The topic for the first event was corporate governance strategy in a globalised world

Wafa Khlif and Luis Cantarell sounded the starting signal for the TBS Business Debates, a series of discussions that will cover current challenges in the world of business. At this initial event, the TBS Education’s Professor of Management Accounting and the Executive President of Froneri UK Ltd sat down to discuss corporate governance strategy in a globalised world. “CEO or Board of Directors?” was the title for the debate that took place on 7 November.

One of the strong points of the debate was its focus on the importance of diversity on boards of directors. “We have become accustomed to seeing similarly aged men on boards of directors. The incorporation of more gender diversity is essential, as is integrating people from different sectors with a range of academic training,” said Wafa Khlif. In the same vein, Luis Cantarell emphasised the need to value cultural diversity, “because it can bring a lot to any company.”

The member of the board of directors of Kintai Therapeutics Inc., part of Werfen SA and the Uriach Group, and member of the board of the Fero Foundation went on to highlight the importance of the conflict within professional relationships. “Companies that function well are those that allow discussion,” pointed out Cantarell. Combining a range of perspectives with a business culture that acknowledges them is, according to the businessman, a recipe for success for companies.

On another note, the former executive director of Nestlé Europe, Middle East and North Africa did not want to ignore the subject on everyone’s lips: the environment. “There is an increasing number of people who want to invest in green and sustainable companies,” affirmed Cantarell, who sees a significant “economic value” in this field.

The increased regulation of companies was another factor that was debated. This is a situation that, according to Cantarell, we must learn to “co-exist with”. In this regard, the director believes there are laws that establish the functioning of the market and, others, that “fall short of” the needs of companies. An example are those that define the relationship between boards of directors and the CEO. Be that as it may, Cantarell believes that the purpose of meetings is “asking questions, not answering them” and this must not be forgotten.

Ultimately, Wafa Khlif provided a theoretical viewpoint of the relationship between the director general or CEO and the board of directors, while Luis Cantarell contributed his genuine experience as a director. In this way, the series of debates also intends to build bridges between the university and the practical world.

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