Annual Report 2010

An arena for the discussion and exchange of experience... ...was a main ambition when the Norwegian Institute of Directors was established in 2009. We are currently in the process of realising this ambition. In 2010 we organised 5 lunch meetings and one major conference. We have focused on such topics as the role of chairperson, compensation, board evaluation, the role of employee representatives, the work of the audit committee and the interaction between the owners, board of directors and management. Introductory speakers as well as participants have been highly engaged in the debates, which have been conducted in a spirit of participation and high tolerance for different opinions. The goal of the debates has not necessarily been to agree and arrive at joint conclusions, but to air thoughts and ideas, and enable reciprocal learning.

Based on the exchange of opinions in our lunch meetings, we also want to contribute to the public debate with regards to board issues and the development of standards for good board work. To this end, we have provided consultation responses in connection with The Norwegian code of practice for Corporate Governance, and the Ministry of Trade and Industry's new white paper on State ownership. At the same time, we emphasize the importance of not over-regulating board work. What is "best for the company" is often not an exact science; different approaches must be accommodated, and best practice should not result in standardisation.

It is often stated that "the board of directors has more responsibility than before". This is only partially correct. The responsibilities of the board of directors are basically the same as always.  – According to the public companies' act, the board of directors’ responsibilities are to take on paramount responsibility for the company’s management and to oversee the day-to-day activities of senior management and company operations. In so doing, the board of directors contributes to the company’s value creation. However, new laws and regulations have increased the scope of the board's activities and, as a result, board work has become more time consuming. Also, a sharper media focus has made board decisions (primarily weak decisions...) publicly known. As a result, the board of directors faces high expectations - as a collegium, and as individuals, with regards to knowledge, as well as to wisdom.

The Norwegian Institute of Directors will continue to provide the arena for topical and relevant discussion of board-related issues, and for setting standards for what is perceived as "solid board work".

Turid E. Solvang, Man. Dir., Norwegian Institute of Directors


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