Corporate Governance Quotes

“The King Commission describes Corporate Governance simply as “ the system by which companies are directed and controlled.” (King 1994)

“Corporate governance is concerned with holding the balance between economic and social goals and between individual and communal goals. The governance framework is there to encourage the efficient use of resources and equally to require accountability for the stewardship of those resources. The aim is to align as nearly as possible the interests of individuals, corporations and society.” (Sir Adrian Cadbury, UK, Commission Report: Corporate Governance 1992)

“Business must harness the power of ethics which is assuming a new level of importance and power.“ (James Joseph - former US ambassador to SA)

“Good corporate governance is about 'intellectual honesty' and not just sticking to rules and regulations, capital flowed towards companies that practiced this type of good governance.“ - Mervyn King (Chairman: King Report)

“Whilst the scope of King II is broader than its 1994 predecessor, reform in this area, to be meaningful, cannot be confined to the top 10 % of companies in this country.” - Advocate Selby Baqwa, SC

“King 2 emphasizes that the most powerful enforcement body in the corporate system is the shareholder body. Via pension funds, provident funds, insurance products and other group investments, the public makes up the largest owner of many publicly listed companies.” - (King Report)

“It is clear that good corporate governance makes good sense. The name of the game for a company in the 21st Century will be conform while it performs.“ - Mervyn King (Chairman: King Report)

“It is essential that the activities of corporate executives are under constant, vigorous and public scrutiny, because those activities are crucial to the economic well-being of society.If anything, developments both locally and internationally during 2001 have emphasised the need to continuously update and upgrade corporate governance standards.“ - Ann Crotty (Business Day)

“The cost of complying with corporate governance is becoming prohibitively high for the smaller banks & this may become even more onerous once the second Basel Accord (Basel 2), the international agreement on risk management & banking standards, becomes a worldwide regulatory standard in 2006.” - Errol Kruger (Deputy Registrar of Banks)

“What would happen if certain systems were hit.A networking service used by 7, 000 financial institutions carries 1.5 billion messages per year with a daily value estimated at $6 trillion.” - Leonard Schrank (CEO: SWIFT - Brussels)

“Despite questions being raised about the standard of corporate governance in South Africa, 85% of respondents believed that it significantly influenced investor confidence towards a company and 68% believed it was an important contributor to an organisation's performance.“ - Leon Padayachy (Sunday Times)

“Over the next couple of decades, inequality will probably rise as AIDS lowers growth and slices its way through the poor and disadvantaged in South Africa.” - Nicoli Nattrass (CSSR)

“The AIDS challenge is to move from rhetoric to action - action at an unprecedented intensity and scale. For there is a need for us to be focused, to be strategic, and to mobilize all of our resources and alliances, and to sustain the effort until the war is won.” - Nelson Mandela (Ex President: South Africa)

“Apply yourself. Get all the education you can, but then, by God, do something.Don’t just stand there, make it happen.“ - Lee Iacocca (Legendary President of the Chrysler Corporation)

“We should all be concerned about the future because we will have to spend the rest of our lives there.” - Charles F Kettering

“Corporate governance is not a matter or right or wrong -'it is more nuanced than that.” - Advocate Johan Myburgh

The AIDS challenge is to move from rhetoric to action – action at an unprecedented intensity and scale. For there is a need for us to be focused, to be strategic, and to mobilize all of our resources and alliances, and to sustain the effort until the war is won.” - Nelson Mandela (Ex President: South Africa)

“Ethics in business is extremely important; your reputation is all you have in life.“ - Sir Freddie Laker

“The special measures that we envisage to overcome the legacy of past discrimination are not intended to ensure the advancement of unqualified persons, but to see to it that those who have been denied access to qualifications in the past can become qualified now, and that those who have been qualified all along, but overlooked because of past discrimination, are at last given their due.” - Nelson Mandela (1991) (Ex President: South Africa)

“Affirmative action must be rooted in the principles of justice and equality.” - Nelson Mandela (October 1991)(Ex President: South Africa)

“The JSE Securities Exchange is moving towards alignment with international best practice. These important changes are intended to improve international sentiment and greater disclosure, both of which are aimed at improving foreign investor confidence in the South African Equities Market.” - Russell Loubser (The Johannesburg Stock Exchange)

