Following our collaboration with IESE Business School, Patron of our Chamber, our members were invited to attend an evening talk on “Corporate Governance: The Role of the Board of Directors” delivered by Baroness Kingsmill, a member of IESE’s International Advisory Board and member of the House of Lords Economics Affairs Committee.
In attendance at the event, which took place last Wednesday 3rd April at the Athenaeum Club in London, were representatives of both Spanish and British companies from across different sectors, who came to hear the insights of Baroness Kingsmill. She was indeed a perfect speaker for the topic in question, as her extensive first-hand experience on several boards in different international companies proves.
During her speech, Baroness Kingsmill highlighted the many challenges boards face nowadays, ranging from the increase in pressure and demands on directors to the importance of paying more attention to sustainability, corporate social responsibility and company ethics. Baroness Kingsmill also went over the role of non-executive directors, who serve a double purpose. On the one hand they bring external experience to support and advise the managing team, whilst on the other they keep those same directors’ feet to the fire in order to ensure they follow through on their promises.
In addition, Baroness Kingsmill addressed the preoccupation for making numbers work in quarterly reports, which is a consequence of the short-termism that affects most companies and sometimes prevents them from smoothly running their day-to-day business, as well as from developing stronger long-term policies and effective strategies. She also called for a wider and more varied representation on boards, as she noted that regardless of the business sector or country, most boards of directors are led by professionals coming from very similar professional and ethnic backgrounds.
The event also provided an excellent opportunity to listen to Professor Jordi Canals, Dean of IESE Business School, who was also in attendance to welcome guests and introduce the talk. Professor Canals is also a recognized scholar in the areas of corporate strategy, corporate governance, globalization and banking. In his welcome speech, he highlighted the importance of cooperation between the public and private sector in the current climate, of which Baroness Kingsmill is a clear example.
After a very interactive round of questions, attendees moved on to the reception area where they could exchange their impressions of the evening over a glass of wine. We hope those of you who were in attendance made the most of the evening and enjoyed the talk.
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