In this Photo (from left to right): Frik Landman (CEO of USB-ED), Tom Boardman (non-executive director of the Nedbank Group Ltd), Prof Marc le Menestrel (INSEAD Corporate Governance Initiative) and Prof Arnold Smit (Director: Centre for Business in Society at USB-ED)
Cape Town, 5 August 2015: Old Mutual Investment Group
is collaborating with the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB)
, USB-ED and the INSEAD
Corporate Governance Initiative in respect of the inaugural Africa Directors Programme. The programme highlights the importance of enhancing the capacity, at a directorship level, for ethical and effective corporate governance and board leadership. This is aligned with Old Mutual’s own commitment to the development of the governance and leadership competencies of high-performing directors and would-be directors.
At the launch evening guest speaker Tom Boardman, former CEO of Nedbank Group and now a non-executive director of the group, referred to one of the twelve pillars of the Global Competitiveness Report regarding institiutions and said South Africa is one of the top countries for local institutions, corporate boards and ethics .
“This is due to King I, II and III and this also being part of South Africa’s Company Act. South African directors can be very proud of this. Life is a learning journey and one should never stop learning.”
He started off as a lawyer and then moved over to accountancy. His most valuable lessons were learned from mistakes and setback. “One must respect the culture and values in your organisations and it must be aligned, otherwise there’s conflict.”
The global financial crisis of 2008 is largely to blame on a wrong corporate culture at banks. One can spend a lifetime building your reputation and it can be wiped out instantly.
“Do you homework before you accept a directorship. There is a lot of risk involved. You need to understand an industry and gain experience in it. This takes time.
“Understand your responsibilities. A board approve strategy and sigh off on it. They appoint a CEO and this must be the best candidate for the job. Then last but not the least, corporate governance.
The programme has a particular focus on director development in Africa, dealing with the governance challenges on the African continent. Through the offering of a learning and development pathway for directors, the programme also aims to promote sustainable business development through an integrated sustainability vision for governance and board processes as well as governance credibility for stakeholder confidence. The programme carries the endorsement of the Institute of Directors in Southern Africa (IoDSA) and is aligned with the requirements of the Chartered Director (South Africa) designation.
Old Mutual Investment Group CEO, Diane Radley, says that good corporate governance forms the cornerstone of her business’s responsible investment approach. “As responsible stewards of our clients’ investments, we believe that when you invest to reduce governance risk, the rewards will be greater,” she explains. “We place immense importance on solid governance practices, which result in better operational performance. As such, in supporting the Africa Directors Programme, we hope to significantly enhance the capacity for ethical and effective corporate governance and board leadership for, not only our own executive team, but directorship development across the broader African continent.”
Radley believes that better managed companies are better investments for clients. “By subscribing to these principles, we believe they will enable Old Mutual Investment Group to become the leading example of how to invest responsibly in Africa.”
According to Prof Arnold Smit, Director of the Business in Society Centre of the University of Stellenbosch Business School Executive Development, the programme will offer a great impetus to aspiring and acting directors to exercise responsible board leadership in a complex world.
“Focusing on the director as a person, as a board member and as an organisational custodian, the programme is designed to sharpen those competencies that strengthen integrity and proficiency in the boardroom and earn the trust of society,” he says. “Furthermore, it is an exciting prospect to offer this programme in association with the globally esteemed INSEAD Corporate Governance Initiative and Old Mutual Investment Group as a leading role-player in the responsible business movement.”
Radley believes that going forward strong economic growth will be required in emerging markets to ensure social stability. “This growth will be driven by investment and, if it is to be sustainable over the long term, sound corporate governance and investing responsibly will be a priority for both asset managers and asset owners.”
The programme agenda will focus on equipping participants with the skills to exercise the duties of a director with self-awareness, professionalism and sound judgement; as well as contributing to a board culture characterised by effective collaboration, integrity and sound decision-making.
It will also teach participants to exercise effective board leadership in matters of corporate conformance, performance, strategy and risk management, and to oversee public accountability for sustainable and responsible business development. These themes will be facilitated by a team of governance and leadership experts consisting of Prof Deon Rossouw, Richard Foster and Lynn McGregor.
The inaugural programme will run over three events from 3 August to 18 November 2015 and will certainly be repeated from 2016 onwards. Prof Marc le Menestrel of the INSEAD Corporate Governance Initiative and Prof Arnold Smit of USB-ED will act as co-directors, ensuring that the participants’ programme journey is meaningful and well integrated from a personal and professional development point of view.