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"Off the Shelf’ director training programmes

As mentioned, in some countries professional bodies and centres of excellence (such as institutes of directors) play an important role in providing training to boards. In most jurisdictions, these “off the shelf” trainings are oriented towards board members in general (regardless of public or private sector status). In other jurisdictions, especially outside the OECD area, specific courses may be provided for boards of public sector companies.

Interesting examples from outside the OECD areas comes, inter alia, from India where the a government sponsored Directors' Certification programme is in place for Directors and Senior Executives of large SOEs, including independent directors and government nominee directors, all of whom have to take a three hour examination before certification. A similar approach has also been adopted by the government of Malaysia in order to improve the efficiency of SOE boards. The training focuses on:

  • • facilitating and encouraging sharing of learning through forums, linkages and databases of best practices;
  • • conducting research and developing Malaysian-related case studies to assist directors in building knowledge on how to handle specific situations;
  • • organising “on-the-job” learning and coaching which will be customised to an individual director's needs; and
  • • increasing the quality of existing training and development programmes to meet the needs of directors.

The pervasiveness (or benefit) of “off the shelf” training for SOE board members are less well documented in the case of OECD economies. Most countries report that it is not clear whether such training actually improves the chances of getting nominated, or improves the performance of individual board members who have undergone formal certification or accreditation programmes. Clearly, many informal learning opportunities for learning exist including, for example, interactions with inside outside experts (such as board evaluation consultants), site visits, meetings with executives, etc. Memberships on other boards also provide excellent opportunities to learn from case experience. Even very technical issues such as accounting or financial instruments are learned on the job in meetings with SOE auditors rather than in formal outside venues. Despite the overall trend, the role of the State in encouraging on-going professional development especially where technical training may be necessary should be considered.


OECD (2005), OECD Guidelines on Corporate Governance of State-Owned Enterprises, OECD Publishing, Paris, 34803211.pdf.

OECD (2008), Using the OECD Principles of Corporate Governance: A Boardroom Perspective, OECD Publishing, Paris, 40823806.pdf.

Boards of Directors of State-Owned Enterprises: An Overview of National Practices © OECD 2013

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