President’s Report to Members

President’s Letter to Members - July 2022

Dear Members

I am very honoured to be elected as your President for the next two years and I hope that I will add value to the organisation and all members.

I would like to start off by telling you a little bit about myself, but first I would like to acknowledge the achievements of my predecessor Peter Turnbull.  Peter led the Institute through the challenges brought on by Covid-19 and in all that time maintained momentum.  He was instrumental in developing a comprehensive strategic plan that has guided us for the last two years and hopefully for many more. On behalf of our Institute, I thank Peter on all that was achieved under his leadership whilst at the same time dealing with the challenges from the pandemic.

I was born in 1964 in Johannesburg, South Africa and I still live in Johannesburg.  I have been married to David for 36 years.  I went to St Teresa’s Mercy Convent for all of my school years and then to Rhodes University in Grahamstown where I studied Secretarial Practice.  After working for a few years at a property broking company as a secretarial assistant, I decided to expand my academic horizon and enrolled for my CIS with the then Chartered Secretaries and Administrators Institute of Southern Africa (now called The Chartered Governance Institute of Southern Africa).  I completed my CIS in two years, coming first in the country in both Corporate Administration and Cost Accounting. Due to this I was awarded my FCIS immediately upon registering to be a member.

In those days a CIS was very financially orientated and, after qualifying, I became the financial director of the property company for which I worked.  I moved on to become the company secretary and am now an experienced business professional, with over three decades’ experience in Corporate Governance, Financial Management and Administration.  I have worked for a listed transport company, and two listed property companies.  I am currently the group secretary of Liberty Holdings Limited, one of the largest life insurance companies in South Africa, a position I have held since June 2008.   I play a pivotal role in facilitating the Board to achieve the Group’s vision and strategy, as well as ensuring compliance with relevant laws and regulations. I act as a point of communication between the Board and the Company’s shareholders and as a vital link between the Board and executive management. My key focus is on reinforcing corporate fairness, promoting transparency, diversity, sustainability and discipline.  As a practising group secretary of a large entity, I am very aware to the daily issues faced by company secretaries and hope to infuse my experience in providing strategic direction to the global Institute.

I was a director of The Chartered Governance Institute of Southern Africa for approximately twelve years and was its President in 2009/2010.  For many years I chaired the Education Committee, and I have a deep interest in the education and development of aspiring company secretaries.

As President of the global Institute, my aim is to enhance the value that the Institute can offer the Divisions and the members in the Divisions.  The global Institute was not formed to be self-serving, or to stand alone, and only by working together with the Divisions can the sum be greater than the parts.    I am confident that each Division and its representatives will contribute, knowing that value is being created for all members.

We are The Chartered Governance Institute and governance must be our focus. At the same time there must be awareness that commerciality is also important, and all parts of the Institute need to be financially sustainable.  Being part of an international body should enhance the growth and prosperity of all parts of the Institute.

Great strides have already been made by past presidents in this regard and I hope to continue to grow the Institute as a whole, while still ensuring that all proper controls are in place and that funding is carefully allocated and spent on the most appropriate priorities. I understand that Divisions sometimes have their own priorities and challenges, but I hope to be able encourage a view that we are one organisation and if we work collectively, we can all succeed.

To this end it is important to continue promoting and expanding the cohesiveness of the global Institute’s brand.

Thought Leadership has really taken off in recent years and is a very important part of the Institute as it is an area where there is tangible value for members.  We need to continue to be the front runners, particularly in such an uncertain and changing world.

We cannot grow our membership without focussing on our educational standards.  Excellent work has already been done by the Professional Standards Committee in changing the way in which we assess our students.  I support continuing with this work and believe that we can become world-leaders in governance education without compromising standards or compromising our reputation.

Our history is very important and is the bedrock of who we are. However, it is important to balance the sanctity of our past with the evolving needs of the future.

I look forward to the next couple of years and will be giving you, the members, regular updates on our initiatives to grow the organisation.

Yours sincerely,

Jill Parratt FCG
International President
12 July 2022

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