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Compte rendu hebdomadaire de la Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance | 16 mars 2017


Voici le compte rendu hebdomadaire du forum de la Harvard Law School sur la gouvernance corporative au 16 mars 2017.

J’ai relevé les principaux billets.

Bonne lecture !

 

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  1. The Modern Slavery Act 2015: Next Steps for Businesses
  2. Stock Rising
  3. The Delaware Trap: An Empirical Study of Incorporation Decisions
  4. Acting SEC Chair’s Steps to Centralize the Process of Issuing Formal Orders—Are Commentators Drawing the Right Lessons?
  5. Defusing the Antitrust Threat to Institutional Investor Involvement in Corporate Governance
  6. Board of Directors Compensation: Past, Present and Future
  7. The Dealmaking State
  8. SEC Enforcement: 2016 in Review and Looking Ahead to 2017
  9. Super Hedge Fund
  10. Diversity Investing

Compte rendu hebdomadaire de la Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance | 9 mars 2017


Voici le compte rendu hebdomadaire du forum de la Harvard Law School sur la gouvernance corporative au 9 mars 2017.

J’ai relevé les principaux billets.

Bonne lecture !

 

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  1. Uncapping Executive Pay
  2. The Trajectory of American Corporate Governance: Shareholder Empowerment and Private Ordering Combat
  3. Focus on Annual Incentives: Metrics, Goals, and More
  4. A Look at Board Composition: How Does Your Industry Stack Up?
  5. Teaming Up and Quiet Intervention: The Impact of Institutional Investors on Executive Compensation Policies
  6. The Regulatory and Enforcement Outlook for Financial Institutions in 2017
  7. The Materiality Gap Between Investors, the C-Suite and Board
  8. Pilot CEOs and Corporate Innovation
  9. Shareholder Engagement: An Evolving Landscape
  10. State Street Global Advisors Announces New Gender Diversity Guidance

Comment composer avec l’engagement accru des actionnaires et des investisseurs institutionnels ?


Voici un article publié par Tom Johnson dans Ethical Boardroom, et paru aujourd’hui sur le site de HLS Forum on Corporate Governance.

L’un des plus grands changements au cours des dix dernières années dans la gouvernance des entreprises est l’engagement accru des actionnaires et des investisseurs institutionnels dans les affaires de l’organisation. Cela se manifeste concrètement par des interventions activistes mal anticipées.

L’article ci-dessous est un bijou de réalisme et de pragmatisme eu égard au diagnostic de la situation de l’engagement des actionnaires ainsi qu’aux moyens à la disposition des entreprises pour favoriser le dialogue avec les grands actionnaires-investisseurs.

L’auteur propose six moyens à prendre en compte par l’entreprise afin d’assurer une meilleure communication avec les intéressés…

Les dirigeants d’entreprises ainsi que les présidents des conseils d’administration devraient prendre bonne note des suggestions présentées dans cet article.

Ils ont tout avantage à être proactif afin d’éviter les mauvaises surprises et les contestations susceptibles d’émerger de la part de groupes d’actionnaires mécontents ou opportunistes.

Bonne lecture ! Vos commentaires sont les bienvenus.

 

In today’s environment, companies cannot wait for a pressing issue to engage with their shareholders. By the time the issue becomes public because an activist has shown up or some other concern has emerged that affects the stock, it is often too late to have a productive conversation

 

Shareholder Engagement: An Evolving Landscape

 

Résultats de recherche d'images pour « shareholder engagement »

The significant rise of activism over the last decade has sharpened the focus on shareholder engagement in boardrooms and executive suites across the US.

 

Once considered a perfunctory exercise, designed to simply answer routine questions on performance or, occasionally, drum up support for a corporate initiative, shareholder engagement has become a strategic imperative for astute executives and board members who are no longer willing to wait until the annual meeting to learn that their shareholders may not support change of some sort, or their strategic direction overall.

When active shareholder engagement works, it leads to a productive dialogue with the voters—the governance departments established by the big institutional firms, which typically oversee proxy voting. It is important to remember the reality of public company ownership. The vast majority of public companies have shareholder bases dominated by a diverse set of large, institutional funds. Engagement with these voters not only helps head off potential problems and activists down the road, but it also gives management valuable insight into how patient and supportive their shareholder base is willing to be as they implement strategies designed to generate long-term growth. Indeed, the rising level of engagement is a positive trend that could, over time, help mitigate the threat of activism if properly managed.

This all sounds encouraging in theory and, in some cases, it works in practice as well. But the simple fact remains that this kind of dialogue is unobtainable for the vast majority of public companies, despite the best of intentions on both sides.

 

Struggles with Engagement

 

Even the largest institutional investors, many of whom are voting well in excess of 10,000 proxies a year, have at most 25-30 people in their governance departments able to engage directly with companies. Those teams do yeoman’s work to meet demands, taking several hundred and in some cases well more than 1,000 meetings with company executives or board members a year. But with more issues on corporate ballots than ever before that need to be researched and analysed, companies are finding it increasingly hard to get an audience with proxy voters even when a determination is made to more proactively engage. This can be true for even large companies with market capitalisations in the billions.

Indeed, for small-cap companies, the idea is almost always a non-starter, though there are workarounds. Some institutional funds are willing

to use roundtable discussions with several issuers at once to cover macro topics. Most mid-cap companies are out of luck as well, unless they are able to make a compelling case around a particular issue that catches a governance committee’s eye (more on that in a minute). Large-cap companies certainly meet the size threshold, but even they need to be smart in making the request. The net result is a conundrum at companies that are willing to engage but find their institutional investors less willing to do so, or are stretched too thin to make it happen.

The problem is a difficult one to solve. In today’s environment, companies cannot wait for a pressing issue to engage with their shareholders. By the time the issue becomes public because an activist has shown up or some other concern has emerged that affects the stock, it is often too late to have a productive conversation. Investors in those situations must decide what they know or can learn in a condensed period; they have little ability to become invested in the long-term thinking behind, for instance, a company’s change to executive pay or corporate governance. At the same time, institutional investors, while very open to and, in many cases, strong advocates for meeting with executives, cannot always handle the number of requests they receive, particularly when the requests come in during a condensed period. This has led some investors to establish requirements around which companies ‘qualify’ for a meeting, leaving some executives that don’t meet the thresholds frustrated that they can’t get an audience. Both sides are striving to improve the process in this rapidly evolving dynamic. The fact is that both sides have a lot of room for improvement. Here are a few guidelines we advise companies to use when deciding how or even if they should more proactively engage with their largest investors.

In today’s environment, companies cannot wait for a pressing issue to engage with their shareholders. By the time the issue becomes public because an activist has shown up or some other concern has emerged that affects the stock, it is often too late to have a productive conversation

 

1. If a meeting is unlikely, make your case in other ways

 

Just because you can’t get a meeting does not mean you can’t effectively influence how your investors vote on an issue. Most companies today fall well short in communicating effectively with the megaphones they do control—namely, the financial reports that are distributed to all shareholders. When a governance committee sits down to review an issue, the first thing it does is pull out the proxy. Yet most companies bury the most compelling arguments under mountains of legalese or financial jargon that is off-message or confusing. In today’s modern era, proxies need to tell an easily digestible story from start to finish. They need to be short, compelling and to the point.

Figure out the three to four things you need your investors to understand and put it right up front in the proxy in clear, compelling language. Be concise and to the point. Remove unnecessary background and encourage questions. Add clear graphic elements to illustrate the most important points. And be sure not to contradict yourself with a myriad of financial charts and footnotes, or provide inconsistent information with what you’ve said before. The proxy statement is the most powerful disclosure tool companies have, yet most are produced by disparate committees, piecing the behemoth filing together with little recognition of the overall document coming to life.

 

2. Know when to make contact

 

Most large, institutional shareholders and even some mid-sized ones, are open to meeting with management and/or board members under certain circumstances, but timing is key. Go see your investors on a “clear day”when a meaningful discussion on results and strategy can be had without the overhang of activist demands. For most companies, this means making contact during the summer and fall months after their annual meeting and when the filing window opens for the next year’s proxy.

Institutional investors do lots of meetings during proxy season as well, but those tend to focus on whatever issues have emerged in the proxy, or even worse, whatever demands an activist is making. If you believe you are vulnerable to an activist position, address that concern before it becomes an issue with the right combination of people who will ultimately vote the shares.

 

3. Know who to talk to

 

The hardest part of this equation for most companies is figuring out who the right person is at the funds for these conversations. Is it the portfolio manager (PM) who follows the company daily and typically has the most robust relationship with the company’s investor relations department? Is it the governance department that may have more sway over voting the shares? The answer is likely some combination of both. Each institution has its own process for making proxy voting decisions.

In many cases, it involves input from the portfolio manager, internal analyst and the governance department, as well as perhaps some influence from proxy advisory firms, such as ISS or Glass Lewis. But the ultimate decision-maker is always somewhere in that mix. The trick is to find out where. Start with the contacts you know best, but don’t settle for one relationship. If you don’t know your portfolio manager and governance analyst, then you are not going to get a complete picture on where you stand. In many cases, the PM can be a helpful advocate in having a governance analyst understand why certain results or decisions make sense. Once you find the right mix of people, selling the story will be much easier.

 

4. Don’t assume passive investors are passive

 

Today, many so-called passive investors are anything but. One passive investor told me his firm held more than 200 meetings with corporations last year.

A governance head at another institution said there is little difference today in how the firm evaluated proxy questions between its active and passive holdings. You may not always get an audience, but on important matters, treat your passive investors like anyone else. You may be surprised at how active they are. These firms also tend to be the busiest, so be assertive and creative in building a relationship. The front door may not be the only option.

