Coûts élevés associés à la combinaison des rôles du président du conseil et du président de la société


Andrea Ovans, senior editor du Harvard Business Review, a récemment publié un article d’actualité en gouvernance dans HBR Blog Network. L’auteure fait le point sur les études concernant la séparation des pouvoirs entre le PCD et les PCA.

Sa conclusion est qu’il n’y a pas de différences significatives dans le rendement des firmes, sauf lorsque l’on analyse la situation à long terme. Dans ce cas, la séparation des rôles est favorable (40 % vs 31 %) sur une période de 5 ans. L’auteure conclue que la réalisation de rendements supérieurs à long terme, lorsque les fonctions sont séparées, vient de la situation vécue par des entreprises aux prises avec les carences de leurs PCD (CEO).

Sinon, selon Mme Ovans, les résultats seront les mêmes peu importe le système de gouvernance que les actionnaires adopteront ! C’est évidemment une conclusion qui va à l’encontre des principes de bonne gouvernance. Qu’en pensez-vous ?

Il y a cependant un coût élevé à combiner les deux rôles. Le tableau présenté dans le texte ci-dessous est éloquent !

Bonne lecture !

 

The Cost of Combining the CEO and Chairman Roles

Will Netflix’s shareholders be sorry that they voted to let Reed Hastings carry on as both CEO and chairman? A look through the research on combining and separating out the two roles suggests that, much like most splits in life, the answer is… complicated.

Netflix’s shareholders notwithstanding, most people assume the right answer is to keep the two roles separate, in the interests of diversity of thinking and proper CEO oversight. And that’s how pretty much every research report starts — before going on to explain why it probably isn’t so.

Back in 2006, for instance, in an article in our magazine entitled “Before You Split that CEO/Chair…,” Robert Pozen, chairman (but not CEO) of a Boston-based investment management firm, cited three studies from three different countries (the U.S., the U.K., and Switzerland) which each found no statistically significant difference in terms of stock price or accounting income between companies that split the roles and those that combined them. These findings echoed dozens of previous ones going as far back as 1996.

Harvard Law School Langdell Library in Cambrid...
Harvard Law School Langdell Library in Cambridge, Mass. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yet over the same period, a steady stream of business thinkers and practitioners offered up reasons (if not data) for why splitting the two roles could cause trouble. In 2003, for instance, in “In Defense of the CEO Chair,”Harvard Law’s William Allen and William Berkeley (who was chairman and CEO of the eponymous insurance holding company) argued that doing so would create two armed camps that would interfere with productivity. Two years later, Jay W. Lorsch and Andy Zelleke similarly argued in the Sloan Management Review that splitting the two roles blurs lines of responsibility, distracts both parties, and creates power struggles.

Maybe that’s why the 2012 research from Matthew Semadeni and Ryan Krause at the University of Indiana’s Kelley School was so widely reported as suggesting that the roles should not be split unless the company is doing badly. But a closer look shows the findings have more in common with the “it doesn’t make any difference” camp than the headlines would suggest.

The study looked at three scenarios, all of which involved what happens when a combined CEO/chair is split. In the first, a sitting CEO/chair gives up the CEO role but remains chairman, essentially making the incoming CEO an apprentice. In the second, the incumbent CEO/chair leaves (voluntarily or not), and the positions are filled with two separate people. In the third, a CEO/chair remains CEO but gives up the chair to another (what the researchers referred to as a demotion). In that last circumstance, if the company was in difficulties, the data indicated that splitting the two roles, so that someone could ride herd over a less-than-ideal CEO, made a positive difference. But in the first two cases, once again, the data found no difference in company fortunes. From this, Krause drew a general if-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it conclusion, not because splitting the roles would cause harm but because when a company is doing well, it doesn’t appear to matter which model you follow.

That same year, though, a more obscure study from GovernanceMetrics International, highlighted by the Harvard Law School Forum, approached the question from a different angle, tracking not just the effects but the costs of splitting the two roles.

The 2012 study looked at 180 North American corporations with a market capitalization of $20 billion or more. Given the complexities of running such large businesses, it was thought, differences in cost and performance of different leadership structures would be especially marked.

And differences there were. Surprisingly, combining the two roles cost more than splitting them – much more. Median total compensation (base salary, bonus, incentives, perks, stock, stock options, and retirement benefits) of executives holding both positions was $16 million. That was nearly 60% more than the median combined compensation ($10.6 million) awarded to the two individuals in companies in which the positions were split.  Considering that median income for the chair-only position was just under $500,000, it’s hard not to avoid drawing the conclusion that the order-of-magnitude $5.4 million extra the CEO receives for taking on the additional chairmanship duties is rather a lot. This impression is further strengthened by the fact that the median income for non-independent chairs was $630,930 — more than 50% higher than the $417,910 for independent chairs (making a company run by a separate CEO and independent chair a real bargain).

highcostofacombined

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One might argue that differences in compensation reflect differences in corporate performance, and if that’s the case, it would be a strong argument for combining the two roles. That was so in this study – but only in the short term. Median one-year shareholder returns for companies in which the roles are combined were an impressive 11.65%, compared with a distinctly anemic 2.27% for those in which the roles were separate. Over time, however, performance for the first group lagged and the other improved such that shareholders shelling out for a combined CEO/chair received five-year returns of 31.3% while their counterparts, paying considerably less to both their CEO and chair, were enjoying an even more impressive 39.96% return.

howcompanieswith

 

 

 

 

 

Put all of these finding together, and perhaps the only conclusion one can draw is that the higher long-term returns for companies in which the roles are separate come from struggling companies that take steps to address the inadequacies of their CEOs (or that lower returns in companies where the roles are combined come from allowing a poor CEO too much latitude for too long).

Otherwise, most of the research suggests that Netflix’s fortunes, like most companies, will be what they will be – regardless of whichever governance system the shareholders vote in.

Une subvention de recherche de l’AMF à Ivan Tchotourian


L’Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) a octroyé au professeur Ivan Tchotourian, de la Faculté de droit de l’Université Laval, par le biais du Fonds pour l’éducation et la saine gouvernance (FESG), une subvention de 60 000 dollars pour une durée de deux ans, pour financer son projet de recherche intitulé « Le droit de vote des actionnaires en question ».

