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Fundamental to the UK corporate governance framework is the unitary board model –a board comprised of both executive and non-executive directors with ostensibly the same duties and responsibilities. Indeed, the general duties of directors, as set out in the Companies Act 2006, do not distinguish between those directors with executive roles and those who serve as non-executive directors.

Regulators and governance professionals have, since Sir Adrian Cadbury’s seminal report in 1982, produced pages of guidance on the role, competencies and expectations placed on non-executive directors but very little has been written about the role of the CEO, CFO and other executives around the boardroom table.

CFO board members have exactly the same duties as other members of a unitary board – duties that extend across the whole business not just the specific specialisms associated with the CFO role. But, unlike their non-executive director colleagues, CFOs have a particular set of skills. Skills acquired through their day to day involvement in the business. Skills that make them critical to effective board decision making.

In this paper we examine how boards need to look to the CFO in their executive capacity, to share specific insight and provide informed and independent contributions on the board agenda: ‘The role of the CFO on the board