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President’s commentary — One eye towards the future, another on our legacy

It has been a big couple of months since I stepped into the Presidency, so a big thank you to everyone who has helped me get my feet under the table.

Megan Motto and I have just got back from visiting all of our state offices, and it was fantastic to get such a warm welcome from our local teams, and members, all of whom showed a huge amount of passion for the Institute and what we do.

What especially jumped out at me was a consistent, grounded, pragmatic and vibrant attitude of our State Council members and teams. We already have depth of skill and experience, and it’s great to see our teams also have the positivity to match.

Megan is leading from the front, and our personal discussions around strategy, vision and purpose, mean 2019 is going to be a big year. I can’t wait.

Secondly, the banking royal commission has sent shocks through the Australian business community, and our members particularly. This is a key moment for governance, and the members we support as an organisation.

It’s still early days, but it is excellent to see so many of the points we raised in our submissions get addressed in the final report. This is what I see as a key function, while our individual members and their organisations may not be heard, or it is inappropriate for them to comment publicly, Governance Institute is here to advocate on behalf of our members, and ensure their interests are fairly and accurately represented.

I encourage our members to engage in that input and feedback loop, and please remember our teams are here to also provide advice to anyone who needs that support. Already the response from our member councils has been superb, and we are also in the process of updating our courses and other resources with the new information as it is ‘locked in’ by the government.

There are a number of resources you can leverage now — the policy team has been busy producing a series of member-exclusive analytical reports — Insights: Governance issues arising from the banking royal commission and Insights: ASX Corporate Governance Principles and Recommendations, Fourth Edition (2019) both available now, and there is a recording of the webinar that the policy team produced with Kevin McCann AM and Howard Rapke. Both have valuable insights, with pragmatic guidance about how to address the key issues raised in the royal commission’s final report. There is also an excellent feature on this very issue in Governance Directions ‘The banking royal commission final report: Culture and governance implications’ by Scott Atkins and Philip Charlton of Norton Rose Fulbright. So please be sure to read that expert analysis too.

To conclude, while the future is very exciting for all of us in the Institute, I am also conscious of our impressive legacy as an organisation. I am proud to be President of Governance Institute in its 110th year of existence in Australia. We should all wear this as a badge of honour; there are very few organisations in our field that can claim that kind of pedigree. This endows our membership, and especially our accreditations, with a prestige you can’t get anywhere else in Australia.

This is a legacy I take seriously as your President, and I see it as my duty to help maintain that prestige for future generations.

Rachel Rees FGIA FCIS
President and Chair

Click the link for a full list of Governance Institute Board and State Council members.

Material published in Governance Directions is copyright and may not be reproduced without permission.

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