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World leaders

07 March 2017 by Henry Ker

World leaders - read more

Diversity offers a board contrasting perspectives and helps avoid groupthink

Governance and Compliance March 2017

Boards can benefit from diversity of all kinds. That is the central message of this month’s cover interview with Sir John Parker. His work with the Parker Review and the recent report, ‘Beyond One by ’21: A Report into the Ethnic Diversity of UK Boards’, wholeheartedly supports the view that UK companies can only benefit from ‘different skillsets and cultural approaches, and … different mindsets’.

As well as connecting with a pool of untapped talent, diversity offers a board contrasting perspectives and helps avoid groupthink, and will better reflect a company’s stakeholders. As Sir John mentions, ‘the business case comes before you even consider the social justice issue’. Read the full interview 'Refuse light from no quarter'.

It feels apt that I am writing this on the eve of International Women’s Day. Companies were content with the status quo on diversity issues for too long. The Davies and Hampton/Alexander Reviews and the initiatives to increase female representation on UK boards have done sterling work to kick-start the conversation and process of addressing this issue – I certainly hope it is just the start of change at the top of companies.

Elsewhere, we take an indepth look at the UK’s system of corporate governance. In the first of ICSA’s Future of Governance series of thought leadership papers, Chris Hodge comments that the purpose of corporate governance has expanded beyond its original remit to become a panacea for all corporate ills. The original iteration of the UK Corporate Governance Code, devised by the Cadbury Committee some 25 years ago, was designed to improve oversight of companies. It remains fit for that purpose but is it up to ‘saving capitalism’? You can read the article 'Untangling corporate governance'.

Peter Swabey also runs through ICSA’s response to the Government’s Green Paper on Corporate Governance Reform in his column 'Three wishes'. As he explains, we have an opportunity to create measured and meaningful change with this review, but must be careful not to undermine what, in most cases, is a highly efficient and functioning system of governance. As Sir John comments, in his view, ours is ‘the world-leading model of governance’.

Henry Ker is Editor of Governance and Compliance

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