January 24, 2018 / Table Talk

Fidelio Board Breakfast – "Effective Chairman, Effective Board"

As Fidelio builds Boards fit for the future through Search, Development and Evaluation, we are keenly aware of key challenges on the Board Agenda. In response, Fidelio’s Board Breakfasts bring together Chairmen, Non-Executive and Executive Directors from a range of sectors and geographies to explore pressing, contemporary topics that are highly relevant for the Boardroom and for Board effectiveness.

In our daily work, we see very clearly the exceptional and increasing demands on Chairmen. Shareholders and stakeholders have greater expectations, accentuated by business disruption. Amidst the turmoil an effective Chair is the key to an effective Board.

Fidelio was therefore delighted to welcome as a guest speaker, David Jackson, Company Secretary BP plc, to shed light on the all-important support required for effective Chairmen and effective Boards.

In particular, David addressed three key questions:

1. What are the challenges facing the Chairman and the Board?

2. Given those challenges, what support do Chairmen and their Boards need? Are there different models?

3. How should Boards be thinking about succession for both Chairmen and Non-Executive Directors?

Key takeaways were:

  • Adding value is the key imperative for the Chairman and the Board, while the Board is also the repository of the long-term values of the company, including culture.
  • The Chairman and Company Secretary are critical roles uniquely positioned to ensure corporate governance structures are adding value not hindering. Cutting through the “fudge” and focussing on long-term value for the business is vital. A key means of adding value is ensuring focus on the right things.
  • Company Secretaries are key to providing support to the Chairman – this extends from the Chairman’s relationship with the CEO, regulatory issues and support around the Boardroom table.
  • Succession planning is a key remit for the Chairman and in this context Boards need to be forward-thinking and focus on the skills needed for the future. The Company Secretary has a contribution to make in supporting an effective and rigorous selection process and a meaningful induction for the successful candidate. Both are linked to the long-term objectives of the company.
  • And as demands on the Board increase, different skills may well be required in new Board Members, including potentially the skills of a former Company Secretary.

Fidelio’s focus is building Boards fit for the future. We do this through Search, Development and Evaluation on an international basis. To find out how Fidelio can support your organisation, and for a full summary of the breakfast discussion, get in touch via info@fideliopartners.com or +44 (0)207 759 2200.

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