Un guide essentiel pour comprendre et enseigner la gouvernance | Version française *

Plusieurs administrateurs et formateurs me demandent de leur proposer un document de vulgarisation sur le sujet de la gouvernance. J’ai déjà diffusé sur mon blogue un guide à l’intention des journalistes spécialisés dans le domaine de la gouvernance des sociétés à travers le monde.

Il a été publié par le Global Corporate Governance Forum et International Finance Corporation (un organisme de la World Bank) en étroite coopération avec International Center for Journalists.

Je n’ai encore rien vu de plus complet et de plus pertinent sur la meilleure manière d’appréhender les multiples problématiques reliées à la gouvernance des entreprises mondiales. La direction de Global Corporate Governance Forum m’a fait parvenir le document en français le 14 février.

Qui dirige l’entreprise : Guide pratique de médiatisation du gouvernement d’entreprise – document en français


Ce guide est un outil pédagogique indispensable pour acquérir une solide compréhension des diverses facettes de la gouvernance des sociétés. Les auteurs ont multiplié les exemples de problèmes d’éthiques et de conflits d’intérêts liés à la conduite des entreprises mondiales. On apprend aux journalistes économiques – et à toutes les personnes préoccupées par la saine gouvernance – à raffiner les investigations et à diffuser les résultats des analyses effectuées.

Je vous recommande fortement de lire le document, mais aussi de le conserver en lieu sûr car il est fort probable que vous aurez l’occasion de vous en servir.

Vous trouverez ci-dessous quelques extraits de l’introduction à la version anglaise de l’ouvrage que j’avais publiée antérieurement.

Who’s Running the Company ? A Guide to Reporting on Corporate Governance


À propos du Guide

English: Paternoster Sauqre at night, 21st May...

« This Guide is designed for reporters and editors who already have some experience covering business and finance. The goal is to help journalists develop stories that examine how a company is governed, and spot events that may have serious consequences for the company’s survival, shareholders and stakeholders. Topics include the media’s role as a watchdog, how the board of directors functions, what constitutes good practice, what financial reports reveal, what role shareholders play and how to track down and use information shedding light on a company’s inner workings. Journalists will learn how to recognize “red flags,” or warning  signs, that indicate whether a company may be violating laws and rules. Tips on reporting and writing guide reporters in developing clear, balanced, fair and convincing stories.

Three recurring features in the Guide help reporters apply “lessons learned” to their own “beats,” or coverage areas:

– Reporter’s Notebook: Advise from successful business journalists

– Story Toolbox:  How and where to find the story ideas

– What Do You Know? Applying the Guide’s lessons

Each chapter helps journalists acquire the knowledge and skills needed to recognize potential stories in the companies they cover, dig out the essential facts, interpret their findings and write clear, compelling stories:

  1. What corporate governance is, and how it can lead to stories. (Chapter 1, What’s good governance, and why should journalists care?)
  2. How understanding the role that the board and its committees play can lead to stories that competitors miss. (Chapter 2, The all-important board of directors)
  3. Shareholders are not only the ultimate stakeholders in public companies, but they often are an excellent source for story ideas. (Chapter 3, All about shareholders)
  4. Understanding how companies are structured helps journalists figure out how the board and management interact and why family-owned and state-owned enterprises (SOEs), may not always operate in the best interests of shareholders and the public. (Chapter 4, Inside family-owned and state-owned enterprises)
  5. Regulatory disclosures can be a rich source of exclusive stories for journalists who know where to look and how to interpret what they see. (Chapter 5, Toeing the line: regulations and disclosure)
  6. Reading financial statements and annual reports — especially the fine print — often leads to journalistic scoops. (Chapter 6, Finding the story behind the numbers)
  7. Developing sources is a key element for reporters covering companies. So is dealing with resistance and pressure from company executives and public relations directors. (Chapter 7, Writing and reporting tips)


Each chapter ends with a section on Sources, which lists background resources pertinent to that chapter’s topics. At the end of the Guide, a Selected Resources section provides useful websites and recommended reading on corporate governance. The Glossary defines terminology used in covering companies and corporate governance ».


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Le rôle de l’audit interne dans l’identification des risques émergents *

Denis Lefort, CPA, expert-conseil en Gouvernance, audit et contrôle, porte à ma connaissance un document de la firme Thomson Reuters (White Paper) très intéressant sur le rôle de l’audit interne dans l’identification des risques émergents.


Key elements of emerging risks

Reinsurance company Swiss Re defines emerging risks as “newly developing or changing risks which are difficult to quantify and which may have a major impact on the organisation.” This identifies their key elements.

Emerging risks may be entirely new, such as those posed by social media or technological innovation. Or they may come from existing risks that evolve or escalate – for example, the way counterparty credit risk or liquidity risk sky-rocketed during the 2008 financial crisis.

Newly developing risks lack precedent or history, and their precise form may not be immediately clear, which makes them difficult to measure or model. Changing risks are at least familiar in their shape and nature, although the rate of transformation and intensity can make them hard to quantify.

The final key element of emerging risks is their potential impact. New or changing risks can be as menacing as those the organisation deals with on a daily basis, and sometimes even more so. To give just one example, the way in which the music business failed to address the implications of digital downloads allowed a complete outsider, the computer company Apple, to step in and define and dominate the new market.

Emerging risks also threaten through their apparent remoteness or their obscurity. US Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld distinguished between things we know we do not know (‘known unknowns’), and things we do not know we do not know (‘unknown unknowns’). In the first category are risks whose shape might be familiar, but where we do not necessarily understand all of their elements – causes, potential impact, probability or timing. Unknown unknowns are events that are so out of left field or seemingly farfetchedthat it takes great insight or a leap of the imagination to even articulate them. These include the ‘black swan’ events highlighted by the investor-philosopher Nassim Nicholas Taleb, where the human tendency is to dismiss them as improbable beforehand, then rationalise them after they occur. The 9/11 terrorist attack, or the financial crash of 2008, or the invention of the internet show that not only do black swan events happen, but they do so more frequently than is generally recognised, and they have an historically significant impact (and not always negative).

