Professor Colin Coulson-Thomas

‘New leadership’ and environment management

‘... outside of the boardroom little, if anything, may happen unless practical steps are taken to share an environment management vision and ensure that people are equipped to implement it.’

Richard Smerdon

Death of the equity cult

‘It must at least be arguable (albeit mischievously) that the focus hitherto by the corporate governance ‘industry’ on equity protection has become marginal: The real game in town is bond protection.’

Vijay Rathour

Cyber threats need boardroom focus

‘... a breach could also see directors potentially face criminal charges, alongside civil liability for breaches of employment and data privacy legislation. The commercial implications could also be significant, triggered by contractual disputes and litigation from customers and partners.’

Peter Tunjic

The third way

‘Corporations prosper when the interests of stakeholders are prioritized according to their contribution to value. Not the other way round. If there is no value exchanged, or the value is systemically weighted to any trading partner the corporation will soon be traded into weakness, vulnerability and ultimately insolvency.’

Richard Tipper

Focus on greenhouse gas reporting

‘... a key challenge for corporates will be to create an approach that offers a high level of integration with existing reporting systems, alongside the flexibility to accommodate future changes in standards and reporting. ... Environmental impact is set to become an increasingly important part of corporate governance.’

Nick Hedley

The rise of functional heads

‘... the expectations on how businesses conduct themselves have changed; the shift to moral capitalism is well under way. In this environment delivering sustainable business performance and protecting the organisation’s reputation are mission critical.’

Professor Colin Coulson-Thomas

Reassessing governance and sustainability

‘A “rubber stamp” board can result in an organisation sleep walking to disaster. A thoughtful and reflective board that questions and has the courage to try better alternatives can be the best guarantee of continued survival and relevance in uncertain times.’

Lawrence Reed

External audit tendering

‘If companies are forced to tender external audit, how do they ensure the tender is not just a box-ticking chore but results in real value added to the organisation; and can tenders achieve the FRC’s ambition of better audit quality?’

Mark Goyder

Kay – repurposing the equity markets

‘I would like to see the UK Prime Minister call in the relevant officials not only from the Department of Business, but the UK Treasury, and the Department of Work and Pensions and demand the development of a cross-departmental agenda to create the optimal conditions which will incentivise key leaders in business and investment to respond.’

Paul Lee

Kay – repurposing the equity markets

‘After all, as Kay has pointed out, the value of engagement flows to asset owners and it is only through increasing the performance of the underlying companies that equity investment becomes something more than a zero-sum game. Fund managers that remember this and refocus their delivery around that understanding will generate the most value for their clients. We must hope that they will be rewarded for it in the market for their services.’

Sean O’Hare

Executive pay

‘... instead of increased dialogue with shareholders it is likely that these proposals will result in less direct engagement with real shareholders and the rise of intermediaries – is this really what the Government wanted to see?’

Helen Pitcher

Another governance banking crisis

‘As soon as the chairman and CEO start singing off different hymn sheets and the NEDs are playing catch-up, the reputation and credibility of the board and organisation can rapidly dissipate and is hard to win back.’

Elizabeth Saunders

Proxy power

‘Historically, shareholder involvement into boardroom affairs has been reserved for activist investors. But increasingly, we are seeing that the investment community at large wants to have the levers to hold executive leadership accountable for performance and corporate practices.’

Belden Menkus

Improving board effectiveness

‘At its most fundamental, the board should see their role as defining the purpose of the business, and then ensuring that purpose is fulfilled.’

Professor Colin Coulson-Thomas

Talent management

Recruiting and inducting new members of staff can take time and be expensive in comparison with changes of support to enable more to be achieved from an existing team, especially those who are open to taking advice, prepared to learn from their peers, and willing to adopt superior practices.

The Institute of Risk Management

The Problem of Risk Management

A key responsibility of the chairman and the non-executive directors is to challenge the risk register defined by the management, to stretch the board to define its appetite, to continuously improve its maturity, evaluation and assurance processes to ensure management is held to account. There is a place for independent, external input to secure the required assurances for the board.

Helen Pitcher

Reflection and development

‘The evaluation should be seen as an opportunity to step back from the day-to-day life of the board and think carefully about how it can be made more effective. Even in boards that are performing well, effectiveness can be improved. A thorough external review has an additional attraction: it is an objective signal to investors that the board is committed to the highest standards of performance.’

Lynne Berry

Irritable Board Syndrome

‘Effective boards need as wide a range of experience as possible. It would be a pity if lack of knowledge of the governance frameworks in each sector prevented greater and more productive interchange of executives and non-executives from one world into another.’

Lynne Berry

Broadening the talent pool

‘Women in the voluntary sector are trying to break through a glass silo rather than a glass ceiling. The women we are talking about are extremely experienced at both executive and non-executive level on public and voluntary boards. Between them they have run some of the largest organisations in this country, but the corporate sector has been slow to recognise the relevance of their skills.’

Peter Tunjic

On directorship

‘ ... the goal posts keep moving and are becoming harder to see. Value creation depends on which shareholder the board listens to. A share trader’s idea of value is different and even opposed to that of a shareholder who plans to hold their shares indefinitely. In addition, the practice of share lending is making it hard to know who the real shareholder is.’

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