Editorial by Jane Valls: February 2017 issue

Editorial by Jane Valls: February 2017 issue

Dear members,

I’m delighted to report that we now have over 700 alumni members, which means you are officially part of the Middle East’s largest directorship organisation. Thank you for helping us to become one of the most progressive and dynamic bodies devoted to board effectiveness in the region.

Over the last few months, you’ll likely have noticed a widening of our GCC BDI offerings. We have ramped up our director workshops. And we’re also working on deepening and broadening our thought leadership and research capabilities. All this brings more education and networking benefits for our valued members.

To ensure the continued high quality of our services, we’ll be introducing a nominal fee for Alumni Members from the second year of membership, as well as bringing in a whole host of new benefits. For the first time, we’ll also be opening our doors to Corporate Members under a new initiative. Click here for more details.

We have also launched our new website, with your ease-of-use in mind after gathering months of user feedback. The site offers extensive information on the GCC BDI and how we can support you and your business. Why not take a few minutes to browse through our extensive list of educational programmes, meet our team, and check out our brand new simplified booking system.

The year so far…

This year has already delivered some great news with the announcement that our founding partner SABIC and our sponsor Ma’aden were among the winners of The Ethical Boardroom Corporate Governance Awards – Middle East. Congratulations! We are delighted to see your decades of corporate governance expertise recognised in the wider public arena.

In terms of our own activities, we started the year with a bang with the GCC BDI Breakfast Forum in collaboration with Mubadala held in Abu Dhabi on 8 January. Top international speaker Prof. David Beatty discussed ‘Hot Topics in Governance’, covering shareholder activism and its transformative impact on Boards; the digital tsunami and business disruption; and the critical role of the chair.

We also hosted the Board Committees Workshop from 25-26 Jan in Dubai, which was facilitated by Sharon Ditchburn, founder of Capital Advantage. She emphasized that “Board committees are a mechanism to assist the board… they are vital to help boards make well-considered decisions”. The workshop was well attended and led to some very interactive discussions.

Coming up next, GCC BDI and the Arab Regulators Conference 8-9 March 2017 in Abu Dhabi. This timely conference features representatives from the Arab Monetary Fund, the Union of Arab Securities Authorities, OECD and IFC. The conference will discuss how firms are regulated and presents an important opportunity for directors to interact with the regulators, as well as share their views. The conference will bring together central bankers, securities regulators, senior GCC Board Directors, and other key stakeholders in the region. As the economies in the Arab region continue to evolve in today’s globalised world, it is of utmost importance that they adopt international standards of corporate governance and regulation.

To round off March, I’ll be making an appearance as a guest speaker at the Abu Dhabi Centre for Corporate Governance Forum, where I will discuss ‘The Role of Board Secretary’.

I hope to see you soon at one of our events!

Jane Valls

Executive Director, GCC BDI