Le FESG soutient des projets axés sur la protection et l’éducation des investisseurs, la promotion de la gouvernance et l’amélioration des connaissances, dans tous les domaines liés à la mission de l’Autorité. Il favorise, entre autres, le développement et la transmission des connaissances en matière d’éducation financière et de gouvernance.

Ivan Tchotourian enseigne en droit des sociétés et gouvernance des entreprises. Il codirige par ailleurs le Centre d’études en droit économique et anime le blogue Contact : Droit, entreprise et citoyen.

Le point de vue de Mary Jo White, PDG de la SEC, sur les responsabilités des administrateurs de sociétés


Aujourd’hui, je vous présente les grandes lignes de l’allocution que Mary Jo White, présidente de la US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), a exposé devant les membres du Stanford Directors’ College, le 23 juin 2014.
Après avoir brièvement décrit la structure et les fonctions de la SEC, Mme White a choisi d’aborder trois thèmes très importants pour les administrateurs de sociétés :
(1) Le rôle crucial que les administrateurs de sociétés jouent en tant que gardiens des intérêts des actionnaires;
(2) La divulgation des malversations et la coopération avec les investigations de la SEC;
(3) La description du programme de dénonciation (whistleblower) de la SEC, son fonctionnement et ses relations avec le programme de conformité et de contrôle interne de la firme.
Dans ce billet, je présente le point de vue de la SEC eu égard aux rôles fondamentaux que les administrateurs jouent dans la gouvernance des entreprises. Je crois, que comme moi, vous serez intéressé de savoir ce que pense la présidente du plus puissant organisme de surveillance et de régulation des marchés des capitaux au monde. Bonne lecture !

Directors Are Essential Gatekeepers

Those of you who are directors play a critically important role in overseeing what your company is doing, and by preventing, detecting, and stopping violations of the federal securities laws at your companies, and responding to any problems that do occur. In other words, you are the essential gatekeepers upon whom your investors and, frankly, the SEC rely. We see you as our partners in the effort to ensure that investors in our capital markets can invest with confidence and, hopefully, success.

At the SEC, we typically use the term “gatekeeper” to refer to auditors, lawyers, and others who have professional obligations to spot and prevent potential misconduct. And while there are certainly other gatekeepers who may be closer to some of the action or more familiar with the details of a transaction or a disclosure document, a company’s directors serve as its most important gatekeepers. For by law, it is ultimately the fiduciary responsibility of the board of directors to oversee the business and affairs of a company.

Seal of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commi...
Seal of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In discharging this important responsibility, it is essential for directors to establish expectations for senior management and the company as a whole, and exercise appropriate oversight to ensure that those expectations are met. It is up to directors, along with senior management under the purview of the board, to set the all-important “tone at the top” for the entire company.

Ensuring the right “tone at the top” for a company is a critical responsibility for each director and the board collectively. Setting the standard in the boardroom that good corporate governance and rigorous compliance are essential goes a long way in engendering a strong corporate culture throughout an organization.

How directors can most effectively instill a strong corporate culture and how challenging it is to do so will vary from company to company. CEOs come with a range of experiences and perspectives. Many, including some here in Silicon Valley, are, at heart, innovators whose day job has come to include being the business leader of a public company. As board members, one of the most important duties you have is to select the right CEO for your company and to ensure that he or she “gets it,” in terms of understanding the importance of tone at the top and a strong corporate culture. Deficient corporate cultures are often the cause of the most egregious securities law violations, and directors, both directly and through the oversight of senior management, play a key role in shaping the prevailing attitude and behaviors within a company.

As a former director and member of an audit committee of a public company, I know the heavy responsibilities you bear and the time-consuming work that is required of you. The best advice I can give for being an effective director is to learn and be engaged. As directors, you must understand your company’s business model and the associated risks, its financial condition, its industry and its competitors. You must pay attention to what senior managers say, but also listen for the things they are not saying. You have to know what is going on in your company’s industry, but also the broader market. You need to know what your company’s competitors are doing and what your shareholders are thinking.

At the risk of hearing a collective groan in response, I would also urge you to consider another outside view that would also be useful to you as a director—the view of your regulators. Listen to what they say publicly is important to them, what is problematic to them. Talk to them. Perhaps visit them. I know of an audit committee chair who visits all of his company’s major regulators once a year, including the international regulators. You may get an earful from time-to-time, but it will be invaluable input for you as a director.

To state the obvious, you must ask the difficult questions, particularly if you see something suspicious or problematic, or, simply, when you do not understand. You should never hesitate to ask more questions, and, always, insist on answers when questions arise. It also goes without saying that you should never ignore red flags. It is your job to be knowledgeable about issues, to be vigilant in protecting against wrongdoing, and to tackle difficult issues head on.

Chair Mary Jo White
Chair Mary Jo White (Photo credit: Securities and Exchange Commission)

Of course, it is always important for you to know what your shareholders—the owners of your company—are thinking. As most boards today recognize, an open and constructive dialogue with shareholders is not only the right thing to do, but also very helpful in providing perspective on the challenges a company is facing. Many institutional shareholders have unique insights on industry dynamics, competitive challenges and how macroeconomic events are shaping the environment for your company. But it is important not to forget about your other shareholders. There is real value in listening to their views and their voice, as well.

Look thoughtfully at the proposals shareholders are submitting to your company. Ask your management team about them and about the proposals that other companies are receiving that could be relevant to your company. Look at the voting results at shareholder meetings—the percentage of votes for a shareholder– supported resolution or against a management–supported resolution are important, irrespective of whether the resolution is approved, or not.

Ethics and honesty can become core corporate values when directors and senior executives embrace them. This includes establishing strong corporate compliance programs focused on regular training of employees, effective and accessible codes of conduct, and procedures that ensure complaints are thoroughly and fairly investigated. And, it must be obvious to all in your organization that the board and senior management highly value and respect the company’s legal and compliance functions. Creating a robust compliance culture also means rewarding employees who do the right thing and ensuring that no one at the company is considered above the law. Ignoring the misconduct of a high performer or a key executive will not cut it. Compliance simply must be an enterprise-wide effort.

