Senior representatives from some of the leading corporations in Latin America turned out this past Monday and Tuesday to promote the importance of robust and comprehensive corporate governance frameworks for groups of companies in the region. The Latin American Companies Circle – an International Finance Corporation-supported initiative – is expected to release a report in the following months outlining recommended best practices and improvements to the foundations behind corporate governance within company groups.
“The events in Buenos Aires not only allowed the Circle members, represented by Chairmen, Board members, CEOs, CFOs and CLOs, to share good and innovative corporate governance practices among themselves but also they were able to get that information out to other peers in Argentina” says Santiago Chaher, the Circle Coordinator. “When it comes to the issue of group of companies, the corporate governance framework becomes more challenging and there are special themes to consider such as reporting, practices to appoint directors, the way they share services, or the internal control system which varies in effectiveness depending on whether the subsidiaries are partially or wholly-owned” explains Chaher.
The two-day event started with enthusiastic discussions at the Companies Circle’s eleventh annual meeting–exclusively for Circle members—held at the American Club in Buenos Aires, Argentina on Monday, September 16th. As with previous years, presentations were delivered on a variety of corporate governance topics including compliance and ethics, and Board diversity. Peruvian construction giant, Grupo Graña y Montero, provided members with comprehensive details behind its journey to being listed on the New York Stock Exchange and how the process impacted the company’s corporate governance practices.
A first for the annual meeting, the Companies Circle hosted a Chairmen’s working breakfast the morning of September 16th, including Chairmen of the Board from seven different Argentine multinational corporations, as well as five Chairs from various Companies Circle member companies. Participants reviewed the role of Chairs and how to improve and strengthen Board of Director practices.
The Awareness Raising Event, hosted by the Buenos Aires Stock Exchange the following day, presented two panels on corporate governance practices to over 120 businessmen from local Argentine companies. The panels included heads from Companies Circle member’s companies, presenting progressive insight into their experiences with corporate governance practices in Latin America and within a conglomerate company. The event showcased the Circle’s accomplishments over the past year and emphasized the necessity of enhancing corporate governance practices to its audience.
The success of the annual meeting attributes to the variety of Companies Circle achievements throughout the year, including a new webpage (www.companiescircle.org) and twitter account (@companiescircle).
Sponsors of the September 16th annual meeting included the International Finance Corporation (IFC), AmCham Argentina, and co-hosts Grupo Los Grobo and Natura Cosmeticos with the support of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The Awareness Raising Event was supported by Insituto de Gobernanza Empresarial y Publica (IGEP), Instituto para el Gobierno Corporative (IAGO), Fundacion FLOR, BDO, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Asociacion Empresaria Argentina (AEA) and Cefeidas Group.
About the Latin American Companies Circle: The Companies Circle is a group of 15 Latin American companies with demonstrated leadership in enacting and advocating governance improvements in the region: Grupo Los Grobo (Argentina); Grupo Algar, CPFL Energia, Embraer, Natura and Ultrapar (Brazil); Grupo Argos, Carvajal and ISA (Colombia); Florida Ice & Farm Co. (Costa Rica); Homex and Grupo Compartamos (Mexico); Buenaventura, Ferreycorp and Grupo Graña y Montero (Peru). For more information, visit www.companiescircle.org.