Good Governance and the Benefits of a Global Network

By Peter R. Gleason


Global Network of Director Institutes (GNDI) Leadership Corporate Governance Board Leadership

Would I travel to the ends of the earth for the cause of good governance? Absolutely. In May 2024, I will travel from Washington, DC to Christchurch, New Zealand to give “fireside” remarks at the annual conference of the Institute of Directors (IoD) in New Zealand. I am going to be joining an important conversation on how we can all learn from our governance colleagues across the globe.

International collaboration in governance is not new. It has been influential since the release of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Principles of Corporate Governance and the beginning of the World Bank’s Global Corporate Governance Forum a quarter century ago. Back then, collaboration among director groups was merely a good idea; now it is an urgent requirement. 

Today boards working within a single national framework simply cannot fend off their greatest threats or seize their greatest opportunities. The most obvious examples of global interconnectedness may be found in cybersecurity and artificial intelligence, but there are multiple areas that call for cross-border director dialogue. Take legal developments, for example. National laws on a range of issues—from antitrust to digital sovereignty to privacy to trade—can have an immediate effect on companies located in other countries. Imagine getting an advance warning of such developments from cross-border colleagues and then taking preventive, or at least adaptive, action. At an even more existential level, consider the role of corporations in society and the appropriateness of corporate or CEO political speech. There is value in tapping the insights of diverse experiences and perspectives. In short, we can all do more cross-border collaboration, and Christchurch is a great place to begin that quest.

I have great admiration for the IoD in New Zealand. This particular institute was one of the early adopters of director certification and was an inspiration to us here at NACD over the years as our own approach to certification evolved.

More importantly, the leaders of the IoD in New Zealand shared our passion to revive the work of a Global Director Development Circle, cofounded by NACD in 2004 along with seven other director institutes. The IoD in New Zealand hosted a relaunch of the organization under the new name, the Global Network of Director Institutes (GNDI); then, the group had just eight institutional members. Today, GNDI boasts 25 institutional members representing more than 165,000 members. Directors who are members of one country organization (e.g., NACD) can join other organizations in the network through GNDI’s Global Passport program.  

As a visit to GNDI’s website will reveal, the organization has a lot going on these days. It offers a resource hub that features articles and newsletters, papers and guidelines, research and surveys, toolkits, webinars, and videos. It also captures updates and listings of key regulations, rules, and governance codes (including links to stock exchange listing requirements), from around the world through its resource hub—for example, the Swiss Institute of Director’s new Best Practice in SMEs (BP-SME), offering guidance for small and medium-sized companies.

As the past few years have shown, most of the challenges facing our organizations don’t stop at our national borders. Global communities that allow us to share ideas, experiences, and insights are more vital than ever, and GNDI is leading the way with our wholehearted support.

Peter Gleason
Peter R. Gleason is president and CEO of NACD.