Philip Thomas, director of risk management with Six Continents plc (formerly Bass plc) has become the new chairman of AIRMIC (2001/2002), and has adopted 'Risk Management:- Combining Art with Science' as his theme for his year in office. "I want risk managers to ask some big questions of themselves: how and why do they manage risks at present? Are they actually managing them? Is their risk management programme dead or alive?
"Tired, traditional thinking - the 'It must be right, we've always done it this way' approach - is not good enough for the risk manager of the 21st century," he says. "Risks are evolving rapidly, and things are changing too fast for risk managers not to be constantly questioning and challenging their own 'art', their abilities and skills." And, in addition to this 'scientific' analysis of the risk management 'art', risk managers need to be aware of the advances in scientific technology and of innovation in the management of new risks, particularly in the non-insurable risk arena.
One of the chief arts which Philip Thomas would like risk managers to concentrate on is the articulation of their risk management knowledge to colleagues in their own teams, and to other professionals involved in the management of risk. Through development of the AIRMIC membership networking system, he hopes to establish self-analysis training tutorials for members to improve their articulation and presentation skills. "Without good communication, people don't hear and understand the message," he adds.
Outgoing chairman Alan Fleming handed over the official chain of office to Philip (pictured right) at the association's annual conference in June. Initially trained as a chartered accountant, Philip moved from Ernst & Young in 1994 to join Bass as head of internal audit. In 1996, he became director of risk management, pioneered the development of a group-wide major risks monitoring process and implemented the UK's first multi-year multi-line insurance policy.
AIRMIC's new deputy chairman is David Ireland, group insurance director of the Norwest Holst Group. He has chaired the North West England and North Wales Area Committee for AIRMIC and is also a Chartered Insurance Practitioner.