Mervyn King has chaired and been a director of several companies listed
on the JSE and is probably best known as the Chairman of the King
Committee on Corporate Governance in South Africa. However, he also
serves as President of the Advertising Standards Authority, First
Vice-President of the Institute of Directors Southern Africa, a member
of the Securities Regulation Panel, which oversees all mergers and
acquisitions in the country, Chairman of the Appeal Committee of the
United Cricket Board and of the Automobile Association, Strate, the
settlement arm of trades in equities and other instruments in South
Africa, and of Brait Societé Anonyme.
He was the South African representative at the ICC International Court
of Arbitration in Paris for nine years and still acts as an arbitrator
and mediator in commercial disputes.
He is associated in numerous ways with several other organisations
including the Commonwealth Association of Corporate Governance, the
World Bank and the United Nations, amongst others.
King’s contribution goes well beyond his involvement in business. In
1981 King became chairman of Operation Hunger, whose mission was to feed
as many children in rural areas as possible. He retained the position
for eight years, after which he became Honorary Life President of the
An ardent supporter of cricket, he created and chaired
the South African Executive Cricket Club. In this role he succeeded in
raising R1-million a year for ten years for the development of cricket
and contributed to driving the unification of the black and white
cricket unions. His work in cricket brought him to the attention of then
Minister of Sport, Steve Tshwete, who asked him to chair a commission of
enquiry into athletics and make recommendations for the future conduct
of the sport in South Africa. His report was implemented so successfully
that he was invited to become President of Athletics South Africa.
Minister Tshwete then appointed him to look into problems in SA tennis
and his recommendations for restructuring the sport were implemented
Another of King’s areas of interest is the performing arts and, as
chairman of AA Life, he was party to starting the Vita Arts Awards. He
also chaired the Johannesburg Youth Theatre Trust.
Aware, in the early
1980s, that residents of built-up areas of Johannesburg had no
recreational area, King conceived the idea of creating a walking and
picnic trail from Hillbrow to Bedfordview. The trail was named ‘The
Mervyn King Ridge Trail’.
In 1992, at a time when South Africans were aware that they would be
moving into a new democratic society, King was asked to chair a
private-sector body to draft corporate governance guidelines. The body
became known as the King Committee and its report, issued in 1994, was
regarded as being ahead of its time in adopting an integrated and
inclusive approach to the business life of companies, embracing
stakeholders other than shareholders. The Committee also subsequently
drafted the Insider Trading Act.
King and various colleagues recommended in 2000 that new governance
guidelines should be drawn up. As a result, the King Committee was
re-established and, over a period of about 18 months, prepared what
became known as the King II Report. Issued in March 2002, the report was
In the interim King was appointed President of the Commonwealth
Association of Corporate Governance, mandated to establish paradigms for
corporate governance in the Commonwealth. He has consulted with,
advised, and addressed bodies all over the world on King II and
After the Enron and WorldCom debacles King II was liberally quoted in
the US Congress and certain aspects of it were adopted by the New York
Stock Exchange and incorporated into the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. He was
appointed Chairman of the United Nations Committee on Governance and
Oversight which produced a governance code for the United Nations in
A committed South African, dedicated campaigner for justice and
fairness, an accessible and selfless man, Mervyn King has consulted,
advised and spoken on legal, business and corporate governance issues in
39 countries, has written a book, The Corporate Citizen, and has
received many awards.