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The UK Corporate Governance Code
Whilst the Group is listed on AIM, it is not required to adopt the provisions of the UK Corporate Governance Code (‘the Code’). The Board, however, recognises the value and importance of high standards of corporate governance, and has adopted many aspects of the code so far as the Board considers them appropriate and practical for a group of Gear4music’s size.
The Board of Directors and Committees of the Board of Directors
The Board, which is headed by the Chairman, comprises six Directors of which three are Executive and three are Non-Executive, providing a broad range of relevant skills and experiences. The Board considers Ken Ford and Dean Murray to be ‘independent’ Non-Executives under the criteria identified in the code. The Board meet regularly throughout the year with ad hoc meetings held when required.
The Role of the Board
The role of the Board is to provide leadership to the Group and to ensure the obligations of being a public company are adhered to. The Board bears collective responsibility for delivering on-going success through the development of appropriate strategies that are aligned to the Group’s objectives, and deliverable with due consideration of risk and the resources available. The Board is also responsible for ensuring that a framework of effective controls is in place.
The division of responsibilities between the Chairman and the Chief Executive Officer is clearly defined. The Chairman is responsible for ensuring the effectiveness of the Board and setting its agenda. The Chairman has no involvement in the day-to-day running of the business. The Chief Executive Officer has direct charge of the Group on a day-to-day basis, and the Executive team has collective responsibility for the implementation of the Group’s strategies, and is accountable to the Board for the financial and operational performance of the Group.
There are certain matters that are reserved for the Board’s consideration and these include, but are not limited to matters of strategy, key commercial developments, risk management, the consideration and approval of budgets, significant capital expenditure and recruitment, acquisitions and disposals, and the approval of financial statements. The formal Board agenda includes reports from the CEO, CCO and CFO detailing the commercial, operational and financial performance of the Group.
The performance of the Board is evaluated informally on an ongoing basis with reference to all aspects of its operation including, but not limited to the appropriateness of its skill level, the way its meetings are conducted and administered (including the content of those meetings), the effectiveness of the various Committees, whether Corporate Governance issues are handled in a satisfactory manner, and whether there is a clear strategy and objectives.
The Non-Executive directors are considered by the Board to be independent of management and are free to exercise independence of judgement. They have never been employees of the Group nor do they participate in any of the Group’s pension schemes or bonus arrangements. They receive no other remuneration from the Group other than the directors’ fees.
The Board is supported by and receives recommendations from two committees – an Audit Committee and a Remuneration Committee.
The Audit Committee is chaired by Dean Murray and its other member is Ken Ford. The Audit Committee assists the Board in discharging its responsibilities, within agreed terms of reference with regard to monitoring the quality of internal controls and ensuring that the financial performance of the Group is properly measured and reported on. It receives and review reports from the Group’s management and auditors relating to the interim and annual accounts and the accounting and internal control systems in use throughout the Group. The Audit Committee meets at least twice a year and has unrestricted access to the Company’s auditors.
The Remuneration Committee is chaired by Ken Ford and its other member is Dean Murray. The Remuneration Committee reviews the performance of the Executive Directors and makes recommendations to the Board on matters relating to their remuneration and terms of employment. The Remuneration Committee also makes recommendations to the Board on proposals for the remuneration packages of each Director, including, where appropriate, the granting of share options and other equity incentives pursuant to any share option scheme or equity incentive scheme in operation from time to time (including the Director EMI Plan). The remuneration and terms and conditions of appointment of the Non-Executive Directors are set by the Board.