 

5. Choose the best Messenger

 

There is an interesting debate going on in the governance community right now about how involved CEOs and board members should be in shareholder discussions. As a rule, we view it this way: routine conversations around results and performance can be handled by investor relations (IR). More sophisticated financial questions get elevated to CFOs. Once the conversations delve into strategy and growth plans, CEOs should be involved, but usually only with the largest current or potential shareholders. And, finally, when it comes to matters of governance policy, consider having a board member involved.

Board engagement with shareholders is a relatively new trend, but an important one. Investors are often reassured when they see and hear from an engaged board and many will confess that those meetings can change their thinking. But having the right board member who can handle those conversations and be credible is key. A former CEO, who is used to shareholder interactions, or a savvy lead independent director can fit the bill.

But with investors increasingly asking for—and indeed many boards starting to offer—meetings with directors, every board should be evaluating who that representative will be if the opportunity comes along.

 

6. Be prepared and walk in with a clear set of goals

 

Too often, companies spend too much time just trying to determine what not to say in meetings with investors and not nearly enough time working on what they want to communicate. This mistake leads to frustration and missed opportunities, not to mention a reduced likelihood that it can get an audience again.

Every investor meeting is an opportunity to better refine or explain your corporate growth story. Walk into every meeting with clear goals in mind. Better yet, get the investor to articulate their own agenda as well. Know exactly what each of you wants to get out of the meeting and then get down to business. Be upfront and honest about why you are requesting the meeting. Governance investors are far more engaged when companies walk in with stated goals in mind. Surface potential problems and your solution to them, before they emerge.

 

Making the effort

 

Even with this level of planning, large companies can still find their requests for engagement on governance topics unheeded. Many of the large, institutional investors have installed various thresholds, generally predicated to a company’s size, that companies need to meet to receive an audience. But that does not mean companies should give up. Continue to work the contacts you do have within each institution. Tell your best story in routine discussions, such as earnings calls or conference presentations. Those are too often missed opportunities. Look for other opportunities to get in front of investors.

Conferences can be great forums, as can organisations, such as the Society of Corporate Governance, Council for Institutional Investors or National Association of Corporate Directors. Every time you communicate externally, it is a chance to tell your story and make the right disclosures. History is littered with companies that waited too long to do so, came under attack and lost control of their own destiny. Don’t waste any opportunity to make your best case to whomever is listening.

La composition de votre CA est-elle adéquate pour faire face au futur ? | Résultats d’une étude américaine de PwC


Au fil des ans, j’ai publié plusieurs billets sur la composition des conseils d’administration. Celle-ci devient un enjeu de plus en plus critique pour les investisseurs et les actionnaires en 2017. Voici les billets publiés qui traitent de la composition des conseils d’administration :

La composition du conseil d’administration | Élément clé d’une saine gouvernance

Conseils d’administration d’OBNL : Problèmes de croissance et composition du conseil

Approche stratégique à la composition d’un conseil d’administration (1re partie de 2)

Approche stratégique à la composition d’un conseil d’administration (2e partie de 2)

L’évolution de la composition des conseils d’administration du CAC 40 ?

Priorité à la diversité sur les conseils d’administration | Les entreprises à un tournant !

Bâtir un conseil d’administration à « valeur ajoutée »

Assurer une efficacité supérieure du conseil d’administration 

Enquête mondiale sur les conseils d’administration et la gouvernance 

Le rapport 2016 de la firme ISS sur les pratiques relatives aux conseils d’administration 

L’article publié par Paula Loop, directrice du Centre de la gouvernance de PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), est très pertinent pour tous les CA de ce monde. Il a été publié sur le forum du Harvard Law School on Corporate Governance.

Même si l’étude de PwC concerne les entreprises américaines cotées en bourse (S&P 500), les conclusions s’appliquent aussi aux entreprises canadiennes.

Le sujet à l’ordre du jour des Boards est le renouvellement (refreshment) du conseil afin d’être mieux préparé à affronter les changements futurs. Le CA a-t-il la composition optimale pour s’adapter aux nouvelles circonstances d’affaires ?

La recherche de PwC a porté sur les résultats de l’évolution des CA dans neuf (9) secteurs industriels. Dans l’ensemble, 91 % des administrateurs croient que la diversité contribue à l’efficacité du conseil. De plus, 84 % des administrateurs lient la variable de la diversité à l’accroissement de la performance organisationnelle.

L’auteure avance qu’il existe trois moyens utiles aux fins du renouvellement des CA :

  1. Une plus grande diversité ;
  2. La fixation d’un âge limite et d’un nombre de mandats maximum ;
  3. L’évaluation de la séparation des rôles entre la présidence du conseil (Chairperson) et la présidence de l’entreprise (CEO).

L’article est très intéressant en raison des efforts consentis à la présentation des résultats par l’illustration infographique. Le tableau présenté en annexe est particulièrement pertinent, car on y trouve une synthèse des principales variables liées au renouvellement des CA selon les neuf secteurs industriels ainsi que l’indice du S&P 500.

Au Canada, les recherches montrent que les entreprises sont beaucoup plus proactives eu égard aux facteurs de renouvellement des conseils d’administration.

Bonne lecture !

Does your board have the right makeup for the future?

 

Résultats de recherche d'images pour « composition du conseil d'administration »

 

Board composition is “the” issue for investors in 2017. Some industries are taking more steps to refresh their board than others—how does yours stack up? As the economic environment changes and lines between industries start to blur, companies are looking for directors with different, less traditional and even broader skills. Technology skills will be key across sectors.

Who’s sitting in your boardroom? Do your directors bring the right mix of skills, experiences and expertise to best oversee your company? Are they a diverse group, or a group with common backgrounds and outlooks? Can they help see into the future and how your industry is likely to take shape? And are some of your directors serving on your board as well as those in other industries?

These questions should be top of mind for executives and board members alike. Why? Because the volume of challenges companies are facing and the pace of change has intensified in recent years. From emerging technologies and cybersecurity threats to new competitors and changing regulatory requirements, companies–and their boards–have to keep up. Some boards have realized that having board members with multiple industry perspectives can prove helpful when navigating the vast amount of change businesses are faced with today.

If your board isn’t thinking about its composition and refreshment, you are opening up the door to scrutiny. Board composition is “the” issue for investors in 2017. Investors want to know who is sitting in the boardroom and whether they are the best people for the job. If they don’t think you have the right people on the board, you will likely hear about it. This is no longer something that is “nice” to think about, it’s becoming something boards “must” think about. And think about regularly.

How can you refresh your board?

 

In 2016, we analyzed the board demographics of select companies in nine industries to see how they compared to each other and to the S&P 500. Where does your industry fall when it comes to board refreshment? Does your board have the right makeup for the future?

 

There are a number of ways to refresh your board. One way is to think about diversity. Many have taken on the gender imbalance on their boards and are adding more women directors. But diversity isn’t only about women. It’s about race, ethnicity, skills, experience, expertise, age and even geography. It’s about diversity of thought and perspective. And it’s not just a talking point anymore. Regulators started drafting disclosure rules around board diversity in mid-2016. Whether the rules become final remains to be seen, but either way, board diversity is in the spotlight. Add to that the common criticism that the US is far behind its developed country peers. Norway, France and the Netherlands have been using quotas for a while, and Germany in 2015 passed a law mandating 30% women on the boards of its biggest companies. While it’s unlikely quotas would be enacted in the US, some believe they’re a needed catalyst.

 

 

While we only looked at gender diversity on boards, we believe this is a good indicator of the efforts some boards are making to become more diverse overall. Secondly, mandatory retirement ages and term limits are two tools that boards can use to refresh itself. Our analysis showed that some industries seemed to be adopting these provisions more so than others. Some directors question their effectiveness.

Some of the industries in our PwC peer group analysis don’t have term limits at all

Banking and capital markets

Insurance

Communications

Technology

A third move that some companies have taken often, under investor pressure—is to evaluate their leadership structure and split the chair and CEO role. While the issue is still one that investors care about, certain industries have kept the combined role. And some companies don’t plan on making the change any time soon. Most often, boards with a combined chair/CEO role have an independent lead or presiding director. This may ease concerns that institutional investors and proxy firms may have about independence in the leadership role.

 

Who would have thought? Some interesting findings

 

While our analysis shows that most industries didn’t veer too far from the S&P 500 averages for most benchmarking categories, a few stand out. Retail in particular seems to be leading the charge when it comes to board refreshment.

 

 

Other industries aren’t moving along quite so quickly. And there were some surprises. Which industry had the lowest average age? Perhaps surprisingly, it’s not technology. Retail claimed that one, too. And, also unexpected, was that technology had one of the highest average tenures. [6] Another surprising finding came from our analysis of the banking and capital markets industry—an industry that’s often considered to be male-dominated. BCM boards had the highest percentage of women, at 26%. That compares to just 21% for the S&P 500. Both the entertainment and media and the communications industries were also ahead of the curve when it comes to women in the boardroom, with the highest and second-highest percentages of new female directors. Retail tied with communications for second-highest, as well.

 

On a less progressive note, both the entertainment and media and communications industries were below the S&P 500 average when it came to having an independent lead or presiding director when the board chair is not independent. And they ranked lowest of the industries we analyzed on this topic—by far.

Blurred lines across industries

 

Skills, experience and diversity of thought will likely become even more important in the coming years. In the past five years alone, once bright industry lines have started to blur. Take the retail industry, for example. Brick and mortar stores, shopping malls and strip malls were what used to come to mind when thinking about that industry. Now it’s mobile devices and drones. Across many industries, business models are changing, competitors from different industries are appearing and new skills are needed. The picture of what your industry looks like today may not be the same in just a few years.

Technology is the key to much of this change. Just a few years ago, many boards were not enthusiastic about the idea of adding a director solely with technology or digital skills. But times are changing. Technology is increasingly becoming a critical skill to have on the board. We consulted our experts in the nine industries we analyzed, and all of them put technology high on the “must-have” list for new directors. Interestingly, financial, operational and industry experience—the top three from our 2016 Annual Corporate Directors Survey, were not among the most commonly listed.

