La compréhension de la gouvernance est largement fonction du poste occupé au C.A. !

Voici une lecture très intéressante publiée dans McKinsey Quaterly par William George*, professeur à la Harvard Business School et membre des conseils suivants : ExxonMobil, Goldman Sachs et Mayo Clinic. L’article est basé sur l’expérience de l’auteur en tant que membre d’une grande variété de C.A.

M. George tente de montrer que l’on ne peut comprendre la gouvernance d’une entreprise et le comportement des membres du conseil qu’en considérant les rôles qui y sont exercés :

(1) administrateur indépendant;

(2) président du C.A. (PCA) et président et chef de la direction (PCD);

(3) uniquement PCD et

(4) uniquement PCA.

English: Inside a Harvard Business School clas...
English: Inside a Harvard Business School classroom (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Selon le rôle occupé sur le C.A., l’auteur tire des conclusions sur le bon fonctionnement des mécanismes de gouvernance. Voici donc une lecture qui remet en question plusieurs principes de saine gouvernance (comme la séparation des rôles de PCD et PCA) en s’appuyant sur l’expérience de diverses positions au sein du conseil d’administration. Ainsi, l’efficacité du conseil dépend de la manière dont on comprend son rôle. L’auteur propose trois suggestions pour améliorer la gouvernance. Je vous invite à lire cet article. Quel est votre point de vue ?

Pour lire l’article au complet, vous devrez vous inscrire, mais c’est sûrement une belle occasion de recevoir les dernières communications de McKinsey. Vous trouverez, ci-dessous, un extrait du document.

Board governance depends on where you sit  !

« Board governance is frequently discussed and often misunderstood. In this article, I offer an insider’s perspective on the topic. Over the years, I have had the privilege of serving on ten corporate boards, as well as being chairman and CEO of Medtronic, chairman only, and CEO only. I have also observed dozens of boards from outside the boardroom and engaged in numerous confidential conversations with members of these boards about the challenges they faced and how they handled them.

What I have learned from these experiences is that one’s perspective about a board’s governance is strongly influenced by the seat one holds—independent director, chair and CEO, CEO only, or chair only. That’s why it is essential to look at corporate governance through the eyes of each of these positions.

In surveying governance through the lens of different roles, I hope to address a problem in the prevailing dialogue: many of the governance experts exerting power over boards through shareholder proposals, media articles, and legislative actions have never participated in an executive session of a major board. It’s no surprise, therefore, that their proposals deal almost entirely with formal board processes and “check the box” criteria that generally have little to do with the substance of how boards operate.

I worry, in fact, that many of these proposals could weaken the performance of boards by burdening them with an excessive amount of ministerial details. That would be a shame, because corporate boards have made progress since the scandals of recent years, with a new generation of CEOs sharing with boards more openly, listening to them more closely, and working to achieve a healthier balance of power with independent directors ».


* William George, a professor of management practice at the Harvard Business School, is a board member of ExxonMobil, Goldman Sachs, and the Mayo Clinic and previously served on the boards of Novartis AG and Target, among others. From 1991 to 2001, he was the CEO of Medtronic, whose board he chaired from 1996 to 2002. This article is an adaptation of a chapter George contributed to The Future of Boards: Meeting the Governance Challenges of the Twenty-First Century, edited by Jay W. Lorsch (Harvard Business School Publishing, July 2012).

Six raisons qui militent en faveur du choix d’administrateurs externes au C.A. (