Resolution Group, Deutsche Börse, Friends Life: What do these boards have in common?
Gerhard Roggemann is an experienced non-executive director who sits on six separate boards. The companies he represents include FTSE 100 insurance company, Resolution Group, as well as Deutsche Börse AG, where he serves as deputy chairman. Mr. Roggemann currently uses the Diligent Boards service on multiple boards.
Mr. Roggemann spent much of his professional career with the financial services firm, JPMorgan. His positions ranged from managing director, JPMorgan Frankfurt to regional treasurer, JP Morgan Asia Pacific. Mr. Roggemann also spent a total of 13 years on the management boards of two German Landesbanks. Given his breadth of experience, he is keenly aware of the drawbacks paper board packs can present.
Based in his native Germany, Mr. Roggemann has a busy schedule requiring a considerable amount of European travel to fulfil commitments to the six boards he serves.
With the boards meeting on a regular basis, Mr. Roggemann spends a significant amount of time preparing for meetings. Prior to using Diligent Boards, the secretariat team for each organisation manually compiled board materials and couriered them to his home address. Each contained up to 1,000 pages. Inevitable revisions, often single pages, were also delivered for Mr. Roggemann’s review. Given his travel schedule, information updates could take days to reach him.
Delivering physical paper packs containing highly confidential company information also presented a security risk. Because Mr. Roggemann was often on the road, deliveries could be left in the front garden or with a neighbour. The sheer weight of carrying multiple reports was another issue. A single board pack could fill a briefcase. Multiple board packs could fill a suitcase. Because the information was sensitive and flight connections unreliable, Mr. Roggemann resigned himself to carrying papers in his hand luggage. Even that became a challenge with shrinking airline weight limits.
“It’s not only the weight of the paper I had to contend with when traveling, but the simple logistics. In any given month, I attended two to three board meetings in one trip. Due to the sensitivity of the board packs, the need to read them during flights, and concern about getting separated from my baggage, I carried the materials in my flight bag. But carrying three to four board packs during a single trip became unmanageable.”
Proper document disposal was also difficult. Mr. Roggemann recalled a time when he had four storage crates filled with board packs awaiting disposal.
The secretariat function at Resolution Group compared a variety of board portal providers, assessing ease of use, seurity, price and general functionality. After talking to directors of the board including Mr. Roggemann, the secretariat identified its priorities: a solution that was intuitive, resembling a traditional board book in structure, but with a digital edge.
At the first Resolution board meeting using the Diligent Boards iPad app, members were given the option of using both iPads and traditional paperbased board packets. According to Mr. Roggemann, “As soon as they got hands-on experience with Diligent’s board portal solution, every member of the board adopted it immediately. The app is so easy to use and loses nothing of the original paper versions. You can read, highlight and make annotations just like you can with paper. But updates and revisions are delivered in real time. Better still, you can say goodbye to the weight of all that paper.”
In addition to immediate adoption by Resolution board members, Mr. Roggemann introduced Diligent Boards to other boards including Deutsche Börse and Friends Life. From Mr. Roggemann’s perspective, using the Diligent Boards solution has provided real tangible benefits in terms of time-saving, functionality, security and convenience.
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