Lessons from The Honourable John Manley P.C., O.C., C.Dir.

Ottawa, Ontario, April 09, 2015—The Directors College hosted a joint event with FEI Canada’s National Capital Chapter at The Rideau Club.


from left to right; Dean Cosman (FEI Canada NCR Chapter President), The Honourable John Manley PC, OC, C.Dir. (President and Chief Executive of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives), Paul Forgues (Managing Director, The Directors College)


After a brilliantly candid conversation with the group we definitely found there were more than a few lessons learned from the Honourable John Manley at our event with FEI Canada’s National Capital Chapter yesterday evening. We have summarized what we found to be some of the highlights.

Oversight Vs. Management: John Manley (JM) noted as management you should be getting thoughtful ideas and opinions from a board meeting, not instructions. A good CEOs know when to listen politely and when to listen earnestly.






Board Relations: (JM) noted the relationships between board members are of the utmost importance, but the single most important relationship is between the board and the CEO.

Characteristics of a Good Board Member: (JM) within a board you want variety, people who will ask the questions no one else will, someone to ask the would ifs and challenge in a non-offensive way and members with industry experience. A solid board member has good ethics, sound judgement and relevant experience. The best boards are more diverse. They then have different points of view and outlooks to contribute significantly better outcomes. Industry, Gender, Culture, Experience all contribute to diversity on the board.

CFOs joining the Board: (JM) has seen that CFOs can make great board members. They have a tendency to come prepared, organized and have great financial acumen. But they must also remember they are then on the Board, not the CFO. Boards should be composed of people who want to be there. So for anyone looking to join a board, it’s important to do your homework. You should have questions about the business strategy and what they intend to do going into the interview process. Reflect on the value principles of governance.

Role of the Audit Committee: (JM) it is an important role within the Board, but should not be only accountants on the audit committee. They also deal with risk, regulatory and compliance issues along with financial statements. So with all the responsibilities of the audit committee you cannot only have people who speak “accountanteese”.

As an overall business take away from the evening there was a thoughtful reminder to some, news to others, that as a nation, Canadian businesses need to have a more global outlook. Beyond the north American markets to expand our enterprises and opportunities to succeed. Thank you to FEI Canada’s National Capital Chapter for co-hosting the event with us and The Honourable John Manley, alumni of The Directors College, for giving us such great insights and advice on good governance in today’s Canadian economy.


About John Manley The Honourable John Manley, P.C., O.C., C.Dir. is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE). Mr. Manley is a former Deputy Prime Minister of Canada. He was first elected to Parliament in 1988, and re-elected three times. From 1993 to 2003 he was a Minister in the governments of Jean Chrétien, serving in the portfolios of Industry, Foreign Affairs, and Finance, in addition to being Deputy Prime Minister.

Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Mr. Manley was named Chair of a Cabinet Committee on Public Security and Anti-terrorism, serving as counterpart to Governor Tom Ridge, the first U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security. In recognition of the role he played following 9/11, TIME Canada named him “2001 Newsmaker of the Year”.After a 16-year career in politics, Mr. Manley returned to the private sector in 2004.

Since leaving government, Mr. Manley has continued to be active in public policy, as a media commentator, speaker and adviser to governments of differing political stripes.In addition to his role as President and Chief Executive Officer of the CCCE, Mr. Manley serves on the boards of several publicly traded companies and is active in the not-for-profit sector. An Officer of the Order of Canada, Mr. Manley has received honourary doctorates from the University of Ottawa, Carleton University, and the universities of Toronto and Western Ontario. (See the complete bio on the Canadian Council for Chief Executives website)

About FEI Canada Today’s financial executive faces new challenges, takes on more responsibilities, and must work more efficiently with fewer resources. FEI Canada helps financial executives take on these challenges. FEI is Canada’s preeminent association connecting financial executives through networking, knowledge exchange, advocacy, and ethical leadership

The National Captial Chapter provides a great forum for peer networking by CFOs and other senior financial executives who want to meet quality people and share solutions to the crucial issues that confront them daily.Their FEI Canada dinner meetings, professional development seminars, and informal outings focus on the highest quality speakers and entertainment to facilitate the flow of new ideas and perspectives, as well as sound career and business decisions.(See more information on FEI’s National Capital Chapter and their upcoming events here)


For more information contact

Kathleen McGuire
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James Scongack, C.Dir., Vice-President of Corporate Affairs, Bruce Power LP

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Tony Di Emanuele, MBA, C.Dir., President and CEO, Mohawk Shared Services

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The Honourable John Manley, P.C., O.C., C.Dir., President & Chief Executive, Canadian Council of Chief Executives and former Deputy Prime Minister of Canada

“The changes that impact corporate governance are establishing a pattern of increased accountability for the delivery of long-term value to customers, shareholders, employees and society. Proper corporate governance is now being defined to include knowledge of critical elements such as risk management and the measurement of strategic performance. At the end of the day, each board will be judged on its ability to effectively deliver value, rather than on its structure. The Directors College innovative program fills a unique and important gap in providing knowledge and insight as to how this expectation can be met. CMA Canada is pleased to be a sponsor of this timely initiative.”

Steve Vieweg, C.Dir., CPFA (Hon), FCPA FCMA, CEO, CPA Western School of Business

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Lynn Beauregard, President, Canadian Society of Corporate Secretaries

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Gilbert Bennett, Director and Former Chairman of the Board, Canadian Tire Corporation Limited