the physics of the atmosphere continues to grow. This is helped by remarkable advances we have made in measuring the atmosphere – on land and sea, by in-situ measurement, radar and especially by satellites. TV viewers will be familiar with the animation of clouds across the map of Britain, but this is just a byproduct of the main task of our satellites: to measure temperatures, moisture, wind surface pressure, and atmospheric constituents across the whole globe with great accuracy. Then, of course, there is the enormous advance in computer power over the past 30 years – crunching the data using sophisticated weather models. Back when I started the computer was a helpful basic guide for the first day or two. Now our computers are remarkably accurate on a regional scale up to five days ahead and beyond. This helps us to spot major changes in the weather well in advance.

How important is accurate weather prediction?

Accurate prediction allows for better forward planning. Take for instance the St Jude storm which ripped through the South of England last October. We were able to predict it accurately five days ahead and so issue detailed warnings well in advance – this would have been impossible 30 years ago. As a result of our warnings, some train services in the South East were cancelled, and people were advised to stay at home. The storm brought down more than 200 trees onto the tracks – just imagine the danger and chaos for travellers if trains had been running.

And think back to last winter – the wettest ever recorded in England and Wales with some huge storms battering the South West coast. Being able to give accurate warnings to emergency services and communities likely to be affected by the weather helps save lives and helps minimise the disruption to businesses. That’s what really counts. The more accurate we can be the more people rely on our services and can plan appropriately.

Five years ago we were promised a full summer of barbecue weather. What went wrong?

Predicting conditions several months ahead is one of our big scientific challenges. It’s just not possible to forecast that far ahead with any certainty. All we can do is hint at how the odds are stacked, and in 2009 the summer didn’t follow the most likely pattern. Despite their limitations, our three-month outlooks can be useful for business planning, but we now recommend that the public wait until a week or two ahead before to get a useful forecast.

How do you make your weather predictions?

It’s a sophisticated scientific process, in three key stages. First we need an accurate view of the weather right now – all over the world. So we collaborate internationally to measure the whole atmosphere. Secondly, we use high-powered computers to calculate how the atmosphere will change over time. Finally, our expert meteorologists interpret the computer predictions and give advice to meet the particular needs of all our customers.

What will the new £97 million supercomputer do for the Met Office?

There is a huge untapped potential within our science. Today we just don’t have the computer power to use it. So with this more powerful computer we will be able to apply more sophisticated science and so improve the forecasts.

It will allow us to forecast today’s weather with greater accuracy, and also make more detailed climate change projections. This will mean better advice for the Government, companies and individuals of the coming changes – whether that’s days, weeks or decades ahead.

Can you predict the impacts of global warming?

When you talk of global warming it’s generally understood that if you double the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere you will increase the average surface temperature across the world by something like 3C. I imagine that what most readers will be more interested in is what’s going to happen in Devon and Cornwall. And not just to average temperatures but to the extremes of heat, cold, wind and rain. We want to know how frequent and how destructive the storms are going to be. We want to know how high the tides will reach.

That’s what planners want to know so they can build the right sea defences and be prepared. It’s the extremes which do the damage. On a world scale the science of global warming is clear and unequivocal. But our understanding of the local scale impacts is still developing and there is much more to do. That’s a key reason why the Government is investing in more computing power.

How closely do you work with other Met Offices in the world?

Very closely. Meteorology is a very effective international collaboration. We are all dependent on the weather and on each other’s data. The Met Office belongs to the World Meteorological Organisation, an agency of the United Nations. We share satellites, science, data and expertise. We also have specialist collaborations with many scientific institutions around the world.

Is there a universal meteorological prediction system?

All weather services use the same basic approach. Some run their own weather models and others collaborate to get the data they need. The Met Office leads the Unified Model Partnership with Australia and South Korea. Each country has areas of expertise and we all benefit.

As CEO of the Met Office, how do you take the role and the organisation forward?

The Met Office is a world leader in its field and I am hugely proud of that. We have 2,000 highly skilled staff who do an immense range of vitally important work for the UK and the world. I have great sense of responsibility on taking on the mantle of leading this organisation and continuing our great work. One of the main areas for development is our international work.

We are working increasingly in developing countries to help them develop their own weather services and be better prepared and better manage severe weather. Working in so many countries creates new challenges for us, but I am excited at the possibilities to grow our work and make a real difference both with governments and with the private sector.