Taking a fresh look

 

If your company is shifting gears and changing the way it does business, it may be important to take a fresh look at your board composition at more frequent intervals. Some boards use a skills matrix to see what they might be lacking in their board composition. Others may be forced by a shareholder activist to add new skills to the board.

 

 

So how do you fill the holes in the backgrounds or skills you want from your directors? One way is to look to other industries. As our analysis shows, board composition and refreshment approaches vary by industry. As industry lines blur, other industry perspectives could compliment your company—it might be helpful to consider filling any holes with board members from other industries.

No matter which approach you take, it’s very important to think about your board’s composition proactively. Use your board evaluations to understand which directors have the necessary skills and expertise—and which might be lacking what the board needs. Think about your board holistically as you think about your company’s future. Your board composition is critical to ensuring your board is effective—and keeping up with the world outside the boardroom.

 

Appendix

 

How do our industry peer groups stack up to the S&P 500? Making this evaluation can be a good way to begin determining whether your board has the right balance in terms of board composition.

 

 

Analysis excludes two companies that are newer spinoffs.
Analysis excludes one company that does not combine or separate the roles.
Excludes the tenure of one newly-formed company.
Four of the five companies that have a mandatory retirement age have waived or state that the board can choose to waive it.

Sources: Spencer Stuart, U.S. Board Index 2016, November, 2016; PwC analysis of US SEC registrants: 27 of the largest industrial products companies by market capitalization and revenue, May 2016; 11 of the largest retail companies by revenue, May 2016; 21 of the largest banking and capital markets companies by revenue, September 2016; 24 of the largest insurance companies by market capitalization, May 2016; 17 of the largest entertainment and media companies by revenue, May 2016; nine of the largest communications companies by revenue, May 2016; 25 of the largest power and utilities companies by revenue, October 2016; 16 of the largest technology companies by revenue, May 2016; 23 of the largest pharma/life sciences companies by revenue, May 2016.


Endnotes:

1Sources: PwC, 2016 Annual Corporate Directors Survey, October 2016; Spencer Stuart, 2016 US Board Index, November 2016.(go back)

2Sources: PwC analysis of 11 of the largest retail companies by revenue that are also US SEC registrants, May 2016; PwC analysis of 25 of the largest power and utilities companies by revenue that are also US SEC registrants, October 2016; Spencer Stuart, U.S. Board Index 2016, November 2016.(go back)

3Sources: PwC analysis of 11 of the largest retail companies by revenue that are also US SEC registrants, May 2016; PwC analysis of 17 of the largest entertainment and media companies by revenue that are also US SEC registrants, May 2016; Spencer Stuart, S. Board Index 2016, November 2016.(go back)

4Sources: PwC analysis of 21 of the largest banking and capital markets companies by revenue that are also US SEC registrants, September 2016; PwC analysis of 16 of the largest technology companies by revenue that are also US SEC registrants, May 2016; Spencer Stuart, S. Board Index 2016, November 2016.(go back)

5Sources: PwC analysis of US SEC registrants: nine of the largest communications companies by revenue, May 2016; 11 of the largest retail companies by revenue, May 2016; 21 of the largest banking and capital markets companies by revenue, September 2016; 24 of the largest insurance companies by market capitalization, May 2016; 16 of the largest technology companies by revenue, May 2016; 17 of the largest entertainment and media companies by revenue, May 2016; Spencer Stuart, U.S. Board Index 2016, November 2016.(go back)

6Analysis excludes two companies that are newer spinoffs.(go back)

7Sources: PwC analysis of 16 of the largest technology companies by revenue that are also US SEC registrants, May 2016; Spencer Stuart, U.S. Board Index 2016, November 2016.(go back)

8Sources: PwC analysis of 11 of the largest retail companies by revenue that are also US SEC registrants, May 2016; PwC analysis of 21 of the largest banking and capital markets companies by revenue that are also US SEC registrants, September 2016; Spencer Stuart, U.S. Board Index 2016, November, 2016(go back)

9Sources: PwC analysis of 17 of the largest entertainment and media companies by revenue that are also US SEC registrants, May 2016; PwC analysis of nine of the largest communications companies by revenue that are also US SEC registrants, May 2016; PwC analysis of 11 of the largest retail companies by revenue that are also US SEC registrants, May 2016; Spencer Stuart, S. Board Index 2016, November 2016.(go back)

10Sources: PwC analysis of 17 of the largest entertainment and media companies by revenue that are also US SEC registrants, May 2016; PwC analysis of nine of the largest communications companies by revenue that are also US SEC registrants, May 2016; Spencer Stuart, S. Board Index 2016, November 2016; PwC analysis of 11 of the largest retail companies by revenue that are also US SEC registrants, May 2016; PwC analysis of 21 of the largest banking and capital markets companies by revenue that are also US SEC registrants, September 2016; PwC analysis of 24 of the largest insurance companies by market capitalization that are also US SEC registrants, May 2016; PwC analysis of 16 of the largest technology companies by revenue that are also US SEC registrants, May 2016; PwC analysis of 23 of the largest pharma/life sciences companies by revenue that are also US SEC registrants, May 2016.

Compte rendu hebdomadaire de la Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance | 2 mars 2017


Voici le compte rendu hebdomadaire du forum de la Harvard Law School sur la gouvernance corporative au 2 mars 2017.

J’ai relevé les principaux billets.

Bonne lecture !

 

harvard_forum_corpgovernance_small

 

  1. Corporate Officers as Agents
  2. 2015 Short- and Long-Term Incentive Design Criteria Among Top 200 S&P 500 Companies
  3. Private Funds Year in Review and 2017 Outlook
  4. Should Mutual Funds Invest in Startups?
  5. Shareholder Proposals Regarding Lead Director Tenure: A Harbinger of Things to Come?
  6. Hot-Button Issues for the 2017 Proxy Season
  7. 2017 Investor Corporate Governance Report
  8. 2017: Where Things Stand—Appraisal, Business Judgment Rule and Disclosure Section 16(B)—If at First You Don’t Succeed…
  9. Considerations for U.S. Public Companies Acquiring Non-U.S. Companies
  10. The 100 Most Overpaid CEOs

The Directors Toolkit 2017 | Un document complet de KPMG sur les bonnes pratiques de gouvernance et de gestion d’un CA


Voici la version 4.0 du document australien de KPMG, très bien conçu, qui répond clairement aux questions que tous les administrateurs de sociétés se posent dans le cours de leurs mandats.

Même si la publication est dédiée à l’auditoire australien de KPMG, je crois que la réalité réglementaire nord-américaine est trop semblable pour se priver d’un bon « kit » d’outils qui peut aider à constituer un Board efficace.

C’est un formidable document électronique interactif. Voyez la table des matières ci-dessous.

J’ai demandé à KPMG de me procurer une version française du même document, mais il ne semble pas en exister.

Bonne lecture !

The Directors’ Toolkit 2017 | KPMG

 

 

 

Now in its fourth edition, this comprehensive guide is in a user friendly electronic format. It is designed to assist directors to more effectively discharge their duties and improve board performance and decision-making.

Key topics

  1. Duties and responsibilities of a director
  2. Oversight of strategy and governance
  3. Managing shareholder and stakeholder expectations
  4. Structuring an effective board and sub-committees
  5. Enabling key executive appointments
  6. Managing productive meetings
  7. Better practice terms of reference, charters and agendas
  8. Establishing new boards.

What’s new in 2017

In this latest version, we have included newly updated sections on:

  1. managing cybersecurity risks
  2. human rights in the supply chain.

Register

Register here for your free copy of the Directors’ Toolkit.

Compte rendu hebdomadaire de la Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance | 23 février 2017


Voici le compte rendu hebdomadaire du forum de la Harvard Law School sur la gouvernance corporative au 23 février 2017.

J’ai relevé les principaux billets.

Bonne lecture !

 

harvard_forum_corpgovernance_small

  1. A Trump Appointed AG May Not Translate to Less Aggressive Enforcement
  2. It’s Time for the Pendulum to Swing Back
  3. SEC Enforcement in Financial Reporting and Disclosure—2016 Year in Review
  4. Tactical Approaches to Proxy Season 2017
  5. The Activist Investing Annual Review 2017
  6. Company Stock Reactions to the 2016 Election Shock: Trump, Taxes and Trade
  7. Directors Must Navigate Challenges of Shareholder-Centric Paradigm
  8. A Broader Perspective on Corporate Governance in Litigation

 

Se poser les bonnes questions en cette période incertaine | Deloitte


Deloitte a récemment publié un document très important intitulé Courage under fire : Embracing disruption (en anglais seulement) dans lequel trois administrateurs chevronnés échangent leurs points de vue sur les grandes perturbations que les organisations mondiales sont appelées à connaître en 2017.

Les questions posées sont les suivantes :

Étant donné les attentes croissantes envers les conseils d’administration, quelles devraient être les priorités des administrateurs ?

Les appels à une meilleure communication de l’information ne cessent de se faire entendre. Comment les conseils réagissent-ils ?

Les organisations sont nombreuses à subir des perturbations numériques. Est-ce un risque incontrôlable de plus à gérer ?

Les perturbations numériques créent beaucoup d’incertitude. Les conseils d’administration réussissent-ils à bien s’adapter à cette réalité ?

Vous pouvez télécharger le document ci-dessous.

Bonne lecture !

Courage under fire : Embracing disruption |  Deloitte

 

 

Séparation des fonctions de PDG et de président du conseil d’administration | Signe de saine gouvernance !


Selon le modèle de gouvernance des entreprises privées canadiennes et américaines, le PDG (CEO) relève du conseil d’administration (CA) de l’entreprise. En effet, ce sont les actionnaires qui, lors de l’assemblée générale annuelle (AGA), votent pour des administrateurs dont la responsabilité fiduciaire est de les représenter sur le conseil d’administration de l’entreprise.

