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Corporate Governance Breakfast: the UK Green Paper & Future of Boardrooms

I was recently delighted to attend the UK Investor Relations Society's breakfast on the UK Corporate Governance Reform Green Paper, hosted by Deutsche Bank.

The interactive panel discussion covered many themes from the Green Paper including: shareholder and stakeholder engagement, executive pay, the role of the Remuneration Committee and investor stewardship.

The panel consisted of:

Mandy Offel, Associate Director, DF King
Alexandra Beidas, Partner, Employment and Incentives, Linklaters
Andrew Ninian, Director, Corporate Governance & Engagement, the Investment Association

Certainly in the work Fidelio has been doing we have seen an increased focus and questioning of the role of UK Boards since the Brexit referendum vote. For example, an increase in the strategic use of Board Evaluation outside of the three-year cycle by Chairmen wishing to assess the Board skills matrix in this context of uncertainty.

One of the (many) thought-provoking comments made by the panel was that the stakeholder representation focus of the Green Paper dovetails implicitly with the push for more diverse perspectives around the Boardroom table for greater Board effectiveness.

Clearly, stakeholder engagement skills (honed in the, to quote a recent HBR article, "pink ghettoes" of the communications and HR functions) have a critical role to play at the Boardroom table. I would argue that this link needs to be made more explicitly: a re-evaluation of the Board skills matrix enables a more 'joined-up' push toward greater diversity and increased Board effectiveness in this period of uncertainty.

The consultation period for the Green Paper ends next Friday (17th February), be sure to make your voice heard in this important debate.

Luke Main is Research Associate at Fidelio Partners

Published: 10 February, 2017