Corporate Governance – the Portuguese Way

GOOD CORPORATE governance within any corporate environment has become a prominent catch phrase so it was standing room only at the Ambassador’s residence for the recent seminar on Corporate Governance, organized by the Portuguese UK Chamber in London.

Efficiency, investment worth, transparency, independence and shareholder power are all words and phrases that spring to mind. But, corporate governance varies between countries. Many factors have contributed to this; the culture and development of countries, political influences and the domination of many corporations by powerful families, to mention but a few.

Excellent speakers succeeded in making what many consider a dry subject, interesting and informative.Clarity of argument was the key feature, as well as their considerable experience.Existing governance models were assessed and compared, myths dispelled and the realities emphasized. Speakers took us through the strengths and weaknesses of the European model and how it was applied in Portugal.The points of view of both the foreign investor and the board member were thoroughly debated.

All of this led to a lively discussion that was made all the more frank as the Chamber had imposed Chatham House rules to allow free expression.

The seminar was followed by a cocktail party where members and delegates were able to debate further.The Chamber is most grateful to its speakers: Professor António Borges, Vice-Chairman of Goldman Sachs and President of The European Corporate Governance Institute; Ms Karina Litvack, Head of Governance & Socially Responsible Investment at F&C Asset Management; Dr Miguel Horta e Costa, CEO of Portugal Telecom; Dra Maria Antónia Cameira, partner at PACSA & Cameira, and last but not least, Sir Richard Greenbury, all of whom contributed to the success of the evening.

Our thanks also go to our sponsors, PACSA & Cameira, D&F Wine Shippers, and to our President and host, HE Sr. Fernando Andresen-Guimarães, The Portuguese Ambassador.

For those interested in obtaining copies of the presentations made at the seminar, these are now available from the Portuguese Chamber, and requests should be made by email to [email protected].