SOUTH Africa needs businesses, great businesses, to help transform the economy to address our pressing socio-economic issues. To do this it needs great business leaders, but not all business leaders are managers or C-suite executives, in addition to these some of our most important business leaders are company directors.
Directors play a critical role ensuring that businesses operate within the bounds of the law and that managers and C-suite executives properly understand all the risks involved in grabbing the commercial opportunities that present themselves, ensuring they represent the interests of the shareholders and other stakeholders in the company to the best of their abilities.
Many directors don’t, becoming overwhelmed either by the enormity of their task or the tsunami of often incomprehensible information that they are presented with, but unable to admit this. But that doesn’t in any way lessen their legal responsibilities and liabilities as directors.
As Henley Business School Africa dean and director Jon Foster-Pedley says: “When directors fail, companies often collapse catastrophically. We need no reminding of the price South Africa is paying for state capture, aided and abetted by the collusion of unscrupulous corporates.
“Companies need to seize the opportunities that present themselves to create value and a return on investment; that’s how they flourish, but this can never be done at the risk of a company’s core values or indeed at the risk of the community in which that company operates.
“As we pick through the wreckage of companies, audit firms and SOEs; from Steinhoff to KPMG, SAA and Eskom, just to name a few, we can see all too clearly just how important enterprise risk management is – and how vital it is for the entire country, that we get it right.”
This year, for the first time ever, Henley Business School Africa is presenting a master class in enterprise risk management, that has been uniquely built on South African research and practical experience both here and globally.
The Master Class is worth 18 Continuing Professional Development (CDP) points with the Institute of Directors Southern Africa (IoDSA), an integral component that underpins the professionalisation of company directors. It will take the form of a 10-session course over eight weeks presented by two of the finest lecturers on the subject in the country.
Professor Evan Gilbert is an internationally experienced academic, a PhD from Cambridge, and a corporate finance expert with a track record in asset management firms, while Arthur Linke is also an internationally experienced academic with a PhD in enterprise risk management from the University of Stellenbosch Business School and runs his own enterprise risk consultancy.
This course is designed for senior managers and c-suite executives who want to prepare themselves for appointments to boards of directors or for serving directors who want to augment their own skills to be the very best that they can be as leaders here in Africa and internationally.
The course will be a mix of breakfast and dinner sessions, with the time in between being used to design specific learning solutions for the participants’ own contexts as they learn, or hone, a range of skills from understanding what it means to lead ethically while looking after the interests of the shareholders; to interrogate financial statements; to contribute meaningfully to the development of company strategy and objectives, to serve as an effective member of both a company’s remuneration committee and its audit committee; and, most of all, understand and play a key role in risk management and risk assessment within a company.
“South Africa is a textbook example of the Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA) risk landscape and this is the first programme to be designed to suit us specifically, not just the European or US corporate environments,” says Foster-Pedley.
“People who attend this course won’t just learn critically important hard skills, they’ll become Henley alumni and as such part of the broader Henley network, able to leverage some of the finest international teachings on this topic and emerge with not just their own skills enhanced, but also some very real tools to apply real-life, real time solutions to problems that might otherwise have been keeping them up at night – and live to the spirit as the letter of the King IV principles.”
The Henley Business School Africa Enterprise Risk Management Master Class will be held between 11 September and 30 October this year. If you would like to know more, please contact 011 808 0899.