“To set aside one’s prejudices, one’s present needs, and one’s own self interest in making a decision as a director for a company is an intellectual exercise that takes constant practice. In short, intellectual honesty is a journey and not a destination.” - Mervyn King (Chairman: King Report)

“In today’s climate of current disclosure and fairness, there's no room for executives to cut corners . . . executives must ‘certify that (the) information is correct’ when ‘they sign their company’s (SEC) filings . . . if their statements contain material misstatements or omissions, they can be exposed not only to civil penalties and lawsuits, but also to criminal prosecution and prison.” - Honorable Alfred J. Lechner Jr. (USA)

“IT Governance is no longer some stand-alone function, but is an integral part of any organisation’s overall corporate governance. If an (your) organisation cannot survive as a competitive player without IT, then the (your) Board cannot apply acceptable corporate governance without overt IT Governance.” - Deloitte & Touche - 2003

“… at the heart of the system, we often make wholly unrealistic demands on pension fund trustees. Our legal structures put them firmly centre-stage. They are being asked to take crucial decisions - yet many lack either the resources or the expertise. They are often unsupported by in-house staff, and are rarely paid.” - Paul Myners - UK (2001)

“It is not simply a case of having a set of procedures and processes, nor is it just about having controls in place. Reliance on a poor control is often worse than having no control at all. [The trustees must have] … a clear understanding of the business and what can go wrong.” - Tony Rawlins - (2001)

“A director is “bound to take such precautions and show such diligence in their office as a prudent man of business would exercise in the management of his own affairs.” - Trustees of the Orange River Land & Asbestos Company vs King (1892)

“If we do not tackle the issue of HIV/AIDS effectively, we will be failing our duty as citizens of this world. HIV/AIDS will pose a considerable economic impact if left unchecked. The cost of doing nothing is high - both in human & economic terms.” - Gaby Magomola (Chairman: SABCOHA)

“For historical reasons (though), the emphasis has to be on black people – a term which the Broad-Based Black Empowerment Act makes clear refers not only to Africans, but Coloureds and Indians too.” - Dr Hasmukh Gajjar (Faritec Holdings: Deputy CEO)

“Business continuity and planning is just as important for small companies as it is for large corporations. Plans need to be simple but effective, comprehensive but tailored to the needs of the organisation. Employers have a responsibility to their staff for their safety and security, and we all share the desire to ensure that any disaster or incident - whether natural or otherwise - has a minimal effect on the economic well-being of the country.” - The Rt Hon David Blunkett, Home Secretary, London

“In today’s increasingly competitive environment, businesses are more dependent than ever upon the smooth running of the critical business and IT processes with only 8% of businesses (will survive) surviving in the long term if they suffer a severe disaster without contingency measures in place.” - Bernard Vertenten (SafeGuard iT)

“Only 15% of the market value of an enterprise resides in tangible assets, while 85% rests in intangible assets - the largest part of those intangibles being information” - The Brooking Institute 1992 & Lev Analysis of S&P500 companies (1998)

“A firm is inherently fragile if its value added emanates more from conceptual as distinct from physical assets. Trust and reputation can vanish overnight, a factory cannot.” - Alan Greenspan (Chairman: US federal reserve - March 2002)

“Business continuity is becoming a major issue for companies of all sizes. The message is finally getting through; any company that is prepared to risk letting their customers down or gamble with the needs of their employees is going to pay a heavy penalty at some time - we need a comprehensive platform where we can learn about solutions in this vitally important area.” - John Sharp (CEO: Business Continuity Institute)

“Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu“ - “I am because you are, you are because we are.” - Unknown

“In the age of globalisation, any investor can choose where they want to trade and invest. That is why South Africa has to fight for every cent of the investment dollar. All SA businesses need to embrace global standards if they want to benefit from increased investment and that includes reporting on sustainability.” - Nicky Newton-King (Deputy CEO: JSE)

“There is evidence of a steady erosion in trust for established authorities. As trust diminishes, so increases the demand for transparency.” - Tom Delfgaauw (Shell)

“If the business community does not come together to define its social and environmental responsibility and then act on that definition, I fear we will not achieve a (that) better society.” - Courtney Pratt (President: Noranda Inc.)