Les PCD (PDG) d’OBNL ne sont pas « tout puissant » !


Voici un autre article intéressant d’Eugene Fram sur son blogue Nonprofit Management. Le PCD (CEO) d’un OBNL doit avoir beaucoup de pouvoir mais ne doit pas se comporter en « matamore » mais plutôt en partenaire du conseil d’administration.

Le C.A. constitue, bien sûr, l’autorité suprême de l’OBNL, mais on constate souvent que l’on doive laisser beaucoup d’initiatives au PCD compte tenu de la situation particulière de plusieurs organisations à but non lucratif.

Voici un court extrait de l’article que je vous invite à lire afin de mieux saisir les nuances en gouvernance de ce type d’organisation.

 

Nonprofit CEO: Board Peer – Not A Powerhouse

Some nonprofit CEOs make a fetish out of describing their boards and/or board chairs as their “bosses.” Others, for example, can see the description, as a parent-child relationship by funders. The parent, the board, may be strong, but can the child, the CEO, implement a grant or donation? Some CEOs openly like to perpetuate this type of relationship because when bad decisions come to roost, they can use the old refrain: the board made me do it.

The Networked Nonprofit
The Networked Nonprofit (Photo credit: HowardLake)

My preference is that the board-CEO relationship be a partnershipamong peers focusing on achieving desired outcomes and impacts for the nonprofit. (I, with others, would make and have made CEOs, who deserve the position, voting members of their boards!)

 

La présidence du conseil d’administration (PCA) | Une fonction essentielle au succès des organisations


J’ai répertorié un article d’Andrew Saunders paru dans Management Today en juin 2014 qui décrit toute l’importance du rôle de leader du président du conseil d’administration (PCA).

Selon l’auteur, les fonctions du PCA sont de plus en plus reconnues, au point où il est souvent plus facile de trouver un PDG qu’un grand leader du conseil. L’article présente la fonction de PCA comme consubstantiel au succès de l’entreprise et montre les caractéristiques-clés de ces grands leaders.

J’ai souvent fait référence à l’importance accrue des présidents de conseil dans mes billets précédents. Cet article va plus loin, et plus en détail, sur ce qui fait le succès d’un bon patron du conseil.

Voici un extrait de cet excellent article que je vous invite à lire.

« The chief executive may get the glory and the salary, but leading the board is an increasingly important role, requiring subtlety, maturity and an iron grip on the agenda »

 

The importance of being a chairman

 

By contrast, the chairman’s role is less obvious and much less well understood. The task of running the board rather than running the company can appear limited and process-heavy, a lot of dull admin to be tackled while the CEO has all the fun.

But there is much more to it than that: a good chairman is at least as important for the long-term prosperity of a business as a good CEO, and often harder to find. How different might the outcome at Manchester United have been if veteran manager Sir Alex Ferguson had not been allowed to pick his own successor?

A strong chairman should influence the decision-making process, if not always its outcome, greatly for the better. And yet, by comparison with the wide-ranging executive authority enjoyed by the CEO, the chairman’s powers are distinctly limited.

‘As chairman you only really have absolute control of two things,’ says Roger Parry, the chairman of MSQ Partners and a former chairman of Johnston Press and Future Publishing, among others. ‘Firstly, you have (or should have) a lot of influence over hire and fire – you pretty much get to decide who is on the board.

‘And the second crucial thing is that, in the board meeting, you can control what is discussed and for how long. Not only the agenda itself, but the amount of time to be spent on each item. A good deal of the agenda is fixed – you have to discuss health and safety, performance against budget, remuneration and so on – but the weight of emphasis can be shifted by the chairman.’

 

GOOD CHAIRMEN

 

Do

Pick NEDs who are sufficiently diverse and strong-minded to challenge the executive directors.

Maintain a five-year perspective. The executive directors are focused on this year, the senior managers on this month. Your job is to take a longer view.

Support chief execs as best you can, know their personal circumstances, priorities and how long they want to stay.

Put your network and wider business experience at the disposal of the board.

Don’t

Dole out non-exec jobs to your old mates.

Get too chummy with CEOs: if you go on family holidays together, it will be much harder to sack them if and when the time comes.

Pull rank on a director in front of their boardroom colleagues.

Ever let the words: ‘This is how we did it when I was the chief executive …’ pass your lips in a board meeting.

Gouvernance des OBNL | Questions que les administrateurs devraient se poser


Ce document phare, publié en juin 2014 par CPA Canada*, sous la plume de Don Taylor, est un outil précieux, voire indispensable, pour tout administrateur d’OBNL. Les administrateurs de sociétés sont exposés à un cadre conceptuel vraiment révélateur eu égard à la mise en œuvre de l’organisation ou au raffinement de la gouvernance d’un organisme à but non lucratif.

On y trouvera également un recueil des principales questions que les administrateurs d’OBNL doivent se poser en siégeant sur ces conseils.

Si vous êtes impliqué (engagé) dans la gouvernance d’un OBNL, je suis persuadé que cette publication est pour vous. Bonne lecture !|

 

Gouvernance des organismes sans but lucratif | Questions que les administrateurs devraient se poser

Le Conseil sur la surveillance des risques et la gouvernance des Comptables professionnels agréés du Canada (CPA Canada) a préparé le présent guide afin d’aider les administrateurs d’organismes sans but lucratif (OSBL) à s’assurer qu’un bon cadre de gouvernance est en place, de manière à favoriser la productivité, la reddition de comptes et le succès de ces organismes dans la réalisation de leur mission.

English: CPA Global Logo
English: CPA Global Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Voici les principales étapes qui seront abordées pour guider les administrateurs d’OSBL dans l’élaboration ou la mise au point d’un tel cadre :

• compréhension des exigences et du contexte législatifs;

• conception du cadre de gouvernance;

• mise en œuvre du cadre de gouvernance;

• établissement d’une saine dynamique au sein du conseil;

• suivi, apprentissage et amélioration sur une base continue.

