IoD launches Commission to develop a code of conduct for directors

Recent corporate scandals at Carillion, BHS, Patisserie Valerie, P&O Ferries and the Post Office suggest that business conduct does not always meet the standards expected by society.

This is reflected in the latest Edelman Trust Barometer, where only 50% of respondents expressed trust in UK business, below the percentage in many other countries.

To address this issue, the IoD is launching a Commission to develop a code of conduct for directors. The Commission is being chaired by Lord Iain McNicol of West Kilbride, and consists of 16 leading figures from the worlds of business and public affairs.

The Commission will run between September 2023 and March 2024, and report its findings in April 2024. Further details regarding the Commission are available here.

Commenting on the new Commission, Jonathan Geldart, Director General of the IoD, said:

“We are delighted that Lord Iain McNicol has agreed to chair our Commission alongside a distinguished group of leading figures.

“Ultimate responsibility for regaining societal trust in business lies with boards of directors. Directors make key decisions across a variety of organisations, and it is essential that they are seen as both competent and ethical actors.

“Although a code of conduct for directors is not a silver bullet, it is an essential starting point. It will enable directors to reaffirm their commitment to high standards of behaviour which reflect the evolving expectations of society.”

Commenting on his appointment as Chair of the Commission, Lord Iain McNicol said:

“I am delighted to be chairing this important Commission. Over the next six months, we plan to come up with a set of principles that directors can sign up to on a voluntary basis.

“Holding directors to the highest ethical standards is incredibly important, and it’s also good for the bottom line. More broadly, committing to a code of conduct offers directors the opportunity to show their stakeholders that they are serious about running their businesses responsibly.”