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IoD Director General to lead global corporate governance body

03 Aug 2016
Headshot of Simon Walker in the mezzanine at 116 Pall Mall

Simon Walker, who stands down as Director General of the Institute of Directors at the end of the year, has been appointed Chairman of the Global Network of Director Institutes, which represents more than 100,000 directors across the world. The GNDI has 19 member organisations from Brazil to Canada, the United States and Australia, and includes recent additions from Germany, Russia, Pakistan and Philippines.

As the new chairman, Simon Walker will chair the next meetings in London and Johannesburg. Walker said of his appointment:

“When I joined the IoD five years ago, corporate governance was not a phrase that got many people excited. But the heated public debate on executive pay and high-profile corporate failures, such as BHS, have rocketed governance up to the top of the political agenda in the UK. Britain has been a leader in setting standards for boards, but clearly more needs to be done to convince politicians and consumers that the people overseeing companies are up to scratch.

“I am delighted to be taking on this position, which will allow me to continue to represent the UK at the world’s top table for governance. Following the Brexit vote, it is now more important than ever that Britain maintains a global perspective on business.”

About Simon Walker

Since joining in 2011, Walker has changed both the membership and the image of the IoD. In 2014 he launched a new membership scheme for entrepreneurs, called the IoD 99, which now has 1,000 members. This year, the Institute opened a new pilot programme, IoD Advance, which includes a new take on business networking that was described by the FT as “Tinder for business”. The IoD continues to demand high standards of company directors, last week publishing a new blueprint for good business leadership, which ranks independence of thought and political awareness as highly as commercial acumen.

Simon will be remembered as an outspoken voice holding businesses to account on corporate governance failings. He has criticised companies on executive pay, calling the £25m pay package for BG CEO Helge Lund “excessive” and “inflammatory”. He was highly critical of BHS and Sports Direct during recent Parliamentary enquiries, accusing the companies of tarnishing the image of capitalism. He has long warned that if business does not prove it can reform itself, it will be subject to political intervention - comments which are being borne out in Theresa May’s agenda as the new Prime Minister.  

For more information about the GNDI

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