Kate Teh, Group Legal Director for Telegraph Media Group has said that General Counsel’s should sit beside the board – not on it.
She has stated that board alignment with the General Counsel is an “excellent thing”, stressing how GC input is valuable and highly important. It can help shape the direction the company is going in and build necessary coherence and integration across the company, such as areas like data protection.
However, she has argued that GC advice to the board cannot be integral to boardroom decision-making.
Not all GC’s agree however. Jeremy Mavor, GC and company secretary for Arqiva Group, has said that conflict is unlikely in 95% of decision-making. Equally, it is possible to work through any potential conflict, meaning it is very much possible for GC’s to show their opinion while still being part of the collective decision.
Currently, it is more common than not for a GC to have a seat on the executive committee. It is a feature of 67 of the FTSE-100 executive companies.