CGIUKI Annual Conference 2023 – Day One

CGIUKI Annual conference 2023 Day 1

We are delighted to have hosted Governance 2023, The Chartered Governance Institute UK & Ireland (CGIUKI) Annual Conference, on 5–6 July at the Novotel London West, Hammersmith. The conference focused on key governance issues such as diversity in the boardroom, board performance reviews and artificial intelligence (AI). In this blog, we break down some of the most important points to come out of the first day of the conference.

Day one kicked off with opening remarks from our event host, Clare Forestier, TV and radio presenter. This was followed by our CEO Sara Drake, who emphasised the need for good governance during times of instability and talked about CGIUKI’s recently revised purpose:

‘To champion good governance and develop the value, skills and effectiveness of governance professionals, because we believe that better governance drives better decision-making, and better decision-making creates a better world.’

The keynote speech was delivered by Mark Holmes, the Deputy Director, Corporate Governance, Audit Reform & Shareholder Rights at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. After laying out the government’s commitment to business and growing the UK economy, he reiterated the need for qualified governance professionals to drive this. Mr. Holmes concluded that for UK businesses and organisations to thrive, they must have a solid foundation in governance.

Next a panel discussion followed, which was a deep dive into the proposed revisions to the UK Corporate Governance Code. The panel, moderated by Peter Swabey FCG, Policy & Research Director at CGIUKI, alongside Maureen Beresford, Head of Corporate Governance at the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), urged governance professionals to take the opportunity to feedback on the consultation in order to help shape the changes.

The next session saw a shift in topic to equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI), with Denise Wilson OBE, Chief Executive, The FTSE Women Leaders Review sharing progress made in the past decade in raising the proportion of women in the boardroom. The shortfall of women leaders has decreased rapidly year on year, although with only 18 CEOs who are women in the FTSE 350, there is still much work to be done. The subsequent panel discussion concluded that, while companies can draft as many EDI policies as they like, it is only by putting these into practice that they will achieve tangible results.

After lunch and networking, the event continued with Victoria Penrice FCG, President of CGIUKI, moderating a panel on how boards can obtain the necessary skills to govern their organisations effectively both now and for the future. The panel highlighted the need for balance in the boardroom, not only in relation to diversity but also knowledge and background. With technology advancing at a faster rate than ever, it is vital for boards to have members with sufficient technical understanding to support organisations to make considered decisions.

The afternoon breakout streams took the form of workshops, debates or Q&A sessions covering myriad topics from the impact of governance codes to effective decision-making, cyber resilience and tech-enhanced boardrooms. There were also opportunities to hear about the use of AI to create board packs, upcoming Companies House changes, excellence in charity governance and how to define strategy in an age of uncertainty.

The day concluded with a debate, moderated by our CEO Sara Drake, about how to manage conflict in the boardroom. Richard McDermott ACG, Company Secretary at The Football Association shared his experience of the nuances of board structure and how conflict – a natural feature of any boardroom discussion – can be managed to ensure that it is healthy and productive. Most importantly, the company secretary needs to position themselves as a neutral party to build trust among all parties so that their voice can be one of moderation.

The day concluded with drinks and networking on the terrace. Find out more about day two of the conference.

Join us at Governance 2024 on the 3rd and 4th of July

Download this year's course catalogue Introduction to Corporate Governance Engage Governance podcast series Essentials of ESG: Pathway to Good Governance Join our upcoming training for governance professionals

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