“Fraud and deceit abound in these days more than in former times!” - Sir Edward Cole (1602)

“The quality of the company’s board has now become an important evaluation factor for institutional investors.” - Russel Reynolds Association Survey (1997)

“If a country does not have a reputation for strong corporate governance practices, capital will flow elsewhere. If investors are not confident with the level of disclosure, capital will flow elsewhere. If a country opts for lax accounting and reporting standards, capital will flow elsewhere.” - Arthur Levitt (Former Chairperson: US Securities Exchange Commission)

“The lack of corporate governance practice in the private sector is appalling.“ - Judge Denis Davis (Cape High Court - 2001)

“The former CEO’s contract broke every corporate governance rule in the book.” - Business Day - 31 May 2001 (Referring to former CEO, Coleman Andrews’s contract with SAA)

“Global market forces will sort out those companies that do not have sound corporate governance.” - Mervyn King S.C. (Chairman: King Report)

“Sunlight is justly commended as the best disinfectant, electric light as the best policeman.” - Justice Louis Brandeis (1916)

“The shareholders at a meeting duly convened for the purpose, can, if they think proper, remunerate directors for their trouble or make presents to them for the services out of assets properly divisible amongst the shareholders themselves.” - George Newman Co (1895)

“We often think of change coming from the outside in rather from the inside out . . . even if we recognise the need for change we usually think in terms of learning new skills, rather than showing more integrity to basic principles.” - Stephen R. Covey Ph.D.

“The problems we have today, cannot be solved by thinking the way we thought when we created them.” - Albert Einstein

“What a goodly outside falsehood hath!” - William Shakespeare (Merchant of Venice)

“Governance and leadership are the yin and the yang of successful organisations. If you have leadership without governance you risk tyranny, fraud and personal fiefdoms. If you have governance without leadership you risk atrophy, bureaucracy and indifference.” - Mark Goyder (Director of Tomorrow's Company)

”Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm!” - Sir Winston Churchill

“If management is about running the business, governance is about seeing that it is run properly.” - R Tricker

“Governance is the process whereby people in power make decisions that create, destroy or maintain social systems.” - Maria Ramos (CEO: Transnet)

“Leadership is a process of influencing the probability of achieving a desired change through human relationships.” - P Semark

“I often find that we place a lot of emphasise on the board in terms of the directors and non-executive directors, but what we tend to forget is the people who have to put the practices in place, the managers and the staff below them.” - Lawrence Redford

“Corporate Citizenship is about the way we do business, incorporating every day business activities. It is not an add on: it is part of the DNA of the corporation.” - P Kapelus

“The pure and simple truth . . . is rarely pure . . . and never simple!” - Oscar Wilde

“You do not have to do anything improper to have a conflict of interest; it is strictly situational.” - Paul J. Friedman

“If you can't get rid of the skeleton in your closet, you'd best teach it to dance.” - George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

“You cannot legislate good behaviour.” - Mervyn King S.C. (Chairman: King Report)

“If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed.” - Albert Einstein

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world . . .” - Mahatma Gandhi

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” - Nelson Mandela (Ex President: South Africa)

“Ethical standards are evolutionary and must change over time. A professional’s ethical standards reflect the social, legal, economic, political and cultural norms of a society at a given time. As norms and values and circumstances change, ethics rules must change as well.” - Unknown (1907)

“Regard your good name as the richest jewel you can possibly be possessed of - for credit is like fire; when once you have kindled it you may easily preserve it, but if you once extinguish it, you will find it an arduous task to rekindle it again. The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavour to be what you desire to appear.” - Socrates (398 BC)

“I always remember the axiom; a leader . . . is like a shepherd. He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble go out ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realising that all along they are being directed from behind.” - Nelson Mandela (Ex President: South Africa)

“Chaos is found in greatest abundance wherever order is being sought. It always defeats order; because it is better organized.” - Terry Pratchett (Science Fiction Author)

“Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted, counts.” - Albert Einstein

“I am prepared to stand for the truth even if you all stand against me . . . I am writing my own personal testament; because now that I am nearer the end, I want to sleep for eternity with a broad smile on my face, knowing that especially the youth, can stretch out across the colour line, shake hands and seek peaceful solutions to the problems of the country.” - Nelson Mandela (February 1996)

“What corporate governance means is that people outside looking into the company will see that the people inside who are practicing qualitative governance are making decisions on an intellectually honest basis and are applying care and skill in making business judgments. An example of intellectual dishonesty in the corporate context is Enron.” - (King Report)

