Professor Mervyn King offered a wealth of insights as the guest speaker of our latest working professionals networking seminar. Prof. King spoke about the newly published King IV Report, a revised set of guidelines that requires a more qualitative, outcomes-based approach to corporate governance than previous releases. This was a rare opportunity for students, academics and industry to gain insights from the King of Corporate Governance himself, whose principles have been adopted by 83 countries. King also looked at the ways in which the latest report is more inclusive, integrated and how it can be more efficiently implemented.

According to Dr Natasha Mwila, coordinator of the MSA Postgraduate Diploma in Management specialising in Corporate Governance; “MSA hosted the event to promote dialogue and thought leadership in the industry, and to highlight the importance of studying programmes such as these to help South African and African managers, directors and senior officials steer their organisations in the right direction.”

King began his discussion by going back to King I, which was conceived of in the changing South Africa. King reminisced about his friendship with Nelson Mandela at the time, and how Madiba urged him to create a more fair and equitable way for organisations to operate.

He then moved on to King II, and sustainability reporting. “To be sustainable,” King said, “an organisation needed to report on all its intangibles like strategy, reputation, supply chain, human rights approach and stakeholder relationships. It was not only about how much money an organisation made, but how it made that money in the first place.”

King III brought in the importance of integrated reporting. Recognising that financial reporting could not be divorced from sustainability reporting, King III required an integrated approach to accurately tell an organisation’s story.

Finally, King spoke about the newly released King IV. Launched in November 2016, King IV was developed in response to a very changed world – one of global financial crises, climate change, population growth and a new digital generation. Having all the benefits of the previous King Codes, King IV is outcomes based and can be more efficiently implemented, encouraging a fairer and more sustainable work environment for all.