Ainsi, lors des AGA des entreprises publiques (cotées en bourse), les actionnaires sont appelés à voter sur une recommandation du CA développée par le comité de gouvernance. Il existe également des règles qui permettent aux actionnaires de faire inscrire des candidats sur la liste présentée par le CA.

 

Résultats de recherche d'images pour « michael sabia et »

Michael Sabia, PDG de la Caisse de dépôt et placement et Robert Tessier, président du conseil d’administration

 

Le CA a la responsabilité de veiller aux intérêts supérieurs des actionnaires tout en considérant les intérêts des diverses parties prenantes.

Les actionnaires ne votent pas pour un PDG (CEO) ; ils votent pour des représentants en qui ils ont confiance dans la supervision de leurs affaires, notamment dans le choix du premier dirigeant (PDG – CEO).

Il est clair pour tous que c’est le CA qui a la responsabilité d’embaucher le PDG (CEO), de l’orienter, de le rémunérer, de l’évaluer et de mettre en place un processus de relève et de transition.

Personnellement, je ne crois pas approprié que le PDG soit aussi un administrateur au sein du CA, bien qu’il doive y assister à titre de premier dirigeant, mais sans droit de vote.

Cette prise de position implique, a fortiori, que le PDG ne soit pas désigné comme président (Chairman of the Board) du CA.

Bien que notre mode de gouvernance semble exclure le cumul des fonctions de président du conseil et de PDG, il n’existe aucune obligation juridique à le faire.

Ainsi, comme mentionné dans un billet daté du 5 juillet 2016 (la séparation des fonctions de président du conseil et de président de l’entreprise [CEO] est-elle généralement bénéfique ?), les autorités réglementaires, les firmes spécialisées en votation et les experts en gouvernance suggèrent que les rôles et les fonctions de président du conseil d’administration soient distincts des attributions des PDG (CEO).

En fait, on suppose que la séparation des fonctions, entre la présidence du conseil et la présidence de l’entreprise (CEO), est généralement bénéfique à l’exercice de la responsabilité de fiduciaire des administrateurs, c’est-à-dire que des pouvoirs distincts permettent d’éviter les conflits d’intérêts, tout en rassurant les actionnaires.

Cependant, cette pratique cède trop souvent sa place à la volonté bien arrêtée de plusieurs PDG d’exercer le pouvoir absolu, comme c’est encore le cas pour plusieurs entreprises américaines.

Dans un autre billet daté du 17 novembre (Séparation des fonctions de président du conseil [PCA] et de chef de la direction [PCD] : un retour sur un grand classique !), on note que les études contemporaines démontrent une nette tendance pour la séparation des deux rôles.

Le Canadian Spencer Stuart Board Index estime qu’une majorité de 85 % des 100 plus grandes entreprises canadiennes cotées en bourse a opté pour la dissociation entre les deux fonctions.

Aux États-Unis, en 2013, 45 % des entreprises de l’indice S&P500 dissociaient les rôles de PDG et de président du conseil. Plus de 50 % de ces entreprises combinent les deux fonctions !

L’article d’Yvan Allaire, publié dans le journal Les Affaires du 21 novembre 2016, mentionne « deux arguments invoqués pour appuyer la séparation des rôles » :

1- Le PDG relève du conseil qui doit en évaluer la performance, établir sa rémunération, le remplacer si cette performance est inadéquate, proposer de nouveaux membres pour le conseil ; comment peut-on, comme PDG, présider également le conseil, lequel doit prendre ces décisions critiques pour le PDG ;

Environ 50 % des grandes sociétés américaines sont présidées par un administrateur indépendant, comparativement à 23 % il y a 15 ans.

Toute la question du bien-fondé de la dualité des rôles PDG/Chairman est encore ambiguë, même si les experts de la gouvernance et les actionnaires activistes sont généralement d’accord avec la séparation des fonctions.

2-  En notre époque alors que la gouvernance est plus exigeante, plus prenante de temps et d’énergie pour la société ouverte cotée en Bourse, comment une même personne peut-elle s’acquitter de ces deux rôles sans que l’un soit négligé au profit de l’autre ? Dans le nouveau contexte de gouvernance, postérieur à Sarbanes-Oxley, les exigences pour le PCA sont telles qu’il n’est pas souhaitable qu’une même personne assume ces deux fonctions (PCA et PDG).

En conséquence, 85 % des 100 plus grandes entreprises canadiennes cotées en Bourse se sont donné un président du conseil distinct du PDG, mais dans 38 % des cas ce président du conseil ne se qualifiait pas comme indépendant. (Spencer Stuart, février 2012).

La situation n’est certainement pas limpide, mais la tendance est évidente. L’indépendance du président du conseil ainsi que la séparation du pouvoir entre Chairperson du CA et CEO devrait, selon moi, trouver son application dans tous les types d’organisations : OBNL, sociétés d’État, petites et moyennes entreprises, et coopératives.

Évidemment, chaque organisation a ses particularités, lesquelles sont ancrées dans des pratiques de gouvernance assez diverses. La séparation des rôles n’est pas une panacée; c’est une meilleure assurance d’une saine gouvernance.

Vos commentaires sont les bienvenus

La gouvernance des Cégeps | Le rapport du Vérificateur général du Québec


Nous publions ici un billet de Danielle Malboeuf* qui fait état des recommandations du vérificateur général eu égard à la gouvernance des CÉGEP.

Comme à l’habitude Danielle nous propose son article à titre d’auteure invitée.

Je vous souhaite bonne lecture. Vos commentaires sont appréciés.

 

La gouvernance des Cégeps et le rapport du Vérificateur général du Québec

par

Danielle Malboeuf*  

 

À l’automne 2016, le Vérificateur général du Québec produisait un rapport d’audit concernant la gestion administrative de cinq cégeps. Ses travaux ont porté plus précisément sur la gestion des contrats, la gestion des bâtiments, les services autofinancés ainsi que sur la rémunération du personnel d’encadrement et les frais engagés par celui-ci.

Parmi les recommandations formulées à l’endroit des cégeps audités, on en retrouve une qui concerne plus précisément la gouvernance : « S’assurer que les instances de gouvernance reçoivent une information suffisante et en temps opportun afin qu’elles puissent exercer leur rôle quant aux décisions stratégiques et à la surveillance de l’efficacité des contrôles…»[1]

À la lecture de ce rapport et des constats de ces travaux d’audit, on ne peut qu’être qu’en accord avec cette recommandation qui invite les administrateurs à exercer leur rôle. Mais justement, quel rôle ont-ils ? Du point de vue légal, la Loi sur les collèges d’enseignement général et professionnel est peu éclairante à ce sujet.  Contrairement à la Loi sur la gouvernance des sociétés d’État qui précise clairement les fonctions qui sont confiées au conseil d’administration (CA), dont l’obligation d’évaluer l’intégrité des contrôles internes. On y exige également la création de trois sous-comités dont le comité de vérification ou d’audit à qui on confie entre autres, la responsabilité de mettre en place des mécanismes de contrôle interne. De plus, ce sous-comité doit compter sur la présence d’au moins une personne ayant une compétence en matière comptable ou financière.

À mon avis, la gouvernance d’un cégep devrait s’apparenter à celle des sociétés d’État. À ce sujet, dans son rapport publié en mai 2011 soumettant un bilan de l’implantation de la Loi sur la gouvernance des sociétés d’État, l’auteur de ce rapport, l’Institut sur la gouvernance des organismes publics et privés (IGOPP) allait dans le même sens. Il formulait comme première recommandation : « Imposer les nouvelles règles de gouvernance aux nombreux organismes du gouvernement qui ne sont pas inclus dans la loi actuelle sur la gouvernance. »[2]

Malgré le fait que les cégeps n’ont pas l’obligation légale de créer un comité d’audit, plusieurs l’ont fait dans un souci de transparence et afin d’être soutenu par les administrateurs dans leur effort pour assurer une utilisation optimale des ressources financières de l’organisation. Toutefois, le mandat qui leur est confié se limite dans la majorité des cas à une analyse des prévisions budgétaires et des états financiers. Ce n’est pas suffisant !

Considérant la recommandation du vérificateur général, il serait tout à fait approprié d’élargir ce mandat. En plus d’examiner les états financiers et d’en recommander leur approbation au CA, le comité d’audit devrait entre autres, veiller à ce que des mécanismes de contrôle interne soient mis en place et de s’assurer qu’ils soient adéquats et efficaces ainsi que de s’assurer que soit mis en place un processus de gestion des risques.[3] Sachant que les cégeps ne comptent pas de vérificateur interne, il est d’autant plus important de mettre en place un tel comité et de lui confier des fonctions de contrôle financier et de gestion des risques.

Une fois le comité d’audit mis en place, il devrait se pencher prioritairement sur la surveillance du processus de gestion contractuelle. Rappelons que les étapes du processus de gestion contractuelle sont : l’établissement des besoins et l’estimation des coûts, la préparation de l’appel d’offres et la sollicitation des fournisseurs, la sélection du fournisseur et l’attribution du contrat, le suivi du contrat et l’évaluation des biens et des services reçus[4].

À ce sujet, le Vérificateur général, dans son rapport, nous fait part de ses préoccupations. Il a identifié des lacunes dans les modes de sollicitation et constaté des dépassements de coûts et des prolongations dans les délais d’exécution, et ce, sans pénalité. Il précise que «Des activités prévues dans le processus de gestion contractuelle des cégeps audités ne sont pas effectuées de façon rigoureuse.»[5] En jouant son rôle, le comité d’audit du CA pourrait s’assurer que le processus mis en place et le partage des responsabilités retenu sont adéquats et efficaces. Il ne devrait d’ailleurs pas hésiter à faire appel à des ressources externes pour évaluer la performance du Cégep à l’égard de sa gestion contractuelle, le cas échéant.

