Corporate governance in focus as GCC business relations grow

Jane Valls
Jane Valls

KUWAIT: As the region continues to break through geographical borders in business operations, GCC corporate governance standards are being enhanced and global best practices are being implemented to cultivate effective international business landscape. “The growing volume and increased depth of cross-border relations has resulted in a high demand for more transparency and disclosure among investors which did not exist in previous years making it crucial that GCC board directors follow international best practices,” said Jane Valls, Executive Director, GCC Board Directors Institute (BDI).

GCC corporate governance practices took centre stage at a first of its kind event held in London in August 2016, which brought together several Board Directors from the region and leading international personalities. Signifying strong business relations between the GCC and the UK, the workshop titled “The Effective Director: Adding Value to your Board” was conducted outside the GCC for the first time and was held in strategic partnership with the Institute of Directors (IoD) in London.

“Each country has a unique approach to corporate governance. The GCC region is characterized by strong family structures and corporate hospitality based on trust and transparency which is evident in the way that board directors in the region function. What drives business performance at a global level however is how directors collaborate these specific national approaches with international standards that must be adhered to,” said Lady Barbara Judge, newly appointed chairperson of the IoD.

With relatively young economies, the GCC has formed robust corporate governance regulations that have helped develop and levitate the market in the international arena. As a result, international investments have increased, more businesses are establishing headquarters in the region and GCC companies are setting up in other developed markets. The two-day event for GCC delegates took place earlier in August on the IoD premises at the Pall Mall in London where several senior directors from the UAE, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia convened to discuss corporate governance practices in the Middle East and what it means to be a director in today’s challenging market conditions.

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