The separation of the role of the Chairman of the Board (Chairman) from that of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) avoids concentration of power in one individual, and ensures a degree of checks and balances. Where the Nominating Committee determines that the Chairman and CEO share close family ties, the Chairman is not independent. Such ties include familial relationships beyond immediate family members that could influence the impartiality of the Chairman. Examples of these relationships include those of in-laws, cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents.
The overall role of the Chairman is to lead and ensure the effectiveness of the Board. This includes:
- promoting a culture of openness and debate at the Board;
- facilitating the effective contribution of all directors; and
- promoting high standards of corporate governance.
Externally, the Chairman is the face of the Board, and should ensure effective communication with shareholders and other stakeholders.
Within the company, the Chairman should ensure appropriate relations within the Board, and between the Board and Management, in particular, between the Board and the CEO.
In the boardroom, the Chairman’s responsibilities range from setting the Board agenda and conducting effective Board meetings, to ensuring that the culture in the boardroom promotes open interaction and contributions by all.