Many emerging risks are characterised by their global nature, their scale or their longer-term horizon – climate change is an example that displays all of these elements. In other cases, it is less the individual events themselves, some of which may be relatively moderate or manageable on their own, as the conflation of circumstances that creates a ‘perfect storm’.

Vous pouvez aussi consulter l’enquête de Thomson Reuters Accelus Survey on Internal Audit dont nous avons parlé dans notre billet du 7 juin.

New duties on horizon for internal auditors

“The clear message from the survey is that internal audit functions need to stop thinking about themselves as compliance specialists and start taking on a much larger, more strategic role within the organization,” Ernst & Young LLP internal audit leader Brian Schwartz said in a news release. “IA is increasingly being asked by senior management and the board to provide broader business insights and better anticipate traditional and emerging risks, even as they maintain their focus on non-negotiable compliance activities.”

New risks

As strategic opportunities emerge, internal auditors also are adjusting to new compliance duties, according to the survey. Globalization has resulted in increased revenue from emerging markets for many companies, so new regulatory, cultural, tax, and talent risks are emerging.

Thomson Reuters Messenger
Thomson Reuters Messenger (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Internal audit will play a more prominent role in evaluating these risks, according to the survey report. Although slightly more than one-fourth (27%) of respondents are heavily involved in identifying, assessing, and monitoring emerging risks now, 54% expect to be heavily involved in the next two years.

The biggest primary risks that respondents said their organizations are tracking are:

  1. Economic stability (54%).
  2. Cybersecurity (52%).
  3. Major shifts in technology (48%).
  4. Strategic transactions in global locations (44%).
  5. Data privacy regulations (39%).

Survey respondents said the skills most often found to be lacking in internal audit functions are:

  1. Data analytics;
  2. Business strategy;
  3. Deep industry experience;
  4. Risk management; and
  5. Fraud prevention and detection.

“As corporate leaders demand a greater measure of strategy and insight from their internal audit functions, CAEs will need to move quickly to close competency gaps and ensure that they have the right people in the right place, at the right time.” Schwartz said. “If they fail to meet organizational expectations, they risk being left behind or consigned to more transactional compliance activities.”


* En reprise

Keeping Internal Auditors Up to the Challenge (forbes.com)

Internal Audit Has To STOP Focusing On Internal Controls (business2community.com)

Changement important dans la relation auditeur externe/interne | Financial Reporting Council (FRC) (jacquesgrisegouvernance.com)

Useful Internal Auditing in 4 Easy Steps (isocertificationaustralia.com)

Thomson Reuters Develops Accelus Governance, Risk and Compliance Platform (risk-technology.typepad.com)

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Pourquoi séparer les fonctions de président du conseil (PCA) et de président et chef de la direction (PDG) ? *

Très bonnes réflexions d’Yvan Allaire sur le dogme de la séparation des rôles entre PCA et PDG. À lire sur le blogue Les Affaires .com.

Rien à rajouter à ce billet de l’expert en gouvernance qui , comme moi, cherche des réponses à plusieurs théories sur la gouvernance.

Plus de recherches dans le domaine de la gouvernance serait grandement indiquées… Le CAS et la FSA de l’Université Laval mettront sur pied un programme de recherche dont le but est de répondre à ce type de questionnement.


Pourquoi séparer les fonctions de président du conseil (PCA) et de président et chef de la direction (PDG) ?

« Parmi les dogmes de la bonne gouvernance, la séparation des rôles du PCA et du PDG vient au deuxième rang immédiatement derrière « l’indépendance absolue et inviolable » de la majorité des administrateurs. …

Yvan Allaire - World Economic Forum Annual Mee...
Yvan Allaire – World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2010 Davos (Photo credit: World Economic Forum)

Bien que les études empiriques aient grande difficulté à démontrer de façon irréfutable la valeur de ces deux dogmes, ceux-ci sont, semble-t-il, incontournables. Dans le cas de la séparation des rôles, le sujet a pris une certaine importance récemment chez Research in Motion ainsi que chez Air Transat. Le compromis d’un administrateur en chef (lead director) pour compenser pour le fait que le PCA et le PDG soit la même personne ne satisfait plus; le dogme demande que le président du conseil soit indépendant de la direction ».


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Une formation en gouvernance pour les nouveaux administrateurs | Un prérequis ? *

La formation en gouvernance est de plus en plus un préalable à l’exercice du rôle d’administrateur de sociétés. L’article retenu montre que l’apprentissage sur le tas est en voie de disparition dans les conseils d’administration de grandes sociétés. La formation préparatoire peut prendre différentes formes : training sur mesure, coaching, séminaires, etc.

Cependant, il semble de plus en plus évident que les programme de formation en gouvernance (tels que IoD, C.dir., ASC, IAS) menant à une certification reconnue, constituent la voie à suivre dans le futur.

L’article de Hannah Prevett, paru dans le Sunday Times, montre que les formations organisées sont de meilleurs endroits pour un apprentissage de qualité que les tables de conseils d’administration… Bonne lecture !

Diplômés ASC du Collège des administrateurs de sociétés 2012

A head start for novices

The received wisdom is that new directors learn on the job. If they are not  equipped with the necessary skills when they accept their first board  appointment, they will need to be quick on the uptake.

Not any more: the tidal wave of new governance requirements means it is not  good enough to acquire expertise over time. And, as a result, many  prospective boardroom stars are seeking training to help them do the job  they’re paid to do from day one. When Alan Kay learnt he was to join the executive board of Costain in 2003, he  immediately began considering how to prepare for his new role at the  engineering and construction group.

“A lot of people haven’t really thought about how to prepare for a board role.  [They think] it’s something that happens naturally: you get on the board and  then you think, I’m going to learn on the job,” said Kay, who is Costain’s  technical and operations director. “But once you’re appointed, becoming  competent and learning as you go takes several months, which is not ideal.”

He researched training options for new board members and came across the  Institute of Directors’ accredited programmes, including the certificate and  diploma in company direction. The IoD fills 6,000 places on such courses annually with representatives of  both large and small organisations — not all of them young guns, as Roger  Barker, head of corporate governance at the IoD, explained.

