Day 1

This is a dynamic program, and will update as we confirm topics and speakers.

Welcome to Country


Conference open and welcome


The AICD’s Chair, John Atkin FAICD, Managing Director and CEO, Angus Armour FAICD, will welcome attendees to this year’s Australian Governance Summit and outline some of the major themes.

Keynote: Leading in a post-pandemic world


The pandemic has been a massive disruption to economies, increasing uncertainty and accelerating change. In 2021, leadership will be critical as we emerge from the pandemic.

What are the trends that leaders, across industries and sectors, need to be aware of?

How can they shape change, adapting to circumstances while not being hostage to fortune?

How do they bridge the trust deficit with their communities?



Opening Panel


Changing fortunes for the lucky country?


COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on Australia's economy. GDP has contracted sharply, unemployment has spiked and the recovery has been called a 'slow grind'. How can Australia initiate the next era of growth? And what role will boards have to play? Our panel of leading directors will discuss how Australia can navigate these uncertain times.



Accelerating Innovation: How boards can shape the future


Technology and change were advancing at a rapid pace, even before the COVID-19 pandemic struck. The crisis has now accelerated many of these developments even further. What are the major trends that directors need to be on top of to drive innovation at their organisation?

Concurrent elective sessions #1


Culture Shock: The new ways of work

COVID-19 transformed the nature of work. Busy offices went empty, bustling city centers turned quiet and our daily commutes were suddenly put on hold. Workers began performing their jobs at home - and embraced new technologies to do so. Many of these changes will remain in place, well after the pandemic passes. But what challenges do these transformations pose for management and boards?

Preparing for black swans: Thriving through tail risk

Many companies and organisations were unprepared for the shocks brought on by the coronavirus. Is climate change the next major risk for organisations? The pandemic has forced some companies to shift their focus away from addressing this important issue. How do boards resharpen their efforts on climate change and sustainability? And how should climate change be dealt with during a pandemic and a severe economic downturn?

Break /Networking


Concurrent elective sessions #2


The NFP Challenge: Delivering through crisis

The coronavirus pandemic has brought a distinct array of challenges for the Not-For-Profit sector. Funding and resources for several organisations have come under heavy pressure. At the same time, the need for many NFPs has never been greater. How can NFP directors plan for the current environment?

Turbulent times for the aviation and tourism sectors

COVID-19 and travel restrictions have had a devastating impact on the aviation and tourism industries. Air travel has collapsed and it could be years until passenger demand recovers to pre-pandemic levels. How have the aviation and tourism sectors handled the crisis and what are their recovery plans?

How have small and medium enterprises grappled with the coronavirus ?

Thousands of small and medium-sized suffered a severe decline in revenue during the pandemic - and many are still struggling to survive. The Federal Government has introduced several schemes to assists SMEs – but are these measures enough? What more can large companies do to support SMEs?


Case Study


Day one close


Networking Session


Day 2

Conference open




Nowhere to hide: Shareholders, stakeholders and the role of the board


Recent years have seen a lively debate on the purpose of the corporation. Community expectations are shifting and boards are being asked to consider more than shareholder interests. High-profile miscalculations at Rio Tinto and AMP have highlighted the damage that can be done when stakeholder considerations aren't elevated.

How do boards fulfil their duties when there are competing interests at stake?



BLM, MeToo and More: How should boards respond to social change?

The Black Lives Matter and #MeToo movements have shone a light on societal issues that cannot be ignored. How should boards and directors react to these developments? Studies have repeatedly shown that greater diversity on boards leaders to a boost in performance. Australian boards have taken measures to become more inclusive but further improvement is still needed. What barriers remain for addressing diversity and how can they be overcome?



Concurrent elective sessions #1


Not if but when: Building cyber resilient organisations

The rise of remote work requires a greater focus on IT from directors. Boards must be able to meet digitally if face-to-face meetings are impossible. And directors must ensure their organisations have the necessary IT infrastructure for staff to perform their jobs successfully. Increased remote work also demands a greater emphasis from organisations on cyber security.

Are Australian organisations safe from online threats?

Turning a crisis into an opportunity

The coronavirus has been a crushing blow for many organisations - but some businesses have prospered during the downturn. A number of companies have transformed their operations and continued to perform strongly, as a result.

What step did these businesses take? And what can others learn from them?

Concurrent elective sessions #2


Mindful Leadership: Governance and Mental Health

COVID-19 and the subsequent economic downturn have had a major impact on Australians’ mental health. Many of us have been placed under an unprecedented strain. How do directors help others cope? Can organisations maintain an effective culture if staff are not interacting face-to-face? And what should boards do to protect employees' safety and emotional wellbeing?

Relations with China: Unsettled ties with Australia's biggest trading partner

China remains Australia’s largest export market but the diplomatic relationship between the two countries has come under pressure. Leaders in Canberra and Beijing have been in conflict, with some companies left caught in the crossfire. Where are relations between Australia and China headed next – and what does it mean for Australian businesses?

Industry on a knife-edge: How will the hospitality sector recover from the pandemic?

The pandemic and lockdowns were an unprecedented hit for Australia's hospitality scene. Once-thriving bars, pubs and restaurants were forced to restrict their operations or close their doors entirely. Where does the sector go next? And what can directors learn from the hospitality sector's struggles?



Resolve and Resilience : Leading during a crisis

The coronavirus pandemic has been an extraordinary challenge – but it certainly won’t be the last great problem that boards and directors will need to face. This collection of esteemed leaders will offer lessons from their own experiences of dealing with a crisis.