2015 President’s Address
18:00 September 6, 2020 to 22:00 January 1, 2015

Greetings on behalf of the Executive Committee and Council of the Corporate Secretaries International Association (CSIA):

Established in 2010 in Geneva, Switzerland, CSIA is an international federation of professional bodies that promotes? the adoption of best corporate secretarial and governance practices as a means of improving organizational performance and stakeholder value.

CSIA’s membership includes sixteen national representative bodies (including the US and Canada) and represents approximately 70,000 corporate secretaries and governance professionals in more than 70 countries around the world. CSIA members serve in a wide range of governance, managerial/executive and financial roles, including corporate secretary, chief governance officer / executive, legal counsel, ethics and compliance officer, enterprise risk manager, finance manager and professional administrative manager.

Recognized by OECD as the “global voice” of corporate secretaries and governance professionals,[This is a fairly big statement – can we reference it to something? Not in the letter but in the background just in case.] CSIA is the only organization [Ditto re background reference/facts] representing the corporate point of view on global governance issues today. CSIA is uniquely positioned to speak about what constitutes good corporate governance. Corporate secretaries serve on the “front line” of corporate governance: they are in the boardrooms every day, and have the responsibility, specialized knowledge and experience to ensure board processes are effective and the board receives accurate, relevant, complete and sufficient information and advice to make effective decisions.

As described below, CSIA is actively engaged in promoting best practices in corporate governance, through 1) Networking on a global basis, 2) Educational conferences and roundtables, 3) Publications, 4) Advocacy and 5) Thought Leadership:

Networking: The meetings of CSIA’s Executive Committee and Council, as well as its conferences and roundtables, provide global forums for networking and sharing information on best practices and global trends in corporate governance.

Education: CSIA has sponsored and participated in international conferences and roundtables in Shanghai, Sydney, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, New Delhi, Sao Paolo, Dubai and New York (and Johannesburg in October, 2015). Responding to strong demands in emerging markets, CSIA has developed, with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), “The Corporate Secretary’s Toolkit”, which is being used to train corporate secretaries in emerging markets and developing countries around the world.

Publications: Among CSIA’s publications are: 1) “Twenty Practical Steps for Better Corporate Governance”, authored by Professor R. I. (Bob) Tricker (2010), 2) “Governance Principles for Corporate Secretaries“ (2013), 3) the aforementioned “Corporate Secretaries Toolkit” (2014) and 4) “Shareholder Engagement – Practical Steps for Corporate Secretaries” (2015). CSIA also publishes an e-Magazine: “Global Governance Voice”, which contains, not only feature articles on significant topics in corporate governance, but also governance news from CSIA member countries. Links to these documents are found on this website.

Advocacy: In June, 2012, CSIA petitioned the World Trade Organization to add a new trade sector classification for “corporate governance, compliance and secretarial advisory services” to their list, in recognition of the separate identity and increasingly significant role played by these professionals on a global level. CSIA is working to achieve broader recognition of the corporate governance professional’s role among worldwide organizations, such as the WTO, ILO, OECD, IFC, the World Bank, the EU and the United Nations.

Thought Leadership: CSIA’s Thought Leadership Task Force develops position statements on significant corporate governance topics and issues practical guidelines based on the experience of corporate secretaries throughout the world. “Shareholder Engagement: Practical Steps for Corporate Secretaries” was the most recent such publication , introduced in a global webinar in April, 2015. The next thought leadership initiative will address the topic of effective board communications, including the use of technology to enhance such communications.

CSIA is actively seeking new member organizations in countries that are not currently represented among our membership (e.g., Europe, South America). Eligibility for membership is not limited to organizations of corporate secretaries, so long as the association focuses on corporate governance in its broadest sense. Please contact me via katherinekcombs@gmail.com if you would like to know more.

I am honored to serve as the President of CSIA. After spending nearly thirty years working in this field in the United States, I am delighted to have the opportunity to meet and collaborate with so many others who are committed to good corporate governance throughout the world.


Katherine K. Combs

President (2015)

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