Build Boardroom Capability

What do you need to know once you are in the boardroom? 

Getting onto a board or boards is just the first step. The real question is "what will you do when you get there?"  Fortunately WOB has plenty of experienced board members in its network to lend you a friendly helping hand or mentor you. We also have some great articles for you to read.

Boredom to boardroom: 10 ways to boost your board career in lockdown

COVID restrictions have put more than half of Australia's population under stay-at-home orders again, meaning it's back to working from home and Zoom meetings for many of us. But here are 10 ways to go from boredom to the boardroom and make the most of your lockdown.

Trust your gut: The role of intuition in the boardroom

Should we trust our gut when making boardroom decisions? ASX Non-Executive Director Cheryl Hayman looks at the role intuition plays in a director’s armoury and how it can be a powerful leadership tool.

Securing your AGM outcomes: A how-to guide for Directors

In preparation for Annual General Meetings (AGMs) many Boards do as they have always done; publish their Notice of Meeting, meet with their largest investors and wait for the votes to flow. However, best practice has moved beyond this passive, routine approach allowing boards to truly understand the sentiment of their register and be prepared to act when necessary. Below are four key strategies to help you secure successful AGM outcomes.

New Guide to Navigating Virtual AGMs, e-document execution and e-shareholder communications

To help organisations navigate the ongoing uncertainty around holding AGMs and executing electronic documents, a new guide has been released as a joint initiative between four key stakeholder groups.

D&O Season: Pay close attention to the fine print

The D&O premium pool is now at a sustainable level according to most insurance companies (circa $800m) against reserves of circa $1.5b, but premiums will still rise again in 2021.

The Pace of Change and the Future Fit Board

In a technology-enabled transformative age, businesses have moved outside of traditional capabilities and continue to explore new business models and ways of working, including in the boardroom. To keep pace, boards need to reshape and reimagine their roles in order to ensure they are future-fit. But what are the critical trends and influences that are feeding this unprecedented pace of change (COVID notwithstanding) and what does a future-fit board look like?

Brilliant board papers for effective decision-making and good governance

Good board papers ensure your key decision-makers have well-written, relevant, and accurate information to support their decision-making.  This practical guide will equip you and your organisation with the knowledge and skills to improve your organisation’s board papers. We have included guidelines for board paper preparation, a how-to guide to developing an internal board papers process policy, and a sample board paper.

What to expect when you join a board?

Joining a board can be a daunting experience. Aside from the fact you are now part of the governing body for a company / organisation with attendant governance responsibilities, there are a myriad of basic things to tick off your To Do list.

Governance News - Interview with Professor Ngaire Woods

Professor Ngaire Woods CBE, founding Dean of the Blavatnik School of Government and Professor of Global Economic Governance at Oxford University discusses how governments can build back with business and not-for-profits after the crisis of 2020.

Shareholders - Enrol your toenails!

In this article, WOB Chair, Ruth Medd, gives a new take on the responsibilities of shareholders in enabling the success of new companies. In this instance in the highly charged world of biotech which, with the COVID pandemic threatening our world, can be seen as critical to our future.

Do I recruit an advisory board or add independents to my board?

You and a colleague start a business. You decide the business would benefit from some additional insights, external governance and access to networks. Where do you start?

Director liability for environmental offences

Did you know that directors and managers can be liable for environmental offences committed by a corporation?
There are strong policy reasons for holding directors liable for environmental offences by corporations. And it is not enough to simply leave compliance with environmental laws to others – directors and managers need to take an active role.

The Seaweed Saga

Ruth reviews an article about FutureFeed, an organisation that has been licensed to distribute a new seaweed that farmers hope will produce the world’s first commercial-size crops of asparagopsis.

To Pay or not to pay – That may be the question?

Should directors of NFP’s be remunerated?  I have been an advocate for directors of Not For Profit companies that run a business to be remunerated for some time. So, what are the pros and cons?

The Art of Minute Taking

Effective minute taking is an art form that takes experience to master – but when done skilfully, it can make all the difference.  In this article, we examine the legal requirements that apply to board minutes, discuss various minute recording practices, and provide tips to assist boards in ensuring their minutes are effective, compliant and appropriate for their circumstances.

Director tax liability increases

Under the director penalty regime (DPR) company directors are now liable for all of a company's PAYG liability, GST, luxury car tax, wine equalisation tax liabilities and SGC liabilities.  

Coffee shop commerce – Ruth’s Travels

With COVID restrictions being lifted in NSW, last week WOB Chair Ruth Medd made the pilgrimage to Cairns and Mission Beach for the first time since December 2019.  She said it was very pleasing to see venues complying with COVID safety regimes.  Read on for a run-down of her coffee shop meeting and catch ups.

