Alderman Alan Yarrow, Right Honourable The Lord Mayor, City of London provided the official welcome address straight after the ICGN AGM. Yarrow's speech was short and sharp, and it was delivered with great enthusiasm. Looking back over the last twenty years, Yarrow observed that while much appeared to have changed in the corporate governance world, much more had not. He went on to suggest that, with the benefit of hindsight, many seemingly good decisions made in good faith actually had unintended consequences. For example, many of the reforms introduced in the 2008–2010 period in response to the GFC did not deliver the expected benefits. Rather than tidy up company operations and reporting regimes, they have decreased liquidity, increased the rate and extent of change; and, increased the volatility of markets. An enlightening observation.
Baroness Neville-Rolfe spoke after The Lord Mayor. Neville-Rolfe is a recently re-elected Conservative MP in the British House of Commons. Her speaking engagement at ICGN was her first 'outing' (to use her word) since the election results were confirmed. She claimed to be in listening mode, to find out what was going on and to learn about emerging trends in the world of commerce. More specifically, the Baroness invited the corporate community to express its view and to make recommendations. However, the Baroness was not without opinions herself. Having issued the invitation, she went on to suggest that the following attributes are important for 'good governance'.
Together these two speeches were as wonderful as they were brief. They set the scene for the conference very well. I could have listened to these two speakers for longer, but sadly their time was at a premium.
Thoughts on corporate governance, strategy and the craft of board work; our place in the world; and, other things that catch my attention.