A commmission, set up by the Brussels Stock Exchange, to ex-amine standards of Belgian corporate governance has recommended independence for non-executive directors and a split between the roles of chairman and chief executive in Belgian companies.

The 14-strong commission, set up along the lines of the UK's Cadbury committee and chaired by Daniel Cardon de Lichtbuer, honorary chairman of Banque Bruxelles Lambert, has the aim of improving standards within Belgium companies to en-hance their competitiveness on the in-ternational capital markets.

The commission will now await res-ponses from the interested players before finalising its report in June.

The commission's preliminary re-port, published last month, also recommends that company boards are confined to 12 members and that they establish audit committees solely composed of non-executive directors of which a majority must be independent.

Where chairman and chief executive are combined a strong independent element whose authority is acknowledged is essential," it adds.

It also takes the view that companies should comply with the spirit of the envisaged corporate governance code rather than the letter, and while stating that listed companies should disclose changes made in light of the new code in their directors' report it should not be imposed as a requirement for listing on the stock exchange."