“The directors of large organisations were reluctant to undertake any form of  formalised director training. These were typically seasoned former  executives, with extensive experience of serving on boards as chief  executives or chief financial officers. It has been difficult to persuade  such individuals that director training is relevant to them,” said Barker.


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Les critères d’évaluation du rôle d’administrateur de sociétés **

Voici un excellent article publié par Jeffrey Gandz, Mary Crossan, Gerard Seijts et Mark Reno* dans la revue Ivey Business Journal. Les auteurs insistent sur trois critères d’évaluation du rôle d’administrateur de sociétés : (1) compétences, (2) engagement et (3) caractère.

Bien que ces trois critères soient déterminants dans l’exercice du rôle d’administrateur, la dimension la plus difficile à appréhender est le leadership qui se manifeste par le « caractère » d’un administrateur.

Les auteurs décrivent 11 caractéristiques-clés dont il faut tenir compte dans le recrutement, la sélection, l’évaluation et la rotation des administrateurs.

Je vous invite donc à lire cet article. En voici un extrait. Qu’en pensez-vous ?

« When it comes to selecting and assessing CEOs, other C-suite level executives or board members, the most important criteria for boards to consider are competencies, commitment and character. This article focuses on the most difficult of these criteria to assess – leadership character – and suggests the eleven key dimensions of character that directors should consider in their governance roles ».

Leadership character and corporate governance

Competencies, commitment and character

Competencies matter. They define what a person is capable of doing; in our assessments of leaders we look for intellect as well as organizational, business, people and strategic competencies. Commitment is critical. It reflects the extent to which individuals aspire to the hard work of leadership, how engaged they are in the role, and how prepared they are to make the sacrifices necessary to succeed. But above all, character counts. It determines how leaders perceive and analyze the contexts in which they operate. Character determines how they use the competencies they have. It shapes the decisions they make, and how these decisions are implemented and evaluated.

Seasonal Reflection on Ivey Business building
Seasonal Reflection on Ivey Business building (Photo credit: Marc Foster)

Focus on character

Our research has focused on leadership character because it’s the least understood of these three criteria and the most difficult to talk about. Character is foundational for effective decision-making. It influences what information executives seek out and consider, how they interpret it, how they report the information, how they implement board directives, and many other facets of governance.

Within a board, directors require open, robust, and critical but respectful discussions with other directors who have integrity, as well as a willingness to collaborate and the courage to dissent. They must also take the long view while focusing on the shorter-range results, and exercise excellent judgment. All of these behaviors hinge on character.

Our research team at Ivey was made very conscious of the role of character in business leadership and governance when we conducted exploratory and qualitative research on the causes of the 2008 financial meltdown and the subsequent recession. In focus groups and conference-based discussions, where we met with over 300 business leaders on three continents, participants identified character weaknesses or defects as being at the epicenter of the build-up in financial-system leverage over the preceding decade, and the ensuing meltdown. Additionally, the participants identified leadership character strengths as key factors that distinguished the companies that survived or even prospered during the meltdown from those that failed or were badly damaged.

Participants in this research project identified issues with character in both leadership and governance. Among them were:

Overconfidence bordering on arrogance that led to reckless or excessive risk-taking behaviors

Lack of transparency and in some cases lack of integrity

Sheer inattention to critical issues

Lack of accountability for the huge risks associated with astronomical individual rewards

Intemperate and injudicious decision-making

A lack of respect for individuals that actually got in the way of effective team functioning

Hyper-competitiveness among leaders of major financial institutions

Irresponsibility toward shareholders and the societies within which these organizations operated.

These character elements and many others were identified as root or contributory causes of the excessive buildup of leverage in financial markets and the subsequent meltdown. But the comments from the business leaders in our research also raise important questions about leadership character. Among them:

What is character? It’s a term that we use quite often: “He’s a bad character”; “A person of good character”; “A character reference.” But what do we really mean by leadership “character”?

Why is it so difficult to talk about someone’s character? Why do we find it difficult to assess someone’s character with the same degree of comfort we seem to have in assessing their competencies and commitment?

Can character be learned, developed, shaped and molded, or is it something that must be present from birth – or at least from childhood or adolescence? Can it change? What, if anything, can leaders do to help develop good character among their followers and a culture of good character in their organizations?


** En reprise

Strategic Leaders-Challenges, Organizational Abilities & Individual Characteristics (workplacepsychology.net)

How to Succeed As a Leader! (ejims05.wordpress.com)

Character & Leadership (colleensharen.wordpress.com)

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Le rôle du C.A. dans la gestion des risques *

La gestion des risques est une activité-clé qui doit être orchestrée par la direction de l’entreprise. Mais quel doit être le rôle du conseil d’administration en matière de surveillance de l’exécution de cette tâche essentielle ?

Quel est effectivement l’étendu du rôle du conseil dans les grandes sociétés publiques américaines. C’est ce que le document du Conference Board, présenté ici, décrit avec moult détails et d’une manière exceptionnellement bien illustrée.

Je vous invite donc à prendre connaissance de ce texte qui traite des aspects suivants :

Responsabilité pour l’établissement des stratégies
Fréquence des révisions des stratégies
Réunion spéciale de planification stratégique
Adoption d’une approche standardisée telle qu’ERM (Enterprise Risk Management)
Responsabilité pour la surveillance des risques
Fréquence des comptes rendus de la direction au C.A. en matière de risque
Le responsable en chef de la gestion des risques (CRO)
Le comité des risques de l’entreprise

Risk in the Boardroom

Any business is exposed to risks that can threaten its ability to execute its strategy. For this reason, strategy and risk oversight are inherently connected. Today, more than ever, the board of directors is expected to thoroughly assess key business risks and ensure that the enterprise is equipped to mitigate them. This Directors Notes discusses the current corporate practices on risk oversight by directors of U.S. public companies. Findings detail where the board assigns these responsibilities, whether it avails itself of dedicated reporting lines from senior management on risk issues, and the degree to which it adopts a standardized framework on enterprise risk management (ERM).

