Annual Review 2011: Report from the Chairman and CEO

  • Date:01 Oct 2011
  • Type:CompanyDirectorMagazine

It has been another year of tremendous success for the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

 

It has been another year of tremendous success for the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Providing leadership on director and governance issues is a critical part of everything we do, helping to fulfil our vision of having a positive impact on the economy and Australian society.

In taking this leadership role, we aim to be a strong and active voice for directors in the public debate and the media, as well as in constructively advocating policy positions to government, regulators and other stakeholders.

The issues we deal with are not only of great importance for our members but are of vital concern to the wider community of 2.1 million Australians who are directors.

We also continue to be a centre for directors to enhance the practice of governance, providing resources, information and opportunities to network and mentor, as well as world class director and board education.

This has been reflected in the continued growth of our membership and its participation in our activities.

Membership

Membership continued to grow strongly around Australia in 2010/11, rising 10.9 per cent to 29,579, the highest growth on record. The retention rate increased to 89.6 per cent and membership revenue rose 14 per cent.

Growth in membership was particularly strong in Queensland (12.4 per cent), Victoria (11.9 per cent), Western Australia (11.6 per cent) and the ACT (11.1 per cent).

Our overseas membership also rose strongly by 16 per cent.

Director and Board Development

There was continued demand for our Director and Board Development programs. Overall attendance at the 483 courses staged in 2010/11 rose 9.6 per cent to 9,152.

Among the highlights was the continued success of the Company Directors Course, with 3,165 public program participants – an increase of 19.1 per cent on 2010 and 
a new high.

We have also seen some wonderful initiatives from the Director and Board Development team, including our new MasterClass program, the first of which was held in March.

Events and Member Services

The number of people who attended our 916 courses and events exceeded 45,000 for the first time, highlighting both the support received from members and the broader community, and the attractiveness and relevance of our events. This represents a 13.2 per cent increase on the previous year.

Attendees at our 433 events, including 95 run in regional areas, rose 13.5 per cent to 36,730, another record result.

We have another big events program for this year, including events for our overseas members in London and New York.

Company Directors Conference

Our 14th National Company Directors Conference, Directorship:11, held in May in Beijing in the People’s Republic of China, attracted 417 delegates and 140 partners, well up on the previous year. The overall satisfaction rating was a record for a Company Directors Conference and, once again, the speakers and content of the sessions were very highly rated by participants, recording the highest ever average rating.

Our next conference will be held in Darwin in May 2012.

Focus on the SME, NFP and Public Sectors

Much of Australia’s director community, and our membership, come from the small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) sector, which emphasises the importance of this sector.

While some of the policy issues on which we focus may appear relevant only to large listed companies, they are often equally crucial to our members who are directors of small companies. We represent their interests just as strongly when pursuing better policy outcomes and are always looking to better understand the issues facing these directors, their needs and their expectations, in order to better tailor 
services for them.

We are also very conscious of catering to our members in the not-for-profit (NFP) sector and are currently engaged in a major project on NFP regulatory reform. We aim to lead public debate on this issue, work with governments to deliver a strong NFP governance framework and increase our resources and support for NFP directors and boards.

The public sector is another key focus for us, as we strive to take an even greater role in thought leadership on the governance of public sector organisations.

The Public Sector Governance Conference, designed to present and discuss key issues in public sector governance and to encourage best practice, is a particularly exciting initiative developed over the past two years. We are holding the third Public Sector Governance Conference in Canberra later this month.

Listed companies

Our ASX 200 roundtable series, with distinguished international and Australian speakers, provided members who are directors of ASX 200 companies with the opportunity to discuss with peers the latest thinking and issues.

Our Chairman’s Forum, which brings together the nation’s top chairmen drawn largely from ASX 50 companies, has also been a continuing success. The forum, which has recently been expanded to 25 members, promotes discussion on issues of importance to chairmen of major listed companies and, in doing so, provides input to our Board and management, helping to shape our policy positions and advocacy efforts. We thank those who have participated so actively over the past three years, under the chairmanship of Don Argus AC FAICD, and welcome new members of the forum.

Policy and Advocacy

The development and advocacy of policy is one of our core functions, both in serving our membership and contributing to the improvement of the Australian economy and society.

We have been very active in seeking to influence governments and contributing to the policy debate across a range of issues of relevance to directors from all sectors.

Throughout 2010/11 there has been particular focus on the issues of director liability, reforming regulation, board diversity and executive remuneration, among many others.

Communications and Government Relations

We have continued to take a more strategic and proactive approach to media and government relations on key issues, which has helped raise our profile as the "voice" of directors.

One measure of the impact of this approach is the significant increase in media items citing Company Directors or quoting our spokespeople, and in articles written by us. The figures speak for themselves.

In 2010/11, we had 795 substantial media mentions; up 38 per cent from 2009/10 (which itself was 35 per cent higher than the previous year).

We also continued our program of opinion pieces on key issues, with five articles published in national newspapers.

Our Director Sentiment Index – a bi-annual survey of directors’ views on business conditions and key regulatory, governance and policy issues, was launched in May.

Our principal communications with members, Company Director magazine and The Boardroom Report e-newsletter, also had successful years.

Marketing

Among many initiatives undertaken by our Marketing team, we re-launched Directorship Opportunities, a new service providing an online "job board", which can both assist directors to gain their first board seat or expand their portfolio and help organisations track down suitable candidates for their board vacancies.

Improving our information technology

To support our vision and strategic goals, we are continuing our significant information technology change program, which will enable further enhancements to the way in which we communicate with our members, deliver education programs online and provide information via our website. Important parts of this two-year project have already been implemented.

Staff development and leadership

In another important improvement in our capacity to deliver for members, this year we have also devoted considerable resources to developing our people, in terms of encouraging a high-performance corporate culture, better training to enhance their skills and building our leadership capability.

Financial result

2010/11 was a strong year financially for Company 
Directors. Revenue rose 20 per cent to $42.2 million, exceeding $40 million for the first time.

The operating result before investments for the year was 
$(0.479) million compared to $1.169 million in 2009/10.

The net investment result for the year was a surplus of 
$1.6 million, despite the poor performance of financial markets in the last six months.

This left the net surplus for 2010/11 at $1.122 million, compared to $2.792 million in 2009/10.

Board changes

Our AGM in November 2010 saw a change in board composition. Those Board members who completed their three-year term and retired from the Board were:

  • Elizabeth Bryan FAICD, National Director
  • Alan Hewitt FAICD, President South Australia and Northern Territory Division
  • Lyn Cox FAICD, President Tasmanian Division

We are very grateful to Elizabeth, Alan and Lyn for their dedication to making a positive difference to Company Directors’ culture and their contribution to our success.

Their positions have been filled by very able successors in Yasmin Allen FAICD as a National Director, Bruce Linn FAICD as President of the SA/NT Division and Derris Gillam FAICD as President of the Tasmanian Division.

We also thank Alison Watkins FAICD who retired from the Board and welcome Linda Nicholls AO FAICD who replaces her as Victorian representative on the Board. Vince FitzGerald FAICD replaces Alison as President of the Victoria Division.

Conclusion

We would like to thank the Board, our Division Councils, our executive team and our staff, the experienced directors and practitioners who work on our program and policy development committees and the facilitators who present our education courses, for their hard work, dedication and contribution to a successful 2010/11.

Thanks also to you, our members, for your participation and important contribution to achieving that success.

Richard Lee FAICD
Chairman

John H C Colvin FAICD
Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director