PracticeConsultingOpinion – Don’t burden directors.

Opinion - Don't burden directors.

Tough-talking Gordon Brown this week raised the possibility of jail sentences for directors of companies that operate price-fixing cartels.

Under new measures such practices, which deliberately work against the consumer, are set to be made a criminal offence. His motives are moral and his point is hard to argue with. The same applies to moves to increase the culpability of directors in corporate manslaughter cases. However, the government needs to be aware it is not placing unrealistic burdens on directors.

Taken on their own, such new measures do not sound unreasonable. But added together they could add up to raft of responsibilities so wide and worrying that no-one wants to take them on. Many businesses are already having trouble finding people to fill top posts.

If the government makes becoming a director too dangerous, we shall suffer a further shortage of skilled captains of industry.

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