Five Important Qualities for Successful Boards

As a corporate and commercial partner at law firm Holding Redlich and a member of three boards - Infrastructure Association of Queensland, Professional Engineers Queensland and Redkite, Suzy Cairney has learned a thing or two about boards.  Here she discusses the five key qualities that she deems important for successful board members to have.

Director Insights

Experienced Non-Executive Director, Cheryl Hayman ponders the difference between Good versus Great Leaders.

Industrial Manslaughter and Director Liability

With Queensland’s first industrial manslaughter prosecution imposing a $3 million fine and suspended jail sentence for the company's two directors, this case serves as a a significant milestone for work health and safety laws in Australia and a benchmark for future prosecutions. 

Queensland, Victoria, ACT and NT have now introduced industrial manslaughter, with directors facing potential fines and jail. Western Australia's legalisation has been passed and is awaiting proclamation.  NSW and SA are yet to introduce industrial manslaughter.  Read more....

Ruth's Review - Director Trends and Posting Tips

In this article Ruth explores current trends board recruitment trends as we progress through COVID, shares our most popular vacancies and provides some tips to consider when posting a vacancy.

The Accidental Advisory Board Member

In this article Ruth explains how a telephone survey resulted in her joining an Advisory Board and reviews three online and board management products - timely given COVID-19 necessitates boards to operate "virtually". 

The High Court determines who is an “officer” under the Corporations Act

Susan Goodman, Partner at Holding Redlich, and Melissa de Jongh, Associate consider the factors which the High Court indicated are relevant to determining whether a person is an “officer” under the Corporations Act. 

There's no prescriptive pathway to the boardroom

WOB was delighted to have Michelle McLean as our keynote at a Boardroom lunch in Melbourne. Michelle is a portfolio director with three current directorships at the CFA (Deputy Chair), East Gippsland Water and FrontierSI.  A key message from Michelle was that there is no one pathway to the boardroom. Rather it’s a series of sometime serendipitous steps, but more usually, some planning and, as her story also demonstrated, a great deal of persistence. 

Advice to my younger NED self

It was a big decision for Liz Savage to step out of her executive career in the airline business and into life as a Non-Executive Director. The former Chief Commercial Officer of Virgin Australia has capitalised on her experience in disruptive customer-intensive businesses to build an exciting & varied portfolio of Board roles. Liz’s NED roles to date include at Auckland Airport, Intrepid Travel, Brisbane Marketing, Mantra Hotels and Triathlon Australia.

Director Accountability

Directors are facing unprecedented scrutiny following many high profile cases that were uncovered by the
Hayne Royal Commission, AUSTRAC, the media or were self reported. Many executives have either resigned,  been terminated or have had their pay cut as a result.

Plan for the Unexpected

Unexpected events can hit your organisation at any time without warning. A crisis can negatively impact the entire organisation, its stakeholders and can cause long term reputational and financial damage.

Warren Buffets' Annual Shareholder Letter

In his annual shareholder letter, Warren Buffet explains his view on the problems with Corporate Boards today.

Are you ready for ESG and Climate Risk?

Insufficient attention is being paid to environmental social governance (ESG) and climate risk, despite the strong likelihood that it will impact business in the future, according to findings from a recent WOB survey.

Executive remuneration and building investor trust

Executive remuneration was front of mind for investors in the last AGM season, and there’s no doubt it will continue to be of paramount importance again this year. In this whitepaper, Computershare unpacks some of the central themes examined by key stakeholders including listed companies and remuneration advisors, to help guide thinking and provide ways to effectively manage this contentious topic this AGM season.

Board Minutes: The ‘ounce of intrinsic merit or demerit’

The recently released ‘Joint statement on boards minutes’ by The Governance Institute and Australian Institute of Company Directors is a must read for all current and aspiring board members.

Based on TGI and AICD member feedback and a legal opinion from WOB member, Dominque Hogan-Doran SC, and Douglas Gration, the statement contains an excellent overview of the key principles of board minutes and what are essentially best practice recommendations.

The legal opinion is appended at the end of the document and contains references to major cases where the court reaffirmed the minutes as a true and accurate record of board decisions.

The Accidental Chair - An Alternate Board Pathway

While bike riding through Europe, WOB Chair Ruth Medd had some time to reflect on her own recent Board pathway. In this article she reflects on the powers of serendipity and being open to opportunties and provides her insights on getting on board early stage companies, whether investing is a sound mechanism to obtain a board or even a Chair’s role and how her love of chocolate led her to accidentally became Chair of Charley's Chocolates.