WiRC’s co-founder, Ian Max Ewart led a panel with Beatrice Devillon-Cohen and Iwona Muchin from the European Women on Boards (EWOB) and Diane Moore for this webinar session on What NEDs are looking for from their risk and control partners, and gained insight on:

  • Path to NED from a risk role
  • Most useful insights for a NED to be comfortable in their role
  • Red flags for a risk committee member
  • Emerging risks, horizon scanning

Event Takeaways

This webinar focused on the role of non-executive directors (NEDs) in regulated industries, specifically in relation to risk management and governance practices. Iwona emphasized the importance of having risk and control experience, saying, “Having risk and control experience, can help industries that aren’t heavily regulated to improve their governance practice.” Diane discussed the importance of gaining NED experience outside of the financial services industry, explaining that it can help to understand the differences between executive and non-executive positions and the challenges of staying on the NED side.

The panellists also emphasized the importance of diversity on the board, with Iwona stating, “the Importance of gender/experience/expertise diversity around the table.” Whilst Diane described the role of the NED as a cheerleader but also someone who raises concerns, saying, “Whole point of a board is to debate the solutions that aren’t working so well. A cheerleader but also someone who goes ‘yeah, but’”

The panellists also discussed the importance of ongoing learning and development and the value of investing in people, with Diane saying, “The more you invest in people, you get it back multi-fold.” They also touched on the 3 Lines of Defence model and the importance of cultural awareness in the NED role, and the need to bring perspective to the organization by benchmarking against industry standards and considering the long-term vision.

As a non-executive director (NED), you will be responsible for providing independent oversight and guidance to the executive team, with a focus on risk management and good governance practices. You should strive to bring a diverse range of skills, experience, and expertise to the board, and be open to learning and development opportunities.

Effective communication and trust with the executive team is crucial in the NED role. You should aim to establish open channels of communication and be willing to listen to and support the development of key value-locators within the organization. You may also want to consider setting up regular meetings or office hours to ensure that you are available to discuss any issues or concerns that may arise.

As an NED, it is important to bring a perspective to the organization that is independent of the day-to-day operations. This may involve benchmarking against industry standards, bringing in external insights, or considering the long-term vision for the organization. You should also be prepared to ask challenging questions and raise any concerns that you may have about the direction of the organization.

The 3 Lines model is a risk management framework that separates the roles and responsibilities of the first line (frontline risk management), the second line (risk oversight and control), and the third line (independent assurance). As an NED, you may be responsible for providing oversight and guidance to the second and third lines, and ensuring that there is a clear separation of duties and responsibilities between these lines.

Finally, it is important to be aware of the culture of the organization and to ensure that it aligns with the values and goals of the board. This may involve working with the executive team to establish and promote a positive culture, and addressing any issues that may arise

Written by Daniel Barnham, summer intern at Acin and student at the University of Edinburgh

Chair & Speakers

Ian Max Ewart

Co-founder, WiRC. Board Advisor FinTech and Financial Services


Beatrice Devillon-Cohen

Non-Executive Director. Beatrice Devillon-Cohen has 25 years experience in investment banking having been a Managing Director for Societe Generale CIB. She has built successful trading businesses with significant PnL in Europe, Asia and the US. She has extensive experience in risk management, transformational change, regulation and compliance and is specialised in cybersecurity risk. She has since built a portfolio on non-executive positions. She sits on the Audit (Risk and Supervision) Committee at the European Investment Bank in Luxembourg, on the board of MUFG Securities in EMEA where she chairs the Risk Committee and is a member of the Finance Committee for King’s College London.


Iwona Muchin

CISO & DPO. Iwona Muchin has more than 20 years of experience in Information Security, Business Continuity and IT Risk Management mainly in the Financial Services sector. Last 5 years, next to her role as Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), she is also focusing on privacy aspects through her Data Protection Officer (DPO) role. During her career she has held multiple international positions, working cross border both in Europe as well as worldwide. Currently Iwona sits as an independant member of a public administration’s Audit Committee, where she contributes to the political and operational independence of the Internal Audit organisation by controlling and supervising its activities.


Diane Moore

Diane is an experienced non-executive Director who has followed a substantive executive career in financial services regulation and central banking with 10 years of experience as a board member and committee chair, predominantly in financial services. Her current Board positions are with Societe Generale International Ltd, Cantor Fitzgerald Ireland Ltd, Axis Bank UK Ltd, the electric bus company Switch Mobility Ltd and Barnet & Southgate Further Education College.

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