President’s Report to Members – July 2018

Dear Member

I am honoured to have been chosen as your new International President for the next two years.  I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself and share with you the impetus I have set for the Institute for these two years.  I would also like to introduce to you the Institute’s new thought leadership initiatives and bring you up to date on progress with the upcoming Annual General Meeting.

But first I would like to acknowledge the achievements of my predecessor David Venus.  David successfully led the Institute through the most significant strategic changes of recent years, notably the introduction of Chartered Governance Professional and Affiliated Member.  During David’s term, the Institute also started its Thought Leadership Committee (“TLC”), completely reviewed its international qualifying programme and restructured the way our nine divisions maintain the high quality the Institute is known for.  On behalf of our Institute, I thank David on all that was achieved under his leadership.

During my term of office, I hope to meet as many of our members as possible.   In advance of those meetings, may I offer a brief introduction to my background with the Institute and our profession.  

My involvement with the international Institute started as a Member of Council and Vice-President of the Institute since 2014, Member of the Constitutional Agreements Committee from 2014 to 2018, and Chair of the TLC since its inception in late 2016.

In Hong Kong, my home, I have been closely involved with the work of The Hong Kong Institute of Chartered Secretaries (HKICS) for over 20 years in both Hong Kong and China in a number of roles including President from 2011 to 2014.   In addition to my HKICS roles, I have also been engaged in public service locally and abroad.  

At work, I am the Executive Director and Company Secretary of CK Hutchison Holdings Limited, a Fortune 500 company operating in over 50 countries with an annual revenue of over US$50 billion. I have been with the CK Hutchison Group for almost 30 years, and I am responsible for legal, regulatory, corporate finance, corporate governance and compliance matters of the Group.

IMPETUS FOR THE INSTITUTE

As the International President of the Institute for the coming two years, I would like to share with you the impetus list for the Institute that I have drawn up.  I am sure that all divisions and members of the Institute around the world will work hand-in-hand for our collective good as Chartered Secretaries and Chartered Governance Professionals.

During the lead-up to my election as President, I made it clear that I intend to continue the good work of my predecessors and the Council of the Institute, building on the foundation and momentum that has been laid down for the future of our profession.  This will include ongoing and reinforced impetus on the following areas: –

Diversity.  The Institute will continue to position itself as a truly global organisation, characterised by unity in diversity based on mutual respect and co-operation between divisions with a truly international perspective.  We welcome ideas from all divisions on topics of interest relating to the Chartered Secretarial and governance landscape to explore commonalities and differences in perspectives to find emerging best practices.

Inclusivity.  Our members are not only found across the world but are engaged in the widest variety of activities: the public sector, the private sector (listed and non-listed) and the non-governmental sector. ICSA will speak for and support Chartered Secretaries and Chartered Governance Professionals in whichever sector they work.

Relevance.  The Institute will continue to ensure that its work is relevant to the interests and needs of its members. We will be creative and flexible in helping our members realise the opportunities offered by the growing recognition of the importance of governance and the pivotal role of our profession. We will also collaborate with other leaders in this space.

Quality. The Institute will continue to promote and ensure high professional standard amongst our members and divisions, including through education, standards setting and continuing professional training.   The TLC which I chair, and at which all nine Divisions are represented, will be releasing a number of thought provoking papers for our members and other stakeholders. These will no doubt provide impetus for standards setting and efforts at local, regional and international levels.

Value.  We believe that the Institute must provide value to our divisions and our members to prosper. Recognising that the funding of the Institute ultimately comes from individual members, the Institute must provide value for money. All expenditure must be directed towards delivering benefits to our members.

FROM IMPETUS TO IMPLEMENTATION

My priority as International President will be to first, implement the mandate conferred by our members on the new strategic development – the second designation Chartered Governance Professional qualification, and Affiliated Membership, in addition to the Chartered Secretary qualification which we currently have.  We are now targeting for full implementation of the second designation by 2020, and it is possible that some divisions will do so during 2019.

INSTITUTE CHANGE OF NAME AND BRAND POSITIONING

Alongside the creation of the second designation, we need to reposition our brand and in conjunction with that a name change of the Institute.  I am pleased to advise that the Institute has recently obtained Privy Council consent to seek member approval to the proposed new name, The Chartered Governance Institute.

The international Institute encourages all divisions to consider a re-focusing of their brands to “governance”.   This is a wider remit, which includes the Chartered Secretary function.

We welcome divisions to adopt the approach that is best for them.  The change of name is not a mandatory proposition, but we will be available to assist divisions in name change delivery.

THOUGHT LEADERSHIP

It is important that the Institute has a voice in influencing governance practice as well as regulation and so we must put our views forward.  We are developing our website at www.icsaglobal.org as the central point for governance thinking.   All of our international thought leadership as well as selected divisional work will be posted there.

Our work on thought leadership is aimed at being valuable, relevant and practical for our members.   Our current work plan, of which most will be available shortly, includes:

  • 21st Century Annual General Meeting: bringing value all around – consider it now — the future of the Annual General Meeting (AGM) has been a focus of some concern as declining attendance and voting at AGMs continue. This report and descriptive video describe how technology can offer a solution to improve shareholder engagement. Access the report here.
  • Futureproofing: Technology Innovation, the Company Secretary and Implications for Corporate Governance — our report examines how Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Blockchain technology are disrupting the way as we as company secretaries work now…and well into the future.
  • Shareholder Engagement: The State of play — a research project with support from the OECD. This project, now complete and to be published shortly, examines the impact of Stewardship Codes and other policy interventions in ten jurisdictions. Access the report here.

AMBASSADORIAL ROLE

It is part of my responsibility to expand our out-reach activities to enhance, amongst others, Institute reputation and standing. We will focus on (i) the divisions, (ii) governance collaborators and professional institutions; as well as (iii) global regulators and thought leaders on governance.  I attended and spoke at the annual conference of the Malaysian division earlier this month.  Next month, I will be visiting and speaking at conferences in Southern Africa and Zimbabwe divisions.  I expect all Council members to share the responsibility in conducting these ambassadorial activities.

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

The Institute is in the process of finalising the AGM papers and the formal Notice of Meeting and supporting documents will be despatched on or about 1 August 2018.   The AGM will be held in Toronto, Canada on 19 September 2018 and seeks member approval, inter alia, to change the name of the Institute to The Chartered Governance Institute.  The meeting is expected to be streamed live on the internet so members from different parts of the world can participate in the meeting.  After despatch of the AGM papers, we will have a dedicated section on the website here.  I encourage you to visit the website so you can find out more about why Council advocates the changes set out therein.  

I close with a note of appreciation to my predecessors and fellow Council members, the Director General and Secretary.  Like me, they are always committed to serving the interests of our members.   With their guidance, and with your support, I am confident that our Institute and our profession is well-positioned to capture the opportunities of the coming years.  I look forward to serving you and working with you all.

 

Best wishes

Edith Shih FCIS FCS(PE)
International President