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21 / 07 / 2004
Alfredo Sáenz (BSCH): It does not make sense to make a good standardized management model for every company and every country

The session on "Corporative Management: perspective, challenges and responsibilities "has analyzed the functions of high level management to obtain the success of the company

The vice-president and CEO of the Banco Santander Central Hispano (BSCH), Alfredo Sáenz, has explained that corporative management "has to be the pillar of companies and therefore it is important that, both the board as well as high levels of management believe in this management in order to be able to advance". Sáenz said that a responsible board has "to be in sync with company strategy, it has to be made up of good people, ethics and professional conduct, and must provide good working conditions". "The board must believe in good management as a strategy and does not make threats", added Sáenz. For the BSCH board member, "it is necessary for board members to have a stake in the company and for them to hold sufficient power, in line with their responsibilities".

For Sáenz, "self-regulation is important but it does not make sense to make a good standardized management model for every company and every country: each country must adopt its own model". Even with the importance of self-regulation "this does not mean that companies do not have the legal obligation to maintain transparency in their management system". "What matters most is the quality of the people over and above the existence of regulations", added Sáenz.

Sáenz has expressed his concern over the approval of the Sarbanes-Oxley law passed in July in the United States and about its possible application in European companies. The law is designed to restore confidence in corporative financial reports, as well as administrative transparency. This new document requires companies, especially the medium-sized companies, to implement political procedures and controls to improve the availability, precision and privacy of information. Sáenz has explained, "he is worried about the role of the model of good Anglo-Saxon and American management that gives the board members independence". Sáenz considers that "all board members must have independence and is not good to create blocks between internal and external parties".

Lynn S. Paine, professor of General Management at Harvard Business School in Boston, explained that corporative management affects "all members of a company and is basic for bringing about the success of the company in the long term". In this respect, Paine said that ethics are based on the management lines adopted by the company and on the quality of its leaders. Paine went on to add that "the ethics of the company may not be good but it would be worse if its leaders had no ethical values of their own".

Stilpon Nestor, from Nestor Advisors Ltd., explained that European companies "do not have to take the model from the United States or Great Britain in terms of corporative management, since their policies are based on the Sarbanes-Oxley law". Nestor proposes that European companies pay attention to the directives issued by the Organización para la Cooperación y el Desarrollo Económicos (OCDE) in relation to their operations. He went on to explain that the directives are based on "the quality of the board, the information, incentives, protection of the shareholders and agreements.