Co-founder and partner
Professional corporate governance
Professional corporate governance is a strategic business in the Grand Duchy. Interview with Eric Chinchon, Chairman of the Board at mebs, INSEAD IDP-C & ILA Certified Director.
Governance and independence are facing new challenges. What are they?
The definition of best practice has significantly evolved over the last years. "Governance" and "independence" have become indispensable added values to regulated entities and increasingly important for any company wishing to abbey by new market standards. However, alongside any change comes challenges. We ask ourselves whether a person who has served a client for many years can still be independent and act as such. Can one maintain an unbiased analytical framework through time, providing the necessary unwavering opinion and value when questioning a company’s short or long-term strategy? We believe that is for shareholders to monitor, as their long-term expectations are essential when defining the role of independent Directors, which clearly goes beyond only attending board meetings.
A professional director must first and foremost protect the shareholders' interest and ensure the long-term viability of the company by demonstrating professionalism, responsibility and commitment to adding value throughout the company’s lifecycle.
What adjustments need to be made?
If Luxembourg wants to be a leader in terms of independent professional governance, the country must look to strengthen the new profession of independent directors.
Luxembourg is at a crossroad. The industry must decide which model is to become market standard. Experts signing on their behalf, or entities on behalf of their experts?
The latter model broadens the range of expertise on boards by calling upon several experts on a per need basis. This model is borrowed from law firms or statutory auditors. While approved statutory auditors are not a priori limited in the number of mandates, professional ethics require that they devote the necessary time to each of them. This makes it possible to manage files in a cross-functional manner while remaining competitive in terms of costs. It is no coincidence that Eric Van de Kerkhove, former audit partner at Deloitte, sits on the board of directors of mebs: There is a parallelism between the approach of the statutory auditors and that of the independent directors. Independent directors should be remunerated at the level of professionalism and added value they bring to the board they sit on.
What return on investment can the profession expect?
I can't speak for the profession, but I do believe our approach at mebs, is the best proof of return on investment. Case in point, our client retention rate is above 95% over the last 5 years. Our three pillars: Professionalism, Responsibility and Commitment have made our clients our best ambassadors. Since our inception in 2008, mebs has been increasingly involved in multiple large-scale projects across various companies and their value chain, not just in the boardroom. For example, we regularly participate in successful due diligence audits with investors. We have also been chosen to advise business owners on business turnarounds and support the complete rehabilitation of a major French historical monument. The satisfaction and trust of our clients, fostered by our three-pillar value approach, is our most powerful engine for growth.
Facts & Figures
Place of birth: Fontenay-Sous-Bois, France
Languages: English & French
Hobbies: Sports (mainly Tennis & Golf) and cinema
Cities: Paris, London, Barcelona, and San Francisco
Places: Ile de la Cité, Paris, Mayfair in London...
Books: Tom Clancy and Molière
Restaurants: Georges Blanc (Vonas), Bernard Loiseau (Saulieu)
Music: Classic (Vivaldi), pop rock (Muse), and "French classic"
Artist: Leonard de Vinci