Le guide propose également des questions que les administrateurs peuvent poser pour savoir si le cadre de gouvernance et les processus connexes de l’OSBL sont efficaces et adaptés aux besoins particuliers de celui-ci. Nous encourageons aussi les administrateurs à formuler d’autres questions selon la situation particulière de l’OSBL en question.

____________________________________

* ©2014 CPA Canada. Le lien vers Gouvernance des organismes sans but lucratif | Questions que les administrateurs devraient se poser est utilisé avec la permission des Comptables professionnels agréés du Canada. Sa reproduction ou sa distribution, de quelque façon que ce soit, constitue une violation du droit d’auteur des Comptables professionnels agréés du Canada et est strictement interdite.

 

Let’s talk : Governance | EY Center for Board Matters


Voici un document intéressant d’Ernst & Young (EY) qui identifie les priorités majeures en gouvernance pour les investisseurs en 2014.

Voici un extrait du document. Bonne lecture.

Let’s talk : Governance | EY Center for Board Matters

« An emerging dynamic of the 2014 proxy season is the move toward a greater focus on board effectiveness. Investors—through direct engagement, letters to boards and shareholder proposals—are increasingly communicating their expectations around governance and for companies to more clearly explain their governance decisions and approach on key issues. These developments are raising the importance for companies to have proxy disclosures that tell a clear governance story and to have company-investor dialogues that are ongoing and constructive. Examining this evolving landscape, EY’s Center for Board Matters released a new report – 2014 Proxy season preview: Boards face shifting investor priorities and expectations – to provide boards and those who support them with timely, data-rich analysis of the areas of investor focus going into the proxy season.

“There’s a new paradigm in company-investor engagement in that it’s no longer reserved for times of crisis, and in some cases directors are increasingly playing a role. Companies are recognizing that a, constructive approach to engagement, particularly with long-term investors, can build trust and investor support,” said Allie Rutherford, Director of Corporate Governance in the EY Center for Board Matters.

Key governance priorities for investors this year include:

  1. Board composition and renewal: Investors are highlighting board composition and renewal as a priority in 2014, saying they want to know that the right people – those with qualification aligned with the company’s strategic goals, stakeholders and risk oversight needs – are in the boardroom. Investors are increasingly raising these topics in discussions with companies.

    English: Ernst & Young board close to Time Squ...
    English: Ernst & Young board close to Time Square in New York (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
  2. Board structure and accountability: Investors list board structure and accountability as a priority and these investors are continuing to push for the annual election of all directors under a majority vote standard. Some investors are also looking to see that a board has a strong independent chair or lead director with clearly defined, robust responsibilities.
  3. Sustainability: Investors also include environmental and social topics as a key priority. Combined, these topics continue to represent the largest number of shareholder proposals submitted. Investors are focused on environmental sustainability and human rights and labor conditions, including across a company’s global supply chain. Shareholder requests for enhanced disclosure, monitoring and management of these sustainability related risks are growing.
  4. Executive compensation: More than 2400 companies with annual say-on-pay (SOP) votes will continue to gauge investor support for their compensation policies and practices, and 2014 will mark the second SOP vote for companies that elected triennial frequencies. Some shareholders also are submitting proposals targeting specific pay practices, such as to limit the accelerated vesting of equity awards and to adopt or enhance executive clawback policies, including asking for disclosure of when decisions to claw back pay have been made.
  5. Political and lobbying spending and oversight: A number of investors continue to prioritize requests for enhanced transparency and oversight around a company’s political and lobbying expenditures in the absence of SEC rulemaking on this topic. This year, shareholder proposal seeking board oversight and disclosure of political and lobbying expenditures are the most common in terms of numbers, with more than 120 submitted to companies across a wide range of size and industry ».

Quel est le profil d’administrateurs recherchés par les OBNL ?


Philippe MASSÉ, agent de développement de l’organisation Leadership Montréal  | Conférence régionale des élus de Montréal, m’a récemment fait parvenir les résultats d’une étude réalisée sur les profils d’administrateurs recherchés par les OBNL de la région de Montréal.

Vous trouverez, ci-dessous, l’introduction au document en guise de mise en contexte.

Bonne lecture. Vos commentaires sont les bienvenus.

PROFILS D’ADMINISTRATEURS RECHERCHÉS PAR LES OBNL

 

Du 21 janvier au 7 février 2014, la Conférence régionale des élus (CRÉ) de Montréal et certains de ses partenaires ont invité des représentants d’organisations à but non lucratif (OBNL) à compléter un questionnaire relatif aux profils d’administrateurs recherchés par leur conseil d’administration. Cette démarche a été réalisée dans le cadre de l’initiative Leadership Montréal.  Centraide du Grand Montréal, le Conseil des arts de Montréal et le Comité d’économie sociale de l’île de Montréal (CÉSÎM) ont participé à l’exercice et ont invité leurs membres et partenaires à répondre au questionnaire.

Montreal shining
Montreal shining (Photo credit: Clément Belleudy)

Au total, 336 personnes ont répondu au questionnaire. De ce nombre, 264 l’ont complété, soit 78,6 % des répondants. Les données présentées dans ce document ne tiennent compte que des réponses fournies par ces 264 répondants. La démarche effectuée n’est pas scientifique et les réponses obtenues ne constituent pas un échantillon représentatif des OBNL de la région montréalaise. L’utilisation et l’interprétation des résultats doivent donc se faire avec la plus grande réserve. Les pourcentages indiqués reflètent le point de vue des répondants et ne représentent nullement l’ensemble des OBNL.

Vous trouverez ici une synthèse des réponses recueillies ainsi que quelques pistes de réflexion sur les enjeux de la relève au sein des conseils d’administration (C. A.) de la région de Montréal. Ce document compte 5 sections :

(1) Profils des organisations répondantes

(2) Profils des administrateurs recherchés

(3) Relève au conseil d’administration

(4) Attentes face aux administrateurs

(5) Accueil des nouveaux membres et reconnaissance de la contribution des administrateurs.

 

La gouvernance, les cyber risques et la reponsabilité du C.A.


