Places lived: United Kingdom (Dorset, Lincoln, Manchester, and London), Cyprus, and the United States (New York, Massachusetts)
Education: Mark has a BA (honors) in public administration, magna cum laude, from Manchester Metropolitan University.
Experience: Mark held a previous role as managing director of the corporate governance team at Moody’s Investors Service. He also established a corporate governance practice at McKinsey & Company spanning Asia, Europe, and the Americas. Earlier in his career, Mark was the corporate governance executive for the world’s largest director group, the UK’s Institute of Directors; head of policy research at the National Association of Pension Funds; a senior researcher at the Adam Smith Institute, the UK’s pre-eminent free-market think tank; and a researcher for several UK politicians.
Focus: The interface of public policy and economics.
Intellectual influences: "Believers in free markets and supply-side economics (Smith, Hayek, Friedman) and those who applied their thinking (Thatcher, Reagan)."
Turning points: "Becoming a husband and a father. The rest has been a series of opportunities that fate has offered. You take them, do your best."
For more than a decade Mark has been a thoroughly involved leader in the theory and practice of governance, particularly financial institution governance, and risk management. At Moody’s, the team he assembled incorporated qualitative governance analysis into Moody’s global credit ratings. “We didn’t get it all right, but who would have guessed at the events? Way before the financial crisis, we were critical of governance at institutions that others did not question: AIG, Countrywide, Bank of America, and Fannie Mae, among others,” Mark recalls.
At McKinsey he led client-, knowledge- and reputation-building efforts: “I worked out of London focusing in Europe on the changing ownership structures, in Korea on the banks and the Chaebols, and in South America on family-owned businesses.” At the National Association of Pension Funds, he led research efforts that resulted in its first governance policy, which favored splitting the roles of CEO and chairman.
The intellectual foundations of all this work were established, or at least reinforced, by Mark’s research at the Adam Smith Institute. “I am a big believer in free markets,” Mark says. “Government should enable but not always deliver services. It should temper its bias towards regulation – some is needed, but not as much as we have today. And I am an optimist by nature, a believer in opportunity.”
Mark’s research has led him to publish extensively. He has received several awards, including being named a “Rising Star” in 2008 by the Millstein Center for Corporate Governance and Performance.
At Tapestry, Mark co-leads the firm’s work on financial institution governance and risk management. The members of Tapestry’s networks in these areas enjoy and appreciate his ability to take conversations in different and often unexpected directions.
“Is it really possible to avoid a crisis?” he asks. “The answer has to be no. But you can see it coming and get ready for it. Not only put some assets aside (the 'fortress balance sheet’) but put in place an escalation process so you pull the trigger, act quickly to lessen the impact, and capture any unexpected opportunities. Managing risk is not technical; it’s strategic.”
Mark says his has been an interesting career. “I was lucky to get one of my first jobs for a Member of Parliament and to be around when the Maastricht Treaty was being thrashed out, to work in Europe with McKinsey during the M&A/dot.com wave, in the Far East and then in the United States. I started work in America on 9/11. Enron was beginning to unfold and to draw attention to all these issues in governance and risk. And then to help Moody’s pick up the pieces after a trillion dollars of investment-grade debt got downgraded in 2002. I don’t believe in looking back, but we can learn from our mistakes. I think we will.”