The BIA’s UK CEO and Investor Forum, held at Down Hall in Hertfordshire on 10-11 July, was bigger than ever with more than 90 senior sector attendees. In the third of three posts, the BIA reflects on some key themes from the event.

David Hpkiss at the BIA UK CEO and Investor Forum

David Hipkiss, CEO of Prosonix

The final keynote speaker of the Forum was David Hipkiss, CEO of Prosonix. David discussed a number of things he wished he had known when he started out as a CEO.

David noted that:

  • There should be strong alignment between management and investors. if you are in a situation where you think that what’s best for the company is not best for investors, then either you are in the wrong company or have the wrong investors
  • The investors make the rules. But, all money is not equal – if you can, don’t necessarily take the first offer you get. CEOs need to understand what finance means, so it is important to get training if you need to.
  • It is all about the money. If you are getting distracted by negotiations, you should take the money and move on.
  • Companies should focus on what they are good at and not try to be all things to all people. You should develop a clear message about your product and then make sure everyone in your team lives, sleeps and breathes it.
  • The relationship between the CEO and Chair is key. If you have an Executive chair, you’re not the CEO you’re the general manager.
  • Don’t bother with trophy NEDs – get NEDs who are useful and helpful and don’t accept a NED unless they add something.
  • The role of the independent director is key as they can act as a mediator between Chairman, CEO and NEDs.
  • Know when to change the team and don’t ignore the impact of individuals creating a negative impact. Don’t ‘over-title’ people at the beginning, as you may have to bring in more senior people at a later stage.
  • Believe in what you are doing. If you don’t believe it, you shouldn’t be doing it.

In closing David said that everyone involved in the sector should remember that our ultimate customers are the patients.