Non-executive team sets tone for future strategy (Tradewinds Jan 8)

 At least some of the credit for Braemar’s strategy must presumably be given to its board of directors and, in particular, its non-executive directors, a breed in general more often ridiculed than praised.

In addition to the company’s four-strong team of executive directors led by the irrepressible Alan Marsh, it has four non-executives, three of whom have significant experience of setting long-term business strategies in the maritime and energy markets.

Heading up the group is Sir Graham Hearne, who has been a director since 1999 and since 2002 also chairman.

Formerly chairman of Enterprise Oil, he ranks as one of the most experienced oil industry executives in the UK.

He is supported by Lloyd’s Register chairman David Moorhouse, who brings experience of his successful years in the offshore markets with John Brown, Trafalgar House and Kvaerner.

Also a director is John Denholm, the private UK shipowner, whose family controls extensive industrial, transport and defence businesses.

The fourth is former senior KPMG partner Richard Agutter, who is the senior non-executive director.

Despite being hit very hard when markets collapsed last year, Braemar’s shares performed well in 2009. They closed the year at 425 pence, just off their recent highs, but still up nearly 65% on the year, valuing the firm at just under £90m.

It is a performance that should have kept its institutional shareholders, which include Majedie, AXA, Legal & General, JP Morgan and Barclays, content.

But of course, as they say in the City, who cares about what happened yesterday? The pressure will be on Braemar to demonstrate it can perform tomorrow.

 By Julian Bray London