Personal Profile

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 organisation.

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 successfully.

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 acclaimed internationally.

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 governance generally.

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 2006.

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.


Contact Details:
Tel: +27 11 507 1318 
Fax: +27 11 507 1319 
Postal Address: Private Bag X1, Northlands, 2116, South Africa.