President's Report to Members - October 2021 International Council meeting
I would like to take this opportunity to let you know what was discussed, as well as some important decisions taken, at The Chartered Governance Institute’s most recent international Council meeting held via Zoom on 21 and 22 October 2021. I will also cover the outcome of the Annual General Meeting held on 21 October 2021.
This was the fourth meeting since the beginning of this pandemic the Council has had to hold via Zoom. The meeting was originally scheduled to be held face-to-face in conjunction with the Zimbabwe Division’s annual conference. Council members and Chief Executives are now very adept at working via Zoom meetings and so the meeting was nevertheless very effective as I will outline below.
As always, time zones ranged from Toronto, Canada to Auckland, New Zealand, and all members of Council and Chief Executives attended the Council meeting.
2020 + Strategic plan
The 2020+ Strategic Plan put in place in 2020 is structured around 6 key elements:
- Financial stability and sustainability (including our Covid-19 response),
- Business growth in relation to students and members,
- Brand enhancement,
- Thought leadership, and
- Organisational governance.
The Council reviewed the strategic progress being made against the Plan which is on track and, as we move forward, various priorities will be fine-tuned to suit available resources.
The Council was provided with a detailed update on progress that included, amongst other things:
- The role of Policy Adviser to the Institute has been filled to support the work of the Thought Leadership Committee (TLC). The TLC’s output is a key part of the Institute working toward its mission in promoting the practice of good governance. The role has been filled since June 2021,
- The Council formally agreed to the recommendations from the Professional Standards Committee (PSC) stemming from its review of how the Institute assesses a person’s suitability to qualify as a Chartered Secretary or Chartered Governance Professional. See below for further detail on this issue,
- The Council’s own composition has been reviewed, aided by the completion of a skills matrix to help identify and gaps and future priority skills. In the coming months the Council and the Executive Committee will evaluate the rules around the composition of Council and whether any changes need to be made,
- Promotion of the Institute’s brand globally continues to grow via the Institute’s digital presence from global webinars, the eCommunity and interviews with thought leaders promoted via our social media platforms.
Strategic policy agenda
The Institute’s new Policy Adviser provided the Council with an analysis of the broad policy areas that would underpin the Institute’s thought leadership agenda for the coming 12 to 18 months. In addition, the Council was provided with 16 potential topics for consideration. Notwithstanding the meeting was held via Zoom, the Council and CEOs were able to convene into 3 separate breakout groups to set priorities for the first several thought leadership papers. Topics around digital-age risk, preserving human capital and governance issues surrounding climate change were seen as high priorities.
Pathways to membership
As previously reported, an internal review of pathways to membership has been underway involving all Divisions, the PSC, and the Executive Committee. Amongst other things, the introduction of the Chartered Governance Professional designation has necessitated a review of the greater variety of skills, experience, and tertiary qualifications that prospective members have attained in today’s world.
That review is now largely complete with Council agreeing to a number of measures that provide more streamlined pathways to Associate and Fellow membership. Greater weight is now able to be given to relevant work experience, relevant tertiary qualifications as well as greater recognition of other professional memberships a person may hold. Council was advised of a marketing campaign that will highlight these changes to prospective students across a range of countries that will be ongoing through November 2021 to February 2022.
Global Institute promotion
A strategic decision was made some years ago that the global Institute would have a digital presence that would complement the work of the Divisions but not duplicate it. The international digital strategy achieves a broad reach and is not resource intensive.
The eCommunity continues to be valuable asset for the global Institute. There are now over 4,000 registered users of the platform and discussion activity continues to grow. The eCommunity has become the home for member-driven blogs, thought leadership papers and follow-on discussions as well as interviews with leading governance professionals.
The eCommunity is also complimented by the global webinars that the Institute conducts. The Institute uses the webinars to promote its global footprint by always having speakers across a range of jurisdictions and reaching into over 20 countries each time. Participation ranges from between 1,250 to 1,500 participants for each webinar with many being non-members.
You can access the eCommunity here and if you have not registered, I urge you to do so.
PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS COMMITTEE
As reported above, the PSC has largely completed its review of eligibility pathways to membership and the assessment framework of the International Qualifying Scheme. The final remaining work involves agreeing on the appropriate tools used to assess a student’s understanding of the curriculum. It is very important that the reputation of Chartered status be preserved. As many members go on to become the designated company secretary in their organisation, and hence become an officer of the corporation or organisation, the Institute has a particular responsibility to qualify people as Chartered in a rigorous and responsible manner.
Notwithstanding the work summarised above, the PSC continues to undertake its ongoing role providing quality assurance reviews of the 9 Divisions.
The Council has also agreed to appoint Professor Alan Au as the incoming Chair of the PSC. Professor Au is Dean of the Lee Shau Kee School of Business and Administration as well as being the Director of the Institute of International Business and Governance at the Open University of Hong Kong (OUHK). Professor Au has been a member of PSC for several years and the Institute is fortunate to have a person of his calibre agree to take on the role of Chair.
At the same time the Council paid tribute to the departing Chair, Frank Bush. Frank has been a member of Council since 2004, President of the Institute in 2009/10 and 2015/16 and Chair of PSC since 2016. Given Frank’s sustained and substantial contribution to the Institute it was agreed to make an award of the President’s Medal during the meeting as a gesture of the Council’s deep and enduring appreciation for Frank’s work on behalf of the Institute.
THOUGHT LEADERSHIP COMMITTEE
The Council also received a report on the work of the Thought Leadership Committee and, in particular, the work being undertaken by the Institute’s new Policy Adviser – Gertrude Takawira.
One thought leadership paper, The third team: linking boards and organisational performance, has been released since the last Council meeting. As with past papers the IP has been leveraged to generate discussions on the eCommunity, released via social media platforms as well as recording an interview for The Governance Exchange series.
The paper asks some important questions such as: Does the board act on its own and the executive team act on its own or can the two come together if the ingredients are there to create a third team? Is the third team always there or does it only emerge when the synergy is there?
The work of the TLC is now set to be greatly enhanced with the addition of Ms Takawira’s expertise.
All Divisions provided Council with an update on how they have been continuing to adapt to the disruption stemming from Covid-19. In some respects, there is a degree of normalcy returning to many of the Institute’s Divisions, although quite a few will still face difficult conditions for some time to come.
2021 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
The 21 October 2021 AGM was held virtually again this year with attendance from across the Institute’s 9 Divisions. The meeting was highly interactive with over 15 questions from the floor that were mostly able to be answered during the meeting. Whilst the business of the meeting was only to receive the Institute’s Annual Report and Financial Statements it was nevertheless an opportunity to outline the Institute’s accomplishments and future direction. It is hoped that in 2022 the Institute can hold a hybrid AGM.
I would like to thank all my colleagues on the international Council for their focus and engagement and all the time freely given for the benefit of our membership and to Immediate Past-President Edith Shih (China), Vice-Presidents Jill Parratt (Southern Africa), John Heaton (CGIUKI) and Dr Syed Hamid Aljunid as well as Frank Bush (Acting-Chair of PSC) who serve on our Executive Committee.
As always, the work of members who serve on Divisional councils or sit on branch committees throughout the world is very greatly appreciated. In addition, the work of the Director General, Tim Sheehy, as well as our Institute Secretary Cynthia Mora Spencer and to all the CEO’s and staff in our 9 divisions is critical in generating support for these recent new international initiatives.
I look forward to keeping you informed of developments through future reports such as this.
Peter Turnbull AM FCG
4 November 2021
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