New research by Henley Business School reveals that good company secretaries make a significant contribution to board performance, share the same qualities as good chairmen and enable effective decision-making. Sometimes undervalued and often misunderstood, the role is intrinsic to organisational success.

“The role of the company secretary has evolved over the years. There are few other roles in senior management that are as flexible in their scope or require such a breadth of skills from the technical to the diplomatic; all this has to be wrapped up in the absolute trustworthiness that is an essential part of the job. The role is often unsung simply because when it is done well the role is not conspicuous. But any chairman or chief executive knows that their own effectiveness depends crucially on this role being performed immaculately.” (Robert Swannell, chairman, Marks and Spencer plc)

The highlights of the research are as follows: