For each issue of Experts we choose topics that we believe will be of great interest not only to General Counsels, but also to CEOs and Boards of Directors. While in our first issue we focused on the challenge of increased pressure on companies regarding compliance and what role the General Counsel should play in this new field, the second Experts publication looked into what constitutes the core of our profession: best practices in General Counsel selection and recruitment.
Here, in Experts No. 3, we dive into the sensitive relationship between the General Counsel and the Board of Directors. The increased importance of professional governance also impacts the role of legal officers, both in how they deal with governance issues themselves and in how they interact with the board as a whole and its individual members. This subject is also critical in the various Board Effectiveness Reviews we undertake every year.
In this issue, in addition to interviews with Beat Hess, former Legal Director of Shell, and Ben Heineman, former General Counsel of GE, two of our colleagues share their observations and recommendations on interaction between the board and the General Counsel. Jörg Thierfelder describes the complexity of the General Counsel position and the enhanced expectations from boards, imposed externally and internally, while Ian Maurice zooms in on the meaning and relevance of the Company Secretary as an additional role next to the General Counsel.