7. How does a COO work effectively with the board?

Our special guest is Keith Wallington, the former COO of Mimecast and currently Chairperson working across five B2B SaaS organisations.

9/7/20231 min read

Keith lays out “what good looks like” in board stewardship for growth stage businesses. He also lifts the hood on expectations for the COO.

  • What do you know now that you wish you had known as a COO?

  • What do you want from a COO in board meetings?

  • How much do you tow the line if you are disagreeing with your CEO when in front of the board?

  • If you see a CEO and COO always agreeing in board meetings is that a red flag or do you assume they are simply well aligned?

  • What's the role of the board in the hiring process for a COO?

  • Should the entire exec team be a part of the board and what role should the COO play?

  • How should the COO prepare for a board meeting, without killing themselves in the process?

  • Do you feel like COOs should have a close relationship with the chairperson?

  • What's your advice to the COO’s dealing with an old skool board?

  • To minimise board reporting effort can you simply re-purpose reporting you already do with the exec team and wider company?

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Keith has led strategy and execution in technology businesses since the 1990’s, driving growth in Europe, the USA and Africa: His experience in driving online business models spans Retail Banking, Telecommunications, Online Live Broadcasting, Software and Software as a Service (SaaS): he has led online initiatives at businesses including Microsoft, Standard Bank, Omnicom/TBWA, MTN Group, Truphone and Mimecast.

From 2008 – 2014 Keith spent 6 years driving growth at Mimecast, best in class and global leader in SaaS based email security, archiving and continuity: Here he assumed a number of C Level roles, including COO, spanning most of the business from Marketing to Customer Experience to Technical Operations as he championed scalable, efficient growth during this phase of hyper growth (from $6m to over $110m Annual Recurring Revenue) and global expansion from the UK base.