A business that is owned by one or more individuals or companies (known as shareholders) and which acquires a separate legal identity to its owners. This means the business can own property, sue and be sued, and that the business’s finances are separate to the owners (shareholders). Shareholders must elect / appoint at least one director to be responsible for making all the key business decisions and managing the business (on the shareholder’s behalf). NB: a director can also be a shareholder of the company; directors must be at least 16 years of age (from 1st October 2008); directors normally elect a Chairman and Managing Director but this can be one and the same. The appointment of a Company Secretary was, up until recently, a legal requirement but is now optional.