Bumi or bust – the corporate governance implications of foreign issuers in London

Dr. Roger Barker, Director of Corporate Governance and Professional Standards at the IoD, assesses whether the Bumi saga justifies fundamental changes to the UK’s corporate governance regime.

On 21 February 2013, aristocratic financier Nat Rothschild lost one of the most high-profile boardroom struggles of recent years.

Shareholders rebuffed his attempt to replace the Bumi board of directors with a completely new boardroom team. This landmark shareholder vote was the culmination of several years of highly publicised strife between Rothschild, the board and its major shareholders.

The experience of Bumi and a number of other London-listed mining companies from emerging markets has raised concerns about the impact of foreign listings on the integrity of the UK corporate governance system. In particular, it has highlighted the difficulties that the UK regime faces in coping with significant or controlling shareholders.

How should the UK respond to this challenge?

About the author

image of Dr Roger Barker

Dr. Roger Barker

Director of Policy and Corporate Governance, IoD

Dr. Roger Barker is Director of Policy and Governance at the Institute of Directors, and a member of the Management Board. Dr. Barker is the author of numerous books and articles on corporate governance and board effectiveness, including the recent volume: ‘The Law and Governance of Decentralised Business Models: Between Hierarchies and Markets’ (Routledge, 2020). He is a former member of the European Economic and Social Committee and the founder of a successful corporate governance advisory company. A former investment banker, Dr. Barker spent almost 15 years in a variety of equity research and senior management roles at UBS and Bank Vontobel, both in the UK and Switzerland. He has a doctorate from Oxford University and taught politics at Merton College, Oxford (2005-2008).

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