Simon Lowe

A Changing Climate

‘A hard core of companies still provide minimal information, and it may take the introduction of regulatory oversight to change this. However, while tougher regulation may improve compliance, shareholder engagement is critical to effecting a long lasting strong governance culture,’

Anthony Hilton

Soft risks – hard consequences

‘The trouble with accounting, performance measurement and risk control ... is that they treat companies as if they are mechanical. They assume broadly that they are machines which, for a certain level of inputs, will deliver a predictable level of output. But the greater truth, particularly in the modern era where talent is the big differentiator, is that companies are collections of people, and they are as much biological as mechanical.’

Professor Colin Coulson-Thomas

Balance in the boardroom

‘Bringing together a group of outstanding individuals can result in an assembly of good people rather than an effective board. Whether or not their potential is leveraged, and how they perform, will depend upon a number of factors, including the quality of board chairmanship.’

The Right Honourable Dr Vince Cable

The new corporate governance landscape

‘The complexity of the investment chain often militates against effective engagement – a barrier reinforced by a lack of transparency. And there are obstacles preventing even the most well-intentioned of investors from exercising their powers and responsibilities effectively.’

Olivier Guersent

The new corporate governance landscape

‘Good corporate governance is not a luxury. It is a pre-requisite for sustainability.’

Paul-Andre Rabat

The importance of a total value perspective

‘At root, value in an enterprise emanates principally not from tangible assets but from satisfied customers. From there it flows to other stakeholders. There is a point of equilibrium at which the flow of value is optimised for all stakeholders.’

Professor Colin Coulson-Thomas

New directors and behaviours needed

‘Directors who serve as a loyal supporter of the CEO have been in demand, when the emphasis should have been upon curiosity and courage – the curiosity to question and the courage to challenge.’

Richard Smerdon

Sensation and drama

‘... there is a distinction between the pluralist share registers of the vast majority of London Listed companies, for which the UK Corporate Governance Code is designed, and the increasingly common phenomenon of FTSE 100 listed closely controlled overseas mining groups for which the Code does not yet provide adequate governance solutions.’

Helen Pitcher

Board effectiveness

‘What is clear to me, both from the report and working with boards, is that the framework for how a board challenges and makes their decisions is rarely agreed and designed; it is often left to chance, individual preferences and quirks, which has the potential for a dysfunctional chaotic approach.’

Alison Gill

Succession planning

‘There are intensely personal relationships behind the decision for chairmen, CEOs or other board directors to join or leave a board. A well-managed succession process will leave directors feeling valued and the organisation feeling confident and well led. Alternatively it has the potential to be the reverse.’

Mary Schapiro

Whistle blowing

‘While the SEC has a history of receiving a high volume of tips and complaints, the quality of the tips we have received has been better since Dodd-Frank became law. We expect this trend to continue, and these final rules map out simplified and transparent procedures for whistle blowers to provide us critical information.’

Sterl Greenhalgh

Navigating the corruption risk maze

‘Why wouldn’t your organisation want a robust adequate procedures framework to protect its assets in any event?’. We see them as an intrinsic component of any good, corporate governance regime and which should already be in place.’

Mark Spinner

The importance of board composition

‘When analysing the better performing banks and financial services companies, the report found they had fewer directors, a higher percentage of female directors and more independent directors.’

Professor John Board

Understanding risk

‘Whilst prudent board members recognised that cautious financial risk management involved sacrificing some opportunities to generate short-term profit, they were often overridden by senior executives ... [who] were confident they could manage their way out of any short-term negative outcomes, and the potential rewards if they were successful were just too tempting to forgo.’

Lord Davies of Abersoch

Women on Boards

‘This is not about aiming for a specific figure and is not just about promoting equal opportunities but it is about improving business performance. There is growing evidence to show that diverse boards are better boards, delivering financial out-performance and stock market growth.’

Peninah Thomson

(More) change is in the air ...

‘It is interesting to note [in many of the interviews with FTSE 100 Chairmen] the importance they attach to the ability to understand and interpret human behaviour in the boardroom: something to which Sir David Walker makes particular reference, observing that “Boards and board behaviour cannot be regulated or managed through organisational structures and controls alone...”.’

Stephen Haddrill

Best practice on risk

‘Where there is a risk committee, attention obviously needs to be paid to the relationship with the audit committee. There is a danger of overlap or – of greater concern – of issues getting missed entirely as each considers it to be the other’s responsibility.’

Roger Carr

Improving governance disclosure

‘A great annual report is a window to see through – not a screen to hide behind. It is not simply valuable as a snapshot in time, it has been, and can be, a catalyst of change.’

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