The UK Government Department BEIS (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) recently announced a White Paper Consultation, a key goal of which is to
“restore public trust in the way that the UK’s largest companies are run and scrutinised”
This clearly has implications for UK Boardrooms and is consistent with a trend that we are seeing internationally. Consider for example the regulatory response in Germany to the failure of Wirecard, and the SEC’s recent requirement that the Boards of two major oil companies hold shareholder votes on emissions targets. Thus for all Board Members the importance of remaining current and being abreast of expectations – be they of regulators, shareholders or stakeholders – is paramount. Reflecting this underlying governance trend, Fidelio’s “A Seat at the Table” Board Development Programme has become an opportunity to refresh Board skills, as well as develop new ones – both very important facets of building better Boards. In March 2021 over two days Fidelio explored key aspects of governance and Board effectiveness with participants from around the globe and highly experienced Chairs, Non-Executive Directors and governance experts. The themes that stood out strongly were:
The value of reputation
Enabling diversity and inclusion
ESG and innovation
The changing technology landscape
“A Seat at the Table” has remained true to its origins and is still predicated upon the five attributes of a successful Board Director, identified by original Fidelio research in 2015.
Understanding the complexity of shareholder and stakeholder expectations for the leadership team
Firm grasp of governance including formal/informal power structures
Presence and authority; personal impact; the ability to influence
Reinforcing networks of support and networks of reciprocity
Resilience under extreme pressure
The attributes and skillsets most clearly at the forefront for Board Directors in March 2021 were:
resilience, judgement and horizon-scanning.
In this Overture we provide a snapshot of how Board Directors are preparing themselves and their Boards and organisations given the increased scrutiny and heightened expectations. We share key insights and findings – of value to those seeking to refresh Board skills, as well as embarking upon a Board career.
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