Sir Ian Cheshire, Government Lead Non-Executive Director & Sara Weller CBE, Lead Non-Executive Director, DWP

Sir Ian Cheshire, Chair of Barclays UK and Government Lead Non-Executive, will be in discussion with Sara Weller, Non-Executive Director of Lloyds Banking Group Plc and of United Utilities and Lead Non-Executive at DWP.

How does the experience of being a non-executive in the private sector compare with being a non-executive in a government department? What are the similarities? What is different?


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  • About the speaker

    Sara Weller is the Lead Non-Executive Director at the Department of Work and Pensions, and was Lead Non Executive at DCLG from 2010-2015, where she also worked on the Civil Service Reform Plan in 2012. Sara is a Non-Executive Director on the boards of Lloyds Banking Group and United Utilities plc, an external member of Council at Cambridge University, served on the Board of the Higher Education Funding Council for England from 2011-2017 and Chaired the Planning Inspectorate (an EA of DCLG) from 2014-3017.

    Sara’s background is in consumer and retail businesses within the private sector, with extensive experience of large scale leadership, delivering customer service excellence in a cost effective way, and digital commerce. She started her career as a graduate trainee at Mars, and became Managing Director of Argos Limited from 2004-2011, having held senior roles at Abbey National plc and J Sainsbury plc, where she also served on the Government Advisory Committee on Advertising and was a also Non-Executive Director of Mitchells and Butlers plc. Sara graduated with an MA in Chemistry from New College, Oxford in 1983.

    Sir Ian was appointed to the Board as a non-executive Director in April 2017.


    Sir Ian Cheshire was appointed Group Chief Executive of Kingfisher plc from January 2008 and left the group in early 2015. Prior to this he was Chief Executive of B&Q.  His previous roles at Kingfisher from 1998 onwards include Chief Executive of International and Development, Chief Executive of e-Kingfisher and Group Director of Strategy and Development.  Before Kingfisher he worked for a series of large and small retail business over 15 years including Sears plc, the owners of Selfridges.

    He has been Chairman of the British Retail Consortium, Chairman of the Prince of Wales Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change and President of the Business Disability Forum President’s Group. In addition, he chaired the Ecosystem Markets Task Force.  Sir Ian retired as non-executive director of Bradford & Bingley plc eight years ago.

    Sir Ian has won a number of awards including Lifetime contributions to retailing, green business and the Fortune WEF award for leadership in the circular economy. Sir Ian was knighted in the 2014 New Year Honours for services to Business, Sustainability and the Environment and is a Chevalier of the Ordre National du Merite of France.

    Other current principal external appointments

    • Chairman, Debenhams plc
    • Chairman, Maisons du monde
    • Senior Independent Director, Whitbread plc
    • Chairman, Menhaden plc
    • Lead non-executive director for the government

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