En terminant, rappelons l’importance de retrouver sur le comité d’audit des administrateurs compétents qui ont une connaissance approfondie de la structure, des politiques, directives et exigences réglementaires. Ils doivent avoir la capacité d’assurer l’efficacité des mécanismes de contrôle interne et de la gestion des risques (un sujet que je développerai dans un article ultérieur).

En présence de telles compétences, il sera plus facile d’assurer la crédibilité du CA et de ses décisions. Il s’agit d’un atout précieux pour toutes institutions collégiales.

_____________________________________

[1] Rapport du Vérificateur général du Québec à l’Assemblée nationale pour l’année 2016-2017, p.35.

[2] Gouvernance des sociétés d’État, bilan et suggestions, IGOPP, p.48.

[3] Loi sur la gouvernance des sociétés d’État, art 24, 3.

[4] Rapport du Vérificateur général du Québec à l’Assemblée nationale pour l’année 2016-2017, annexe 4.

[5] Rapport du Vérificateur général du Québec à l’Assemblée nationale pour l’année 2016-2017, p.9.

_____________________________________

*Danielle Malboeuf est consultante et formatrice en gouvernance ; elle possède une grande expérience dans la gestion des CÉGEPS et dans la gouvernance des institutions d’enseignement collégial et universitaire. Elle est CGA-CPA, MBA, ASC, Gestionnaire et administratrice retraitée du réseau collégial et consultante.


Articles sur la gouvernance des CÉGEPS publiés sur mon blogue par l’auteure :

(1) LE RÔLE DU PRÉSIDENT DU CONSEIL D’ADMINISTRATION (PCA) | LE CAS DES CÉGEPS

(2) Les grands enjeux de la gouvernance des institutions d’enseignement collégial

(3) L’exercice de la démocratie dans la gouvernance des institutions d’enseignement collégial

(4) Caractéristiques des bons administrateurs pour le réseau collégial | Danielle Malboeuf

(5) La gouvernance des CÉGEPS | Une responsabilité partagée

L’éthique attendue et l’éthique réfléchie | Un billet de René Villemure


Aujourd’hui, je poursuis notre habitude de collaboration avec des experts avisés en matière de gouvernance et d’éthique.

Ainsi, je partage avec vous un excellent billet de René Villemure* publié le 6 février 2017.

L’article nous invite à ne pas repousser notre réflexion sur l’éthique à demain. Il convient donc de se doter d’objectifs en matière d’éthique pour 2017.

Voici donc la réflexion que nous propose René. Vous pouvez visiter son site à www.ethique.net pour mieux connaître ses intérêts.

Vos commentaires sont appréciés. Bonne lecture.

L’éthique attendue et l’éthique réfléchie

 

Conférence de René Villemure au Club Premier de Bell Helicopter

Conférence de René Villemure au Club Premier de Bell Helicopter

 

Le temps est une fraction de la durée, un moment entre deux autres moments.

La chenille ne peut se transformer en papillon plus rapidement parce qu’on lui crie de le faire plus vite.  La Nature a son propre rythme;  elle prend quelques semaines pour faire un papillon, toute une vie pour faire un adulte, et encore, disait Malraux….

Malheureusement, depuis quelques années, on tente d’aller toujours plus vite, on tente de réduire à presque rien ce moment entre deux moments ; avec la vitesse, nous  sommes passés du temps réel à l’instantané, cette imitation du temps, croyant ne rien perdre ce faisant.

Pourtant, réagissant dans l’instant plutôt qu’agir dans le temps, on oublie qu’il faut du temps pour se faire une tête, qu’il faut plus de temps pour lire un livre que pour consulter un résumé sur Internet, qu’il faut également du temps pour se cultiver, pour se faire une opinion, pour être en mesure de penser par soi-même ou pour créer. Rien de valable ou de durable ne se fait dans l’instant.

En conséquence, ayant décidé par avance que nous n’avions plus le temps, on évacue la réflexion et on tente de créer du nouveau en copiant du vieux, croyant ainsi faire illusion.

Choisissant trop souvent de ne pas prendre le temps nécessaire à la réflexion, face à un problème éthique on cherche une norme ou une règle sur un site web, on va voir ce que d’autres ont fait, on va voir ce que nos compétiteurs ont comme valeurs en termes d’éthique, on copie et on colle. Voilà ! Travail terminé. Réflexion, zéro. Niveau éthique de la décision ? On ne sait pas, on espère…

C’est ce que l’on appelle l’éthique prétendue, celle qui est constituée de généralités souvent pensées par un grand cabinet de consulting spécialisé en tout, pour une autre entreprise que la vôtre, dans un contexte qui n’est pas le vôtre. L’éthique prétendue n’est qu’une recette.

En 2017, sur le plan de l’éthique, au lieu de réfléchir et de créer on est encore à copier ou à emprunter sur le web des éléments d’éthique. L’expérience nous a enseigné que peu d’organisations choisissent de faire une réflexion critique ou éclairée sur l’éthique, sur les valeurs ou sur les outils éthiques dont elles ont réellement besoin et qui sont adaptés à leur culture et leur contexte d’affaires. Quelle en est la raison ? Simple : les décideurs ne réalisent pas le potentiel que recèle l’éthique. Ils ne voient celle-ci que comme une contrainte.

Il faut arrêter de prétendre que l’on a réfléchi en empruntant du contenu éthique sur le web ou en appliquant une recette toute faite ; ces actions ne sont que poudre aux yeux.

L’éthique réfléchie est celle qui permet à l’entreprise de naviguer à travers les mers déchaînées des conflits d’intérêts ou des traditionnelles fautes éthiques, générant à terme un capital de confiance qui consolide sa réputation. À l’heure actuelle, les dirigeants visionnaires s’appuient sur l’éthique réfléchie en tant qu’élément central à la stratégie de leur entreprise, un élément qui permettra à leur entreprise de durer, de dépasser ses compétiteurs en évitant les pièges de la non-éthique.

Les dirigeants visionnaires misent sur l’éthique réfléchie, qui est adaptée à la culture et au contexte de leur entreprise ils en font un avantage stratégique et distinctif. Au même moment, l’éthique prétendue fait croire à une gestion éthique et tente de panser les blessures prévisibles encourues par le manque de réflexion éthique.

L’éthique prétendue est celle de la vitrine alors que l’éthique réfléchie est celle de l’éthique dans les circonstances.

La distinction entre les deux est immense : c’est la différence  entre la conformité de façade et la justesse, entre avoir l’air d’être éthique et l’être.

Si vous n’êtes pas certain de tout comprendre, rappelez-vous Volkswagen, qui avait pourtant paraphé toutes les ententes de conformité attendues tout en évitant la sincérité éthique.

Reporter la réflexion sur l’éthique à demain, c’est encourir sa perte à petit feu dès aujourd’hui. IL convient de réfléchir avant d’agir.

Quels seront vos objectifs en éthique pour 2017?


*RENÉ VILLEMURE EST ÉTHICIEN ET CHASSEUR DE TENDANCES. IL A FONDÉ L’INSTITUT QUÉBÉCOIS D’ÉTHIQUE APPLIQUÉE EN 1998, ETHIKOS EN 2003 ET L’ÉTHIQUE POUR LE CONSEIL EN 2014.

Les administrateurs doivent susciter le débat sur l’avenir de l’entreprise


Je vous recommande la lecture de l’article de Stuart Jackson publié dans la Harvard Business Review de janvier 2017.

L’auteur suggère, qu’en général, les conseils d’administration ne font pas suffisamment preuve de combativité et qu’ils ne jouent pas leur rôle principal, soit d’offrir une vision à long terme et de se concentrer sur la création de valeur.

Les administrateurs doivent offrir diverses perspectives de changement et proposer des stratégies propres à pérenniser l’organisation.

Les administrateurs doivent faire preuve de courage et apprendre à formuler des critiques positives envers le PDG. Le conseil d’administration est essentiellement un lieu de débat sur le futur de l’entreprise.

Les membres du conseil doivent être capables de réfléchir à l’évolution du modèle d’affaires et prévoir un plan d’action opérationnel pour un changement à long terme.

L’auteur propose une limitation de la durée des mandats des administrateurs afin d’éviter la complaisance susceptible de se manifester avec le temps. Également, on doit viser le choix d’administrateurs indépendants, capables de questionner et de contester les actions de la direction.

À cet égard, il me semble que les administrateurs devraient suivre une solide formation en gouvernance, notamment une formation telle que celle offerte par le Collège des administrateurs de sociétés (CAS) qui propose une simulation des débats autour de la table du conseil.

On constate que le rôle d’un administrateur est très exigeant et que celui-ci doit penser en termes de compétitivité de l’entreprise.

Bonne lecture ! Vos commentaires sont les bienvenus.

 

Boards Must Be More Combative

 

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Boards of directors play two roles. They must protect value by helping companies avoid unnecessary risks, and they must build value by ensuring that companies change quickly enough to address emerging competitive threats, evolving customer preferences, and disruptive technologies.

With technology and business model cycles becoming shorter and companies facing unrelenting pressure to innovate or suffer the consequences, more and more boards need to focus on the second of these roles. To do so, they must be willing to challenge executive teams and stress-test their strategies to ensure they go far enough and fast enough. For boards used to preserving the status quo, this shift can be uncomfortable. Here are four ways boards can become better challengers and champions of change.

Confront Unwelcome News and Trends

Changing strategy is extremely difficult, especially for successful businesses. In the early 1990s Blockbuster commissioned a study on the future of video-on-demand technologies and how they would impact traditional video rentals. The report concluded that expanded cable offerings and broadband internet would begin to impact video rentals around 2000, and would grow rapidly thereafter. The good news was that Blockbuster had a good 10 years to prepare for the new environment. But the shift never happened: Management ignored the study’s findings and continued with the same strategy, supported by the board. In September 2010 Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy protection. In this case, value protection was not enough. The company had clear advance notice that seismic change was coming.

