The past few years have taught us to expect the unexpected, but as the year begins, directors can hope for a more stable environment, says AICD CEO Mark Rigotti.

    A new year is always a cause for optimism. We return to work refreshed and ready to tackle new challenges. The beginning of 2023 gives us reason to be particularly hopeful. COVID-19, while still circulating, does not pose an acute risk to the health system or threaten to shut down large parts of the economy. While the cycle of interest rate hikes continues, inflation globally is showing signs of waning. The past few years have taught us to expect the unexpected, but as the year begins, directors can hope for a more stable external environment.

    At the AICD, we are looking forward to a year of uninterrupted operations that allows us to deliver more member value. The task of directors is as complex as it’s ever been and demand for AICD courses continues to be well above pre- pandemic levels. To meet this demand, we are offering a range of delivery options to suit the needs of our members. We continue to refresh the AICD curriculum to maintain its currency on the real-world challenges facing our members — from cyber risk to climate reporting.

    The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) action against the Star Entertainment Group directors is a reminder of the importance of monitoring critical risks, including non-financial risks, and how they are being managed. Compliance issues need to be front of mind for boards, especially in high-risk, highly regulated sectors. While it is not the place of the AICD to take a position on the merits of the ASIC action, we will continue to monitor developments in the case and update member resources accordingly.

    Coming events

    I flagged in my December column our renewed emphasis on events at the AICD. Over the next month, we will run two key events in this program: Why the Uluru Statement is a National Governance Issue and the Australian Governance Summit 2023 in Melbourne.

    Thousands of AICD members have registered for the Uluru Statement event, demonstrating their interest in the issue. The AICD supports the call for a constitutionally enshrined Voice to Parliament for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Uluru Statement. The Voice will provide an enduring mechanism for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to inform laws and policies on matters relevant to them. While we recognise that not every member agrees with our position on this issue, this is an important question of national governance. The event is a first step in the AICD fostering a conversation in the director community.

    I am excited to be seeing so many of you at the AGS in Melbourne and online on 1-2 March. It is a stellar line-up this year, featuring prominent directors and experts, including Patricia McKenzie FAICD, Debra Hazelton GAICD, David Gonski AC FAICDLife and Simon McKeon AO FAICD. The program is forward-looking, covering topics ranging from innovation to geopolitics. It asks how we, as directors, can help our organisations seize long-term opportunity. Issues such as climate and cyber should not only be looked at through a risk lens, but also as a competitive advantage for organisations that are prepared. As historian Adam Tooze, who will be speaking at the AGS, has said, “the status quo offers no safety”.

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