Voici la présentation de M. Luis A. Aguilar, commissaire à la Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Le billet paru dans Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance sonne l’alarme en ce qui regarde les menaces posées par les cyber attaques et les rôles et responsabilités des conseils d’administration à cet égard.
C’est un article qui met en perspective les besoins d’un changement significatif dans le focus de la gouvernance des entreprises.
Ci-dessous, un extrait de l’introduction à cet article, Bonne lecture !

I am pleased to be here and to have the opportunity to speak about cyber-risks and the boardroom, a topic that is both timely and extremely important. Over just a relatively short period of time, cybersecurity has become a top concern of American companies, financial institutions, law enforcement, and many regulators. I suspect that not too long ago, we would have been hard-pressed to find many individuals who had even heard of cybersecurity, let alone known what it meant. Yet, in the past few years, there can be no doubt that the focus on this issue has dramatically increased.

 

Boards of Directors, Corporate Governance and Cyber-Risks | Sharpening the Focus

 

Cybersecurity has become an important topic in both the private and public sectors, and for good reason. Law enforcement and financial regulators have stated publicly that cyber-attacks are becoming both more frequent and more sophisticated. Indeed, according to one survey, U.S. companies experienced a 42% increase between 2011 and 2012 in the number of successful cyber-attacks they experienced per week. As I am sure you have heard, recently there have also been a series of well-publicized cyber-attacks that have generated considerable media attention and raised public awareness of this issue. A few of the more well-known examples include:

The October 2013 cyber-attack on the software company Adobe Systems, Inc., in which data from more than 38 million customer accounts was obtained improperly;

The December 2013 cyber-attack on Target Corporation, in which the payment card data of approximately 40 million Target customers and the personal data of up to 70 million Target customers was accessed without authorization;

The January 2014 cyber-attack on Snapchat, a mobile messaging service, in which a reported 4.6 million user names and phone numbers were exposed;

The sustained and repeated cyber-attacks against several large U.S. banks, in which their public websites have been knocked offline for hours at a time; and

The numerous cyber-attacks on the infrastructure underlying the capital markets, including quite a few on securities exchanges.

Official portrait of Securities and Exchange C...
Official portrait of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Commissioner Luis A. Aguilar. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In addition to becoming more frequent, there are reports indicating that cyber-attacks have become increasingly costly to companies that are attacked. According to one 2013 survey, the average annualized cost of cyber-crime to a sample of U.S. companies was $11.6 million per year, representing a 78% increase since 2009. In addition, the aftermath of the 2013 Target data breach demonstrates that the impact of cyber-attacks may extend far beyond the direct costs associated with the immediate response to an attack. Beyond the unacceptable damage to consumers, these secondary effects include reputational harm that significantly affects a company’s bottom line. In sum, the capital markets and their critical participants, including public companies, are under a continuous and serious threat of cyber-attack, and this threat cannot be ignored.

As an SEC Commissioner, the threats are a particular concern because of the widespread and severe impact that cyber-attacks could have on the integrity of the capital markets infrastructure and on public companies and investors. The concern is not new. For example, in 2011, staff in the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance issued guidance to public companies regarding their disclosure obligations with respect to cybersecurity risks and cyber-incidents. More recently, because of the escalation of cyber-attacks, I helped organize the Commission’s March 26, 2014 roundtable to discuss the cyber-risks facing public companies and critical market participants like exchanges, broker-dealers, and transfer agents.

Today, I would like to focus my remarks on what boards of directors can, and should, do to ensure that their organizations are appropriately considering and addressing cyber-risks. Effective board oversight of management’s efforts to address these issues is critical to preventing and effectively responding to successful cyber-attacks and, ultimately, to protecting companies and their consumers, as well as protecting investors and the integrity of the capital markets.

Comment aborder l’enjeu le plus délicat des C.A. | La relève des PCD (CEO)


Comment, en tant que fiduciaires et stratèges, les membres des conseils d’administration doivent-il aborder l’enjeu le plus critique de la gouvernance : La relève du président et chef de la direction PCD (CEO). C’est un sujet difficile et délicat, un sujet qui requiert toute l’attention des administrateurs, notamment de son comité des ressources humaines.

L’article dont il est question dans ce billet est basé sur les résultats du Global Strategic Leadership Forum qui s’est tenu à Atlanta en 2013 et qui a paru dans le Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance.

Vous trouverez un extrait ci-dessous. Bonne lecture !

Board Challenges: The Question of CEO Succession

 

The World Affairs Council of Atlanta’s 2013 Global Strategic Leadership Forum focused on a critical issue facing boards of directors: CEO succession. As arguably its most crucial responsibility, the board’s process for hiring and developing CEOs must be an extraordinarily thorough one that addresses the complexities of the modern global company. While there is no exact template that fits all circumstances, the board must ensure that its processes and oversight accurately reflects the organization’s future needs, identifies the skills and experience required in today’s complex global economy, and builds and closely monitors a truly robust succession plan.

The critical questions include the following: How can the board best identify what the company most needs and match a candidate to meet those needs? Who among the CEO candidates is most capable of driving the company to greater growth and performance? What are the necessary attributes, contextual experience, and values that will drive effective, positive change in the company and in the industry? Of course, a company’s specific position in its industry and its own history are important distinctions that will impact the answers to these questions. All of these topics must be viewed in the context of the escalating risk factors and competitive forces facing all companies not only in the United States, but in other countries around the world, especially in emerging market countries.

215 px
215 px (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The responsibility of the board with respect to CEO succession is a part of the board’s increasing engagement in corporate strategic decision-making and broad operational focus. Because CEO selection and monitoring is carried out in the context of the company’s risk position in all its markets, the board and the CEO should be in full agreement as to the risk appetite of the company, where the company is heading, and how it plans to get there—understood in terms of the short, medium, and long-term strategic horizon.

