Thank You, Philippa

30 April 2020


Read a message of thanks from our Chair, Prof. David Grayson CBE.

“No fuss!” That has been the clear instruction from Philippa since last October when she told Tim Melville-Ross, President of the Institute of Business Ethics, and me of her intention to stand down from the IBE directorship at the end of April 2020 – after twenty years’ dedicated service.

Whilst we have generally respected that wish, at least a bit of fuss is surely in order as Philippa steps down today: April 30th.

Without her careful stewardship, the IBE might not even have survived in the early years, let alone helped thousands of ethics and compliance professionals, managers and business leaders to explore how to do business ethically in a V.U.C.A. (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) world. Philippa’s commitment to our IBE mission has been personal, passionate and pervasive. She has embodied what the IBE stands for, and to many was the IBE for many years. It is to her credit that she has built a team ready to take on her mantle.

Philippa’s credibility in corporate boardrooms and Senior Management Team meetings both in the UK and internationally, has come from her prior business career, her extensive networks and her manifest sincerity and commitment to business ethics.

Under Philippa’s leadership, the IBE has doggedly championed the idea that how business is done is just as important as what business is done and why. She would most determinedly also argue that doing business the right way also pays dividends in terms of employee motivation, reputation and protecting value.

I imagine that at times over the last twenty years, she must have sometimes felt something of a lone voice when concepts such as culture and values did not have the traction or attention in boardrooms that they do today.

Philippa has made sure that the IBE approach has been robust and rigorous but grounded in the practical realities of doing business – what she would term ‘applied ethics’. Whether in her active involvement in the Woolf Inquiry or when responding to numerous government consultations on corporate governance, Philippa has been a voice of common-sense rather than remote theory. She has championed our key activities: advisory and support; events; research and publications; training; education through university academics; and advocacy work in the wider business context and facilitated the “safe spaces” where supporters know they can explore the inevitable ethical dilemmas, carefully and confidentially.  She has been the ‘go to’ person for our supporters in times of crisis, for straight-forward, practical, and one-to one advice, that goes to the heart of their issues. 

It is my hope and conviction – and that of my predecessors and fellow trustees – that the IBE will build on the core insights that have been developed under Philippa’s stewardship, and will be a highly relevant and valued source of thought-leadership and practical guidance in the 2020s and beyond.

COVID-19 lock-down restrictions permitting, we will be thanking Philippa, in person, in a more fulsome way later in the year. For now, a big thank-you, Philippa, from current and former board members, supporters and IBE staff both past and present. We wish you great fulfilment, happiness and good health in your “Next Act” and know we will be able to call on your phenomenal memory for people and organisations, your institutional memory and your wisdom, through the IBE International Advisory Council.

And, as Philippa has been working so hard to ensure, tomorrow we have a seamless hand-over and welcome in our new IBE Director: Ian Peters.


Professor David Grayson CBE
Professor David Grayson CBE


David is Emeritus Professor of Corporate Responsibility at Cranfield School of Management. From 2007-2017, he was director of the Doughty Centre for Corporate Responsibility and Professor of Corporate Responsibility.

David became Chair of the Trustees Board on 01 April 2019.

He joined Cranfield in April 2007, after a thirty year career as a social entrepreneur and campaigner for responsible business, diversity, and small business development. This included founding Project North East which has now worked in nearly 60 countries around the world; being the founding CEO of the Prince's Youth Business Trust and serving as a managing-director of Business in the Community.

David has an Honorary Doctorate of Law from London South Bank University and was a visiting Senior Fellow at the CSR Initiative of the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard (2005-10).

He has served on various charity and public sector boards over the past 30 years. These have included the boards of the National Co-operative Development Agency, The Prince of Wales' Innovation Trust and the Strategic Rail Authority. He chaired the National Disability Council and the Business Link Accreditation Board; in each case appointed by the Major Government and re-appointed by the Blair administration.

He is currently chairman of the national charity Carers UK championing the role of 6.5million Britons caring for a loved one. He is a former chairman of one of the UK's larger social enterprises and largest eldercare providers, Housing & Care 21 during which the organisation made corporate history by becoming the first-ever not-for-profit successfully to acquire a publicly quoted group of companies. David received an OBE for services to industry in 1994 and a CBE for services to disability in 1999.

David has written a number of books on responsible business and corporate sustainability including most recently: ‘All in - The Future of Business Leadership’ with Chris Coulter and Mark Lee. He is part of the faculty of the Forward Institute and of the Circle of Advisers for Business Fights Poverty

The Guardian has named David as one of ten top global tweeters on sustainable leadership alongside Al Gore, Tim Cook - CEO of Apple, and Facebook's COO Sheryl Sandberg

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