Profile: Doug Hayhurst, FCA
Beyond Numbers · October 2005
By Michelle McRae, Editor
“I couldn't have planned it better,” muses Doug Hayhurst, FCA, as he contemplates the logical progression of his career.
There's a hint of surprise in his voice. That's because Doug has never been one to follow a “master plan,” yet every step seems to have been the right one. Still, his good fortune likely has less to do with serendipity than it does with always following his instincts and his curiosity.
Take, for example, his 2004 decision to leave IBM's Business Consulting Services practice as leader for the global forest and paper industry to become an independent corporate director.
“I like taking on intriguing challenges,” Doug says, “and becoming an independent director gives me the freedom to choose which new challenges to take on.”
In pursuit of his latest goal, Doug became involved with the BC Chapter of the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD) just over a year ago, assuming the role of chair.
The ICD educates directors through local professional development events and, more formally, through the Directors Education Program—a joint venture of the ICD Corporate Governance College, the Rotman School of Management in Toronto, and (in BC) Simon Fraser University Business and the Sauder School of Business at the University of BC.
In addition to serving as chair of the BC Chapter, Doug is enrolled in Vancouver's initial offering of the Directors Education Program (DEP) and will be graduating from the DEP this November.
But wait—why would a guy who has advised CEOs in North America and Europe; who has served as national deputy managing partner for Price Waterhouse in Toronto; who is an FCA in both Ontario and BC; and who has already served on numerous boards (he was a founding director of the Ronald McDonald House of BC, for starters) feel the need for more training?
“As a director, you're the shareholders' representative, and it's your duty to be the best you can be,” Doug explains. “To do that, you have to keep learning.
“Being a director is way beyond what it used to be,” he adds. “There's so much to know—just in terms of governance trends, for instance—and this program offers the fastest way to experience why some boards fail and others succeed.”
The DEP consists of four three-day modules conducted approximately two months apart. Modules include round-table discussions, board simulations with guest CEOs, and case studies—all in the context of real-world issues. Classes are limited to 30 students, most of whom are already highly experienced directors.
“You definitely learn a lot from your peers in this program,” Doug says. “There's a lot of case study and a real diversity in the discussions. And there's less of an emphasis on imparting information than there is on teaching skills—like leadership in the boardroom, which differs from leadership elsewhere, and how to avoid ‘group-think.'”
After graduation, Doug will likely pursue the ICD·D designation, which DEP graduates can earn after successfully completing a level of testing by a panel of eminent directors.
“Canada would be well-served to have a corporate governance credential,” he offers. “The ICD·D doesn't have statutory authority behind it yet, but it is gaining more market recognition.”
For the time being, Doug says his ICD training has already helped him develop the right questions to identify which boards are a good match. This direct applicability is one of many reminders of his CA training. “The same qualities of analysis, skepticism, and creative thinking are required,” he says. “And being a director requires you to work well in teams, a process to which most CAs are accustomed.”
Doug currently serves on the boards of the Canexus Income Fund and the Layfield Group; the former is a recently IPO'd Alberta company currently establishing its governance practices, the latter a private BC company with ambitious plans for its Canada and US operations.
He foresees taking on enough directorships to stay busy throughout most of the year, but not enough to constitute a full-time gig—after all, he's not about to give up his newfound spare time, which he likes to spend at Whistler and on the Sunshine Coast.
Frequent travel to the Coast recently led to another new pursuit: motorcycling. “I've never been particularly patient,” Doug laughs. “I saw motorcyclists go to the head of the ferry line-up, and that was all it took.”
Having trained with the BC Safety Council, Doug now enjoys taking daytrips on his BMW bike. He also enjoys golf, but laments: “My game has gotten worse with more time off!”
Okay, so maybe a little serendipity wouldn't hurt.
Doug and his wife Natalie, who recently earned an MA in children's literature from the University of BC, have three children: Jillian, currently pursuing a master's degree in social psychology at the University of Otago in New Zealand; Daniel, a BCIT graduate in Architectural and Building Engineering Technology; and Greyson, recently enrolled in the same BCIT program.
If you'd like more information about the Directors Education Program, visit the ICD website at www.icdcollege.ca.