Simon began his legaI career primarily as a Corporate and Commercial Lawyer working in the City of London from 1977 to 1985 when he left to join the AA.
At the AA he dealt with a wide range of corporate and commercial legal matters and also managed a large team of lawyers. Simon oversaw the AA company secretarial function which gave him a detailed understanding of governance issues. He was company secretary and on the board of various AA subsidiaries.
Simon returned to private practice in 1990 and joined Lewis Silkin as Partner/Practice Director, with a key responsibility to set and direct the business development strategy of the firm – a strategy which remains in place more or less unchanged today.
In 1995 Simon moved to Devon where initially he was Managing Partner of Ford Simey, until he moved to Tozers in 2002.
At Tozers Simon has two key roles:
1. Business Development Partner - advise and act as internal consultant to the team leaders in each practice area. Help them identify practice development opportunities, set targets, and monitor outcomes and ROI. Manage the marketing team.
At his instigation the firm has developed a range of fixed fee advisory products, based around instant access to expert lawyers. They have also, since he joined, developed from scratch a specialist sector team working for Registered Providers (housing associations).
2. Head of the Social Housing Team: manage the team of lawyers who deal with housing management litigation, property development transactions and shared ownership sales.
Board level experience:
Simon became a Non-Executive Board member in 2005 of what was then Devon & Cornwall Housing Association: he served as (the last) chair of DCHA for three + years from 2007 to 2011. he was involved in the process which led to the merger of DCHA with its group parent in 2011, and the subsequent merger of the subsidiaries into one asset owning entity which in 2013 rebranded as DCH.
In 2007 Simon was appointed to the Board of Westco which is the DCH commercial development subsidiary. He chaired Westco from 2008 to 2014: in his last two years as chair he led the process of recruiting new non-executive board members with development and financial expertise, and mentored his successor as chair.
Simon was a member of the DCH Remuneration Committee and was the board pensions and remuneration ‘expert’. He worked closely with the CEO and the HRD during the last three years as DCH went through a process of –
1. Restructuring the housing management teams
2. Restructuring the senior management team to create more capacity for change and improvement
3. Harmonising staff terms and conditions to make sense of five different sets of T&Cs
4. Introducing a senior management pay and benefits strategy which sought to protect from predation our executive team – this needed particularly careful handling because it was counter to the historic organisational ethos.
Simon chaired the DCH Remuneration Committee from late 2013 through to 2014.
He also completed nine years on the board of DCH in September 2014 and stood down as required by the HCA.
In 2011 Simon became a parent governor at the secondary school which my children attended and which had just converted to Academy status. In 2012 my fellow governors asked him to become chair. The Academy was OFSTED inspected in 2013 and judged to ‘Require Improvement’. Simon made it his mission to lead the governing body so that it became an effective support for and source of constructive challenge to the Senior Leadership Team. The school was re-inspected by OFSTED in 2015 and were graded a solid ‘Good’.
Both his children have now left the school and he has stood down as chair but remain a governor.