Message from the Chair
16 August 2017
By Dr Prieur du Plessis
I was very honoured to be elected as chair of the IoDSA board, and it is gives me particular pleasure to be writing my first communication to IoDSA members. Thank you for your confidence in me – I shall do my utmost to live up to the ideals of the organisation and to assist in taking the organisation forward.
In my view, there are two broad areas in which the IoDSA has an important role to play, and where I intend to focus many of my efforts.
One is the usefulness of the organisation to its members in helping them to build board careers and improve their skills and networks.
This is critical work. There is no doubt that the complexity and demands of the non-executive director’s role have increased greatly over the past few years. Nowadays, directors need a high level of governance expertise and a thorough understanding of the applicable legal frameworks, especially as directors are/can be held accountable by law for improperly made decisions.
In this context, we should all be aware that governance is a work in progress, not a state to be achieved. I believe, for example, that over the coming years we will see more emphasis on industry knowledge alongside director independence, board agendas shifting to include more focus on value creation and strategy, greater board diversity in various categories, and the need for specialist governance in areas such as cybersecurity, technology risk and remuneration. These and other developments will require directors to keep on learning and adapting. Of course, one of the best ways to prepare oneself for the demanding, but very worthwhile and fulfilling, role of a director is to apply for the Certified Director or Chartered Director (SA) designation.
But the IoDSA has a broader public role as well. It entails helping to make governance in the public, private and non-profit sectors more effective, and also acting as an advocate for greater probity and morality in public life.
Of course, these are not watertight categories; by creating better directors, the IoDSA is also indirectly contributing to the creation of a better South Africa.
These are lofty goals, but we should be aware of how important it is that we attain them. I look forward to working with all of you to achieve these goals and to experience the full impact of a world-class membership organisation.