Virginia Bourke, chair of Mercy Health Group, shares three aspects of an effective working relationship with CEO Stephen Cornelissen.

    For me, regardless of a crisis or not, the relationship [between chair and CEO] is built on mutual respect. I need to have confidence in the integrity of the other person and I think that’s how you build that mutual respect.

    There also has to be clarity in the roles; you really have to understand what your role is in terms of governance, what your role is in terms of management. You have to be very clear about that and sit down at the start of the working relationship and figure these things out.

    Thirdly, and probably most importantly, you need to have the ability to communicate very candidly and honestly, which is absolutely key. And I think overlying all of this is a sense of humour.

    I’m not saying that it is always easy, but I think each of us respects the role that the other has.

    Virginia Bourke spoke in a recent joint AICD/ACSA virtual event, Aged Care Governance — The Chair and CEO Relationship.

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