A farewell to two board members and a tribute to challenging questions
The Chrysalis Fund is shortly to lose two stalwart board members, Deputy Leader Ann McLachlan and Cabinet member for regeneration, Malcolm Kennedy. Both are withdrawing to become Lord Mayor of their respective patches, Wirral and Liverpool.
The Chrysalis board was established to balance sector expertise with local input. Three private sector members with investment, finance and property expertise, combine with two public sector members who introduce the City Region’s priorities and experience into our discussions.
As the fund manager with responsibility for making new commitments, we expect tough technical questions from the private sector representatives; identifying comparables, what scenarios have we tested, why a build has cost increased; and probing on strategy from the public sector representatives; how does this fit our strategy for the blue-green economy, how will this meet our specific regeneration goals?
Ann and Malcolm are nobody’s fool as they probe on strategy, but what has set them apart is their ability to ask difficult questions beyond the strategy. Such as Ann’s typical, “Mark, will you describe for me in your own words the risks of making this loan?” or “Why would we want to do business with these potential partners?”
There might be a technical answer to these questions but you cannot hide behind them. Ratios won’t do. You have to lay out the pitfalls as if you are investing your own money, explain what worries you and why you have it covered. You have to admit your concerns.
These questions, launched with precision, have given the Chrysalis board its real quality, bridged the gap between the technical and the strategic and made the Chrysalis team think twice about making assumptions.
We wish Ann and Malcolm great success in their new role. Chrysalis will miss their questions and we hope their replacements are similarly insightful.