Wates Group, the leading family-owned construction, property services and development company, has strengthened its Group Board with the appointment of Sue Harris as Non-Executive Director.
Sue is a qualified accountant and chairs the Audit and Assurance council of the Financial Reporting Council. She will Chair Wates Group’s Audit Committee*.
Sue read Chemistry at Manchester University before joining Ford. After a spell at oil company Amerada Hess, Sue spent the next 18 years at Marks & Spencer rising to Group Treasurer and Head of Corporate Development.
Sue subsequently moved to Standard Life, where she led the company’s flotation process. More recent roles include as CFO of Cheltenham & Gloucester and Group Audit Director of Lloyd’s Banking Group.
Since leaving Lloyds in 2013, Sue has built up an impressive portfolio of non-executive roles, including at Co-operative Bank, Schroders and Co., FNZ (UK), the Bank of Ireland UK and Abcam PLC. She had a ten-year association with Mencap, where she gained experience of social housing – a key component of Wates’ residential and property services offering.
Sue’s appointment follows the recent publication of Wates’ five-year diversity and inclusion plan, which sets out an ambitious series of targets for the group. This includes the commitment to improve the gender balance of the workforce at all levels, doubling the proportion of women across the company by 2025.
Wates Group Chairman, Sir James Wates CBE, welcomed the appointment:
“We are delighted to have someone of Sue’s calibre and experience joining the Board and know that she will be instrumental in our continued commitment to upholding the highest standards of corporate governance in our sector. Sue’s background in finance, the automotive industry, oil and retail, where customer focus is paramount, will undoubtedly help us in our continued commitment to improving our customers’ experience.”
Sue Harris said:
“I am honoured to have been invited to join the Board of Wates, particularly given its close association with the Wates Principles for Corporate Governance for Large Private Companies. I am excited at the prospect of working with a company whose values sit so closely with my own, particularly in relation to the emphasis on sustainability and improving diversity in the industry. I am looking forward to getting started.”
*Wates Audit Committee:
The Committee’s primary concerns are: the integrity of the Group’s financial statements; the effectiveness of internal controls; the performance of the internal audit function; the performance and independence of the external auditors; and the Group’s compliance with legal and regulatory requirements.
The Committee has clearly defined terms of reference, which are reviewed annually. These outline objectives and responsibilities relating to financial reporting, internal controls, risk management and the application of appropriate accounting standards and procedures. Specific responsibilities include reviewing and recommending for approval the annual financial statements, reviewing the Group’s accounting policies, reviewing the effectiveness of internal controls, internal audit and risk management processes and reviewing the scope and results of the external audit.