The international company director

Overview of ‘The international company director’

Directors and aspiring directors whose companies are foreign-owned, have foreign subsidiaries or joint ventures, or who are involved in international business in a significant way all face more challenges than the average ‘domestic’ UK company director.

Training objectives

At the end of this workshop each participant will have:

  • An understanding of the basic differences between the legal systems in Europe, the USA and Asia
  • An understanding of the effect that different jurisdictions have on international business and the work of the board
  • An understanding of the effect of cross-cultural differences on business relationships


This workshop has been designed primarily for recently-appointed directors (and those aspiring to a board position), although there are clear benefits to having the entire board take part.


A one-day course, featuring examples and case study work to ensure an appropriate balance between the practical and the theoretical.

Special features

This workshops addresses legal and cultural differences between the UK and the EU, the USA and Japan, but the content can be tailored to focus on different cultures, regions and countries as required (although this might entail a different choice of speaker).

The expert trainer

Depending on (a) diary availability and (b) the best ‘fit’ with your organisation, this course is presented by one of two expert trainers (both of whom have also run director development courses on behalf of the IOD):

David is a consultant and trainer in corporate governance. He is a Senior Lecturer in Strategic Management and Corporate Governance at Wolverhampton Business School and was formerly Programme Director with IoD Director Development West Midlands (and was also a member of the Executive Committee and the Council of the Institute of Directors in Birmingham).

For sixteen of the twenty-five years he spent in manufacturing industry before joining the Business School in 1992, David held board level appointments, including nine years as Managing Director. He has experience of serving on the boards of a family company, of subsidiary companies within a UK plc and a foreign owned multinational, where he was a member of the European Management Group. Originally a market researcher, he has experience of setting up overseas joint ventures and has held personal responsibility for company disposals and acquisitions in the UK. He has wide experience of doing business in Europe.

His extensive practical experience is complemented by his academic work. He is visiting lecturer at two other Business Schools and lectures throughout the UK and abroad, recently in Russia, Hong Kong, the Caribbean and throughout Europe. He is also conducting doctoral research into the role of the non-executive director in private companies and has published on the role of company directors and the effectiveness of boards, especially in the context of family businesses and closely-held companies.

Chris is a main board director of a UK plc, an international engineering group, as well as president of two US subsidiaries of the group. He is an engineering and business administration graduate with professional qualifications in marketing and engineering.

An experienced and highly successful Managing Director, used to working at board-level, with a proven track record of managing companies for growth and profit, he has had experience in running, profitably, a group of engineering companies, with manufacturing facilities in many European countries, exporting to Europe, the Middle East Far East and the USA. Sustained growth has been achieved both organically and through strategic acquisitions.

An engineer by profession, he moved into sales and marketing, before holding board appointments in the UK subsidiaries of both Swedish and US multinational companies as well as a family controlled UK plc. He has held board-level appointments in the UK, the USA, Sweden, France, Germany, Holland and Italy and is well used to operating in a multicultural environment.

Chris and David are both very accomplished trainers, as the feedback from course participants shows:

‘Relaxed style but good engagement.’

‘Well balanced and easy to follow.’

‘Excellent – very thought-provoking.’

‘Lots of opportunity to discuss content of the course.’

‘Input will stimulate board discussion.’

‘Really enjoyable – participative humorous style with obvious depth of knowledge to back it up.’

‘Great pace – very inclusive style – good examples.’

‘Good balance of quiz, case studies, video and notes.’

‘Delivered a very complex subject extremely effectively.’

‘More than met my objectives.’

‘Brilliant course.’

Course outline – The international company director

  1. The comparative basis of company law
    • Comparing the basis of company law in the major jurisdictions
      – UK
      – USA
      – EU
      – Japan
  2. Company law in emerging economies
  3. Procedures, practice, common problems and misunderstandings
  4. Corporate governance in different jurisdictions
    • International comparative corporate governance
    • Developments in the EU and the US (including Sarbanes Oxley overview)
    • Role of the director, board structure and operation in different jurisdictions
    • Case study
  5. Cultural orientation
    • Understanding cultural variation, socialisation, use of time and information
    • How different cultures see each other
    • Case study (continued)
  6. Cross-cultural leadership
    • Culture and communication
    • Leading across a cultural boundary
    • Case study (continued)
  7. Review
    • Case study review
    • Course review
    • Actions
    • Close

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