The role of the Company Secretary is that of a governance professional who is responsible for organising effective meetings, ensuring information flows securely and that proper records are kept. As well as the corporate administration side of the role, and having knowledge of a wide range of governance and compliance issues, the Company Secretary also needs to be constantly developing their ‘soft skills’ in order to manage boardroom dynamics and personalities.
A Day In The Life
The Company Secretary role is a privileged and trusted position which allows access to the most senior members of a company from the very early stages of the career path. The role offers significant exposure to a breadth of topics and development opportunities which, whilst challenging, can be very rewarding. The role can vary widely depending on the type of organisation you work for which means no two roles and no two days are ever alike. This is part of what makes the job so interesting and enjoyable, it constantly keeps you on your toes!
Here is an example of what a day in the life can be like for the Company Secretary of a UK Listed company:
8:00am: Check emails received overnight. Particularly looking for any urgent information or documents to be circulated to the Board or any Stock Exchange announcement which may need to be released.
8:30am: Go to the boardroom and check the set-up is correct and refreshments are in place, be ready to greet the Board members as they arrive. Once the Chairman arrives, catch up on logistics and the agenda for the meeting.
8:45am: Connect the boardroom to the virtual meeting for those attendees and presenters who are joining the meeting remotely.
9:00am: Advise the Chair that all Board members have arrived (either in person or virtually), therefore a quorum is present, and the meeting can begin. Take the minutes of the meeting whilst coordinating the timely arrival and departure of all presenters, ensuring that no presenter is present for confidential discussions which do not concern them. Support the Chair in ensuring the meeting runs smoothly and advise the directors on any governance matters which may arise during the meeting.
1:00pm: Board lunch. Debrief with the Chair following the meeting.
1:30pm: Return to desk and review emails received during the meeting.
2:00pm: Review notes from the meeting and collate any action points. Send action points to the CEO before distributing to the action owners. Advise the Risk team that the policies submitted for Board approval had been approved with no changes.
2:30pm: At the meeting, the Board approved a recommendation from the Nomination Committee for the appointment of a new non-executive director and agreed the draft stock exchange announcement which was tabled at the meeting. Contact the new director and advise that their appointment had been approved and that the announcement of their appointment would be released in due course. Schedule a meeting with the new director to obtain all required information for their appointment and provide an overview of their legal directors’ duties.
3:00pm: Meet with the Communications team to finalise an internal press release regarding the new appointment and updating the Corporate website to include the new directors pre-agreed biography. Begin drafting the director’s induction plan and collating induction materials. Ensure that all board meeting invitations are forwarded on to the new director
4:00pm: Release the RNS announcement to confirm the appointment of the new director. Liaise with the Company’s D&O insurers to advise of the appointment and update the conflicts register.
4:30pm: Review logistics and plans for the Company’s AGM to incorporate the new director, update the notice of meeting ahead of its distribution and the seating plan for the top table.
5:00pm: Receive an email from the Chief Risk Officer to advise that, following a call he had had with the Chair of the Risk Committee that afternoon, they required an ad hoc Risk Committee meeting to be scheduled for the following week. Reach out to the Risk Committee members to advise of the new meeting and request availability in order to schedule the meeting.
6:00pm: Close off any outstanding queries and review the diary for the following day.