West Somerset Railway

Director Profiles

Director: Chairman

Role Summary

The Chairman will be accountable to the Board and shareholders of the WSR PLC responsible for the leadership and performance of the PLC. The individual concerned will take accountability for the policy and strategic direction of the organization together with its commercial and financial performance. The Chairman must ensure that all the responsibilities, requirements, and obligations of PLC are identified and delivered through the Board and the management team. The Chairman will take a major role in and responsibility for, managing and sustaining external relationships across the wider railway family in the WSR and beyond. The Chairman is also accountable to PLC shareholders for the appropriate stewardship and governance of the Company through its Board and is expected to work effectively with all Board Directors, the General Manager and the heads of partner WSR organizations to maintain and develop the preservation, heritage, tourist, and commercial activities of the PLC.

This is a voluntary role undertaken initially in a hybrid management role and then subsequently in a non-executive capacity within the new corporate structure being designed and implemented across the PLC and is in addition to the corporate board responsibilities of a PLC Director.

Specific Responsibilities
  1. To serve as a Board Member of WSR PLC, attend meetings of the Board and General Meetings, and undertake the duties and responsibilities of a Board Member as laid down by Companies House and the Heritage Railway Association.
  2. To chair Board meetings and any other meetings at the request of the Board and to ensure they are conducted efficiently and that appropriate actions are agreed and taken and decisions implemented.
  3. To take responsibility for Board’s composition and development and oversee the introduction and development of Board Members.
  4. To ensure that the Board works effectively, leads the overall management and policy direction of WSR PLC, and holds Directors to account for the delivery of their portfolio responsibilities.
  5. To represent and promote the work of WSR PLC internally, to partners and funders, and to the general public as appropriate.
  6. To chair the Operational Executive Committee and to ensure that its decisions and actions are clearly recorded and implemented.
  7. To reflect the interests of associate member organisations in the management and direction of WSR PLC.
  8. To participate in local, regional, and national events or conferences organised that are of benefit to WSR PLC.
  9. To line manage the manager/executive responsible for the WSR PLC business. Liaising with him or her on a regular basis in order to keep an overview of the organisation and provide support as appropriate. To undertake regular appraisals and target setting
  10. To oversee the delivery of the PLC Corporate and Business Plans across the Company. To be part of the core team [and in a number of cases lead] delegated by the Board to negotiate and conclude commercial agreements with external bodies including the organizations that make up the wider WSR railway family.
  11. To work with the Vice Chairman, Finance Director, and General Manager to ensure that the financial and commercial performance of the PLC is continuously developed and improved and too sure that appropriate action is taken to maintain the financial integrity of the Company.
  12. Board Directors will be individually accountable to the Board via the Chairman.

As a member of the Board, the Chairman will be expected to fulfil the statutory duties of a PLC Director which include:

  1. To ensure that WSR Plc complies with its governing document, company law and any other relevant legislation or regulations.
  2. To ensure that WSR Plc pursues its objects as defined in its governing document.
  3. To ensure WSR Plc uses its resources exclusively in pursuance of its objects: the company must not spend money on activities which are not included in its own objects or corporate plan, no matter how worthwhile those activities are.
  4. To contribute actively to the Board's role in giving firm strategic direction to WSR Plc, setting overall policy, defining goals and setting targets and evaluating performance against agreed targets.
  5. To safeguard the good name and values of WSR PLC.
  6. To ensure the effective and efficient administration of WSR PLC.
  7. To ensure the financial stability of WSR PLC.
  8. To protect and manage the property of the company and to ensure the proper investment of the company's funds.
  1. Leadership skills
  2. Proven experience of managing and chairing committees
  3. Tact and diplomacy
  4. Good interpersonal skills
  5. Impartiality, fairness, and the ability to respect confidences
  6. Experience of the wider aspects of the voluntary and community sector
  7. Commitment to WSR Plc
  8. Willingness to devote the necessary time and effort
  9. Strategic vision
  10. Good, independent judgment
  11. Ability to think creatively
  12. Willingness to speak their mind
  13. Understanding and acceptance of the legal duties, responsibilities and liabilities of trusteeship
  14. Ability to work effectively as a member of a team. Ability to work within Nolan's seven principles of public life: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership.
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