ERM - Enterprise Risk Management
ERM – Enterprise Risk Management (Photo credit: Orange Steeler)

Given the correlation between risk and strategy, data on the frequency and forms of strategic reviews is also presented. The findings are from the most recent edition of the Board Practices Survey, which The Conference Board conducts annually in collaboration with NASDAQ OMX and NYSE Euronext (see “The Board Practices Survey” on p. 5). The Dodd-Frank Act mandates that financial institutions strengthen their risk oversight by establishing a dedicated risk committee of the board of directors.

In addition, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rules require all public companies to disclose the extent of their board’s role in overseeing the organization’s risk exposure, including how the board administers its risk oversight function and how the leadership structure accommodates such a role.

Finally, in October 2009, the SEC reversed a policy under which shareholder proposals relating to the evaluation of risk could be excluded from a company’s proxy materials as related to the company’s ordinary day-to-day business activities. Collectively, these developments are a nod in the direction of addressing the risk oversight failures that played so prominently in the 2008 financial crisis. Most important, they are expected to increase scrutiny of risk management programs and their endorsement and close supervision by senior leaders of corporations.


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Les spécificités de la gouvernance des entreprises familiales *

Vous trouverez, ci-dessous, un extrait de l’excellent billet publié par Hélène Solignac, associée de Rivoli Consulting en charge de l’activité Gouvernance d’entreprise (France). L’auteure présente les résultats d’une étude conduite par HEC, Polytechnique et le BCG auprès d’une cinquantaine de grandes entreprises françaises.

Il me semble que les constats dégagés sont tout à fait transposables aux entreprises québécoises; la gouvernance des entreprises familiales et des PME est plus complexe que l’on est porté à croire ! Le Collège des administrateurs de sociétés (CAS) de l’Université Laval a d’ailleurs mis sur pied une formation intensive de deux jours sur la Gouvernance des PME.

La stratégie du propriétaire

Les chercheurs ont cherché à « mettre en évidence les facteurs-clés transposables à des entreprises non familiales, en particulier, la priorité donnée au long terme et à la pérennité de l’entreprise, le rôle central des valeurs, conjuguées avec la capacité à innover et à explorer de nouvelles opportunités sont des caractéristiques largement partagées par les entreprises familiales. Les valeurs très fortes qui trouvent leur origine dans la famille et son histoire, sont incarnées par les dirigeants familiaux et intériorisées par tous les membres de l’entreprise. Elles fondent une vision long terme partagée, mais aussi un système d’obligations et d’attentes réciproques.

Vase art nouveau (Bourg-la-Reine)
Vase art nouveau (Bourg-la-Reine) (Photo credit: dalbera)

Bien sûr, l’entreprise familiale n’est pas un modèle en soi : les exemples sont nombreux de successions et de transmissions mal gérées, d’isolement de dirigeants autoritaires ou de dissensions familiales préjudiciables à l’entreprise. Les risques liés à une gouvernance mal organisée et au non respect des actionnaires minoritaires, à des héritiers peu préparés, à une trop forte résistance au changement ne sont pas toujours bien analysés.

Néanmoins, à l’heure de la “corporate governance”, où la gestion des managers professionnels est critiquée pour sa vision court-termiste, la recherche de profits immédiats, les risques excessifs et non maîtrisés – comme les échecs d’opérations de croissance externe du fait de l’attention insuffisante portée à l’intégration – ; où l’on déplore le manque d’éthique, la perte de sens au travail, la promotion de individualisme au détriment de la recherche de coopération, ces pistes de réflexion sont les bienvenues ».


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L’utilisation des huis clos lors des sessions de C.A. *

Voici un article intéressant de Matthew Scott sur le site de Corporate Secretary qui aborde un sujet qui préoccupe beaucoup de hauts dirigeants : le huis clos lors des sessions du conseil d’administration ou de certains comités. L’auteur explique très bien la nature et la nécessité de cette activité à inscrire à l’ordre du jour du conseil.

Compte tenu de la « réticence » de plusieurs hauts dirigeants à la tenue de cette activité, il est généralement reconnu que cet item devrait toujours être présent à l’ordre du jour afin d’éliminer certaines susceptibilités.

Le huis clos est un temps privilégié que les administrateurs indépendants se donnent pour se questionner sur l’efficacité du conseil et la possibilité d’améliorer la dynamique interne; mais c’est surtout une occasion pour les membres de discuter librement, sans la présence des gestionnaires, de sujets délicats tels que la planification de la relève, la performance des dirigeants, la rémunération globale de la direction, les poursuites légales, les situations de conflits d’intérêts, les arrangements confidentiels, etc. On ne rédige généralement pas de procès-verbal à la suite de cette activité, sauf lorsque les membres croient qu’une résolution doit absolument apparaître au P.V.

La mise en place d’une période de huis clos est une pratique relativement récente, depuis que les conseils d’administration ont réaffirmé leur souveraineté sur la gouvernance des entreprises. Cette activité est maintenant considérée comme une pratique exemplaire de gouvernance et presque toutes les sociétés l’ont adoptée.

Notons que le rôle du président du conseil, en tant que premier responsable de l’établissement de l’agenda, est primordial à cet égard. C’est lui qui doit informer le PCD de la position des membres indépendants à la suite du huis clos, un exercice qui demande du tact !

Je vous invite à lire l’article ci-dessous. Vos commentaires sont les bienvenus.

Are you using in-camera meetings ?

More companies are encouraging candid exchange among independent directors without management present

As corporate boards face more complex and difficult decisions, they may want to consider increasing the use of in-camera meetings to get more ‘realistic’ opinions from directors before moving forward with corporate strategy.

In-camera meetings, as they are called in Canada – or executive sessions, as they are referred to in the US – are special meetings where independent directors or committees of the board convene separately from management to have candid, off-the-record discussions about matters that are important to the company.