The board’s role was to acknowledge the warning signs and challenge management’s lack of action — even if it meant contention and dispute in the boardroom.

Make Sure You Have Challengers in Your Midst

Boards will be far more effective in their challenger role if they offer seats to individuals with professional experiences and viewpoints that are very different from those of the executive team. Directors can learn to be more direct with management, but it’s hard to fake contrarianism when everyone is of the same mind. When a board resembles the CEO in mindset and outlook, it’s a recipe for a gatekeeper board, not a challenger board. But when boards mix it up by bringing in members with different perspectives, they can effect powerful strategic changes, something I have seen many times in my work with corporate boards.

Often, these “challengers” will be tech-savvy young executives from digitally disruptive companies who can press their fellow directors and senior management about potential blind spots related to digital disruption. But disruption is not always about technology. For example, one highly successful, privately-held producer of canned foods actively sought a board member who could challenge management to think differently but who would still fit with the company’s family-oriented governance culture. The successful candidate was the CEO of a well-known, family-owned California wine business that catered to consumers who would not dream of buying canned food. The board member helped the company “think outside the can” to identify new product forms that would broaden their customer base and appeal to health-conscious consumers.

In another instance, a leading chain of retail pharmacies appointed as vice chair someone with a background in health care manufacturing and pharmacy benefit management. The new board member helped management better understand the efficiency advantages of mail-order pharmacies, which rely on automation. As a result, the company added low-cost automated pharmacy services to its existing retail outlets, giving it a competitive advantage over traditional retail pharmacies.

Stay Fresh with Term Limits and Checks and Balances

Beyond accessing the right expertise, boards can maintain a challenger perspective by ensuring they don’t become complacent and drift toward an approver role. One of the most effective ways to do this is to establish mandatory term limits as a part of the board’s bylaws. Term limits can help boards maintain a level of independence between the outside directors and executive leadership.

Moreover, if the CEO and chair roles are separated, the chair can take more active responsibility for ensuring that alternative views and perspectives are brought before the board. Separating the roles is a common practice in Europe, and it’s becoming more so in the United States. Another option is to appoint an independent lead director, a less drastic change that can have a similar effect. In fact, the New York Stock Exchange essentially requires listed companies with nonindependent chairs to appoint one of their independent directors as lead director. The lead position, among other duties, is responsible for scheduling and helming board meetings that take place without management. Today the majority of S&P companies with combined CEO and chair roles have chosen to counterbalance this arrangement by appointing an independent lead director.

Turn Courage and Candor into Core Competencies

Having directors with valuable insights is worthless if they do not feel comfortable sharing their perspectives and debating issues with management. A recent study by Women Corporate Directors and Bright Enterprises found that more than three-quarters (77%) of director respondents believed that their boards would make better decisions if they were more open to debate, and 94% said that criticism can help bring about change when it is used properly.

Nevertheless, board members are often hesitant to offer criticism, especially to CEOs. The same survey found that only about half (53%) of respondents felt that the CEOs of their companies take criticism well. This is not surprising. As a board member it is much easier to empathize with a CEO under pressure than with an abstract group of shareholders. One way to address this issue is to offer board members training in giving and receiving constructive criticism. Board members need to understand that failing to confront difficult issues will not help the CEO. If a CEO’s first indication that the board is dissatisfied is hearing they are searching for his or her replacement, then the board is not fulfilling its responsibilities.

Challenger boards are those with the strength to put the hard questions to management and to poke holes in suboptimal strategies. They bring a diversity of perspective that can help management understand the company’s vulnerabilities and how to overcome them. For companies struggling to exist in a world where disruption is rapidly becoming a business constant, challenger boards may well be one of their most important survival tools.

Priorité à la diversité sur les conseils d’administration | Les entreprises à un tournant !


Selon David A. Katz et Laura A. McIntosh, associés de la firme Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, les entreprises américaines ont franchi un point de non-retour eu égard à l’acceptation de la contribution de la diversité à la profitabilité des sociétés.

En effet, il est de plus en plus acquis que l’accroissement de la diversité a des effets positifs sur les deux rôles majeurs du conseil d’administration : (1) la surveillance (oversight) et (2) la création de valeur des entreprises.

Ce court article, publié sur le site du Harvard Law School Forum, décrit les progrès réalisés dans la mise en œuvre de la diversité sur les CA et montre que les entreprises en sont à un tournant dans ce domaine.

Bonne lecture ! Vos commentaires sont appréciés.

 

Corporate Governance Update: Prioritizing Board Diversity

 

In what has been called a “breakout year” for gender diversity on U.S. public company boards, corporate America showed increasing enthusiasm for diversity-promoting measures during 2016. Recent studies have demonstrated the greater profitability of companies whose boards are meaningfully diverse. In many cases, companies have collaborated with investors to increase the number of women on their boards, and a number of prominent corporate leaders have publicly encouraged companies to prioritize diversity. The Business Roundtable, a highly influential group of corporate executives, recently released a statement that explicitly links board diversity with board performance in the two key areas of oversight and value creation. Likewise, a group of corporate leaders—including Warren Buffett, Jamie Dimon, Jeff Immelt, and Larry Fink, among others—published their own “Commonsense Principles of Corporate Governance,” (discussed on the Forum here) an open letter highlighting diversity as a key element of board composition.

board-diversity_forbes

Momentum toward gender parity on boards is building, particularly in the top tier of public corporations. Pension funds from several states have taken strong stances intended to encourage meaningful board diversity at the 25 percent to 30 percent level. Last year, then-SEC Chair Mary Jo White cited the correlation of board diversity with improved company performance and identified board diversity as an important issue for the Commission, signaling that it may be a priority for regulators going forward. Boards should take note of the evolving best practices in board composition and look for ways to improve, from a diversity standpoint, their candidate search, director nomination, and board refreshment practices. We recommend that boards include this issue as part of an annual discussion on director succession, similar to the annual discussion regarding CEO succession.

Diversity and Performance

A board of directors has two primary roles: oversight and long-term value creation. This year, the Business Roundtable released updated governance guidelines (discussed on the Forum here) that link a commitment to diversity to the successful accomplishment of both goals. Its 2016 guidelines include a statement on diversity that reads, in part, “Diverse backgrounds and experiences on corporate boards … strengthen board performance and promote the creation of long-term shareholder value.” In a statement accompanying the guidelines, Business Roundtable leader John Hayes noted that a “diversity of thought and perspective … adds to good decision-making” and enables “Americans, as well as American corporations, to prosper.” Board success and competence thus is recast to include diversity as an essential element rather than as an afterthought or as a concession to special interests.

Similarly, the “Commonsense Principles of Corporate Governance” (discussed on the Forum here) outlined over the summer by a group of corporate leaders highlights diversity on boards—multi-dimensional diversity—and correlates that diversity with improved performance. The signers of the principles, including an activist investor, a pension plan, and various chief executives, stated unequivocally in their accompanying letter that “diverse boards make better decisions.” A consensus seems to be emerging among corporate leaders that, as stated by the Business Roundtable, boards should include “a diversity of thought, backgrounds, experiences, and expertise and a range of tenures that are appropriate given the company’s current and anticipated circumstances and that, collectively, enable the board to perform its oversight function effectively.” With regard to oversight, a recent study by Spencer Stuart and WomenCorporateDirectors Foundation (discussed on the Forum here) found that female directors generally are more concerned about risks, and are more willing to address them, than are their male colleagues. Boards should, where possible, develop a pipeline of candidates whose career paths are enabling them to acquire the relevant professional expertise to be valuable public company directors in their industry.

In order to promote diversity in board composition, boards should become familiar with director search approaches to identify qualified candidates that would not otherwise come to the attention of the nominating committee. Executive search firms, public databases, and inquiries to organizations such as 2020 Women on Boards are a few of the ways that boards can find candidates that may be beyond their typical field of view. Organizations exist to help companies in their recruitment efforts. Crain’s Detroit Business, for example, has compiled a database of qualified female director candidates in Michigan, who are invited to apply and are vetted for inclusion. Boards may wish to commit to including individuals with diverse backgrounds in the pool of qualified candidates for each vacancy to be filled.

The Future of Diversity

In 2016, shareholder proposals on board diversity met with increased success. The numbers are still small: Nine proposals made it onto the ballot last year, nearly double the total in 2015 and triple the total in 2014. Nonetheless, support reached unprecedented levels in certain cases: A diversity proposal—which was not opposed by management—at FleetCor Technologies received over 70 percent shareholder support. Another diversity proposal—which was opposed by management—at Joy Global received support from 52percent of the voting shares (though the proposal did not pass due to abstentions). Diversity proposals are generally supported by the proxy advisory firms, including Institutional Shareholder Services and Glass Lewis.

Perhaps more significantly, shareholder proposals in several cases resulted in increased board diversity without ever coming to a vote. The pension fund Wespath submitted proposals this year seeking to increase diversity at three major corporations, and in each case withdrew the proposals when the subject companies agreed to add women to their boards. A spokesperson for Wespath stated that the fund had privately communicated their desire for increased diversity and had filed proposals as a “last resort” to spur change.

In a similar effort, CalSTRS recently submitted 125 letters to boards at California corporations whose boards had no women directors; in response, 35 of the companies appointed female board members. CalSTRS has indicated that if its private approaches are unsuccessful, it will proceed with shareholder proposals. The Wespath and CalSTRS examples are valuable for boards. Listening to investors, being responsive, and staying out in front of issues to forestall shareholder proposals is far better than reacting to frustrated investors who feel compelled to resort to extreme measures to get corporate attention. It is also greatly preferable to a situation in which activist investors press for legislative actions such as quotas or other mandatory board composition requirements, as we have seen in other countries.

