This summer newsletter offers an in-depth exploration of the role of the board secretary. These trusted governance professionals have an important part to play in all types of organisations in the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors.
As you’ll read in this edition, governance is about more than just complying with laws, regulations, standards, and codes; it is also about creating cultures of good practice. This means that board secretaries require more than simply technical skills and experience to know what corporate governance practices are needed in an organisation and why.
In this edition, you’ll find a very interesting article on the changing role of the board secretary, which gives an outline of the broad job specification. I’ve also personally penned an article about the importance of the board secretary role.
By Alison Dillon Kibirige
The role of the Board secretary has evolved from a ‘mere servant or minute taker of the Board’ to that of a ‘governance professional’ so say more and more studies on the role. The reason often given for this is the increasing formalization of governance in laws, regulations, standards and codes around the world.> Read more
Zakareya has been board secretary at Bahrain-headquartered Seef for eight years. Founded in 1999, Seef is a leading real estate development company with a vast portfolio of assets across the kingdom.
Prior to his tenure at Seef, Zakareya held board secretary and management roles at Gulf Aluminium Rolling Mill, one of the largest aluminium rolling mills in the Middle East.
The role of board secretary offers a great opportunity to work with a variety of directors and executives. Through engaging with such a range of people, I learn how to relate to each and every one of them. The role also offers the opportunity to work at close range with management members.
Good governance does not stop at compliance because compliance is simply not enough. In fact, I really don’t like the word compliance at all.
I believe effective corporate governance is all about performance and best practices. If we only look at corporate governance as compliance then it is really just ticking the box and shows that we have not understood the true benefits of effective corporate governance.
And this is where the board secretary has an important role to play. The board secretary occupies a unique position in organisations. He or she is the key point of contact for the chairman, as well as a central member of the senior management team. The board secretary bridges the gap between the boardroom and the executive because he or she has privileged access to both. However, the role and its value are frequently misunderstood and often overlooked and this can result in board dysfunction and the failure of the board secretary to deliver effectively.
Corporate secretaries have an important role to play as governance professionals in all types of organizations in the private, public, and not-forprofit sectors. Governance is more than just complying with laws, regulations, standards, and codes; it is also about creating cultures of good practice. This means that corporate secretaries need more than the technical skills and experience to know what corporate governance practices are needed in an organization and why. They also need the emotional intelligence, skills, and experience to ensure that they know how the practices typically would be implemented to work effectively. The modern corporate secretary is no longer a “mere servant,” as often implied in earlier job descriptions and early legal text, but is now expected to provide professional guidance to shareholders, boards, individual directors, management, and other stakeholders on the governance aspects of strategic decisions.