The Company Secretary: Building trust through governance, was undertaken in collaboration with ICSA to examine the unique role of the company secretary, exploring what it takes to perform the role effectively and how a company secretary can become a highly valued contributing member of the board.
Over 200 people, including company secretaries, chairmen, NEDs and CEOs shared their thoughts and experience in the course of the project, and represented a range of board-level views from FTSE, SME and private, not-for-profit and public sector organisations.
The majority of respondents surveyed agree that the role of the company secretary is an important and unique function. However, many company secretaries suggest their role is largely taken for granted and often improperly utilised.
The key findings of this study illustrate how high-performing company secretaries ultimately help build trust, which results in good governance. Many company secretaries acknowledge that their individual discretion, freedom of choice, personal morals and ethics are important in positively impacting corporate judgement. Other respondents note how effectiveness is achieved through more than fixed administrative capabilities or technical knowledge. Respondents to the study highlight the role’s need for continuous engagement, using interpersonal skills to craft effective relationships. These capabilities evolve in a manner that constantly tests a company secretary’s understanding and often results in the critical appraisal of other board members’ roles.