Release Date: 24 February, 2020

Wits Business School welcomes Mervyn King as Honorary Professor

Wits Business School welcomes Mervyn King as Honorary Professor

Corporate governance is a hot topic in South African boardrooms today.  In light of ‘state capture’ allegations and the numerous examples of dodgy dealings and corrupt practices in auditing and consultancy firms, now could not be a better time to ensure sound corporate governance in both the private and public sectors in South Africa.

Professor Mervyn King, former Judge of the Supreme Court and Chair of the King Committee on Corporate Governance in South Africa, feels strongly that collaboration is at the heart of teaching and promoting “mindful outcomes-based” governance.  Drawing on expertise from local and international business schools and universities, King established the Good Governance Academy (GGA) which is now housed at Wits Business School (WBS).

“Business schools have a crucial role to play in developing the conscious corporate leaders of the future, to ensure we imbed integrated thinking into the way we run our businesses and create value in a sustainable manner,” says King, who was appointed Honorary Professor at WBS in January 2020.

The old notions of value in a company (its tangible assets) have now changed, notes King. Value includes intangible assets, such as knowledge, innovation, environmental impact, leadership accountability, intellectual capital, stakeholder relationships and transparency, among others.

“We need to develop conscious corporate leaders who will learn that business is at the junction of the three critical dimensions for sustainable development – the economy, society and the environment. This is why we need a new breed of business leader – the Chief Value Officer,” he says. 

Professor King, who is also Chair Emeritus of the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) in London, is excited to be returning to his ‘alma mater’, Wits University, and sees his appointment as coming full circle in his illustrious career.  No stranger to academia, King will be involved in teaching and supervising students, as well as organising colloquia and other public events on corporate governance.

The first colloquium to be held at Wits Business School under the auspices of the GGA will take place on 20 May and will be focused on integrating thinking and doing integrated reports.  The colloquium will be live-streamed to nearly 20 countries for the benefit of the GGA’s many support members, which include The Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales, the International Institute of Internal Auditors and the Chartered Global Management Accountants (CGMA), among many others.

“Wits Business School is thrilled to welcome Professor King and we look forward to a fruitful partnership between ourselves, King and the GGA.  We are particularly excited about the upcoming colloquium on integrated reporting and for WBS to be taking the lead in ensuring corporate governance is embedded in leadership thinking, starting at graduate business level,” says Jannie Rossouw, Interim Director of WBS.

An octogenarian who is busier and more energised than ever, King is driven by the work he does and the global partnerships he has made in service of corporate governance.  Widely travelled, he has consulted and advised on business, legal, governance and sustainability issues in over 60 countries.  His most recent trip, in February, was to Oslo, Norway, to speak at Future Boards’ “Leading for the Future – a Conference on Power, Profit and Purpose”.

To say that Mervyn King has a wealth of knowledge on corporate governance to pass on to future cohorts of business school students is an understatement.  King’s appointment at WBS signals a new era in conscious corporate leadership in South Africa.