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Businesses failing to factor risk into strategy - Ludlow

ERM Forum line-up announced; programme designed to help members educate their board

Airmic members must educate their c-suite on how to use risk to unlock strategic value, according to Airmic CEO, John Ludlow, speaking about the 2017 ERM Forum as full details of the line-up were announced.

Mr Ludlow explained that although risk management is growing in profile at board level, too many executives focus solely on business rewards when it comes to strategy. "They need to understand that for every three steps forward they slip back two because they fail to address the risks along the way. Boards with a true understanding of risk undoubtedly have a competitive advantage."

He said executives should embrace risk and unlock all the available value in their strategy. "And that's the challenge for our members - to educate the decision makers. It's not easy and that's why it's one of the key themes we will be exploring in the next ERM Forum."

Airmic's one-day conference dedicated to enterprise risk management will take place in London on 7 November. The association has revealed the full programme, including four keynote speakers (see box). There will be a choice of eight workshops, covering topics such as geopolitical risks, the cyber governance gap and crisis management. Full details can be found here.

ERM Forum: keynote speakers announced:

Professor Richard Clegg, managing director of Lloyd's Register Foundation;

Peter Den Dekker, past FERMA president and head of insurance and risk management at Royal Philips;

Amanda Mellor, group secretary and head of corporate governance at Marks and Spencer;

Jamie Saunders, visiting professor at UCL's Department of Security and Crime Science and formerly director at the National Crime Agency.

Mr Ludlow said that Airmic's decision to make the ERM Forum a permanent fixture was driven by member demand for more tailor-made discussion and education on the challenges of implementing effective enterprise risk management.

"You must never stop learning if you are to stay relevant and support your business to realise its potential," he said. "The ERM Forum will provide education, debate and subject matter experts on the areas of greatest concern to businesses. We've chosen speakers based on the unique perspective they bring to risk."

Mr Ludlow himself has over 15 years' experience in senior risk management positions prior to becoming Airmic CEO, most recently at InterContinental Hotels Group where he was SVP global risk management. In his risk management career, he was a vocal champion for risk managers taking a more strategic leadership role within their organisations.

"The key is to identify the shark nearest to the CEO's canoe and work out what transformation is needed to make the business safe," he said when asked how members should elevate ERM in their own organisations. "Once you've done that, build a coalition for change and drive the outcomes you want to see."

The ERM Forum is free to Airmic members who can register here. Airmic News will be interviewing the keynote speakers in the run up to the event. The first interview, with Professor Richard Clegg of the Lloyd's Register Foundation, can be read here.