How to run a company in 2017: Buysse Code III

How to run a company in 2017: Buysse Code III

For over ten years now the Buysse Code has been an aid in the management of unlisted companies. Belgian companies that are listed on the stock exchange are obliged to subscribe to a corporate governance code. There is no such obligation for unlisted companies, yet it can be useful for them to reflect on good governance as well, and the Buysse Code offers them a way to do so. The Code is about thirty pages long and can be consulted and downloaded free of charge at

The players in an unlisted company can use this code as a set of practical tips for the exercise of their position, but also as a benchmark for assessing and possibly improving the way their company is being run. The principles are worked out in detail, but they do have to be tailored to the company, in particular to its size, the sector in which it is active, whether or not it has a family character, etc.

In 2009, the initiators of the Buysse Code created the possibility for contractors to ask questions via a form on the Buysse Code website. These concrete questions from practice can then be processed in a later version, and this is how the third edition of the Buysse Code came into being.

The newly-updated Buysse Code reviews the powers of the board of directors and the tasks that the chairman of the board of directors must assume in order to fulfil his role. In addition, the code offers criteria for assessing how the board of directors is functioning (on an annual basis, for example). For shareholders, the code contains specific tasks and recommendations in order to delineate and give substance to their role, and in this way to deepen their involvement.

There is also a chapter on private equity which is striking and unique. It covers e.g. preparations for private equity deals and the collaboration between private investors and the company.   

For more information on this subject, you can contact Sophie Deckers (author) and Gwen Bevers (unit head).