English: SOS Meetings Logo
English: SOS Meetings Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The term ‘In camera’ derives from Latin and refers to ‘in a chamber’ which is a legal term meaning ‘in private.’ During these meetings, independent board members are free to challenge each other and speak their mind freely because minutes are generally not taken. Such meetings could be held to discuss and clarify the board’s position on issues that may produce opposing views between management and the board or to deal with issues that could involve conflicts of interest with management, such as CEO compensation.

‘In-camera meetings allow directors to talk about their view of matters without management present,’ says Jo-Anne Archibald, president of DSA Corporate Services. ‘They can talk about anything related to the company and they don’t have to worry about it being written down anywhere.’


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Comment résoudre les conflits potentiels dans les entreprises familiales ? *

Voici un article très intéressant publié par Barney Jordaan dans les publications de Corporate Governance Forum sur l’importance de bien comprendre les enjeux de gouvernance propres aux entreprises familiales.

L’article illustre particulièrement bien le contexte managérial dans lequel les entreprises familiales évoluent. Il y a de nombreux avantages pour une PME à ne pas se soucier de procédures, de règles, de structures, … au début ! Mais un jour ou l’autre, l’entreprise devra faire face à un plus grand besoin de structure et d’organisation et à l’utilisation de mécanismes de règlements de conflits.

L’auteur explique quatre réponses susceptibles d’être envisagées lors de l’émergence de conflits; il propose un processus de médiation adapté aux entreprises familiales dans le règlement des différents.

Également, l’article présente plusieurs mesures préventives concrètes à mettre en place avant que les conflits se manifestent. Enfin, l’auteur présente un cadre conceptuel très utile pour mieux saisir les relations entre (1) la confiance et (2) la formalisation. Les personnes qui œuvrent dans des entreprises familiales comprendront aisément l’analyse de M. Jordaan  !

Vous trouverez, ci-dessous, un extrait des grandes lignes de l’argumentation de l’auteur.

Resolving Differences in Family-Owned Businesses

« Some of the same aspects of family-owned businesses that can give them a competitive advantage are also the factors that contribute to the high levels of destructive conflict that often occur in them. For example, close family ties can contribute to strong bonds of trust and cooperation, but they also can add emotional fuel to the fire when conflicts arise. Barney Jordaan argues that the best cure for these conflicts is prevention—through establishing basic family governance structures and, failing that, dispute resolution processes that are sensitive to the distinctive dynamic and singular needs of a family-owned business.

Small Business Administration Awards Luncheon
Small Business Administration Awards Luncheon (Photo credit: MDGovpics)

Corporate governance is often, and wrongly, regarded as the exclusive domain of large corporations with shares that are traded in global stock exchanges. Perhaps this is because the data of those corporations are public and available for scrutiny by investors, journalists, and academics. However, the need for better governance is even more important for smaller, nonlisted family businesses. Listed companies are as visible as the tip of an iceberg, but below the waterline we find a much larger number of companies, mostly family-controlled. In Brazil, for example, about 400 companies are listed on BM&F Bovespa Stock Exchange, whereas 55,000 medium and large (more than 100 employees) companies are not listed. In the United States, unofficial statistics show that 5.6 million family businesses produce 57 percent of the gross domestic product and employ 63 percent of the workforce. Financially, they outperform listed companies and are a perpetual source of much-needed innovation and entrepreneurship.

Listed companies must comply with an extensive set of laws and regulations and are under permanent supervision. Nonlisted family businesses, by contrast, are less subject to external controls and are notoriously light in their use of bureaucracy, as noted in Barney Jordaan’s paper. Yet they have the same governance needs of listed companies, and a few more needs of their own. One of the biggest strategic advantages a family business can have is its bloodline. Family corporations, when run by a few tightly knit family members, can almost always move far faster than corporate bureaucracies can. In case of conflicts, relationships between family members must be preserved, and judicial solutions must be regarded as a last, not first alternative. On the other hand, the nature of family relationships adds several degrees of complexity to such issues as related-party transactions, employment of family members, private use of company assets, and dividend decisions, just to mention a few. These problems are aggravated by ownership and managerial succession issues as well as by the participation of different generations. Corporate governance conflicts in family businesses often involve corporate and family law. Corporate legal advice will often destroy family relationships, and it is practically impossible for judicial decisions to be constructive in both areas, all of which builds a positive case for nonjudicial approaches. Jordaan describes the financial and nonfinancial consequences of conflicts and typical responses. He makes a strong case for mediation as a cost-saving and relationships-repairing mechanism between family members, either by involving a trained professional mediator in the dispute or by having ongoing involvement of the mediator to facilitate family council meetings ». _____________________________________ * En reprise

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La gouvernance dans tous ses états | Huit (8) articles parus dans Lesaffaires.com

Voici une série de huit articles, publiés le 31 mars 2014 par les experts du Collège des administrateurs de sociétés (CAS) dans le volet Dossier de l’édition Les Affaires.com

Découvrez comment les entreprises et les administrateurs doivent s’adapter afin de tirer profit des meilleures pratiques.

  1. Une bonne gouvernance, c’est aussi pour les PME
  2. Les défis de la gouvernance à l’ère du numérique
  3. La montée de l’activisme des actionnaires en six questions
  4. Gouvernance : 12 tendances à surveiller
  5. Gouvernance : huit principes à respecter
  6. Conseils d’administration : la diversité, mode d’emploi
  7. Les administrateurs doivent-ils développer leurs compétences ?
  8. Vous souhaitez occuper un poste sur un conseil d’administration ?

Vos commentaires sont appréciés. Bonne lecture !

La gouvernance dans tous ses états | Huit articles parus dans Lesaffaires.com



Une bonne gouvernance, c’est aussi pour les PME

Une entrevue avec M. Réjean Dancause, président et directeur général du Groupe Dancause et Associés inc.


Les défis de la gouvernance à l’ère du numérique

Une entrevue avec M. Gilles Bernier, directeur des programmes du Collège des administrateurs de sociétés


La montée de l’activisme des actionnaires en six questions

Une entrevue avec M. Jean Bédard, titulaire de la Chaire de recherche en gouvernance de sociétés, Université Laval


Gouvernance : 12 tendances à surveiller

Une entrevue avec M. Jacques Grisé, auteur du blogue jacquesgrisegouvernance.com


Gouvernance : huit principes à respecter

Une entrevue avec M. Richard Drouin, avocat-conseil, McCarthy Tétrault


Conseils d’administration : la diversité, mode d’emploi

Une entrevue avec Mme Nicolle Forget, administratrice de sociétés


Les administrateurs doivent-ils développer leurs compétences?