Have you been involved with recent events around the world?

We worked closely with the Philippines weather service in July when a nasty typhoon was approaching Manila. When typhoon Rammasan hit, there were winds of 70 knots and 400mm of rain fell – that’s nearly half our average annual rainfall. Our work ensured that people and businesses were better protected by being better informed.

As a CEO of the Met Office that’s one of the things I want us to do more of. Working in the international arena to reduce the impact of natural disasters and to promote preparedness for the effects of climate change. If you can help countries be better prepared and minimise loss of life then it’s worthwhile.

Were you involved in the move from Reading to Exeter?

I led the project to build our Exeter headquarters. My role was to ensure a purpose-built building was constructed, on time and ready for moving 1,000 staff and their families down to Devon smoothly. I wrote the business case, ran the competitive process to find a contractor and an architect, and then supervised construction on site.

It was a £150m contract. I moved to Devon in 2001 before the first sod was cut, watched the building take shape and the Met Office relocated in 2003. It was stressful but exhilarating!

Was moving down to Exeter a good move for the Met Office?

It has transformed the way in which we work together, especially in term of sharing ideas, flexibility, and accommodating new things. Most people enjoy working here. The key thing is having motivated staff who want to come to work. We moved 1,000 people and their families from Berkshire – which of course was disruptive for everyone. Most people love being in the region. It is a great place to live and raise children.

What were the reasons to come to Exeter?

The cost of running a business down here compared with the South East is much lower. And for the staff the cost of living is cheaper. Services and housing are cheaper, there is less congestion and it is a beautiful part of the country to live. It is beneficial for the staff. We have world class experts working for us and we are particular about who we employ. So we had to make sure that our staff wanted to come to work down here. Our staff turnover is about seven per cent which is very good. It means we retain our staff. They are loyal to us.

When not busy managing the Met Office, what do you do?

Of course I have my family. And I love the outdoors – in all weathers! I love to walk on the moors and the coast, as well as exploring other parts of the UK. I travel all over the world in my work, but I still think Britain is the most beautiful place to live, and you can’t get much better than Devon.

Find out more about Rob by viewing his LinkedIn profile

Aug 072014

A holistic approach to risk management amidst global uncertainty


In today’s fast-moving, complex environment, risk executives must cultivate an understanding across all risks and
businesses. Business problems are multifaceted, interrelated and increasingly global. Executives must possess enhanced skills to identify and address a wide range of risks with an integrated approach and enterprise-wide perspective.

The RMA/Cass Business School Advanced Risk Management Programme exposes participants to a rigorous, yet inspiring blend of theory, practice and cutting-edge research, instilling knowledge and skills applicable to the real world of global business. In addition to its focus on known and quantifiable risks – credit risk, market risk and operational risk – the programme also concentrates on those risks which are unknowable and difficult to measure – business risk, strategic risk, and reputational risk. Cass has excellent links to City of London firms and institutions and is able to complement Cass faculty with guest faculty and senior level business practitioners, considered by their peers to be industry thought leaders.

Areas of focus for the programme include:

  • Risk management as a strategic competitive strength
  • An integrated approach to risk management
  • Fostering a culture and climate that openly communicates risk
  • A framework for rapidly responding to known risks and unraveling the complexities of the unknown
  • A focus on risk informed by global perspectives
  • Gaining a perspective on risk management and its implications for corporate governance

The programme will be led by Professor of Finance Stephen Thomas of the Cass Business School Faculty of Finance.
Professor Thomas joined Cass in February 2007, after being Professor of Financial Markets at Southampton University since 1996, and prior to that at the University of Wales, Swansea, from 1992. He is a member of the editorial board of  the Journal of Business Finance and Accounting and in a recent review was ranked 11th in Europe for finance research.

He is a director of Bear Stearns’ Global Alpha (hedge) fund, and since 1988 has been consulting editor of a range of
credit publications for FT Interactive Data. He is an examiner for the Investment Management Certificate of the Society of Investment Professionals, and author of the accompanying Official Training Manual.

this is an extremely well-pitched course and relevant to the sector”.

