En­hanc­ing di­rec­tor­ship as a pro­fes­sion

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - Adri Senekal de Wet

Adri Senekal de Wet (AW), BR Ex­ec­u­tive Ed­i­tor @ lunch with Dr Du Plessis (DP):

AW: Why is it im­por­tant for lead­ers to un­der­stand and ap­ply good gov­er­nance? DP: The board and its di­rec­tors are re­spon­si­ble for cor­po­rate gov­er­nance in an or­gan­i­sa­tion in or­der to en­sure the busi­ness achieves and main­tains an eth­i­cal cul­ture, good per­for­mance, ef­fec­tive con­trol and le­git­i­macy. The board must set the tone at and from the top and en­sure gov­er­nance is em­bed­ded through­out the or­gan­i­sa­tion. Get­ting this right will en­able or­gan­i­sa­tions to ben­e­fit from the com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage of cor­po­rate gov­er­nance and thrive in a sus­tain­able man­ner. AW: What can be done to pre­vent a cul­ture of poor gov­er­nance? (Adop­tion of King IV prin­ci­ples, pro­fes­sion­al­ism, mea­sur­ing com­pe­tence, pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment, for ex­am­ple.) DP: A large num­ber of di­rec­tors have not had the nec­es­sary gov­er­nance train­ing and thus lack a proper un­der­stand­ing of the du­ties, re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and ac­count­abil­i­ties of a di­rec­tor. One way of pre­par­ing one­self for a di­rec­tor­ship role is via the Cer­ti­fied or Char­tered Di­rec­tor des­ig­na­tions, of­fered by the In­sti­tute of Di­rec­tors. Th­ese des­ig­na­tions are specif­i­cally de­signed to en­hance di­rec­tor­ship as a pro­fes­sion and im­prove the com­pe­tence of di­rec­tors. Hav­ing the right peo­ple as board mem­bers, with the nec­es­sary knowl­edge, skills and ex­pe­ri­ence, to­gether with a bal­ance of in­de­pen­dence and di­ver­sity, will go a long way to im­prov­ing gov­er­nance.

AW: What is the big­gest chal­lenge for gov­ern­ing bod­ies from a best prac­tice point of view? DP: The con­for­mance re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of boards have in­creased sig­nif­i­cantly in re­cent years as a re­sult of a de­mand­ing po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic land­scape and oner­ous new re­quire­ments from leg­is­la­tion, reg­u­la­tions and codes. Th­ese fac­tors are of­ten marginal­is­ing crit­i­cal as­pects of their role, such as per­for­mance, strat­egy and sus­tain­able value cre­ation. Where this is the case, steps need to be taken to im­prove ef­fi­ciency and fo­cus more time on per­for­mance.

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