2017 is likely to be a year in which progress toward greater board diversity significantly accelerates. Indeed, it is becoming clear that gender diversity—if not gender parity—one day will be a standard aspect of board composition. While the process of realizing that future should not be artificially or counterproductively hastened, it should be welcomed as a state of affairs that will be beneficial to all corporate constituents and, beyond, to the greater good of U.S. business and American culture.

 

Compte rendu hebdomadaire de la Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance | 27 janvier 2017


Voici le compte rendu hebdomadaire du forum de la Harvard Law School sur la gouvernance corporative au 27 janvier 2017.

J’ai relevé les principaux billets.

Bonne lecture !

 

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  1. Why Do Managers Fight Shareholder Proposals? Evidence from No-Action Letter Décisions
  2. Bridging the Data Gap through Shareholder Engagement
  3. Top 10 Topics for Directors in 2017
  4. Mutual Funds As Venture Capitalists? Evidence from Unicorns
  5. Broadening the Boardroom
  6. 2016 Year in Review: Securities Litigation and Regulation
  7. Bebchuk Leads SSRN’s 2016 Citation Rankings
  8. Do Director Elections Matter?
  9. White Collar and Regulatory Enforcement: What to Expect in 2017
  10. Financial Regulatory Reform in the Trump Administration
  11. Dealing with Activist Hedge Funds and Other Activist Investors

 

Départ du PDG de CPR | 100 millions $ pour mettre son expertise à contribution dans l’opération des chemins de fer aux É.U. !


Ce matin, je partage avec vous un autre excellent article d’Yvan Allaire* et de François Dauphin publié dans le Financial Post le 24 janvier.

Les auteurs reviennent sur le parcours unique de l’ex-président du CN et du CP dans le domaine de la gestion des entreprises de chemins de fer.

Il ressort de ce portrait que le PDG possède une expérience sans pareil, liée à des processus de gestion inimitables.

C’est tellement le cas que M. Harrison a décidé de quitter un emploi très rémunérateur à CP pour accepter l’offre de 118 millions $ d’un Hedge Fund.

On compte sur sa solide expertise pour réorganiser et optimiser les opérations d’une autre entreprise dans le même domaine.

Cet article fait suite à un précédent billet qui portait sur le succès d’une démarche d’activisme (A “Successful” Case of Activism at the Canadian Pacific Railway: Lessons in Corporate Governance)

Cette situation montre clairement que les fonds activistes sont continuellement à la recherche de talents uniques et qu’ils sont prêts à miser des fortunes pour bénéficier de l’expertise incontestable d’un PDG.

Et vous, quelles leçons en retirez-vous ?

Bonne lecture !

 

Someone just hired Hunter Harrison for $100 million — and there’s an excellent reason why

In an unexpected turn of events, Canadian Pacific Railway announced the early departure of its CEO, Hunter Harrison, a few minutes before a conference call planned for analysts on Jan. 18. Instead of retiring as planned, Harrison leaves CP at age 72 for a new challenge, running another railway company (almost certainly CSX) on behalf of Mantle Ridge LP, a newly established hedge fund run by Paul Hilal. In his prior role at Pershing Square Capital, Hilal was instrumental in backing its investment in CP and installing Harrison’s management team.
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CSX: Hunter Harrison Wants to Run His Fourth Railroad

Harrison thus forfeited all benefits and perquisites that he was entitled to receive from CP, including his pension, and he has agreed to surrender for cancellation almost all of his vested and unvested equity awards. Evidently the hedge fund will make him whole for the loss of this package, valued at approximately $118 million.

What makes Hunter Harrison so valuable? In the enchanted world of finance, there are of course no limits to what someone gets paid as long as it is a fraction of what the payer will gain. Still, one would think that a hedge fund manager looking for someone capable of turning around a poorly performing U.S. company would have an abundance of candidates to choose from. After all, the operating tricks that Harrison has come up with to make railroads more efficient have been described in minute detail in books he’s written. Dozens of seasoned railroad executives have worked with him and for him over the years. They must have learned quite a bit about Harrison’s recipe.

The answer to the $118-million question appears to reside in the fact that the successful transformation of these railroads (CN and CP) was the result, yes, of operational improvements, but more so of a fundamental cultural change. Harrison is a formidable change agent, a transformational leader in the truest meaning of that tired expression.

He claims to have invented a principle called “precision railroading,” which he implemented at three major railroads: Illinois Central, CN, and CP, the last with spectacular results, bringing the operating ratio (operating costs as a percentage of revenue, with a lower ratio being better) to 58.6 per cent for fiscal year 2016, down from 81.3 per cent in 2011, the last full year before Harrison’s took over.

Precision railroading, if it was easily learned from a book and replicated, would have been applied with success long ago at every North American railroad. Yet Harrison still seems to bring something that can make a difference over and above the techniques he developed and implemented. That something seems to be his skill at changing the culture of the railroad, a most difficult skill to imitate.

As a lifetime railroader himself, his decisions and actions display a deep understanding of the daily reality of the operators. He spends time meeting with the workers on the field and communicates profusely about the importance of asset optimization and the control of costs. At CP, he took many symbolic actions to instill in the whole organization the need to think and act like a railroader. For example, he relocated the corporate glass-towered headquarters to a rail yard, a move that was meant partly to cut costs but mostly to keep the employees’ focus on freight operations, and remind them daily of what the business is all about.

Managing a strategic turnaround is not an easy task. The softer, cultural element of it is often neglected, overlooked, and difficult to implement. That is where Harrison excels and why a hedge fund manager is prepared to pay big bucks to get that talent working for him.

But is money really the sole motivation for Harrison to start over at another railroad company at 72? In fact, at this stage of his career, he has more to lose reputation-wise if he fails than anything he can really earn in monetary terms.

The Memphis, Tenn. native, whose career began over five decades ago as an 18-year-old carman-oiler, may be driven by the determination to prove that the theory he has developed is replicable, no matter where. And determined to push his legacy to a new level — that of a railroad industry legend.

__________________________________

*Yvan Allaire est professeur émérite de stratégie à l’Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) et président exécutif de l’Institut de la gouvernance des organisations privées et publiques (IGOPP), François Dauphin est directeur de la recherche à l’IGOPP et chargé d’enseignement à l’UQAM.

Attentes réciproques | C.A. et direction


Vous trouverez ci-dessous les grandes lignes d’un article publié par Richard Leblanc* dans la revue mensuelle de Governance Centre of excellence à propos de ce que le conseil d’administration attend de la direction, et vice-versa.

Ce sont des questions qui me sont fréquemment posées.

L’auteur a su présenter les réponses à ces questions en des termes clairs. Je vous invite à télécharger ce court article.

Bonne lecture !

What Management Expects from the Board

Management, in turn, has expectations of the board. They are:

  1. Candor
  2. Integrity and Independence
  3. Direction
  4. React in a Measured Way
  5. Trust and Confidence
  6. Knowledge of the Business
  7. Meeting Preparation
  8. Asking Good Questions

Dix thèmes majeurs pour les administrateurs de sociétés en 2017


Aujourd’hui, je partage avec vous la liste des dix thèmes majeurs en gouvernance que les auteurs Kerry E. Berchem* et Rick L. Burdick* ont identifiés pour l’année 2017.

Vous êtes assurément au fait de la plupart de ces dimensions, mais il faut noter l’importance accrue à porter aux questions stratégiques, aux changements politiques, aux relations avec les actionnaires, à la cybersécurité, aux nouvelles réglementations de la SEC, à la composition du CA, à l’établissement de la rémunération et aux répercussions possibles des changements climatiques.

sans-titre-gump

Afin de mieux connaître l’ampleur de ces priorités de gouvernance pour les administrateurs de sociétés, je vous invite à lire l’ensemble du rapport publié par Akin Gump.

Bonne lecture !

Dix thèmes majeurs pour les administrateurs de sociétés en 2017

 

top-10

 

1. Corporate strategy: Oversee the development of the corporate strategy in an increasingly uncertain and volatile world economy with new and more complex risks

Directors will need to continue to focus on strategic planning, especially in light of significant anticipated changes in U.S. government policies, continued international upheaval, the need for productive shareholder relations, potential changes in interest rates, uncertainty in commodity prices and cybersecurity risks, among other factors.

2. Political changes: Monitor the impact of major political changes, including the U.S. presidential and congressional elections and Brexit

Many uncertainties remain about how the incoming Trump administration will govern, but President-elect Trump has stated that he will pursue vast changes in diverse regulatory sectors, including international trade, health care, energy and the environment. These changes are likely to reshape the legal landscape in which companies conduct their business, both in the United States and abroad.

With respect to Brexit, although it is clear that the United Kingdom will, very probably, leave the European Union, there is no certainty as to when exactly this will happen or what the U.K.’s future relationship, if any, with the EU will be. Once the negotiations begin, boards will need to be quick to assess the likely shape of any deal between the U.K. and the EU and to consider how to adjust their business model to mitigate the threats and take advantage of the opportunities that may present themselves.

3. Shareholder relations: Foster shareholder relations and assess company vulnerabilities to prepare for activist involvement

The current environment demands that directors of public companies remain mindful of shareholder relations and company vulnerabilities by proactively engaging with shareholders, addressing shareholder concerns and performing a self-diagnostic analysis. Directors need to understand their company’s vulnerabilities, such as a de-staggered board or the lack of access to a poison pill, and be mindful of them in any engagement or negotiation process.

4. Cybersecurity: Understand and oversee cybersecurity risks to prepare for increasingly sophisticated and frequent attacks

As cybercriminals raise the stakes with escalating ransomware attacks and hacking of the Internet of Things, companies will need to be even more diligent in their defenses and employee training. In addition, cybersecurity regulation will likely increase in 2017. The New York State Department of Financial Services has enacted a robust cybersecurity regulation, with heightened encryption, log retention and certification requirements, and other regulators have issued significant guidance. Multinational companies will continue implementation of the EU General Data Protection Regulation requirements, which will be effective in May 2018. EU-U.S. Privacy Shield will face a significant legal challenge, particularly in light of concerns regarding President-elect Trump’s protection of privacy. Trump has stated that the government needs to be “very, very tough on cyber and cyberwarfare” and has indicated that he will form a “cyber review team” to evaluate cyber defenses and vulnerabilities.