Will Jennings, Head European Risk Monitoring Unit,

Rabobank (2014 Programme attendee)

For more information or to enrol, please visit:


Curriculum Themes:

  • A Holistic Approach to Managing Risk Amidst Global Uncertainty
  • Global Economic Perspective
  • Outlook for Financial Institutions
  • A Risk Management Framework for Tomorrow
  • Risk Strategy and Appetite
  • What Shareholders/Investors Expect from Banks
  • Key Regulatory Developments
  • Governance
  • Risk Processes and Methodologies
  • Optimising the Credit Process
  • Modern Credit Parameters/Credit Risk Modelling
  • Counterparty Risk
  • Actively Managing Credit Risk
  • Market Risk
  • Liquidity Risk
  • Operational Risk
  • Firm-wide Risk Management
  • Stress Testing
  • Risk Data and IT Systems
  • Risk Management Skills, Resources and Culture


Varied and integrated teaching methods are used, including:

  • Project work
  • Presentations
  • Team-oriented learning
  • Lectures
  • Panel sessions
  • Case studies


  • Meet and network with executive peers to gain a diverse and thus broader understanding of risk issues
  • Broaden your knowledge of leading-edge theory and practice to increase your ability to create and sustain a high level of performance
  • Take part in focused learning which will result in advanced proficiency, leading to strategic advantages
  • Interact with renowned faculty and thought leaders to improve your decision making
  • Strengthen your ability to steer projects to completion through understanding the issues impacting your institution

“Good, well organised programme that touches on topical subject matter. Great presenters. Very imp r e s s e d ”. Reshma Shah
Senior Risk Manager, BNY Mellon
(2014 Programme attendee)


This programme is designed for participants who work in the financial sector in the UK, the EMEA Region or Asia and are senior risk practitioners or business-line executives on track for broader assignments within their organisation.

Candidates attending this programme must demonstrate significant leadership capabilities, subject matter expertise, and progress along a positive, long-term development and responsibility trajectory.

The programme is also considered suitable for independent non-executive directors of financial sector firms.


The RMA and Cass Business School

About RMA

Founded in 1914, The Risk Management Association is a not-for-profit, member-driven professional association whose sole purpose is to advance the use of sound risk principles in the financial services industry. RMA promotes an enterprise approach to risk management that focuses on credit risk, market risk, and operational risk.

Headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, RMA has 2,500 institutional members that include banks of all sizes as well as nonbank financial institutions. They are represented in the Association by more than 16,000 risk management professionals who are chapter members in financial centres throughout North America, Europe, and Asia/Pacific.

About Cass Business School

An integral part of City University London, Sir John Cass Business School is among the global elite of business schools that hold the gold standard of ‘triple-crown’ accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the Association of MBAs (AMBA) and the European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS). Cass is consistently ranked amongst the best business schools and programmes in the world which, coupled with an established 40-year reputation for excellence in research and business education, enables Cass to attract some of the best academics, students and businesses worldwide into the exclusive Cass net work.

Cass enjoys unrivalled links to the City. The outstanding quality of the learning resources, academic faculty and its City location make Cass an intellectual powerhouse, firmly plugged into one of the world’s greatest business centres, the ideal place to access and exchange the latest ideas, expertise, business practice and technical know-how. We have ready access to the people shaping markets and leading new trends. To enrich our programmes with new perspectives and experiences we draw speakers and course leaders from this extensive net work of people at the top of their professions.

For delegates attending programmes, London is a choice location. As one of the world’s leading cities, its rich history and dynamic cosmopolitan culture generate an exciting mix of cultural and social opportunities. A major transport hub, London is highly accessible from anywhere in the world.

For more information or to enrol, please visit:


Cass Business School
Executive Education
200 Aldersgate Street
London EC1A 4HD
United Kingdom


Programme cost: £5,500
The fee includes attendance, course materials, daily lunch and refreshments and a private dinner at a London restaurant.
As this is not a residential programme you will be required to arrange your own accommodation. Should you require any assistance in making your hotel arrangements, please contact Cass.

