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?
Both “governance” and “independence” add significant value to businesses. About independence and professionalism, the right questions should be asked: can someone who has served a customer for many years still be independent, and act as such? Does he/she still have the necessary depth and vision to independently appraise the strategy of a company? Shareholders’ expectations are essential when one wants to define clearly the role of independent Directors and their interactions with colleagues. The mere presence of a director at board and other meetings belongs to a bygone era. A professional director must primarily protect shareholders and ensure the long-term viability of the company by demonstrating professionalism, accountability and commitment to add value.
What adjustments need to be made?
If Luxembourg wishes to promote independent professional governance, it is necessary to strengthen this new profession: that of independent directors. A choice needs to be made between the current model, in which the expert signs in his own name, and the new one in which the company represented by one of the experts signs reports submitted to the shareholders and, whenever necessary, regulators. The latter model expands the range of skills in boardrooms by involving multiple experts as needed. This is the model of law firms or of approved statutory auditors. If approved statutory auditors are not limited a priori in the number of mandates, professional ethics requires that they spend adequate time with each. This allows managing files transversely while remaining competitive in terms of cost. It is not by chance that Eric Van de Kerkhove, former audit partner of Deloitte, serves on the mebs board: there is a parallelism between the approach of approved statutory auditors and that of independent directors. Independent directors need to be remunerated at the level of professionalism and added value that one may expect from them.
What return on investment can the profession expect?
I cannot speak for the profession but I think that the widely recognised mebs approach is the best evidence of return. Professionalism, accountability and commitment have turned our customers into our best ambassadors. Over the last ten years since our creation, mebs has been more and more involved in large scale projects across the value chain, and not only in boardrooms. Amongst others, we regularly participate in successful investor due diligence. We have also been chosen to advise the owners of a company in the context of a business lift-in/lift-out and support the comprehensive rehabilitation of a French major historical monument. The trust of our customers, fostered by our professionalism and commitment, is the most powerful growth engine.
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