The Company Secretary was a role that all companies were required to have before the Companies Act changed in 1993. Now the position is seen as a redundant position, especially with a large number of smaller companies being used as a commercial vehicle. But is the role of the company secretary really understood and does it still have some relevance in the modern commercial environment?
The Company Secretary is seen as a minute taker, collator of information and “keeper of the information” for the Board. And if this was the limited function of the company secretary, then there would be very little place in the modern commercial context for many companies. However, if the role of Company Secretary is seen as a trusted advisor to the board, works with the chairman on thought leadership, provides curator and analyser of that information and acts as the Board conscious, then it does have a place in the modern commercial context.
The complexity of the motivation of consumers, suppliers and employees means that there is focus moving towards being involved with a company that focuses on social good and business ethics rather than one that focuses on the bottom line and pure profit calculation. Mid-tier companies (revenue over $2m) should give consideration to the appointment of a company secretary to provide an outside perspective and ethical compass to the Board in its decision making processes.