Burness Paull assembles expert boardroom governance team

L to R - Donald McPherson, Sheelagh Duffield, Jennifer Adams, David Elston
L to R - Donald McPherson, Sheelagh Duffield, Jennifer Adams, David Elston

A new advice service dedicated to working with companies to enhance their boardroom governance has been launched by Burness Paull LLP.

The independent law firm has assembled a trio of consultants with exceptional experience in corporate business, both in legal and governance roles, to deliver the new offering.

They are: David Elston – who has advised PLCs, mutual and private businesses, particularly in the financial sector, and has recently worked with Santander and the Phoenix Group; Donald McPherson, former General Counsel and Group Company Secretary of FTSE-listed Alliance Trust; and Sheelagh Duffield, who has held senior executive roles including General Counsel and Company Secretary positions at Scottish Power plc, Scottish Television plc and The Miller Group Limited. Sheelagh has her own business, Savendie, providing governance advice and board evaluation services.

The new Burness Paull service is designed to support a broad spectrum of organisations, including major corporates with listed company obligations, privately held companies that don’t have formal governance structures in place already, and private equity houses which want to ensure they have appropriate governance in their portfolio companies.

The three new consultants join existing Burness Paull consultant Jennifer Adams, who provides governance support for pension scheme trustee boards, on an ongoing or project specific basis. Jennifer was formerly legal director at Aegon UK plc.

Commenting on the strength being added to the team, Gary Gray, Head of Governance & Company Secretarial Services at Burness Paull, said: “The demand for specialist governance advice has grown steadily in recent years due to new regulations that have put business ethics and good governance under more scrutiny than ever before.

“Failure to meet the UK’s increasingly strict corporate governance regime can potentially have a huge reputational impact, including an impact on share prices, as well as the legal issues for companies and potential personal consequences for directors.

“That’s why we have responded to client demand to provide a service specifically aimed at helping organisations protect themselves against such threats.”

With an in-depth of knowledge of the practical issues faced by businesses and their stakeholders, the trio of boardroom experts will offer the ability to work flexibly on specific projects and longer term requirements. 

Their expertise supports Burness Paull’s existing in-house team of 12 company secretarial and governance specialists, who already offer flexible arrangements including secondments to fulfil short-term resourcing issues clients may have in meeting their compliance and advisory needs.

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