Rea installed the first board at the mechanical seal company nearly two decades ago.
“It was becoming obvious to me that our managers were comfortable and complacent with corridor meetings,” he says. They had no vision or understanding of the need to properly plan, report and prepare. They needed to change and improve.
Rea recommends picking board members who will have managers quaking in their boots when they enter the board room.
“If you have heavyweight board members who your managers can’t quite figure out, it really improves their performance. That is also true for people like me,” he says.
AES Engineering’s board is certainly heavyweight. Among the members is former Conservative party leader William Hague.
The company is valued at £100m. Rea says the board is “probably a board of directors capable of running a business many times this size”.