Arena Consulting Group to hold corporate governance workshop

via Arena Consulting Group to hold corporate governance workshop | The Herald January 30, 2015

LOCAL firm, Arena Consulting Group in collaboration with Deloitte and Touche, will next month host a one-and-half day workshop on corporate governance and corporate social responsibility.

Corporate governance and corporate social responsibility expert, global icon and National University of Ireland former lecturer, Professor Dennis Driscoll, will be the main presenter at the workshop, Arena Consulting Group managing director Mr Herbet Nkala said in a statement yesterday .

Over 100 delegates are expected to attend the workshop to be held from February 19 to February 20 2014 at Crown Plaza Hotel to discuss corporate governance and corporate social responsibility.

This comes as corporate governance has significantly become a critical and central component of how modern day companies and institutions are administered for stability, viability and growth.

There is growing evidence that those companies believed to be exercising high levels of corporate governance will attract higher levels of investment and are likely to generate higher levels of internal rate of return and market share than firms that do not abide by the practice.

It is also true that even when raising capital, companies well governed benefit from lower cost of capital. Good corporate governance is “sine qua non” of increased shareholder value and sustainability.

“Conversely, companies saddled with poor governance will attract lower levels of investor interest and are likely to under-perform. There is a positive correlation between collapse of companies such as Enron, WorldCom, Lehman Brothers and poor levels of corporate governance.

These universal trends are now accepted worldwide and must surely apply to Zimbabwe,” said Mr Nkala. At the workshop Professor Driscoll will cover topics such as the broad dimensions of corporate social responsibility/corporate governance and sustainable development among others.

He will address issues such as importance of corporate governance and the business case for good practice in corporate governance. To that end, he will revisit lessons from company collapses due to poor governance such as Enron, WorldCom and Lehman Brothers as case studies.

The one and half day workshop agenda will also cover areas such as the distinct roles and responsibilities of the Board of Director, Management, shareholders and stakeholders in general.

Professor Driscoll is also the former Dean of the Law School at the National University of Ireland, where he taught International Law and Corporate Social Responsibility amongst other programs.

He was a Visiting Professor at Harvard University (USA), Strathclyde Business School (UK) and at Peking University (China). He has also been a visiting professor at a number of European universities.

For the past decade, Professor Driscoll has pursued his interests in CSR and comparative corporate governance, giving workshops to over 500 companies in Developing Countries, primarily in China while authoring of the forthcoming study, Comparative Corporate Governance.

The workshop will also cover extensively international dimensions of corporate governance and analysis of Zimbabwe in the light of governance systems in Africa and leading emerging markets.

Organizers of the workshop said it is a must for boards chairmen, boards comprising non- executive directors and executive directors, chief executive officers and senior management.

Mr Ben Mbanga, Managing Partner at Deloitte, said that the firm was proud to be associated with the event as corporate governance culture is fundamental to the success of a company.

“From our work in this area, we observe that the challenge is often in leadership, translating values into culture and action and embedding culture through a multi-layered organisation on a sustained basis,” he said.

He added that best practice guidance on corporate governance matters should focus on how companies can effectively promote strong culture and values and develop the supporting feedback and reward systems. He said the practices determine success or failure of firms. Corporate Governance has of late been topical in Zimbabwe and the Private sector acknowledges and recognizes the work of Mr Canaan Dube, the Zimbabwean expert and author of the book, Corporate Governance: Non-Executive Directors’ Independence, Fact or Fiction.

Mr Dube is a senior partner at law firm Dube, Manikai and Hwacha and has given several lectures on the subject. He is considered to be the leading authority on Corporate Governance in Zimbabwe.

Arena Consulting Group said that the forthcoming workshop was intended to compliment Mr Dube’s expansive work and supplement “our understanding of international issues relevant to us”.

There is an emerging pursuit of excellence in corporate governance in the public sector and the workshop will buttress such efforts by examining works such as the King Report 1,2 and 3, which are the standard guidelines used by companies in Zimbabwe and the Southern Africa.

Good corporate governance practices gives confidence to both local and foreign investors, which in turn encourages foreign direct investment, a much needed ingredient in bolstering any economy.

Deloitte’s commitment to driving progress on societal challenges focuses on making impact in the more than 150 local communities where it operates through what it calls IMPACT Day. This is one of the longest-standing, most visible ways that member firms show this commitment.

How good corporate governance dovetails into CSR is one of the areas that will be touched on by Professor Driscoll during the one-day workshop so that delegates will leave with an enhanced view of CSR and its relationship to corporate governance and sustainable development.