A career in Corporate Governance
A career in Corporate Governance
As you are nearing completion of your degree, you are no doubt looking to make the best career decision that you can. ICSA: The Governance Institute would like to tell you about the role of Company Secretary and how it could be one of the most important choices that you make.
Often misunderstood, this role is intrinsic to an organisations’ success. Should you pursue a career as a Chartered Secretary you will have exposure to the issues that are at the very core of business life in Ireland. It is a role that offers responsibility and quick progression into Boardrooms. Chartered Secretary is a combined legal and accounting qualification and a career option open to all graduates. Graduates from certain disciplines can avail of exemptions.
With the growth in importance of strong corporate governance especially since the financial crisis, the role of company secretary has grown exponentially and is much more than that of dealing with detail and administration. The company secretary is the third member of the CEO, Chair and Company Secretary, triumvirate at the top of organisations. It is the Company Secretary who aligns the interests of different parties around a boardroom, facilitate dialogue, gather and assimilate relevant information and enable effective decision making. The skills and attributes of Company Secretaries are closest to those of the Chairman: humanity, humility, high intelligence, negotiation and resilience.
The range of duties for a Company Secretary is broad and varies depending on the company but will include the following:
- Take primary responsibility for developing the Company’s governance principles and policies.
- Lead the Company’s compliance efforts with respect to legislative and regulatory development affecting corporate governance and monitor its compliance with legislative and regulatory requirements.
- Review and monitor the corporate governance processes within the Company to ensure that they meet corporate governance best practices while being compatible with the Company’s background and culture.
- Take primary responsibility for anticipating and addressing corporate governance/reputational risk.
- Advising the Board of Directors on relevant areas of legal, compliance, risks, accounting and tax implications.
- Perform ongoing assessment of the Board’s structure and governance practices and look for opportunities for improvement.
- In cooperation with the Company’s Investor Relations Director, establish and manage relationships with investors, particularly institutional investors with regard to corporate governance issues.
- Overseeing all stakeholder management including Share and Pension Schemes.
Job Titles that Chartered Secretaries may come under include:
- Head of Company Secretariat
- Deputy/Assistant Company Secretary
- Company Secretary/General Council
- Head of Legal/Legal Advisor
- Head of Finance
- Company Secretary Assistant/Trainee Company Secretary
ICSA: The Governance Institute is the qualifying and membership body of professionals working in governance, compliance and risk including Company Secretary. Full details on how to pursue this career are available here