Une entrevue avec Mme Louise Champoux-Paillé, administratrice de sociétés et présidente du …


Vous souhaitez occuper un poste sur un conseil d’administration ?

Une entrevue avec M. Richard Joly, président de Leaders et Cie


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La bonne gouvernance selon Munger, vice-président du C.A. de Berkshire *

Aujourd’hui, je vous propose une très intéressante lecture publiée par David F. Larcker et Brian Tayan, de la  Stanford Graduate School of Business qui porte sur la conception que se fait Charles Munger de la bonne gouvernance des sociétés.

Les auteurs nous proposent de répondre à trois questions relatives à la position de Munger, vice-président du conseil de Berkshire :

1. Le système de gouvernance basé sur la confiance avancé par Munger pourrait-il s’appliquer à différents types d’organisations ?

2. Quelles pratiques de gouvernance sont-elles nécessaires et quelles pratiques sont-elles superflues ?

3. Comment s’assurer que la culture organisationnelle survivra à un processus de succession du PCD ?

À la suite de la lecture de l’article ci-dessous, quelles seraient vos réponses à ces questions.

Voici un résumé de la pensée de Munger, suivi d’un court extrait. Bonne lecture !

Charlie Munger

Berkshire Hathaway Vice Chairman Charlie Munger is well known as the partner of CEO Warren Buffett and also for his advocacy of “multi-disciplinary thinking” — the application of fundamental concepts from across various academic disciplines to solve complex real-world problems. One problem that Munger has addressed over the years is the optimal system of corporate governance.
Munger advocates that corporate governance systems become more simple, rather than more complex, and rely on trust rather than compliance to instill ethical behavior in employees and executives. He advocates giving more power to a highly capable and ethical CEO, and taking several steps to improve the culture of the organization to reduce the risk of self-interested behavior.

Corporate Governance According to Charles T. Munger

How should an organization be structured to encourage ethical behavior among organizational participants and motivate decision-making in the best interest of shareholders? His solution is unconventional by the standards of governance today and somewhat at odds with regulatory guidelines. However, the insights that Munger provides represent a contrast to current “best practices” and suggest the potential for alternative solutions to improve corporate performance and executive behavior.

Trust-Based Governance

The need for a governance system is based on the premise that individuals working in a firm are selfinterested and therefore willing to take actions to further their own interest at the expense of the organization’s interests. To discourage this tendency, companies implement a series of carrots (incentives) and sticks (controls). The incentives might be monetary, such as performance-based compensation that aligns the financial interest of executives with shareholders. Or they might be or cultural, such as organizational norms that encourage certain behaviors. The controls include policies and procédures to limit malfeasance and oversight mechanisms to review executive decisions.


* En reprise

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Grands courants de pensées en gouvernance | Propositions de réforme au cours des 60 dernières années *

Je vous propose la lecture d’un essai sur les principaux courants de pensées en gouvernance des sociétés au cours des soixante dernières années. Ce document, écrit par Douglas M. Branson de l’École de Droit de l’Université de Pittsburgh et paru dans le Social Science Research Network (SSRN), représente certainement l’un des points de vue les plus articulés sur la recherche d’une explication valable à la thèse de Berle et Means concernant la séparation de la propriété de celle du contrôle des firmes.

Bien que l’essai soit rédigé dans un style assez provocateur, il est fascinant à lire, pour peu que l’on soit familier avec la langue de Shakespeare et que l’on s’accommode des accents grinçants de l’auteur.

Je recommande fortement la lecture de ce texte à tout étudiant de la gouvernance; c’est un must pour comprendre le champ d’étude !  J’ai obtenu l’autorisation de Douglas Branson pour la traduction de ce document.

Voici les points saillants de l’essai de Branson (en anglais, à ce stade-ci) :


