Why the mandate matters

Yesterday’s discussion about the role of the chairman led me back to work Tomorrow’s Company did five years ago. It took the form of letters from different people to a new chairman. So the finance director, the General Counsel, the CEO, the Senior Independent Director, even the NGO all offered their view on what they might expect of the chair. It was called Tomorrow’s Chairman.


I also said that the chair needs to make sure that the company is a leader not a follower when it comes to the investment community. The board has been elected by shareholders to do a job. The Board Mandate is the process for defining what that job is. If the shareholders don’t like what the board is doing they can sack them . In the meantime the mandate is a valuable tool for stopping opportunist investors who represent a tiny fraction of shareholders from hijacking the agenda .


Today I am speaking at a PARC event on the next steps in corporate governance. I plan to remind people that the best lessons in governance come from a well-run family businesses. The mandate is part of this.