Churchill Consulting

Effective Governance Strategy for CBH

Effective Governance Strategy for CBH

  • Posted:
  • Category:Case Study
  • Offering:Strategy
  • Industry:Agriculture

The client

CBH Group is Australia’s largest co-operative organisation with 2019 revenue of $4.19 billion and $5 billion in assets. It is owned by approximately 3,900 Western Australian grain growing businesses. Since its establishment in 1933, CBH’s core purpose has been to sustainably create and return value to its grower members.

To ensure that the CBH’s Board governance arrangements remained fit for purpose and aligned to CBH strategy and contemporary best practices, the co-operative embarked on a major Board Governance Review. The Governance Review also needed to improve engagement of growers and to ensure that recommendations were informed by their opinions.

Our team were engaged to conduct the Governance Review, including assisting the Board in designing and implementing a clear roadmap of key governance changes.

Our approach

We designed the Board Governance Review for CBH based on key success factors of strong Board commitment and alignment, as well as education and communication of members. Through structured interviews with the Board and Executives, interviews with peer co-operative from around the world, and research into governance best practices, we developed facts and insights to inform our recommendations on governance changes. These facts supported the recommendations that were agreed with the Board and ultimately brought to members for their input. Both quantitative and qualitative sentiment from members were used to gauge the appetite for change as well as preferences for the design of specific changes.

Our team planned a series of workshops and focus groups with the Board, members, and other stakeholders to maintain clear and transparent communications, whilst building strong working relationships to manage divergent options and views. In addition, we worked closely with the Steering Committee and Sponsors to construct change options and carefully plan communications messaging and activities, particularly for areas that were more complex or would result in greater impacts on directors and the member base.

The outcome

The result of the review was strong Board consensus on significant changes to policies, rules, and practices covering aspects of candidate nominations and elections, director term and tenure, board size and composition, and board diversity. Through the engagement process, governance changes proposed were aligned to grower sentiment, and several changes required final support from members at a subsequent annual general meeting.

“Churchill has supported CBH through some of our most significant organisational transformation programs, including detailed reviews of our structure and governance. Their rigorous methods coupled with their pragmatic style helped us to achieve positive outcomes for CBH and our members in a way which we would not have achieved without them.”

DAVID WOOLFE Chief Legal, Risk & Governance Officer
Effective Governance
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