“Contrary to popular belief, the responsibility to detect & prevent corporate fraud does not rest with the external auditors, whose function is limited to expressing an opinion on the annual financial statements. Practically & legally, the onus of preventing & detecting economic crime rests squarely on the shoulders of the company directors.” (Extracts from the 1st South African Symposium on Economic Crime held at the SARB in Pretoria, 1992)

“Corporate governance is not something that is put in place and then left. Ensuring its effectiveness depends on regular review, preferably regular independent review. And, in the end that comes down to the shareholders. Outside assessment and self-assessment need to be regular events.“ - Jim Jones (Business Day)

“Corruption is not simply a matter of theft but a betrayal of trust.” - Christopher Merrett (Director of Admin:University of Natal)

“Be alive in your power, develop a check-list of good corporate citizenship, attend general meetings, vote, understand your rights and obligations. My invitation to each of you, perhaps as a first step in your own shareholder activism, is to collaborate, to develop and publicize the checklist. It is the least you owe to yourself and future generations.” - Trevor Manuel (Finance Minister)

“Since the responsibility of directorship comes with significant personal liability, executive and non-executive directors should receive relevant development and education to inform them of their duties, responsibilities, powers and potential liabilities in working at board level.“ - (King II Report)

“The (King II) Code is a set of principles.Work within them. Bend them. Don’t break them.” - Richard S. Wilkinson (Institute of Directors in Southern Africa)

"Stock corporations with large capital can corrupt state legislators in their own interest and at the expense of other stakeholders such as labour, and also at the expense of public interest.“ - Rupert van Mohl - 1856

“Dealing with an organisation in a human way, rather than in a prescriptive or directive way, creates an enabling environment and optimises its people. This is the value women can bring to SA organisations that have been dominated by the directive and autocratic management style of men….for centuries.” - Dr Namane Magau (CE: Human Resources - SABC)

“organisations need to practice qualitative corporate governance rather than quantitative governance thereby ensuring it is properly run.” - Mervyn King (Chairman: King Report)

“Among a people generally corrupt, liberty cannot long exist.” - Edmund Burke (Political philosopher)

“Society depends on the economy - and the economy depends on the global ecosystem, whose health represents the ultimate bottom line. Companies able to engage their stakeholders with a clear vision of their shared future and, in the process, to outperform their competitors against the triple bottom line will be much better placed to win people’s hearts and minds - along with their money.” -J Elkington (Cannibals with Forks)

“ 2004 might just be the year corporate citizenship comes of age in the mainstream investment community.” - Richard Samans (MD: World Economic Forum)

“In today’s economy, and with our reliance on IT for competitive advantage, we simply cannot afford to apply to our IT anything less than the level of commitment we apply to overall governance.” - Etienne Aigner (Group: USA)

“The pressure on business of all sizes to do more to empower black people is growing relentlessly. The sooner they start doing this, the better they’ll be able to survive, and in fact prosper.” - Executive Business Brief (February / March Issue 2004)

“Nearly 1 in 5 businesses suffer a major disruption every year. Yours could be next. With no recovery plan, you have less chance of survival.” Expecting the Unexpected

“Business Continuity Planning is not, and never has been, a once-off project. Once the system has been established, it requires an on-going effort to maintain its currency, ensure its effectiveness and the readiness of staff to operate it when the need arises.” - Bernard Vertenten (SafeGuard iT)

“The quality of the company’s board has now become an important evaluation factor for institutional investors.” - Russel Reynolds (1997)

“There are many positive ways for business to make a difference in the lives of the poor - not through philanthropy but though initiatives that, over time, will help build new markets.“ - Kofi Annan: World Economic Forum (2002)

“This is our only home. And that is what is at stake. Our ability to live on planet Earth - to have a future as a civilization. I believe this is a moral issue.” - Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth

“But in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” - Benjamin Franklin

“The earlier the regulator’s office becomes aware that a particular entity is not complying with regulatory requirements, the more likely it will be that corrective action can be taken to avoid significant loss to investors.” - Rob Barrow: Financial Services Board

“A ‘no’ uttered from deepest conviction is better and greater than a ‘yes’ merely uttered to please, or what is worse, to avoid trouble.” - Mahatma Gandhi

“He who is false to present duty breaks a thread in the loom, and will find the flaw when he may have forgotten its cause.” - Henry Ward Beecher

“Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little.” - Edmund Burke (1729-1797 British political writer & statesman)

“When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.” - Dom Helda Camara


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