The Process of CEO Succession is Ongoing

While the search and selection of a new corporate leader is a major event in a company’s life, in fact the CEO succession process is not a time-limited event. Rather, it must be an ongoing process of development and discernment that is constant and systematic, driven by the company’s strategy and core values, and involving the intentional engagement of all of the board members. As boards are becoming increasingly engaged in forming the strategic trajectory of the company, they also are coupling this focus on a longer-range view of CEO succession. Connecting these two principal board duties influences the defining of CEO attributes that will support the implementation of the long-range strategy. The CEO succession process must be seen as an integral part of the broader leadership and talent identification, development, and monitoring system within the organization. Although the board’s legal responsibility resides in selecting and overseeing the work of the CEO, it has an implied responsibility to ensure that a management development system provides a clear way to identify and nurture potential corporate leaders, including a pool of potential CEO candidates. While an outside search for a CEO is also a proven pathway for CEO selection in certain circumstances, the majority of new CEOs emerge from inside the company and, hence, should come out of an established leadership development program….

 

The Inside/Outside Choice

The company’s current strategic position almost surely will influence the board’s decision on whether to seek a candidate for CEO from inside or outside the company. There are some circumstances in which the board may perceive a real need to find a CEO who can address internal matters of culture and motivation and that may require a different skill set from the previous or current CEO.

While there is a substantial literature on the board’s decision to focus either inside or outside the company for a CEO, there is a broad consensus that the inside candidate is preferred if the company is performing well. The outside candidate may be better if the company is not meeting its strategic objectives or if the company’s competitive position in the industry is not meeting the board’s expectations. While an inside candidate may know the corporate culture quite well, in certain circumstances, including a need for major strategic change, the CEO may need to be an inspirational change manager, a “refresher” for the corporate culture, and a motivator….

 

Attributes and Values of the Exemplary CEO

As the board evaluates potential CEO candidates, it should systemically and constantly refine the list of specific attributes that the future CEO should possess. Clearly, most boards want a CEO candidate who is a strong leader, who is capable of a high level of critical and holistic thinking, has unquestioned integrity, courage to act, and who perceives the necessity for innovation in products, services, and stakeholder engagement. Four principal attributes at the top of any board’s list should be: operational ability, strategic outlook, congruence with the corporate culture, and a high level of social and emotional intelligence. In all interactions, the CEO must be able to listen and learn, be open to a variety of opinions in his or her approach to decision-making, and operate well under stress. Candidates’ attributes and the board’s evaluation criteria must include the ability to handle key relationships with three “masters” in mind: customers, shareholders, and employees. The board must evaluate the potential CEO’s track record in dealing with these three key, yet very different, constituencies. While these constituencies are not involved directly in the selection process, the CEO candidate’s knowledge of them and how to strengthen ties to them should be a primary consideration in the final decision.

More than ever, the essential attributes list will include an excellent understanding of finance, including a keen ability to articulate where the company’s value is being produced, its capital structure, cost dynamics, asset utilization, and any potential resource gaps. A thorough comprehension of global financial markets is increasingly vital. Moreover, a strong financial fluency will allow the CEO to speak effectively not only with the CFO, but also with analysts and institutional investors.

Beyond industry knowledge and operational acumen necessary to lead an enterprise in a globalized market, today’s CEO must be able to have a full grasp of a wide range of issues including the drivers of the global economy, the complexity of the regulatory environment wherever the company is operating, enterprise risk management including political risk and cultural differences, corporate growth strategies, and current or potential acquisition or merger targets. A major category of concern to any CEO is compliance with the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which absorbs a lot of international companies’ corporate resources and must be managed carefully—especially in an era where the rise of whistleblowers, including the malicious ones, is a reality.

All CEOs must have a capacity to look forward, to envision what the future in the industry will look like, and anticipate, to the extent possible, the political and economic developments that may impact the company’s operations and performance. Global fluency and cross-cultural competence are essential ingredients for today’s CEO and some companies look very favorably on candidates who speak languages in addition to English.

Where CEO succession most often goes wrong is when there is not a good cultural fit, when the board uses the wrong metrics for evaluation, when the board does not know the candidate well enough, or when it fails to discerns how the candidate will react in specific and stressful situations. The candidates’ ethics and values must be clearly understood not only on their own, but also in the framework of the corporate culture.

Another critical dynamic in the selection of the CEO is to ensure that the candidate understands the impact of digitalization and the emergence of “big data” on his or her industry and company. Increasingly, the CEO must have a fulsome understanding of technology, especially those technological developments that are or will be impacting the industry….

 

Bien comprendre les droits et responsabilités des actionnaires de sociétés !


Ci-dessous, l’extrait d’un article très simple sur les devoirs attendus de la part des actionnaires. Si vous avez décidé d’investir dans une entreprise, vous possédez une part de la propriété de celle-ci !

Il est donc important de lire la documentation fournie par le conseil d’administration et par la direction de l’entreprise afin de vous former une opinion sur sa gouvernance, et vous devriez vous faire un devoir d’exercer vos droits de votes.

L’article récemment publié par The Canadian Press saura-t-il éveiller chez vous le sens de la responsabilité de l’actionnaire ? En ce qui me concerne, j’ai décidé, il y a quelques années, de me faire un devoir de lire les documents préparatoires à l’AGA et de voter, par la poste, sur les items de l’ordre du jour qui sollicitent l’assentiment des actionnaires.

 

Understand your rights as a shareholder: experts – Business – The Telegram

 

Documents sent to shareholders ahead of the meeting can include the management proxy circular, annual information form and the company’s annual report. The information form and annual report give the financial statements and an update by management on the business and the direction for the company — both key documents for shareholders.

Walmart Shareholders' Meeting 2011
Walmart Shareholders’ Meeting 2011 (Photo credit: Walmart Corporate)

The proxy circular includes information related to the annual meeting, including the nominees for the board of directors and the appointment of the auditors. It can also include shareholder proposals or major changes at the company that require shareholder approval.

Eleanor Farrell, director of the Office of the Investor at the Ontario Securities Commission, says shareholders have the right to vote on matters that affect the company, including the election of the board of directors. “That is a very important governance piece for the company,” Farrell says.

“The board is the one that approves the strategic plan. It sets the direction of the company. They appoint the CEO, they evaluate the CEO and they also approve the compensation plan.” Farrell says if shareholders don’t approve of a nominated director they can withhold their vote and, at most large companies, if a majority of the votes cast withhold a vote for a particular director, that director would be forced to step aside.

