18/11/2002 - Business executives and government policymakers will explore ways to improve the watchdog role of company boards of directors at the South Eastern Europe Corporate Governance Roundtable in Zagreb, Croatia Nov. 21-22. Participants in the meeting will also examine how employees and creditors can help improve oversight of top corporate management.
The Zagreb roundtable, organized by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Bank and co-hosted by the Zagreb Stock Exchange, is the third in a series of meetings aimed at improving corporate governance practices in Eastern Europe. It will focus on the responsibilities of board members and on the role of company stakeholders.
The meeting's speeches and panel discussions at Zagreb's Palace Hotel are all open to journalists and a press conference with speakers is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Thursday Nov. 21.
The accounting scandals unfolding in Europe and the U.S. illustrate the need to strengthen the checks and balances that ensure companies are managed in an honest and professional manner. That is particularly true in regions like Eastern Europe, as they seek to attract foreign investors. Investors are willing to pay a 30% price premium for shares of well-governed companies in the region, according to a recent survey by management consultant McKinsey & Co.
Roundtable speakers and panelists will include government officials, academics, legal experts, public policy specialists, and business leaders. Among them are Maringo Papuga, chairman of the Zagreb Stock Exchange, Tihomir Domazet, assistant minister in the Croatian Ministry of Finance, Robert Strahota, assistant director of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and Rainer Geiger, deputy director of the OECD's Directorate for Financial, Fiscal and Enterprise Affairs. Business leaders will include Darko Marinac, CEO of Podravka d.d., Ognjen Antunac, Deputy Chairman of the Management Board of Vicktor Lenac, Johan Swarts, human resources director of Pliva d.d., Darko Ostoja from the ICF Investment fund, and Colin Melvin, director of corporate governance at Hermes Pensions Management, Ltd.
The South East Europe Corporate Governance Roundtable is part of the Investment Compact and is financed by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) and by the Global Corporate Governance Forum. It held its first meeting in Bucharest in September 2001, and its second meeting in Istanbul in May 2002.
For more information, journalists should contact David Woodruff in the OECD media relations office (Tel:  1 45 24 81 18), or Zeljko Kardum at the Zagreb Stock Exchange (Tel:  5 1 46 77 925 /46 77 684).