The new edition of the Non-Executive Directors’ Handbook was launched at an event held at the offices of Willis Towers Watson.
The event was kicked off by Francis Kean, Executive Director – Finex, Willis Towers Watson, who set the scene in respect of the important role of the Non-Executive Director (‘NED’) on boards, and how NEDs in particular should make sure that they protect their reputation by reviewing their own personal risk position and align this with how the board sets the broader Directors and Officers (‘D&O’) Insurance requirements.
Peter Swabey, Policy and Research Director, ICSA, went on to outline the key relationship between ICSA and NEDA, given ICSA has published the previous two editions of the NED Handbook, working closely with NEDA on keeping the content up to date and focused on the matters most relevant to NEDs. Peter also outline some of the recent work that ICSA has been undertaking on Board Effectiveness Reviews as part of the UK Government initiative on Corporate Governance and Insolvency.
Paul Drechsler CBE, Chairman, Bibby Line and the NED Awards, as the key- note speaker and writer of the NED Handbook Foreword provided some personal insight noting in particular that the responsibility of Non-Executive Directors is heightened by the UK’s well-deserved global reputation for the highest standards of corporate governance. These standards being underpinned by well-developed codes and guidelines which are regularly updated in light of new experience.
Paul emphasised that the Non-Executive Directors’ Handbook provides a comprehensive guide for NEDs at each stage of their career. Whilst it is aimed at informing action, it should be remembered that it is people, culture and behaviours that really matter. Boards need to ensure alignment between these three elements of leadership and focus on Company Purpose, Values and Strategy. The diversity of background, experience, perspective and thought that comes from diversity of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and nationality is the greatest source of value, and advantage in any boardroom. It is also the best means of quality challenge and support in times of adversity.
Paul went on to conclude that a Non-Executive Director has a great opportunity, and fundamental duty, to contribute to the future success of the enterprise and to maximise the benefit for all the stakeholders. The challenges of climate change, technology, instant communications, and trust will ensure that the role will be more demanding in the years to come. The benefit of the NED Handbook, as a reference point for doing the right thing and being up to date, is ever more evident.
Graham Durgan, Chairman, NEDA, proposed a vote of thanks to the speakers and also to those who had helped to bring the Handbook together for the 5th Edition. Graham emphasised that the NED Handbook has been refreshed and fully updated and continues to act as an essential source of reference and route map for what is typically a very challenging role. The new edition includes all of the latest updates to the corporate governance codes as well as a new chapter on Strategy.
As part of the launch of the Handbook, NEDA members have been given the opportunity to buy the newly updated edition at a 20% discount for a limited period only. Further information and a discount code can be obtained via a note to: firstname.lastname@example.org