Logo of the American Law Institute.
Logo of the American Law Institute. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
        1. In 1932, Adolph Berle and Gardiner Means documented the widespread dispersion of corporate shareholders, and the atomization of corporate shareholdings. They noted that in the then modern corporation “ownership has become depersonalized”. The result was that a new form of property had come into being. The person who owned the property no longer controlled it, as the farmer who owned the horse had to feed it, teach it pull the plow, and bury it when it died. “In the corporate system, the ‘owner’ of industrial wealth is left with a mere symbol of ownership while the power, the responsibility and the substance which have been an integral part of ownership in the past are being transferred to a separate group in whose hands lies control.” This was the fabled “separation of ownership from control.”
        2. In one of the best known of his books (1956), American Capitalism : The Concept of Countervailing Power, Galbraith rhetorically posed a number of solutions to the problem of unchecked corporate power, including the separation of ownership from control, although he generally did not use the Berle & Means terminology. He did not propose nationalization, as the British had done. Instead, he theorized that, indeed, corporations had grown too large, their shareholders no longer controlled them, competitive market forces no longer constrained them, and the potential for abuse was great. That potential would be checked however by the growth of countervailing power inherent in the growth of labor unions, consumer groups and government agencies. Galbraith pointed to the growth and influence of consumer cooperatives which enjoyed great growth in Scandinavia, at least in the post-War years. Essentially, those newly empowered groups would supply the controls historically owners had provided.
        3. The Corporate Social Responsibility Movement of the Early 70s called for government intervention, as the nationalization movement had, but on discrete fronts rather than on a plenary basis. One scholar urged replacement of the one share one vote standard prevalent in U.S. corporate law with a graduated scale so that with acquisition of addition shares owners, particularly institutional owners who were perceived to be excessively mercenary would receive less and less voting power. A “power to the people” mandate would augment the power of individual owners, who generally held fewer shares but were thought to be more socially conscious. Calls for required installation of public interest directors on publicly held corporations’ boards sometimes included sub-recommendations that legislation also require that the publicly minded be equipped with offices and staffs, at corporate expense. Others proposed requirements for social auditing and for mandatory disclosure of social audit results.
        4. Toward the second half of the 1970s, The Corporate Accountability Research Group, created and promoted by consumer advocate Ralph Nader, gathered evidence, marshaled arguments, and advocated the other, more drastic reform of the 1970s, federal chartering of large corporations. In certain of its incarnations, chartering advocates expanded the proposal’s reach, from the 500 largest enterprises to the 2000 largest U.S. corporations by revenue, to any corporation which did a significant amount of business with the federal government, and to certain categories of companies whose businesses were thought to be infected with the public interest. Whatever the universe of such corporations, these companies would have to re-register with a new federal entity, the Federal Chartering Agency. In addition, these corporations would no longer have perpetual existence as they had under state law. Instead the new federal statute corporations would have only limited life charters, good for, say, 20 or 25 years limited.
        5. A Seismic Shift: the Swift Rise of Law and Economics Jurisprudence of the 1980s. Perhaps only once in a lifetime will one see as pronounced a jurisprudential shift as that from the corporate social responsibility and federal chartering movements to the minimalist, non-invasive take of economics on corporate law and corporate governance. Law and economics pointed to a minimalist corporate jurisprudence the core theory of which was that market forces regulated corporate and managerial behavior much better than regulation, laws, or lawsuits ever could.
        6. An Antidote: The Good Governance Movement. The American Law Institute (ALI) Corporate Governance Project of 1994 constituted an implicit rejection of, and an antidote to, the law and economics movement. Succinctly, the ALI evinced a strong belief that, yes, corporate law does have a role to play. That belief, sometimes characterized as the constitutionalist approach, in contrast to the contractarian approach, underline and buttresses the entire ALI Project. The ALI crafted recommended rules for corporate objectives; structure, including board composition and committee structure; duty of “fair dealing” (duty of loyalty); duty of care and the business judgment rule; roles of directors and shareholders in control transactions and tender offers; and shareholders’remedies, including the derivative action and appraisal remedies.
        7. The Early 1990s: The Emphasis on Institutional Investor Activism. Traditionally, though, institutional investors followed the “Wall Street Rule,” meaning that if they developed an aversion to a portfolio company’s performance or governance, they simply sold the stock rather than becoming embroiled in a corporate governance issue. Institutions voted with their feet. That is, they did so until portfolio positions had become so large that if an institutional investor liquidated even a sizeable portion of the portfolio’s stake in a company, the institution’s sales alone would push down the stock’s price. Thus, in the modern era, institutional investors are faced with more of a buy and hold strategy than they otherwise might prefer. So was born an opening to push for yet another proposed reform which would fill the vacuum created by the separation of ownership from control, namely, institutional activism, or “agents watching agents.” The case for institutional oversight was that because “product, capital, labor, and corporate control constraints on managerial discretion are imperfect, corporate managers need to be watched by someone, and the institutions are the only institutions available.”
        8. The Shift to an Emphasis on “Global” Convergence in Corporate Governance. In the second half of the 90s decade, the governance prognosticators did an abrupt about face, abandoning talk about the prospect of institutional shareholder activism in favor of pontification on the prospect of global convergence. The thesis went something like this. Through the process of globalization the world had become a much smaller place. Through use of media such as email and the Internet, governance advocates in Singapore now knew, or knew how to find out, what was happening on the corporate governance front in the United Kingdom and the United States. According to U.S. academics, the global model of good governance would replicate the U.S. model of corporate governance, of course…
        9. Shift of the Emphasis to the Gatekeepers in 2001. Whatever the U.S. system was, it had a great many defects and it did not do the job for which it had been devised. In addition, of course, no sign existed that the convergence predicted had taken place. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX) heads off in varying directions but a careful reader can discern that one of the legislation’s dominant themes is strengthening gatekeepers as a means of enhancing watchfulness over corporations. Thus, for example, SOX requires public corporations to have audit committees composed of independent directors, one or more of whom must be financial experts. Section 307 imposes whistleblowing duties upon attorneys who uncover wrongdoing. To enhance their independence, SOX requires that accountings firms which audit public companies no longer may provide a long list of lucrative consulting services for audit clients.
        10. Emphasis on Independent Directors and Independent Board Committees. The movement for independent directors gathered steam with the 2002 SOX legislation, which required that SEC reporting companies, that is, most publicly held corporations, have an audit committee comprised exclusively of independent directors. The New York Stock Exchange followed by amendments to its Listing Manual that listed public companies have a majority of directors who are independent, making the 1994 ALI recommendation of good practice into a hard and fast requirement. In 2010, the Dodd-Frank Act jumped on the independent director bandwagon with its requirement that exchanges refuse to list the shares of corporations who disclose they do not have a compensation committee comprised of independent directors. Observers who have written about the issue assume that the Dodd-Frank disclosure requirement is a de facto requirement that corporations have compensation committees, albeit a backhanded sort of requirement.

L’extrait que je vous présente vous donnera une bonne idée de la teneur des propos de Branson. Vous pouvez télécharger le document de 25 pages.

Vos commentaires sont grandement appréciés. Bonne lecture.

Proposals for Corporate Governance Reform: Six Decades of Ineptitude and Counting

This article is a retrospective of corporate governance reforms various academics have authored over the last 60 years or so, by the author of the first U.S. legal treatise on the subject of corporate governance (Douglas M. Branson, Corporate Governance (1993)). The first finding is as to periodicity: even casual inspection reveals that the reformer group which controls the « reform » agenda has authored a new and different reform proposal every five years, with clock-like regularity. The second finding flows from the first, namely, that not one of these proposals has made so much as a dent in the problems that are perceived to exist. The third inquiry is to ask why this is so? Possible answers include the top down nature of scholarship and reform proposals in corporate governance; the closed nature of the group controlling the agenda, confined as it is to 8-10 academics at elite institutions; the lack of any attempt rethink or redefine the challenges which governance may or may not face; and the continued adhesion to the problem as the separation of ownership from control as Adolph Berle and Gardiner Means perceived it more than 80 years ago.


