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Director of Corporate Governance Peter Van Veen

Author: ICAEW Corporate Governance Community

Published: 02 Sep 2022

Peter van Veen has joined the ICAEW as Director of Corporate Governance and Stewardship, with over 20 years’ experience of working with, advising and serving on boards. Helping to strengthen our value to members on vital issues of corporate governance.

Where did your interest in Corporate Governance start?

My interest was already there as a student of economics and the theory of the firm, but it really took off when Enron collapsed over 20 years ago.  I had just left Andersen Consulting (as Accenture was then called) and had worked with our sister organisation, Arthur Andersen on a few projects.  I found it very hard to believe that such an esteemed, blue-chip firm could go under due to the actions of their client and a few colleagues in their Houston office.  It opened a lot of debate on ethics, the role of the board and internal controls.  

Why do you think Corporate Governance is important?

As Enron, Wirecard and other scandals have demonstrated, there is almost always a correlation between corporate failure and poor corporate governance.  

A scandal is not the necessary outcome of poor governance but if a board does not challenge the executive, or the directors are all of a similar background and thus potentially subject to “group think”, this can lead to a board that is unable to adjust to changing market conditions or over-indulges its founder CEO for too long and has no succession plan, then the long-term health of the company will always be at risk.  It is no surprise that investors continue to put good governance at the front and centre of their investment criteria.  

What will you be focusing on over the next 12 months?

We will be launching a campaign in the Autumn that will set out some themes for us to build on over the next 12-24 months.  It will involve webinars, podcasts, and insight articles as well as video interviews with board directors.  

We have selected 5 board focussed topic areas that we will utilise as our framework for this initial campaign and a lot of our activity for the next 12 months:

A. Building a long-term sustainable business
B. Building a stronger & more effective board
C. Managing risk and building resilience
D. Strengthening corporate culture
E. Building stakeholder trust

We will maintain a dedicated webpage for the flurry of activity, and I hope you find the content thought provoking and useful.

There will be a community survey in September to get your views on several issues, so do watch out for this please and do participate so I get your views!

You can read about Peter’s background in ICAEW Insights.