Excellence & Certification for Board Directors


The Governance Advisory Council (GAC) promotes excellence in boards through education and certification of directors. GAC is a unique collaboration to ensure that you are receiving the very latest and the best thinking in corporate governance.

The GAC comprises leaders from boardrooms across the globe, along with educators, industry influencers, employers and pedagogical experts. This ensures that the programmes that we deliver are exactly what is required of the modern board director.  The GAC serves as our direct connection to the people that we certify, playing a pivotal role in the shaping of the courses and membership programmes that are delivered.

Members of our Governance Advisory Council have worked with for the world’s leading organisations:

About the Council

The GAC promotes and encourages the highest standards in the education and certification for company directors.

The GAC provides validation and guidance on the programme and courses created and delivered by the Corporate Governance Institute.

The GAC ensures that graduates and members of the Corporate Governance Institute have the most up-to-date and relevant skills necessary to grow and prosper as a company director.

Setting a Global Standard

The Governance Advisory Council, along with our university accreditation, forms a globally recognised standard for our educational programmes. Boards can now have the confidence that directors from the Corporate Governance Institute have achieved the level of qualification required for todays boardroom director.

The Governance Advisory Council (GAC) comprises global and local boardroom leaders, advisors to boards, executive search professionals, academics, as well as private and government advisors to boards.

Meet some of the Members of the Advisory Council

Gréag Purcell

Gréag is a highly successful serial entrepreneur and business leader with a strong track record of building technology companies, and business to business companies.

He has worked extensively in Healthcare both in Ireland and the UK, and grew the NHS Group from a very small company to a profitable business with substantial revenues and over 200 employees. Since closing the company Gréag has invested in a number of fast growing diagnostic and technology companies.

Gréag has a proven record of successful delivery of major programmes of change, including, Strategy, Cost reduction, Balance sheet review and restructuring, Transaction growth, Culture change and Organisational redesign.

He has a deep understanding of the governance and regulatory environments underpinning Industry with experience of leading risk assessment, review and audit in highly regulated and audited sectors.

Gréag has considerable experience of working with external consultants and private equity houses.

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Dermot Hanley

Dermot is an experienced independent non executive director (INED) and Investment Banker.  He is currently a non-executive board member of numerous private equity backed companies and regulated financial (PCF-2) investment funds (ICAVs).

He is also a member of the advisory board of The Governance Company Ireland Ltd and a longstanding member of the Finance and Economics Committee (Ecotax) at IBEC.

Loretto Callaghan

Loretto is an accomplished CEO and experienced Chartered Director with 14 years country leadership, executive leadership and board directorship experience in the Biopharmaceutical and Healthcare sector.

During her tenure with Novartis, Loretto successfully led the Pharma business in Ireland to consistently outperform the market and established a reputation for launch success by building high performing teams and external partnerships, and leading in an energetic, inspirational and collaborative manner.

She has a deep understanding of the governance and regulatory environments underpinning the Biopharmaceutical Industry with experience of leading risk assessment, review and audit in this highly regulated and audited sector.

Kingsley Aitkins

Kingsley, an Economics and Politics graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, has lived and worked in six countries in a career in trade and investment, philanthropy, education, diaspora and tourism and has worked for major organisations, governments and countries.

Throughout his extensive experience he has come to appreciate the power of Networking and he sees it as the ‘glue’ that makes everything happen.

George Vlachos

George is an International Director level executive, with many years experience providing Corporate Governance & Board Services across Europe. He was previously Regional Managing Director across Europe and MEA for Mattel. His expertise is also in helping organisations with their Strategy & Organization Development. George is currently International Director of Board Advisory Services with Stanton Chase Executive Search.

John Koopman

John leads SpencerStuart’s Industrial Practice and co-leads the Financial Officer Practice in Canada. His recruiting experience spans a broad spectrum of companies in industrial sectors, including automotive, building materials, aircraft and manufacturing. During his career, John has completed more than 400 executive officer and board level searches and helped place more than 250 senior finance leaders. He previously led the firm’s Toronto office.

Bob Semple

Bob Semple is a Company Director, Facilitator and Lecturer and recently completed a 36-year career with PwC in Dublin and Toronto. He spent 26 years as a Partner and more recently he had responsibility for the Governance, Risk and Compliance practice. A Chartered Accountant by training, Bob holds a Diploma in Company Direction (IoD) and a Diploma in Corporate Governance.

Bob is an experienced facilitator and an expert user of electronic collaboration systems. He provides consulting services mainly in the areas of corporate governance, board evaluation, and risk management and lectures for a number of bodies including the IMIUCD and The Law Society of Ireland.

Margot Slattery

Limerick-born Margot comes from a farming background and graduated from the Galway Mayo Institute of Technology as a trained chef. She began her career working as a chef in several well-known establishments, first in Dublin and then London, after a few years, she took a junior management role with a well-known Irish contract catering company. It was acquired by Sodexo and with them, Margot progressed through several roles, increasing in seniority, until her appointment as managing director in September 2012 followed by country president in 2015 and Global Diversity & Inclusion Chief in 2019

As country president, Margot’s role includes corporate governance and directorial responsibility for growing the various business segments – corporate, government, education, healthcare and homecare that operate in the Republic and Northern Ireland.

Margot is committed to furthering the Diversity and Inclusion agenda within and outside the company and in October 2012, Sodexo was one of 11 founding partners and signatories of Ireland’s first Diversity Charter.

Margot is a member of Sodexo’s global LGBT network leadership team, which has been influential in promoting and championing LGBT equality across the world. She also chairs the UK and Ireland sexual orientation workstream, part of Sodexo’s diversity approach.

Paul Smith

Paul is the founder of the Future Directors Institute; one part director training, one part community of boardroom revolutionaries, and one part governance think tank. Their mission is the pursuit of innovation and change through board diversity and inclusion and over the past five years, they have coached hundreds of aspiring and experienced directors across Australia, New Zealand and the USA. Paul is an award-winning author, international speaker, podcast host, and governance advisor specialising in purpose-led startups. He is also the co-creator of virtual summit Decision84 and sits on several boards including as Vice Chair of the Jane Goodall Institute Global.