Ken Cherrett – Cifas

About Cifas

Internal-CIFASlogoCifas, the UK’s Fraud Prevention Service is a not-for-profit organisation. It provides the UK’s most comprehensive databases of confirmed fraud data (both internal and external) and an extensive range of fraud prevention services using the latest technology to protect organisations from the effects of fraud. Its members include charities and the Charity Commission.

Introducing Cifas’ Chair

KEN3Ken Cherrett has been Chairman of Cifas since its incorporation in 1991. He held a number of senior appointments in his career with the TSB Group and was the first General Manager of Trustcard which he launched in 1978. He was the first Director-General of Partnership Sourcing Ltd (a joint CBI – DTI/BIS initiative) now the Institute of Collaborative Working.

He became a trustee of CHICKS, a national charity that provides respite breaks for disadvantaged children in 2002, and is now its Deputy Chairman and Chair of its Finance Committee.

Why did I become a Chair?

Throughout my career I have enjoyed being at the start of new initiatives and the opportunity to become Chairman of Cifas was a very exciting challenge. Nobody at the time appreciated just how successful CIFAS would become and it continues to be an amazing journey.

What do you most enjoy about chairing?

I would say that it’s selecting and working with the right people, primarily board members and the Chief Executive, in order to achieve the organisation’s aims.

On the flipside? Conflict resolution is the greatest test. Conflicts, especially if internal, can be very damaging to an organisation so they must be resolved as soon as is practical, and, although often time consuming, it’s critical that they’re dealt with and not allowed to fester.

Do you have a key tip or lesson to share with your fellow Chairs?

None of us are perfect … but, if pressed I’d say ensure that you and your board, the Chief Executive and the senior management team are absolutely clear about your organisation’s strategy, including the vision, mission and objectives. Ask ‘What does success look like?’ and ‘What constitutes failure?’ When difficult issues arise, as they inevitably do, having clarity of purpose goes a long way towards tackling the problem.

I’d also say develop constructive relationships wherever it’s within your influence. In my experience, Chairs ignore this at their peril.

Finally, I’d recommend reading the excellent guide A Chair’s Compass – recently produced on behalf of the AoC by Ruth Lesirge and Rosalind Oakley.

Why did you join the AoC?

Surprisingly, until the AoC was formed in 2013, no organisation existed solely for chairs. A number of organisations exist for the professional development of Chief Executives and senior management (and also for directors/trustees) but none for the development of the person at the top of the pyramid! So, I was delighted to join to help the AoC fulfil its potential.

The AoC is developing a varied, interesting and worthwhile programme of events and I’d urge all chairs to join, if they have not already done so.

November 2014