5. SEC scrutiny: Monitor the SEC’s increased scrutiny and more frequent enforcement actions, including whistleblower developments, guidance on non-GAAP measures and tougher positions on insider trading

2016 saw the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) award tens of millions of dollars to whistleblowers and bring first-of-a-kind cases applying new rules flowing from the protections now afforded to whistleblowers of potential violations of the federal securities laws. The SEC was also active in its review of internal accounting controls and their ability to combat cyber intrusions and other modern-day threats to corporate infrastructure. The SEC similarly continued its comprehensive effort to police insider trading schemes and other market abuses, and increased its scrutiny of non-GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) financial measure disclosures. 2017 is expected to bring the appointment of three new commissioners, including a new chairperson to replace outgoing chair Mary Jo White, which will retilt the scales at the commissioner level to a 3-2 majority of Republican appointees. 2017 may also bring significant changes to rules promulgated previously under Dodd-Frank.

6. CFIUS: Account for CFIUS risks in transactions involving non-U.S. investments in businesses with a U.S. presence

Over the past year, the interagency Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) has been particularly active in reviewing—and, at times, intervening in—non-U.S. investments in U.S. businesses to address national security concerns. CFIUS has the authority to impose mitigation measures on a transaction before it can proceed, and may also recommend that the President block a pending transaction or order divestiture of a U.S. business in a completed transaction. Companies that have not sufficiently accounted for CFIUS risks may face significant hurdles in successfully closing a deal. With the incoming Trump administration, there is also the potential for an expanded role for CFIUS, particularly in light of campaign statements opposing certain foreign investments.

7. Board composition: Evaluate and refresh board composition to help achieve the company’s goals, increase diversity and manage turnover

In order to promote fresh, dynamic and engaged perspectives in the boardroom and help the company achieve its goals, a board should undertake focused reassessments of its underlying composition and skills, including a review and analysis of board tenure, continuity and diversity in terms of upbringing, educational background, career expertise, gender, age, race and political affiliation.

8. Executive compensation: Determine appropriate executive compensation against the background of an increased focus on CEO pay ratios

Executive compensation will continue to be a hot topic for directors in 2017, especially given that public companies will soon have to start complying with the CEO pay ratio disclosure rules. Recent developments suggest that such disclosure might not be as burdensome or harmful to relations with employees and the public as was initially feared.
The SEC’s final rules allow for greater flexibility and ease in making this calculation, and a survey of companies that have already estimated their ratios indicates that the ratio might not be as high, on average, as previously reported.

9. Antitrust scrutiny: Monitor the increased scrutiny of the antitrust authorities and the implications on various proposed combinations

Despite the promise of synergies and the potential to transform a company’s future, antitrust regulators have become increasingly hostile toward strategic transactions, with the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission suing to block 12 transactions since 2015. Although directors should brace for a longer antitrust review, to help navigate the regulatory climate, work upfront can dramatically improve prospects for success. Company directors should develop appropriate deal rationales and, with the benefit of upfront work, allocate antitrust risk in the merger agreement. Merger and acquisition activity may also benefit from the Trump administration, taking, at least for certain industries, a less-aggressive antitrust enforcement stance.

10. Environmental disasters and contagious diseases: Monitor the impact of increasingly volatile weather events and contagious disease outbreaks on risk management processes, employee needs and logistics planning

While the causes of climate change remain a political sticking point, it cannot be debated that volatile weather events, environmental damage and a rise in the diseases that tend to follow, are having increasingly adverse impacts on businesses and markets. Businesses will need to account for, or transfer the risk of, the increasing likelihood of these impacts. The SEC recently announced investigations into climate-risk disclosures within the oil and gas sector to ensure that they adequately allow investors to account for these effects on the bottom line. The growing number of shareholder resolutions and suits addressing climate change confirm that investors want this information, regardless of the position of the next administration.

The complete publication is available here.


*Kerry E. Berchem is partner and head of the corporate practice, and Rick L. Burdick is partner and chair of the Global Energy & Transactions group, at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP.

Compte rendu hebdomadaire de la Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance | 19 janvier 2017


Voici le compte rendu hebdomadaire du forum de la Harvard Law School sur la gouvernance corporative au 19 janvier 2017.

J’ai relevé les principaux billets.

Bonne lecture !

 

harvard_forum_corpgovernance_small

 

  1. Playing It Safe? Managerial Preferences, Risk, and Agency Conflicts
  2. Shareholder Challenges Pay Practice at Apple, Inc.
  3. Corporate Donations and Shareholder Value
  4. Delaware Supreme Court Rules on Director Independence
  5. Proxy Access Reaches the Tipping Point
  6. Acquisition Financing: the Year Behind and the Year Ahead
  7. Say on Pay Laws, Executive Compensation, CEO Pay Slice, and Firm Value around the World
  8. The Importance of the Business Judgment Rule
  9. 2016 Year-End FCPA Update
  10. Delaware Court of Chancery Dismissal of Complaint Based on Post-Closing Disclosure Claims

Pourquoi un haut dirigeant devrait-il faire appel à un coach professionnel ?


Voici un excellent article de Ray B. Williams, paru dans Psychology Today, sur les raisons qui devraient inciter les présidents et chefs de direction (PCD – CEO) à faire appel à un coach.

C’est un article de vulgarisation basé sur plusieurs recherches empiriques qui fait la démonstration de la quasi nécessitée, pour un haut dirigeant, d’avoir les conseils d’un professionnel du coaching.

Voici quelques références sur le coaching professionnel des dirigeants :

  1. Coaching exécutif de leaders et dirigeants
  2. Diriger un cabinet de coaching pour hauts dirigeants c’est avant tout… être coach
  3. Le coaching du dirigeant
  4. Coaching d’entreprise: Définition de coach de dirigeants, management, coaching d’entreprise
  5. L’accompagnement des managers et des dirigeants
  6. Coaching de gestion

Vous serez étonné d’apprendre que c’est probablement l’un des secrets les mieux gardés et que c’est l’une des raisons qui expliquent le succès de plusieurs grands gestionnaires. À lire.

Bonne lecture !

Why Every CEO Needs a Coach ?

 

« Paul Michelman, writing in the Harvard Business Review Working Knowledge, cites the fact that most major companies now make coaching a core part of their executive development programs. The belief is that one-on-one personal interaction with an objective third party can provide a focus that other forms of organizational support cannot. A 2004 study by Right Management Consultants found 86% of companies used coaches in their leadership development program.

Eric Schmidt, Chairman and CEO of Google, who said that his best advice to new CEOs was « have a coach. » Schmidt goes on to say « once I realized I could trust him [the coach] and that he could help me with perspective, I decided this was a great idea…

this-bromantic-moment-between-barack-obama-and-joe-biden-may-make-you-feel-better-about-the-us-election-136411183440603901-161109211037

Douglas McKenna, writing in Forbes magazine, argues that the top athletes in the world, and even Barack Obama, have coaches. In his study of executive coaching, McKenna, who is CEO and Executive Director for the Center for Organizational Leadership at The Oceanside Institute, argues that executive coaches should be reserved for everyone at C-level, heads of major business units or functions, technical or functional wizards and high-potential young leaders.

Despite its popularity, many CEOs and senior executives are reluctant to report that they have a coach, says Jonathan Schwartz, one-time President and CEO of Sun Microsystems, who had an executive coach himself. Steve Bennett, former CEO of Intuit says, “At the end of the day, people who are high achievers—who want to continue to learn and grow and be effective—need coaching.”

John Kador, writing in CEO Magazine, argues that while board members can be helpful, most CEOs shy away from talking to the board about their deepest uncertainties. Other CEOs can lend a helping ear, but there are barriers to complete honesty and trust. Kador writes, “No one in the organization needs an honest, close and long term relationship with a trusted advisor more than a CEO.”

Kador reports conversations with several high profile CEOs: “Great CEOs, like great athletes, benefit from coaches that bring a perspective that comes from years of knowing [you], the company and what [you] need to do as a CEO to successfully drive the company forward,” argues William R. Johnson, CEO of the H.J. Heinz Co., “every CEO can benefit from strong, assertive and honest coaching.”

The cost of executive coaches, particularly a good one, is not cheap, but “compared to the decisions CEOs make, money is not the issue,” says Schwartz, “if you have a new perspective, if you feel better with your team, the board and the marketplace, then you have received real value.”

Compte rendu hebdomadaire de la Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance | 12 janvier 2017


Voici le compte rendu hebdomadaire du forum de la Harvard Law School sur la gouvernance corporative au 12 janvier 2017.

J’ai relevé les principaux billets.

Bonne lecture !

 

harvard_forum_corpgovernance_small

 

  1. Global and Regional Trends in Corporate Governance for 2017
  2. Compensation Season 2017
  3. Sustainability Practices: 2016 Edition
  4. The Ivory Tower on Corporate Governance
  5. Constitutionality of SEC’s Administrative Law Judges Headed to Supreme Court?
  6. Moving Beyond Shareholder Primacy: Can Mammoth Corporations Like ExxonMobil Benefit Everyone?
  7. Mergers and Acquisitions—A Brief Look Back and a View Forward
  8. Top 250 Report on Long-Term Incentive Grant Practices for Executives
  9. Corporate Governance: The New Paradigm
  10. A Strategic Cyber-Roadmap for the Board
  11. 2016 Year-End Activism Update
  12. Short-Termism and Shareholder Payouts: Getting Corporate Capital Flows Right
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