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Ethical Leadership and Corporate Governance: The New Frontier for Business Directors

The call for robust corporate governance and ethical leadership has never been louder in today’s rapidly evolving business environment. ASIC Chair Joe Longo’s recent remarks at the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) Australian Governance Summit underscore the critical role directors play in steering companies towards sustainable success. This article delves into the key themes from Longo’s address, offering actionable insights for directors committed to excellence in governance and compliance.


The Increasing Complexity of Business and Governance

Business landscapes are changing dramatically, driven by globalisation, technological advances, and increasingly complex regulations. Joe Longo highlighted these challenges, emphasising directors’ growing responsibilities to keep pace and stay ahead. Directors must navigate these complexities with a strategic vision and a steadfast commitment to ethical practices.


Four Essential Questions for Every Director

Joe Longo proposed four pivotal questions that every director should routinely ask themselves to ensure they are fulfilling their roles effectively:

    1. Are You Acting Honestly? Integrity is the cornerstone of trust in any business. Directors must lead by example, fostering a culture of transparency and honesty within their organisations.
    2. Are You Putting the Company First? Directors must prioritise the interests of the company and its stakeholders, making decisions that bolster long-term sustainability over short-term gains.
    3. Do You Have a Continuous Curiosity to Understand All Aspects of the Company’s Core Business and the Risks Associated with It? A proactive approach to learning and understanding every facet of the business is crucial. This includes a thorough grasp of the associated risks and the strategies in place to mitigate them.
    4. Are You Challenging Management to Ensure Your Understanding is Well-founded, and Getting Trusted Professional Advice? Effective governance involves questioning and verifying information from management. Directors should seek external advice when necessary to validate their strategies and decisions.

The Importance of Compliance and Ethical Governance

The financial services sector, in particular, faces stringent regulatory requirements. Compliance is not just about adhering to laws and regulations; it’s about embedding legal and ethical standards into the fabric of the company. Joe Longo’s speech serves as a reminder that compliance should be a key focus for directors, especially those in sectors like financial services where the consequences of non-compliance can be severe.

Leveraging Support and Continuing Education

Directors were encouraged to actively seek support and continuing education to stay abreast of governance best practices and emerging trends. Institutions like the AICD offer resources and training to help directors enhance their skills and knowledge.



The role of a director in today’s business world is more demanding than ever. By embracing the principles of ethical leadership and proactive governance, directors can lead their organisations to thrive in a complex and changing environment. Joe Longo’s address is a call to action for all directors to reassess their strategies, ask tough questions, and ensure they are truly acting in the best interests of their companies.

As directors and business leaders continue to navigate these challenges, the principles outlined at the AICD Australian Governance Summit provide a valuable guide. Embracing these ideas will not only help in meeting compliance demands but also in achieving a sustainable and ethical business model that can stand the test of time.


Ready to Elevate Your Governance Practices?

Navigating the complexities of corporate governance, compliance and ensuring ethical leadership can be daunting. If you’re seeking guidance or need support in fulfilling your responsibilities, you don’t have to go it alone. Reach out to our team of experienced compliance and governance law specialists today. We offer personalised advice, comprehensive training programs, and ongoing support tailored to your unique needs.

Contact Us Now to schedule a free consultation and start your journey towards exemplary governance and leadership.


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