President’s Report to Members

President’s Letter to Members – July 2024

Dear Members

I am very honoured to be elected as your President for the next two years. My objective during my tenure is to maintain the momentum that my predecessors have generated to ensure that the Institute continues to evolve and prosper.

I would like to tell you a little bit about myself, but first I would like to acknowledge the achievements of my predecessor Jill Parratt.  Jill took over as President when the Institute and the world were emerging from COVID-19 when the nine Divisions were grappling with the impact on the way people approached their work, how they socialised and what they prioritised.  Remote working became the norm as did online learning.  As professional associations have traditionally been places where people come together these changes have meant that, across the organisation, we too have had to adapt.

During the last year of Jill’s Presidency, the global Institute undertook a thorough strategic planning process.  We had to develop strategies to address how younger generations value professional memberships, how those studying our qualifying programme view learning and assessment, where our members look for information and how the governance professional is valued.  The Council agreed to promote the value that good governance and a qualified governance professional can bring to an organization and society as a whole.  Given some political and ‘market’ pressure to adopt a ‘lighter touch’ with some governance requirements and reporting, highlighting the value good governance brings is a key message for us to deliver during my Presidency and beyond. To address this, we agreed to implement a medium to longer term advocacy programme, supported by research and promulgated by all our Divisions with common messaging.  We also agreed that the Institute has much to offer international organisations and that we would develop an engagement strategy to link our knowledge and skills with important international organisations over the coming years.

The Institute is also mid-way through a review of the competencies that all governance professionals must possess to hold themselves out as true professionals.  As the Institute has a membership across over 70 countries, we know that we need to be able to effectively qualify people from a wide variety of backgrounds.  The Council is encouraged by the progress with this project as it will provide Divisions with the flexibility they need to meet their market needs whilst at the same time maintaining the high standards that the Institute is known for.

The Institute now thinks globally but can act both global and local, for example in our Thought Leadership output.  The recent strategic planning process demonstrated this.  Over twelve months all involved had a focus on collaboration and collective decision making in the knowledge, as one of our values states…that we are stronger together.

I have been involved with the Institute for almost 30 years during a career in banking and share registration.  I was on the UKI board for 12 years to 2023 and the UKI President from 2017 to 2020 meeting governance professionals from all over the world and I know how important the Institute’s heritage is, allied to the need to be innovative and forward-looking.

As well as expressing my thanks to Jill and previous Presidents with whom I have worked, for their determined and insightful leadership, I would also like to thank Tim Sheehy for his hard work and dedication as Director General over the last nearly nine years.  I will reflect more on this when he steps down from the role but a major focus of the first few months of my presidency will be ensuring the smooth recruitment of his successor and then getting them settled into the position and working with them on refining and delivering the workstreams flowing from the recent planning process and new strategy.  Significant progress has already been made by previous Presidents in bringing the Institute together and promoting its strengths and we will continue to do this, acknowledging that our Divisions have their own priorities and challenges which need to be balanced with those of the Institute as a whole. Over the last decade we have demonstrated that we can succeed by working collectively.

I look forward to the next couple of years and am grateful for the opportunity to be your President.

Yours sincerely,

John Heaton FCG
International President
9 July 2024