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 Directors need to be agents for change

2016-08-18 00:00
by MediaVision on behalf of USB-ED

ADP press release.jpg

In this photo (from left to right): 

Dr Anwah Nagia, Prof Marc Le Menestrel (visiting professor of Ethics at INSEAD Business School) and Prof Arnold Smit​

A director of a company should understand that corporate governance includes the accountability for triple bottom line performance. Practices such as child labour and environmental damage is simply unacceptable.​

“Directors need to be agents of change in the businesses they govern and do things in a proper way, irrespective of race, class and colour or according to a political agenda.”

This is according to the founder and chairman of Element Investment Managers, Dr Anwah Nagia, speaking as guest speaker at the opening of the Africa Directors Programme (ADP) on 31 July 2016 at the Lanzerac Wine Estate in Stellenbosch. He is also the Chairman at Altius Investment Holdings, the Non-Executive Chairman at Cape Town Market and Africa Commodities Group, and the Chairman of the District Six Beneficiary and Redevelopment Trust.

He has been involved in many contemporary and national issues and has spoken and lectured in Sweden, Denmark, and United Kingdom on the ‘built’ environment and related social issues.

The programme, presented for the second time by USB Executive Development (USB-ED), follows the first programme presented in 2015 to the Old Mutual Investment Group, the corporate partner of the programme.

Of note is also the involvement of the esteemed INSEAD Corporate Governance Initiative with its world renowned International Directors Programme and the USB Centre for Corporate Governance in Africa. .  

The programme also enjoys the endorsement of the Institute of Directors in Southern Africa (IoDSA). Successful participants can include their results in their portfolio of evidence for the IoDSA’s CD(SA)® assessment.

Dr Nagia further said that directors should let their voices be heard and have a say about societal matters as well. 

“We cannot just understand balance sheets, accounting practises and governance. It means nothing if it does not translate in benefitting communities. You can be a firm business person to make a profit, but you do not have to exploit people.

“You must understand that that you can only survive if you make a profit, but is must not be at the expense of sustainability.

“The issue around great companies and leaders are that they have to be selfless. You cannot only be informed by the state of the economy. It must ne by a greater calling for social justice,” Dr Nagia said.

Jon Duncan, head of responsible investment at Old Mutual Investment Group, said that for Old Mutual as an investor, it is not only about a decision to invest in a company. It is also about being the custodian of that assets in time.

Old Mutual has about R600 billion invested in the South African economy. As a custodian it has become evident over time that leadership skills are critical. Governance is just as important in terms of delivering social inclusion, resource efficiency and the kind of future we all collectively need.

Prof Arnold Smit, the programme director on USB-ED’s behalf, expressed his satisfaction with the composition of the programme group. The sixteen participants include two from Namibia and four from Botswana whilst equally represented in terms of gender and inclusive in terms of race. Participants come from business, government and civil society organisations.

“For a programme that aspires to building director and governance capacity for the African continent, we could not have dreamt of a better start,” he said.

Prof Smit is equally impressed by the quality of faculty from South Africa and INSEAD teaching on the programme and the calibre of people in the programme group. “The quality of presentations are world class and the debates are robust, relevant and honest.

“There are few conversations more meaningful to experience than being in the ring when directors are fully serious about the value contribution of their organisations to the well-being of society.”

Two modules remain to be presented for this year, whilst the recruitment for next year has already begun. Module two of the programme will be presented from 12 to 14 September 2016 and module three from 24 to 26 October 2016.

For enquiries about the Africa Directors Programme for 2017, please contact or go to the USB-ED website​
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Courses / Programmes; Leadership