* En reprise


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Douze (12) tendances à surveiller en gouvernance | Jacques Grisé

Vous trouverez ci-dessous un article publié dans Lesaffaires.com le 31 mars 2014.

Dans cet entrevue, le journaliste me demande de faire une synthèse des tendances les plus significatives en gouvernance de sociétés. Bonne lecture !

Gouvernance : 12 tendances à surveiller


Une entrevue avec M. Jacques Grisé, auteur du blogue jacquesgrisegouvernance.com

Si la gouvernance des entreprises a fait beaucoup de chemin depuis quelques années, son évolution se poursuit. Afin d’imaginer la direction qu’elle prendra au cours des prochaines années, nous avons consulté l’expert Jacques Grisé, ancien directeur des programmes du Collège des administrateurs de sociétés, de l’Université Laval. Toujours affilié au Collège, M. Grisé publie depuis plusieurs années le blogue www.jacquesgrisegouvernance.com, un site incontournable pour rester à l’affût des bonnes pratiques et tendances en gouvernance.

Voici les 12 tendances dont il faut suivre l’évolution, selon Jacques Grisé :

1. Les conseils d’administration réaffirmeront leur autorité.

« Auparavant, la gouvernance était une affaire qui concernait davantage le management », explique M. Grisé. La professionnalisation de la fonction d’administrateur amène une modification et un élargissement du rôle et des responsabilités des conseils. Les CA sont de plus en plus sollicités et questionnés au sujet de leurs décisions et de l’entreprise.

2. La formation des administrateurs prendra de l’importance.

À l’avenir, on exigera toujours plus des administrateurs. C’est pourquoi la formation est essentielle et devient même une exigence pour certains organismes. De plus, la formation continue se généralise ; elle devient plus formelle.

3. L’affirmation du droit des actionnaires et celle du rôle du conseil s’imposeront.

Le débat autour du droit des actionnaires par rapport à celui des conseils d’administration devra mener à une compréhension de ces droits conflictuels. Aujourd’hui, les conseils doivent tenir compte des parties prenantes en tout temps.

4. La montée des investisseurs activistes se poursuivra.

L’arrivée de l’activisme apporte une nouvelle dimension au travail des administrateurs. Les investisseurs activistes s’adressent directement aux actionnaires, ce qui mine l’autorité des conseils d’administration. Est-ce bon ou mauvais ? La vision à court terme des activistes peut être néfaste, mais toutes leurs actions ne sont pas négatives, notamment parce qu’ils s’intéressent souvent à des entreprises qui ont besoin d’un redressement sous une forme ou une autre. Pour bien des gens, les fonds activistes sont une façon d’améliorer la gouvernance. Le débat demeure ouvert.

5. La recherche de compétences clés deviendra la norme.

De plus en plus, les organisations chercheront à augmenter la qualité de leur conseil en recrutant des administrateurs aux expertises précises, qui sont des atouts dans certains domaines ou secteurs névralgiques.

6. Les règles de bonne gouvernance vont s’étendre à plus d’entreprises.

Les grands principes de la gouvernance sont les mêmes, peu importe le type d’organisation, de la PME à la société ouverte (ou cotée), en passant par les sociétés d’État, les organismes à but non lucratif et les entreprises familiales.

7. Le rôle du président du conseil sera davantage valorisé.

La tendance veut que deux personnes distinctes occupent les postes de président du conseil et de PDG, au lieu qu’une seule personne cumule les deux, comme c’est encore trop souvent le cas. Un bon conseil a besoin d’un solide leader, indépendant du PDG.

8. La diversité deviendra incontournable.

Même s’il y a un plus grand nombre de femmes au sein des conseils, le déficit est encore énorme. Pourtant, certaines études montrent que les entreprises qui font une place aux femmes au sein de leur conseil sont plus rentables. Et la diversité doit s’étendre à d’autres origines culturelles, à des gens de tous âges et d’horizons divers.

9. Le rôle stratégique du conseil dans l’entreprise s’imposera.

Le temps où les CA ne faisaient qu’approuver les orientations stratégiques définies par la direction est révolu. Désormais, l’élaboration du plan stratégique de l’entreprise doit se faire en collaboration avec le conseil, en profitant de son expertise.

10. La réglementation continuera de se raffermir.

Le resserrement des règles qui encadrent la gouvernance ne fait que commencer. Selon Jacques Grisé, il faut s’attendre à ce que les autorités réglementaires exercent une surveillance accrue partout dans le monde, y compris au Québec, avec l’Autorité des marchés financiers. En conséquence, les conseils doivent se plier aux règles, notamment en ce qui concerne la rémunération et la divulgation. Les responsabilités des comités au sein du conseil prendront de l’importance. Les conseils doivent mettre en place des politiques claires en ce qui concerne la gouvernance.

11. La composition des conseils d’administration s’adaptera aux nouvelles exigences et se transformera.

Les CA seront plus petits, ce qui réduira le rôle prépondérant du comité exécutif, en donnant plus de pouvoir à tous les administrateurs. Ceux-ci seront mieux choisis et formés, plus indépendants, mieux rémunérés et plus redevables de leur gestion aux diverses parties prenantes. Les administrateurs auront davantage de responsabilités et seront plus engagés dans les comités aux fonctions plus stratégiques. Leur responsabilité légale s’élargira en même temps que leurs tâches gagnent en importance. Il faudra donc des membres plus engagés, un conseil plus diversifié, dirigé par un leader plus fort.

12. L’évaluation de la performance des conseils d’administration deviendra la norme.

La tendance est déjà bien ancrée aux États-Unis, où les entreprises engagent souvent des firmes externes pour mener cette évaluation. Certaines choisissent l’autoévaluation. Dans tous les cas, le processus est ouvert et si les résultats restent confidentiels, ils contribuent à l’amélioration de l’efficacité des conseils d’administration.

Vous désirez en savoir plus sur les bonnes pratiques de gouvernance ? Visitez le site du Collège des administrateurs de sociétés et suivez le blogue de Jacques Grisé.

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