Nabarro has appointed its first non-executive director as a board member after taking on former Guardian News & Media director of international and business development Stella Beaumont.
Beaumont’s appointment is the first time the firm has ventured both outside the firm and outside the law for a board member and taking her on is an effort to glean strategic expertise from the commercial world.
The move is part of a growing trend among City firms to bring in non-executive directors to bring outside experience. In recent years firms like Ashurst and most recently Weightmans have hired in non-lawyers to their boards (13 March 2014).
Beaumont’s area of expertise is in digital media, after spending the majority of her career working on the Guardian online. She set up the Guardian’s first online publishing team after joining the trust in 1983 and was also responsible for establishing its first commercial online venture, recruitNet.
In 2000 she was made director of strategy and corporate development at the paper and launched a ten-year plan for the business.
Nabarro has grown increasingly engaged with technology since the appointment of Graham Stedman to sit alongside managing partner Andrew Inkester (17 October 2012). Steadman in particular is understood to be keen on technology and its uses both internally and with clients.
The firm’s management consists of a 12-strong partnership board and an eight-strong executive team headed by managing partner Andrew Inkester.
Currently three senior managers and one director attend board meetings but do not sit formally on the board. They are new COLP Iain Lowe, who took over from recently retired Anna Marshall this year, finance director and COFA Charles Furness-Smith and partnership secretary David Sargison, who acts as secretary to the board.
Adding non-exec directors is something more firms have been doing over the past year. Last month Weightmans joined the bandwagon, adding former chief executive of public sector procurement agency Buying Solutions as its first on-executive director (13 March 2014). At the end of last year Ashurst also added to the trend, appointing external members to its UK and Australian management boards for the first time (29 May 2013).
Stedman said: “Stella’s appointment brings a new perspective to the firm. Her experience of providing strategic advice at the heart of a sector undergoing rapid change will be invaluable as will her proven international track record. Equally important is her energy, warmth and rigorous intellect which combine to make her a formidable addition to our senior management team and a great new ambassador for Nabarro.”