Reappraising the status and role of the Company secretary in Contemporary corporate practice
Ogar, Edward. E
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The role of the Company Secretary in contemporary corporate practice cannot be overemphasized, particularly with the professionalization and legislation or statutory recognition of the office of the Company Secretary in most jurisdictions of the world. He occupies a strategic position in the corporate set up and is a principal officer whose duties transcend general administrations, such that he is today rightly regarded as the ‘life-wire’ of the company. The company secretary has also been regarded by Their Lordships in the supreme courts of Nigeria as the ‘compliance officer’ of the company. All these are positive developments and indeed a departure from the hitherto notional conception of the company secretary as a mere clerical or secretarial staff of the company. It may be timely to assert therefore, that despite the nomenclature, the role of a company secretary is neither clerical nor secretarial in nature, nor is he a ‘mere servant’ of the company as he was conceived in the 19thC. These developments are, no doubt, a product of technological advancement and industrialization that have brought with them a phenomenal expansion in the corporate sector. Attendant on this also is the growing demand for specialists or professionals in almost every facet of the corporate environment; and the company secretary is one such professional whose duty is to ensure compliance with the various statutory and regulatory instruments, as well as effectively coordinate the administrative structures of the company.