The Company Secretary or Group Company Secretary is usually the head of the secretarial department and oversees the corporate governance team. Occasionally, the company secretary operates in a more stand-alone capacity, often in smaller organisations or start-ups. Usually reports to the Chief Executive or Chairman of the Board. In some organisations this role is called the Head of Governance, especially in Not-For-Profit organisations.
The Company Secretary is usually highly experienced and has built a strong track record in comparable environments. Educated to degree level and a qualified Chartered Secretary with 5-10 years commercial experience.
They will have operated in a headquarter environment and be equally happy and able to both provide broad commercial counsel, while also being hands-on to deliver the activities demanded by the role.
Core Responsibilities of the Company Secretary
Interpret, advise on and ensure compliance with the principles of the Corporate Governance Code. Stay abreast of future changes in the Code and advise on the impact of these
Ensure compliance with all Stock Exchange/regulatory requirements
Oversee the design and production of the group’s annual report, including the content of the statutory reports
Co-ordinate and undertake the creation of compliance frameworks. Support and administrate international legal issues, including M&A transactions, commercial contracts, intellectual property and employment law
Line manage (where applicable) the company secretarial team
Advise members of the legal, governance, accounting and tax departments of the implications of proposed policies
Maintain the register of shareholders and monitor changes in share ownership of the company – in a publicly listed company
Monitor the administration of the company’s pension scheme – this may be a requirement in some smaller companies