    • Monday 23rd February 2015: 10:00 to 18:00
      Opening session followed by welcome lunch, then in-class sessions and project work
    • Tuesday 24th February 2015: 09:00 to 18:00
      In-class sessions and project work
    • Wednesday 25th February 2015: 09:00 to 18:00
      In-class sessions and project work
    • Thursday 26th February 2015: 09:00 to 18:00
      In-class sessions and project work, followed by cocktails and dinner with a guest speaker
    • Friday 27th February 2015: 09:00 to 17:00
      In-class sessions and project work, followed by group presentations to a panel of experts


In the United Kingdom

Joanne Paktsun, Client Relationship Coordinator, Cass Executive
Education, +44 (0) 207 040 8711,

Caitriona Conway, Business Development Director, Cass
Executive Education, +44 (0) 207 040 8269,

Steven Shaw, Senior Regional Consultant, Europe, The Risk
Management Association, +44 (0) 1732 463875,

In the United States

Stacy Germano, Associate Director, Enterprise Risk Management,
The Risk Management Association, +1-215-446-4089,

Mark Zmiewski, Director, Enterprise Risk Management,
The Risk Management Association, +1-215-446-4085,

Aug 042014

Julie Nerney, Chartered Director, Non Executive Director: Portfolio Career

Julie NerneyAs thousands of athletes and millions of visitors prepared to experience the London 2012 Olympic games, it was Julie Nerney who was responsible for ensuring everyone could get to where they needed to be. As Head of Transport Integration for the London Organising Committee of the Olympic & Paralympic Games she was charged with delivering years of work in a matter of months.

Julie rose to the challenge, drawing on her vast experience in a variety of interim roles and non-executive positions, including becoming the youngest ever board member of an NHS trust. She specialises in business transformation and complex change, having worked with the Design Council, OfGem and the British Safety Council.

In this thought provoking conversation, Heather takes Julie back to where it all began, to talk about starting 13 businesses in 12 years and using the lessons of both her successes and failures to build her new portfolio career.

Julie is a business transformation expert, working as an interim leading complex change, large scale projects and organisational turnarounds in the private, public and third sectors; most notably playing a key role in the leadership team for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games delivering the transport operations across the capital.

Prior to that she was CEO of 14 organisations in the UK and overseas across 9 industry sectors and has experience of every stage of the organisational life cycle, from start up through to disposal, mergers and acquisitions. She founded 8 of the 14 businesses led as CEO, spending the first phase of her working life as a serial entrepreneur, founding her first business at the age of 17.

Julie’s portfolio career combines her interim work with a range of Non-Executive and voluntary positions. This includes roles as Chair of City College Brighton & Hove, Senior Independent Director and Vice Chair of Brighton & Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, and Advisory Board member for Peridot Partners.  She is also a business mentor for the Princes Trust and has three ambassadorial roles which are all centred on strengthening Board performance, diversity and capability – one for the Government, as a National Ambassador for Diversity in Public Life, one as a Chartered Director Ambassador for the Institute of Directors, and finally as Steering Group Member for the Two Percent Club in London.

Originally published by AIJ tv

Aug 042014

A Chartered Director is one of nine business leaders from Northern Ireland who has been selected by the Institute of Directors to represent the province in the celebrated UK finals of the Director of the Year Awards in London.

Brendan Mullan, Bryson Charitable GroupChartered director and company secretary Brendan Mullan, of Bryson Charitable Group, has already won the Non-Executive Director of the Year category at the IoD NI Director of the Year Awards, sponsored by insurance brokers, Abbey Bond Lovis.

The judges rated Mr Mullan, as a “highly professional and knowledgeable director who represented the highest standards of corporate conduct and values”.

The Belfast-based Bryson Charitable Group provides care to 400,000 people in need in Northern Ireland so that they can enjoy a better quality of life.

According to the IoD, with Mr Mullan’s professional guidance, Bryson Charitable Group has transformed a traditional charity into one of the UK’s leading social enterprises.

Brendan Mullan has been shortlisted for the Mid-Market Company Director of the Year category along with fellow Northern Ireland finalist businesswoman, Tracy Hamilton, from Mash Direct and a further seven candidates,

IoD NI chairman, Paul Terrington, congratulated each of the finalists saying: “It’s a delight to see so many inspiring business leaders, who represent such a vast range of local industries and sectors, shortlisted for the UK finals of the Director of the Year Awards.

“The number of local directors shortlisted for these awards is almost double that of last year, which is hugely encouraging in that more and more of our home-grown, local directors are of high enough calibre to rival their counterparts across the water.

“I wish each and every one of the shortlisted candidates success at the ceremony in October.”

Broadcaster and former Conservative politician Michael Portillo will host the awards on October 24 at the Lancaster London Hotel.

Members and non-members are welcome to book for this event and show their support. For more information, please visit

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