12/09/2018 by Andy Winterburgh
Chris Greenway has a long career in Internal Audit and Risk and is currently Director of Internal Audit at The Co-operative Bank Plc where he has been since 2014. We met up with him to ask him about his career to date, get his views on the Internal Audit industry and the challenges it faces as well as why he thinks #auditiscool.
Hi Chris, great to catch up, welcome to your interview.
Can you tell us about your career journey? Where you started and how you progressed.
I started my Internal Audit career with Ernst and Young in their Business Risk Services team. From there I moved into a variety of Financial Services Internal Audit roles with MBNA / Bank of America, Barclays, Universities Superannuation Scheme before taking on my current role as Director of Internal Audit at The Co-operative Bank in 2014.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I have always been motivated by seeing ‘things’ improve whether that be business processes, the audit skills of members of my team, my relationships with stakeholders or my own knowledge and skills. If I can look back on a day, week or year and see where I have been able to play a key role in the improvement then I get a huge amount of satisfaction.
What is your proudest achievement in your career to date?
Being appointed to the SMF5 role at Co-operative Bank. At the time I joined the bank there were a number of well publicised challenges. The interviews with the Board, CEO, PRA and FCA were rigorous and left me in no doubt as to the significance of the role and the opportunity to make a positive difference.
What key leadership lessons have you learnt?
So many! My top 3 would be: The value of fierce conversations in building an effective team and credibility within your organisation. The benefits of a transparent approach supported by clear communication. The importance of employing and developing great people.
If you only had 5 minutes to interview someone for an IA role what question(s) would you ask them?
Assuming all the IA and technical skills have been assess my questions would be:
1. How do you land a difficult report?
2. What is the favourite ‘observation / finding / issue’ that you have identified and why.
3. How can you demonstrate your energy and ability to deliver insight, your passion for the role and your team fit.
What career advice would you give to an Internal Auditor at each of the following levels of seniority:
AVP – Get qualified, get as much diverse experience as you can and write a career plan.
VP – Find a mentor, build your network within IA and the wider business and build your brand - ask yourself what you want people to know you really stand for.
Director – Employ, develop and retain great people, really focus on your stakeholder map and use your network.
What is the best piece of advice you have received?
An insightful executive summary takes 5 times as long to write but adds infinitely more value to the organisation, your reputation and your job satisfaction.
Why do you think diversity and inclusion is so important?
It is the right thing to do. I work for the only UK bank to have a customer-led Ethical Policy written into its articles of association. Delivering on the policy’s commitments is fundamental to being a Co-operative Bank colleague and it’s a responsibility I take seriously. Pillar four of our policy sets out our commitment to creating an ethical workplace part of which is to promote an inclusive work environment that engages the talents, beliefs, backgrounds, capabilities of everyone.
Diversity and inclusion is also good for business because having colleagues with a diverse range of skills, backgrounds and experiences reflect the communities that we operate in and the customers we serve.
What do you think are the biggest challenges facing the Internal Audit Industry in the next 12 months?
Increasing demands on the audit plan, as Boards, Executive Management and Regulators look to use our high quality teams to provide insightful assurance. There’s real competition for talent which makes recruitment of the right resources a challenge (particularly specialist skills outside of London). Continuing challenges over reducing costs and increasing value and of course the challenge around better integrated assurance is ever present.
What do you do to relax?
As a long suffering Ipswich Town fan, I spend as much time as possible watching my local team, Liverpool, play football. The rest of my time is made up of pretending to enjoy impromptu dancing and singing performances from my children.
And finally, why do you think Audit is cool?
From my experience within Financial Services the Internal Audit profession has created a fantastic horizontal network across businesses where ideas and challenges are shared and addressed. With the primary aims of driving up the value of the work we do; the insight we can provide and the credibility we can demonstrate. This is largely done out of a shared goal to drive up standards across the industry, I think that is pretty cool!
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