Simon Osborne


Simon Osborne is recognised as one of the leading UK authorities on Corporate Governance and Board Effectiveness, as well as a sought after conference speaker, and board evaluator.

Simon became chief executive of Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA: The Governance Institute) in October 2011 and stepped down in May 2018. He progressed to this role after being made a Fellow of ICSA in 2004, and following on from his appointments as chair of the ICSA Company Secretaries’ Forum in 2005, and Joint Head of ICSA Board Evaluation in 2003.

During his tenure, he led a significant change programme, focusing on three key pillars: representing and engaging with members, including reviving the branch network; extending the range of ICSA’s qualifications and training across many sectors; and raising its profile to reflect the increasing global importance of good governance.

After qualifying as a solicitor, Simon started his corporate career working as in-house counsel for nearly 30 years in the railway industry, latterly as company secretary and general counsel of the former Railtrack Group PLC. Following the UK Government’s move against Railtrack Group’s major subsidiary by putting it into railway administration, he joined a small team, which successfully recovered value for 250,000 shareholders.

A recognised advocate of using evidence based insights to inform governance and board efficacy, across a range of industries and sectors, Simon has pursued a policy of low cost targeted investment in research projects with organisations including the Investment Association and Board Intelligence.

Outside of ICSA, Simon chairs the Bylaws & Procedures Committee of the International Corporate Governance Network. In the past, he was a founder member of ICGN’s business ethics committee. He was formerly a NED with an award winning media firm, Crown Brands Communications Limited, and its parent MNN Holdings Limited. He is a vice-president of a small charity, the Railway Benefit Fund (Charles Dickens was a founder member), having previously served successively as honorary solicitor, board member and deputy chair, and chairing its nomination committee.

In the early days of the Leadership Institute, Simon worked closely with the Institute team to pilot aspects of a “Board Fellows Programme” for MBAs, which as of the 2018/19 academic year is running as a collaboration between the LBS Leadership Institute, Board Fellow participants, and the London Business School Student Led Initiatives Team.