"The role of the company secretary is becoming increasingly important as those in the position are proving critical in helping boards create space for productive dialogue, and questioning certain practices and behaviours."
So commented Professor Nada Kakabadse of Henley Business School, University of Reading, speaking at 'Governance professionals in higher education,' a special event organised by Advance HE in London.
Continuing on the theme Professor Kakabadse said: "The company secretary can best be described as a role which encompasses both 'breadth and majesty.'
"For a board to achieve its true potential through strategic alignment it needs a company secretary with a high IQ who can handle ambiguity, build trust and facilitate board interactions.
"Our research shows that strategic alignment and unified vision amongst top teams is at historically low levels - just 20% in NHS top teams and 21% on NHS boards; 20% overall in Sweden; 23% in Japan; 25% in Finland, and a barely respectable 30% in the UK.
"Boards need to recognise that fundamental divisions exist within their top teams concerning the future of their organisations.
"By precisely observing board dynamics, company secretaries add value by analysing how senior people are behaving, and then acting in a manner which positively influences relationships and decision-making."