“Shareholders in the last few years have certainly become and gotten a lot more powerful and a lot more powers, I would say,” Farrell said. “Corporate governance has been a very big concern for institutional investors, certainly, and companies are much more concerned about corporate governance.”

The information circulars also include detailed descriptions about how much the company’s directors receive in compensation and what the senior executives are paid in salary, shares or options, as well as the size of their bonuses and the value of any other perks. The circular will also include how the board arrived at that compensation as well as comparisons with previous years. Certain provisions, such as how much a chief executive will receive if the company is taken over or if they are let go, are also often included.

 

Recommandations utiles pour la création d’un conseil aviseur (Advisory Board) efficace !


Voici un excellent article paru sur le blogue de Josse Tores, un auteur reconnu pour ses qualités d’influenceur, de conférencier et d’éditeur. M. Tores explique bien l’importance pour tout entrepreneur de se doter d’un conseil aviseur.

L’article fait état de huit facteurs qui contribuent à l’efficacité d’un conseil aviseur. Vous trouverez ci-dessous un sommaire des 8 caractéristiques.

Je vous conseille de prendre le temps de lire ce court article.

Bonne lecture. Vos commentaires sont appréciés.

 

 8 Tips to Creating an Effective Advisory Board

 

Advisory boards are used by the best entrepreneurs as a way to fill knowledge gaps with subject matter experts. Advisory board members are not directors in the traditional sense. Advisory board members do not serve a governance function and do not represent shareholders or other stakeholders. An advisory board’s role is simply to provide advice to the entrepreneur relative to achieving business goals.

Business in London
Business in London (Photo credit: Stuck in Customs)

At its most basic level an advisory board acts as a sounding board for the business owner. At its best, an advisory board provides expertise, guidance, and business development opportunities. In all cases, the advisory board provides the entrepreneur a group of experts with whom to talk about opportunities, challenges, and next steps.

The following are 8 tips to creating an effective advisory board:

1. Have a Purpose: “Management by objective works – if you know the objectives. Ninety percent of the time you don’t.” – Peter Drucker

2. Recruit Doubters: “The path of sound credence is through the thick forest of skepticism.” – George Jean Nathan

3. Leverage the Network: “The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others.” – Albert Schweitzer

4. Write It Down: “A verbal contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.” – Samuel Goldwyn

5. Time is Money: “Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.” – Warren Buffett

6. Keep It Intimate: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

7. Maximize Value: “Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure.” – Confucius

8. Ongoing Communication: “Number one, cash is king…number two, communicate…number three, buy or bury the competition.” – Jack Welch

Entrepreneurs should consider forming an advisory group as early in the life of the business as possible. Advisory boards should be dynamic, changing composition as challenges change. Advisors should know their role may be temporary. They should be recognized and praised by the entrepreneur to ensure they remain engaged and involved. Above all else, advisors should recognize that they are there to provide advice to the entrepreneur and not to govern the business. Utilizing these eight tips enables an entrepreneur to achieve greater success in a shorter amount of time.

Modèle de supervision du management | Lignes de défense des parties prenantes


Vous trouverez ci-dessous un document de réflexion publié par Sean Lyon* et paru dans la série Executive Action du Conference Board. Ce document partagé et commenté par Denis Lefort, CPA, CA, CIA, CRMA, fait référence à cinq (5) lignes de défense interne, soit les opérations, les fonctions de surveillance tactiques comme la gestion des risques et la conformité, les fonctions d’assurance indépendante que sont le comité d’audit, l’audit interne et les autres sous-comités du conseil, et, enfin, la direction et le conseil d’administration.

Quatre lignes de défense externe sont aussi proposées, soit: les auditeurs externes, les actionnaires, les agences de notations et les organismes de réglementation.

Le modèle des 5 lignes de défense est aussi comparé au modèle traditionnel des trois lignes de défense.

Finalement, l’auteur insiste sur l’importance pour l’ensemble des lignes de défense d’agir de façon concertée, voire intégrée, pour assurer le succès global des interventions des uns et des autres pour le bénéfice de l’organisation.

Voici un extrait du document. Bonne lecture !

Corporate Oversight and Stakeholder Lines of Defense

Corporate stakeholder responsibility should take intoaccount various stakeholder groups, including shareholders, employees, customers, suppliers, special interest groups,

communities, regulators, politicians, and, ultimately, society. Consequently, a comprehensive corporate oversight framework should be multi-faceted to safeguard the diverse interests and varied expectations of all stakeholders. Increasingly, stakeholders are demanding oversight that safeguards a multitude of their interests, be they financial, economic, social, or environmental. Such an inclusive approach should include an appreciation of the symbiotic relationship that exists between business, society, and nature.

Michael Oxley , U.S. Senator from Maryland.
Michael Oxley , U.S. Senator from Maryland. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Organizations should understand the complexity of this interconnectedness to fulfill their social responsibilities. A holistic focus that includes the various lines of defense approach helps provide different stakeholders with the comfort that their interests are safeguarded, if implemented appropriately. A lines-of-defense framework provides stakeholders with a comprehensive system of “checks and balances.”

The existence of such an integrated framework means that stakeholders can reasonably rely on it to ensure that the organization is fulfilling its fiduciary duties, legal obligations, and moral responsibilities, while creating durable value and sustainable economic performance in the process. For this approach to operate effectively, however, each line of defense must play its part both individually and collectively—fulfilling its oversight duties within a holistic framework.

Accordingly, each line of defense collaborates with and challenges the other (complimentary yet antagonistic) lines of defense, as it acts in its own enlightened self-interest. Enhanced cooperation and communication between these lines of defense should be facilitated by better interaction between stakeholders through regular dialogue which is based on mutual understanding of the organization’s objectives. This, however, must be achieved without allowing respective responsibilities or accountabilities to become blurred in the process.

To strengthen corporate defense capabilities, organizations should consider fortifying the second line of defense, which provides the critical link between operational line management and executive management. For many organizations, this is still perhaps the weakest link in the chain. Unfortunately, in many organizations, the defense activities at this layer are operating in a silo; they are not in alignment with other lines, but rather, operate in isolation, with little or no interaction, sharing of information, or collaboration. The activities of an effective second line of defense must be managed in a coordinated and integrated manner.

Each of the other lines of defense requires differing degrees of fortification, but this perhaps has as much to do with best practices rather than any radical makeover. The goal is to reach a more effective balance between the spirit of guidelines based on principle and the interpretation of guidelines that are legal or more prescriptive.

____________________________________

* Sean Lyons is the principal of Risk Intelligence Security Control (R.I.S.C.) International (Ireland) and a recognized corporate defense strategist. He is published internationally and has lectured and spoken at seminars and conferences in both Europe and North America. His contributions have been acknowledged in the Walker Review ofCorporate Governance in UK Banks and Other Financial Institutions, the Financial Reporting Council (FRC)’s Review of the Effectiveness of theCombined Code and the International Corporate Governance Network (ICGN)’s ICGN Corporate Risk Oversight Guidelines. In 2010 Sean was shortlisted as a finalist in the GRC MVP 2009 Awards organized by US based GRC Group (SOX Institute) co-chaired by Senator Paul Sarbanes and Congressman Michael Oxley.

 Articles d’intérêt :

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Réflexions sur le rajeunissement des conseils d’administration


Guy Le Péchon, associé gérant de Gouvernance & Structures vient de faire paraître dans le journal LesEchos.fr, une piste de réflexion sur le rajeunissement des conseils d’administration qui, je crois, mériterait d’être expérimentées et pourraient changer le processus de gouvernance des entreprises.

Quelles entreprises ont déjà mis en place des processus de renouvellement similaire ? Quelles seront les entreprises novatrices en matière de diversification des conseils ?

Voici un large extrait de l’article en question.

Rajeunir les conseils d’administration

 

Alors, comment procéder ? L’approche suggérée par ce billet par Gouvernance & Structures est, sous la houlette du conseil d’administration, de créer un conseil de jeunes. Avec des objectifs un peu différents, certaines municipalités utilisent cette approche. Ce conseil de jeunes serait composé d’une dizaine bénévoles de 18 à 25 ans, défrayés des frais éventuels. Ils seraient recrutés par annonces Internet pour 3 ans (avec renouvellement d’un tiers d’entre eux chaque années) en visant la parité femmes / hommes et une large diversité de milieu d’origine. Ils seraient pilotés par le secrétaire du conseil d’administration aidé par un responsable RH.

"Le Conseil de Classe" (Philippe Dan...
« Le Conseil de Classe » (Philippe Danvin) Compagnie Raymond Pradel (Photo credit: saigneurdeguerre)

Le conseil, en leur fournissant la documentation nécessaire, leur demanderait, disons trois fois par an, de réfléchir à un thème examiné à un prochain conseil et de faire des propositions. On peut penser aux questions sur lesquelles les jeunes peuvent être sensibilisés; technologies nouvelles dont réseaux sociaux et protection des données, écologie, éthique, international… Une fois par an, sur un de ces thèmes, serait organisé une demi-journée d’échange direct avec présence physique des membres du conseil d’administration à l’occasion d’une de ses réunions.

La formule serait légère et n’entraînerait pas de dépenses importantes, elle permettrait aux membres du conseil d’administration, dans un cadre souple et convivial, d’être positivement et concrètement confrontés aux idées de jeunes et pourquoi pas d’en retenir certaines pour mise en application. Les jeunes en tireraient sûrement un profit personnel, et indirectement leurs proches.

En effet, ils bénéficieraient ainsi d’une ouverture sur la « Corporate Gouvernance » des entreprises et leurs hauts dirigeants. L’entreprise pourrait incidemment dans ce cadre repérer des jeunes talents à embaucher plus tard. La société pourrait utiliser cette approche pour améliorer son image de marque, en particulier auprès de jeunes. Bien des discours et écrits prônent l’innovation, et comme on commence à le savoir, l’innovation n’est pas seulement technologique, elle peut être aussi organisationnelle et sociale.

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Bulletin du Collège des administrateurs de sociétés (CAS) | Juin 2014


Vous trouverez, ci-dessous, le Bulletin du Collège des administrateurs de sociétés (CAS) du mois de juin 2014.

 

Collège des administrateurs de sociétés

Bulletin du Collège des administrateurs de sociétés (CAS) | Juin 2014

_______________________

 

32 ième groupe de finissant au programme de certification en gouvernance du CAS

 

Le 24 mai 2014, le 32e groupe de finissants du Collège, composé de 19 participants, complétait le programme de certification universitaire en gouvernance de sociétés. Ces 19 finissants seront invités à l’examen du 7 juin avec les finissants d’avril dernier, dernière étape avant d’obtenir la désignation d’Administrateur de sociétés certifié (ASC), désignation réservée aux diplômés du Collège et reconnue à l’échelle canadienne et en France.

Les ASC sont regroupés dans la Banque des ASC; un outil de recherche en ligne mis au point par le Collège, afin de faciliter le recrutement d’administrateurs sur les conseils d’administration. Seul programme de certification universitaire en gouvernance de sociétés offert au Québec, il s’adresse aux administrateurs siégeant à un conseil d’administration et disposant d’une expérience pertinente.

Dans ce bulletin, vous pouvez consulter les nombreuses distinctions et les nominations d’ASC  à des postes de conseil d’administration.

 

Troisième série de capsules d’experts en gouvernance

 

Le CAS prépare actuellement une troisième édition de capsules d’experts. Vous pouvez Visionnez un aperçu de la 3e série de capsules d’experts du CAS [+] et Consultez aussi les deux premières séries [+]

Dossier spécial présenté par le CAS dans Les Affaires

 

Le Collège des administrateurs de sociétés présente sur le site Web lesaffaires.com un dossier spécial sur « la gouvernance dans tous ses états », depuis de 17 mars dernier et ce jusqu’au 17 juin prochain. Toujours dans l’esprit de la mission du Collège de contribuer au développement et à la promotion de la bonne gouvernance, ce dossier regroupe huit articles sur divers sujets d’actualité en gouvernance rédigés à partir d’entrevues avec des experts de notre réseau.

« Gouvernance : huit principes à respecter », avec M. