We’re thrilled to share our Founder and CEO, Zoe Bucknell’s incisive new article, featured on the esteemed Crafty Counsel platform. Here she engages with the growing trend of General Counsels (GCs) taking on the role of Company Secretary to strengthen their position.
But is this move a genuine solution or a complex challenge?
The role of the Company Secretary, once mainly administrative, has evolved into a strategic, advisory function requiring intense study.
Merging this role with that of a GC is not uncommon, given the synergies around company law knowledge and potential alignment on Corporate Governance codes. However, Zoe sheds light on critical areas of divergence, illuminative for both private and listed firms.
As the Company Secretary, one becomes an officer of the company, bearing personal accountability and navigating the unique position between the executive team and the board. The role involves driving the board’s efficiency, managing conflicts of interest, assuring accurate record-keeping and more.
In the role of the Chief Governance Officer, the Company Secretary designs and deploys an effective corporate governance framework, ensuring compliance and informed decision-making at multiple levels.
Finally, the Company Secretary serves as the cornerstone for shareholder/stakeholder engagement, delivering annual reports and accounts, managing investor communications and spearheading effective AGMs.
In view of the complexities, Zoe advises GCs considering this dual role to evaluate their time commitment, support and the possible need for a secondary professional qualification. Additionally, development of governance operations, the ability to delegate, and seeking external help when needed, are foundational for this dual role.
The dual role is not necessarily a ticket to the boardroom seat, but it does provide unparalleled access and insights into the organisation. For the thoroughly considered and well-prepared, the Company Secretary role can potentially be a game-changer.