Meet the winner of the Memcom CEO Leadership Award 2023: Lee Davies
The most prestigious and hotly-contested category at the Memcom Excellence Awards is the CEO Leadership award. This year, our winner was Lee Davies, Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys.
The award nomination from CIPA colleagues begins: “Lee’s infectious personality, combined with his strategic vision, sure-footed judgement and political acumen, have provided CIPA with an extraordinary leader who inspires confidence not just among his members and staff but across the IP sector and beyond.”
In his 11 years in post at CIPA, Lee has future-proofed the organisation via a staff restructure and an overhaul of governance. He has successfully led CIPA through a minefield of political challenges. As the UK’s departure from the European Union drew closer, he ensured visa-free access for members to the European Patent Office, where around 75% of the profession’s work is conducted. He also led the profession’s response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and resulting sanctions regime and protected his members from the existential threats of trade deals, such as the CPTPP.
Lee led a campaign urging the Government to seek a carve-out of conflicting IP provisions in acceding to the CPTPP, expertly steering CIPA Officers and Council on a course that ultimately led to the Government adopting CIPA’s position. Lee briefed more than 30 influential parliamentarians, including Trade Minister Penny Mordaunt and the chairs of the international trade committees of both Houses.
Overseas, Lee led meetings with key IP organisations in CPTPP countries to convince them to support the UK’s position. The 18-month campaign culminated in Lee appearing before the International Trade Committee. (Read Lee’s reflections here.)
Improving the Institute’s training experience has been a further priority. Lee has transformed CIPA’s 1,000-strong student body from an informal self-help group into an important CIPA committee, with a seat on Council and annual conference. In addition, he introduced a new membership grade and formal title for IP paralegals, formerly patent administrators, transforming their status, providing career progression, professionalising their role and providing them with a seat on Council and an annual conference.
Lee sees it as his duty to start public conversations on important subjects such as EDI and mental health, which he shares regularly on social media, CIPA’s Journal and website, demonstrating a personal commitment that goes way beyond rhetoric. For example, in 2015, Lee helped establish IP Inclusive, an initiative to promote and improve equality, diversity, inclusion and wellbeing within the IP community.
He regularly gives of his time, experience and knowledge to support and mentor fellow CEOs. Sandy Mather, Chief Executive of the Intensive Care Society, said: “He generously provides considered peer support to other CEOs with his collaborative, engaging style. Lee is an outstanding CEO and inspirational role model for Association leaders.”
On receiving the award, Lee said: “I was nominated by the amazing people, staff and members, of CIPA and this is their award as much as it is mine. It is an honour and a privilege working with them all in what is, without a doubt, the best job in membership.
“I was judged by my peers and I know the rigour and scrutiny that goes into the judging process. To be found worthy of this accolade by people at the very top of their game is extraordinarily humbling.”
Lee Davies will deliver our annual CEO Lecture on Thursday 30th November.