RICHARD WESTLAKE

RICHARD WESTLAKE

MA (Oxon), AFInstD

Richard is the founder and Managing Director of Westlake Governance Limited, and brings enormous practical experience to his role, having been a board chair and director for more than 25 years in a very wide range of organisations. As a Board Chair, he has particular expertise and experience in leading transformational organisation change, across a range of sectors.

He works across New Zealand and Australia, and is increasingly in demand internationally.

Governance Advice

Richard brings his proven experience-based approach to resolving complex governance issues. He devised and continues to develop the highly regarded FICKS™ Governance Framework, a practical way of looking at the five main functions of a board:

  • F Future Focus & Strategy
  • I Issues, Risk & Opportunities
  • C Compliance & Solvency
  • K KPI Monitoring & Accountability
  • S Succession & Skills[1]

[1] For more on how to put the FICKS™ Governance Framework into practice, refer to http://westlakegovernance.com/what-we-do/

Richard’s specialities include:

  • Training and professional development for directors, chairs and boards, at all levels of experience, in New Zealand and internationally.
  • Working with chairs, and helping boards to improve their processes and increase their positive impact on the organisation – ‘we build boards into leading teams.’
  • Presenting authoritative, compelling and engaging conference and seminar talks worldwide, on topical governance matters.
  • Acting as a trusted, experienced adviser and mentor to board chairs and chief executives.
  • Preparing and presenting expert advice and testimony in complex corporate governance cases.

Products that Westlake Governance offers include:

  • Evaluations: user-friendly and practical board and chair evaluations, and assessing individual director contributions.
  • Reviews: insightful and actionable reviews of governance effectiveness and board and committee structures, composition, processes and effectiveness.
  • Board-CEO interaction: assisting new CEOs, evaluating CEO performance and helping to address board/CEO relationship issues.
  • Succession: assisting with board, chair and CEO succession planning and appointments.

Chairmanship and Governance

Richard currently chairs:

  • New Zealand Home Loans Limited, a subsidiary of Kiwi Group Holdings Limited, and
  • Co-op Money NZ, the provider of infrastructure and core banking systems for most of New Zealand’s credit unions and building societies, and managing most of New Zealand’s non-bank ATMs.
  • He is also the only non-Asian director of Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC Bank), one of the largest ‘universal banks’ in the Philippines.

Previous positions have included:

  • Chair of Careerforce Industry Training Organisation (2009-2019).
  • The first independent director of the Dairy Goat Co-operative (NZ) Limited, the world’s leading manufacturer and exporter of goat milk infant formulas (2009-2019).
  • A founding independent director of Kiwibank Limited (2001-2011).

He has also chaired a range of other organisations, including:

  • Leading software consultancy, Intergen Ltd;
  • The New Zealand Telecommunications Forum (‘TCF’);
  • Two State-owned Enterprises, MetService and Quotable Value, for the first few years from their establishment;
  • Crown Entity Standards New Zealand;
  • A large employee-owned engineering business; a biosecurity research joint venture with nine partners; and a professional performing arts company, Canterbury Opera.

Publication

In 2013, the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation published Richard’s book ‘Guidance for the Directors of Banks, written for ‘directors new to banking and bankers new to directing,’ aimed mainly at directors of banks in developing countries worldwide.

Executive roles

Richard’s executive roles have included nearly five years as Chief Executive of a regional bank in New Zealand, Interim Chief Executive of a regional council, and four years as Chief Operating Officer for the New Zealand operations of a leading British bank.

Much of Richard’s earlier career experience came through fifteen years’ merchant banking in New Zealand and Australia.

Early Career

Before moving to New Zealand, Richard gained his MA degree and a rowing ‘Blue’ at Oxford University, after which he trained as a fast-jet pilot in the Royal Air Force, winning the Sword of Honour and Queen’s Medal for his year.

His first leadership appointment came at age 22, when he was seconded from flying training to run a 4,500-person refugee camp at a British base in Cyprus.