The Governance through a crisis: Learning from COVID-19 report, includes insights from interviews with senior directors, survey responses and feedback from roundtables with governance and risk professionals.

The research reveals that the pandemic has had a profound impact on how boards operate and what they focus on. It is hoped this research will help to develop stronger organisational resilience and serve as a practical resource applicable to all sectors – from not-for-profits to ASX listed companies.

The insights about governing through the COVID-19 crisis explored in this report include:

  1. How boards have successfully adapted to virtual meetings, including AGMs
  2. The need for agile decision-making in a crisis
  3. The importance of contingency planning
  4. How technology can elevate stakeholder voices

The report includes recommendations for directors and company secretaries as well as practical tips for working effectively in the virtual environment and through a crisis.

AICD CEO and Managing Director, Angus Armour, said “The business community has seen profound changes to board practices and processes in response to the challenges brought about by COVID-19.

“Our conversations with directors and research have shown us that the rolling uncertainty of the pandemic compelled boards and organisations to adapt and innovate. Boards and organisations should reflect on the lessons from this period and what they mean for future governance practices.

“To accelerate Australia’s economic recovery, our laws and regulatory settings need to reflect the modernisations embraced by organisations. These include laws around virtual AGMs, e-signatures and electronic notices of meetings.”

Governance Institute of Australia CEO, Megan Motto, said the lessons in the report will be an important part of a board’s arsenal as they emerge from the pandemic, and crisis planning has been highlighted as a key consideration.

“This report, and the lessons that it outlines, is an important resource that will help boards navigate the path out of the pandemic,” Ms Motto said.

“Overwhelmingly businesses rose to the challenges presented by COVID-19 but, as the report highlights, a comprehensive continuity plan was lacking for many and will be essential in order to tackle future crises.

“Planning precisely for a crisis is difficult, but ensuring you have the right scaffolding in place for when a crisis hits must now be a key focus for organisations.”

Media Contact: Maegen Sykes 0439 167 567

Media Contact (Governance Institute): Hannah Edwards 0403 024 149