This is the third Belgian Code on Corporate Governance, which replaces the versions previously published in 2004 and 2009. The 2009 Code was indeed due for a revision. Since its publication, there have been numerous changes to the Belgian and European regulatory framework. Furthermore, the new Belgian Code on Companies and Associations will enter into force in 2020.
This contains a number of significant changes for listed companies. Also, at the societal and academic level, there have been additional insights and debates on the sound management of listed companies (further referred to as ‘governance’ in the 2020 Code). Therefore, an overhaul was needed to keep the Code coherent and relevant. The 2020 Code is the result of in depth and at times intense discussions among the members of the Corporate Governance Committee (the Committee). The draft of this new 2020 Code was subjected to a broad consultation, in which both board members and executives, but also investors, academics, and trade union and non-governmental organization representatives were heard. This input has enriched the final 2020 Code, as amendments were made following the consultation to take account of a wide range of suggestions and comments. I would like to thank all who have devoted their energies to this effort.