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Vodacom Chairman's Forum

On 28 November 2012 the Centre for Corporate Governance in Africa (University of Stellenbosch Business School) launched its Chairman's Forum in Johannesburg. The objective of the Forum is to provide a safe environment for information gathering and debate on issues of uncertainty and risk that are of direct concern to chairmen of South African companies. Membership of the Forum is by invitation only and restricted to chairmen of South African companies, including listed, significant private and state-owned companies.

The Forum will convene at least twice per year and all meetings are governed by the Chatham House Rule. The launch of the Forum was made possible through seed funding provided by Vodacom, and is supported by the Corporate Governance section of law firm, DLA Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr.

Currently, the members of the Forum are:

Barclays Africa Garth Griffin, Wendy Lucas-Bull
IDC Monhla Hlahla
Imperial Thulani Gcabashe
MMI Mr JJ Njeke
Sanlam Desmond Smith
Sun International Valli Moosa
Vodacom Peter Moyo
Woolworths Simon Susman
Zurich Ms Dolly Mokgatle

 

The chairman of the Forum is Peter Moyo.

Events

The first event of the Forum took place on 28 November 2012. The guest speaker at this event was Jim Sutcliffe, non-executive director of Lonmin, who shared his thoughts on the Marikana events and key lessons learnt from a board perspective.

The second event of the Forum took place on 19 June 2013. The guest speaker at this event was Peter Moyo, who shared his thoughts on the role of the chairman. A discussion paper is available and will be circulated amongst members of the Forum and other stakeholders.

The third event of the Forum took place on 26 June 2013 in New York City. This was a special joint session with the US-based Chairmen's Forum Inc. The US organization was founded in 2008 by the Millstein Center for Corporate Governance and Performance at the Yale School of Management, and currently is a membership organization for current and former board chairs, and the premier peer exchange in North America for discussing common concerns and issues related to independent chairmanship and to pursue the enhancement of public company governance through independent board leadership. This event incorporated a round table discussion with investors and asset managers, as well as updates on board assessment, succession and diversity. Peter Moyo presented on "Chairmanship in an Emerging Market".

The following events are planned for 2014:

  • An information session with a broader audience, held under the auspices of the Forum, where André Stürmer, chief executive officer of Inoxico will present on the Director Singularity Index. The meeting will be hosted by DLA Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr.
  • The fourth event of the Forum will take place in August 2014, to coincide with a joint World Economic Forum / Stellenbosch University series of events on a "New Social Covenant" project of the World Economic Forum.

The final event in terms of the current sponsorship agreement will happen during the first half of 2015.

Research Output

To facilitate discussion within the Chairman's Forum and to make a broader contribution to academic debate in the area, the Centre has commissioned a discussion paper entitled "Director Rotation and Board Independence in South Africa, a Legal and Corporate Governance Review". In terms of the Companies Act of 2008 companies are required to align their revised Memorandum of Incorporation (MoI) with the new Companies Act and table these to shareholders for approval. A series of listed companies were forced to revise their MoI provisions relating to the rotation of executive directors (full time director) following recommendations from ISS Proxy Advisors' recommendation to vote against any MoI that does not provide for equal rotation between full time and part time directors. The Institute of Directors of Southern Africa ("IoD") together with the Johannesburg Stock Exchange issued an advisory note on this matter sparking a debate in the institutional investment community.

The draft paper has been prepared by Thina Siwendu, senior research fellow of the Centre and founding member of the Chairman's Forum. It was made possible by a generous grant from Woolworths.