Former Wesfarmers chair Bob Every succinctly described the key role of a chair as a “custodian of the culture”. Dr Henry also put it well when he said this week, “When something goes wrong, the finger is going to be pointed at the board. My view is that given that we can’t escape the responsibility, we should embrace the responsibility.” The hackneyed argument that boards overseeing large and complex corporations can’t be aware of everything misses the point. Directors are obliged to ensure they have structures in place to acquaint them with all aspects of the companies they preside over, and which set the tone of how that business is conducted. They must also recognise they will be held accountable for the outcomes.
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