EDITOR’S LETTER : Chicken and Eggs

As the business environment becomes more and more regulated, it’s perhaps unsurprising that increasing numbers of lawyers are turning up in senior management and governance positions.
Or did it happen the other way around? Did we let so many lawyers into the country’s offices and boardrooms that regulation was inevitable? It’s question we must address continuously as the order could have serious implications for the business environment: if it was the presence of lawyers which led to the regulatory drive, what are the implications of the current, or next, make up of directors? Our cover story (page 82) canvasses the issue and asks what model is best.
We must similarly question what we pay our directors. The situation seems to be that the public sector keeps director fees low as involvement is seen as social/community service and way of giving back rather than money making career path. This is an admirable reason for service, but does it mean we are perhaps not attracting the best qualified or hungry candidates? Sheffield’s annual director remuneration survey (page 89) shows the gap with Australia in terms of director fees is narrowing but still firmly in place. Is the social conscience of some of this country’s directors dampening potential? Either way, surely social conscience is something we want to encourage, not chastise?
What’s in reputation? Quite lot. Think about it, we all remember when things go wrong and the names of the culprits stick like mud. Consciously or not, it’s likely our behaviour towards ‘negative’ brands and/or companies is influenced. Ribena anyone? We take look at the power of corporate reputation (page 78) and the importance of corporate communication in times of crisis. It’s all about being heard to say, and seen to do, the right things. But what are these and how do you prepare for them?
A lot of questions, I know. Perhaps you will find the answers you want and like in the next 24 pages. But I won’t see it as sign of failure for The Director if you don’t – it’s about having the conversations and ensuring we keep reviewing the situation, not about finding an answer and sitting back. I look forward, with your input, to bringing you more questions, observations and conversations.

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