A seemingly small—but ultimately quite significant—statement emerged from the corporate governance sector this week. The CEO of one of New Zealand's larger companies went on record when announcing the company's annual result. He stated that his directors must act in the best interests of the company (not the shareholder).
Meridian chief executive Mark Binns said the company would take time to evaluate the situation but would ultimately come to a decision that was in the best interests of Meridian Energy Limited. ''The obligations of the directors are very clearly set out in companies law and the Companies Act, that is to act in the best interests of the company.''
This was a refreshing statement, because most directors and executives (in New Zealand) incorrectly believe their role is to act in the best interests of the shareholder. Research conducted in 2010 by Dr James Lockhart indicated that the majority of directors in New Zealand simply do not understand their legal obligations. The New Zealand Company Act is quite clear: directors must act in the best interests of company. Well done, Mr Binns.
Thoughts on corporate governance, strategy and effective board practice; our place in the world; and, other things that catch my attention.