The leadership of First Group Plc involves the board, headed by the chairman and four non-executive directors. The board supervises, controls and defines the further development of the company. The governance hierarchy involves executives, who focus on the performance of their specific functions, such as human resource management, strategic management, company-customer relationships, and others. Executives are subordinates to the board and the chairman.
The detailed information on the board members is presented in the annual report of the company (First Group Plc Annual Report, 2011). The board is transparent and professionals working in the company can get information on top executives and board members easily. The chairman and the board attempt to be close employees and use the internal information system of the company to communicate key issues to employees as well as to receive the feedback from employees.
Meetings and attendance
Meetings are conducted regularly. The attendance is normally high and close to 100%, unless some of the board members are on a business trip or occupied otherwise to perform their professional tasks and duties. Decisions are taken collectively as the board has to reach the agreement before the decision is taken. If the majority of the board disagrees with the proposed decision, the decision is discharged.
Non-executive directors and the senior independent director
Non-executive directors and the senior independent director focus on the control, monitoring and supervision of the organizational performance. They perform functions of control officers and supervisors, who prevent the risk of the misuse of power by top executives and deception of employees and subordinates of top executives. First Group Plc attempts to conduct its governance transparently and non-executive directors along with the senior independent director are responsible for monitoring the transparency of all actions and decisions of top executives of the company to make the governance transparent and effective.
The board of First Group Plc attempts to promote diversity but, at the moment, the diversity is still very low. The reason is the traditional orientation of the company on the UK market. Hence, the majority of the board are of the UK origin. To put it more precisely, 80% of the board are of the UK origin, while other countries, where First Group Plc operates remain under-represented as well as minorities working and living in the UK. Nevertheless, First Group Plc stresses its concerns with the professionalism of top executives and board members.
Information and training
The company focuses on training of its employees and managers to improve their qualification. In addition, training helps to open larger career opportunities for all professionals, regardless of their ethnic or cultural background. First Group Plc is very concerned with the qualification of employees and managers and training is strategically important for the company. First Group Plc also promotes information sharing within the company with the help of internal information system and network.
The remuneration committee provides compensation plans for employees and managers at all levels of the organizational hierarchy of First Group Plc. The remuneration committee offers compensation plans for employees working in the company, in case of employees’ leaving the company. First Group Plc offers compensations for employees fired by the company. In addition, First Group Plc has compensation plans for retiring employees. The company also develops the plan to offer health insurance, for employees working in the US.
The audit committee conducts regular auditing on the annual basis. The auditing committee controls the accounting and operations of the company. First Group Plc stresses its transparency and auditing committee’s reports aim to reveal the current performance of the company.
The accountability of the company is high and transparent. Annual reports of the company and key accounting information are available to stakeholders and the public. In such a way, First Group Plc reaches the high level of transparency. The detailed information on the accounting and the current financial position of the company helps to assess adequately its current marketing performance.