Corporate Governance Winners 2020 – Europe

Corporate Governance Winners 2020 - Europe Ethical Boardroom

High-quality corporate governance contributes to long-term company performance. Companies need to improve governance practices and reporting if they are to demonstrate their positive impact on the economy and wider society.

Continued high-profile corporate failures, such as Thomas Cook, Carillion and Patisserie Valerie, have raised concerns in the UK around many companies’ effectiveness in considering and reporting on risks to their long-term sustainability.

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) revamped the UK Corporate Governance Code in 2018, introducing guidelines for boards to engage with workforces, investigate concerns over conditions, pay or harassment, and scrutinise corporate culture. But in its recent annual review, the UK financial watchdog warned that although there ‘were pockets of good reporting’, many of Britain’s biggest companies are still taking a ‘tick-box’ approach to try to achieve full compliance with the code rather than provide any meaningful explanation of how they follow the principles in practice.

The FRC found that many large, listed companies prioritised ‘strict compliance’ while failing to improve corporate culture, diversity or consider the views of shareholders or the public. And, while the majority of companies declared themselves fully code compliant, ‘many annual reports lacked information on the outcomes of governance policies and practices, including any areas for future improvement’. Other analysis concluded that many companies were failing to implement a ‘clear purpose’ or effective corporate culture, instead substituting ‘slogans or marketing lines’ and that ‘very few’ committees had so far detailed how they have engaged with workers.

The FTC has urged companies to put greater focus on the outcomes of implementing the code in 2020, ‘in particular on the board’s effectiveness and decision-making, and how this has led to sustainable benefits for shareholders and wider stakeholders’. It also warned that reporting on workforce-related issues needs to improve to meet investor demands and reflect modern-day workforces, and encouraged distinctive reporting of a high quality to differentiate the approaches companies take and provide confidence to investors.

Ethical Boardroom is proud to announce the winners of “Best Corporate Governance” in their respective industry sectors across Europe for 2020. The awards recognise the outstanding leadership from boards who have raised the bar to ensure that strong corporate governance plays an essential part in protecting and enhancing long-term value for all stakeholders. Our awards program is a vital part of our continuing mission to elevate corporate governance standards globally.

For those companies and individuals who have made it to the top of the mountain for 2020, we salute you for leading the way


Best Corporate Governance Financial Services Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA)
Best Corporate Governance Insurance AXA S.A.
Best Corporate Governance Electric Power Transmission Terna SpA
Best Corporate Governance Pulp & Paper Stora Enso Oyj
Best Corporate Governance Conglomerate Veolia
Best Corporate Governance Engineering Smiths Group Plc
Best Corporate Governance Automotive BMW Group AG
Best Corporate Governance Food & Beverage Nestle S.A.
Best Corporate Governance Construction Balfour Beatty Plc
Best Corporate Governance Renewable Energy Acciona S.A.
Best Corporate Governance Holdings Atlantia SpA



Banking Governance Financial Services Bank of Cyprus
Insurance Governance Insurance RSA Insurance Group Plc
Outstanding Work in Governance Ms Rita Sotamaa Unilever Plc
Outstanding Work in Governance Mr David Frick Nestle S.A



Electric Power Transmission Terna SpA Mr Luigi Ferraris
Pulp & Paper Stora Enso Oyj Ms Annica Bresky
Food & Beverage Nestle S.A Mr Mark Schneider
Renewable Energy  Acciona S.A Mr Jose Manuel Entrecanales


Please note that the company & individual winners for “The Middle East & Africa” region will be announced in the Spring 20 edition.