We strive to keep you ahead of what matters, offering resources and opportunities to further develop your capabilities, writes Mark Rigotti. 

    Four months ago, in this column, I announced a strategic refresh for the AICD. It focused on the AICD’s value drivers — membership, education and policy leadership. In the subsequent months, the AICD team has been working hard to begin the implementation of this strategy. First cab off the rank has been membership. Building on past research, we conducted surveys, met with members and listened to you on what you wanted from your membership.

    The results were clear. You told us that being a director today is no simple job. The breadth of challenges and strategic opportunities that directors need to be across — from AI and the war for talent to supply chain fragility — is staggering. All the while, regulation, despite our calls for simplification, multiplies.

    Against this backdrop, you look to the AICD to ensure you are at the forefront of effective contemporary governance. This has always been part of the promise to AICD members. We aspire now to go beyond how we have performed in this regard. We provide the tools, resources, education and network to help guide you and your organisations to success.

    Our refreshed membership approach sharpens and clarifies our commitment to you. We strive to keep you ahead of what matters, offering resources and opportunities to further develop your capabilities. Please let us know if you have any ideas how we can improve and meet your expectations. 

    The AICD mandatory climate reporting guide, which we released last month in partnership with Deloitte and MinterEllison and is featured in this issue, is a good example of this commitment. Members have told us consistently in the Director Sentiment Index that climate is the number-one long-term policy challenge facing Australia. You asked for further AICD guidance in this area and, led by AICD head of policy Christian Gergis GAICD, we stepped up our offering through hosting the Climate Governance Initiative Australia.

    The current shift to mandatory climate-related disclosures represents the biggest change to corporate reporting in a generation — and integrating climate disclosures into financial reporting needs to be carefully managed. The guide is an in-depth and practical resource for directors to begin this task.

    As CEO of the AICD, I have had the privilege of meeting many of you, learning firsthand of your dedication and the conscientiousness with which you approach your roles. Your active involvement and commitment are crucial to the AICD, creating a community where knowledge and experience are shared. Through your active participation, our events and webinars aren’t just learning opportunities, but a platform for members to share case studies and best practices in close to real time.

    Essential Director Updates

    As this issue goes to print, we are nearing the end of the Essential Director Update series. It has proven popular with more than 12,000 attendees. Thank you to Jacqueline Chow GAICD and Bruce Cowley FAICD for delivering these updates and to our various panel members at each event who have rounded out the discussions.

    I have been able to attend many of these updates and they have been packed with insights. We heard about human capital and the need to create thriving cultures and optimal ways of working as we navigate future hybrid workplaces. We also heard about greenwashing and being careful of aspirational statements.

    A golden thread running through the discussions has been the need to navigate increasingly complex environments. As directors, we need to exercise judgement that strikes the right balance across a range of intertwined dimensions relevant to the issue the board is working on, rather than searching for a single definitive answer to the given issue.

    An outstanding contribution

    I want to finish this column by thanking Professor Geoffrey Kiel, who retired last month after a long and fruitful association with the AICD. Geoff has made an enormous contribution to governance education and understanding over the past four decades. He first became involved with the AICD’s forerunner when, in 1985, as head of the Graduate School of Management at the University of Queensland, he was asked by then state president of the AICD Alan Piper to arrange the first offering of the Company Directors Course in Queensland. Since then, Geoff has written for several of our courses, been one of our most highly regarded facilitators, designed Director Tools and developed assignment case studies. Outside of the AICD, he has had a major influence domestically and internationally in corporate governance and has several publications to his name. Australian boardrooms are stronger today for his many contributions. 

    This article first appeared under the headline 'Staying ahead of what matters’ in the November 2023 issue of Company Director magazine.  

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