Taylor Root UK Trustee network: An interview with David Morgan, Warburtons

Author Sarah Ingwersen
January 8, 2024

As part of our interview series for our Trustee Network, Taylor Root Partner, Sarah Ingwersen recently spoke to David Morgan, General Counsel and Company Secretary at Warburton’s about being a Trustee or involved in Governance for several different organisations – Leeds Beckett University (Governor), Impact Academies Trust (Member) and Gorse Academies Trust (Member).

What do your Trustee organisations do?

All the organisations I work with are active in education. The Trusts provide education across the age ranges from reception through to post-16 as well as professional qualifications and Leeds Beckett is active in research, knowledge transfer as well as bachelor’s and master’s degrees in addition to doctoral research.

Why were you interested in becoming a Trustee?

I started as a Trustee 15 years ago to learn and develop.  I wanted to pick up skills from a different setting and that required me to think differently to my professional practice as an in-house lawyer. I wanted to be in a different context that presented new challenges. I also hoped there was something about my background, knowledge and approach that would help the organisations I worked with.

Can you describe your role as a Trustee and what involvement you have in your organisation?

My role is holding the executive to account (a constructive challenge!), seeking to be a critical friend to try and ensure mission, purpose and values of those organisations are delivered upon and that the executive team are supported in the work that they do. Also, to critically challenge to help them think broadly about how they implement the strategy of the organisation. All of them have very traditional board structures: main board, audit, remuneration, nomination and finance committees. They all have external and internal audit, Chairs of committees as well as the main board. The role of trustee is similar to being a NED in a business.

What are the benefits to a General Counsel being a Trustee?

You perfect skills that you might already have. Whether that is problem solving in a different context, skills of persuasion, influencing, ability to take lots of information in a different context and understand it. It requires adaptation and the benefit is honing skills in a different environment and leaving behind the inclination to apply your specialism. It’s also about not being the lawyer in the room but being a trustee who is there to co-create in strategy and vision. What you can bring are the general skills lawyers have around problem solving, critical questioning, understanding core issues, asking analytical questions and helping people think through problems. You can apply a general skill set as a lawyer that is very applicable to a trustee.

If you are interested in a Trustee role or are looking to hire a Trustee position, please get in touch with Sarah Ingwersen to find out more.  

We want to reiterate that this is not a paid service and forms part of our referral programme, so please do not hesitate to get in touch. 

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