Corporate governance principles

OECD Secretary General announces launch of a high-level business group initiative to promote better boardroom practices.


Since 1998, the OECD has played a major role in spreading best practices in corporate governance throughout the world.  The OECD Principles of Corporate Governance have become the agreed global standard for corporate governance reform efforts worldwide.  To continue this important initiative, the OECD is launching a new project that will focus on improving the effectiveness of boards of directors, both in developed and less developed countries.

OECD Secretary General Donald J. Johnston noted: “Boards of directors worldwide have come under increasing criticism in the last several years for failing in their obligation to oversee the performance of management.  We’ve witnessed a number of graphic instances of the corporate disasters that can result, to the detriment of investors, employees and entire communities.  This new OECD initiative will offer practical guidance and hopefully spur boards around the world to embrace an active and attentive role.”

OECD Secretary General Donald J. Johnston will meet with Ira Millstein and other corporate governance leaders in New York on Friday 15 April 2005 to launch a Business Sector Group to give practical guidance to board members trying to improve corporate governance.

The Group will provide concrete examples and advice on how board members can put good corporate governance into practice, notably in the absence of detailed or prescriptive regulation. This “Boardroom Guide to the OECD Principles of Corporate Governance” will draw on the Group’s collective experience to address a range of challenges that directors face in boardrooms around the world.

“The role of the board is critical to ensuring broad scale effective corporate governance, particularly in circumstances where regulations can not, or should not, provide any guidance. So many issues are a matter of judgment, and self-help by the private sector in sharing these experiences will keep corporate governance improving over time”, said Millstein.

Ira M. Millstein, who chaired the 1998 Business Sector Advisory Group on Corporate Governance to the OECD that authored the seminal report on Corporate Governance:  Improving Competitiveness and Access to Capital in Global Markets, will serve as Chair of the Group.  He is Senior Partner, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, United States.  Additional members of the Business Sector Group will include:

  • Peter Dey, author of the 1994 Dey Report on corporate governance, Canada;
  • Sir Adrian Cadbury, author of the 1992 Cadbury Report on corporate governance, and former chairman of Cadbury Schweppes, UK;
  • Dr. Gerhard Cromme, Chair of the German Corporate Governance Code Commission and Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Thyssen Krupp, Germany and;
  • Dominique de la Garanderie, Board Director, Renault, France.

Holly J. Gregory, Partner, Weil, Gotshal & Manges, LLP, will act as Senior Counsel to the Group.

The work of the Group will be discussed at Corporate Governance Roundtables taking place in Asia, Latin America and Russia this year and a draft of the report will be issued on the OECD web site for public consultation and comment in late 2005.

For further information journalists are invited to contact Spencer Wilson, OECD’s Media Relations Division (tel. + 33 1 45 24 81 18).


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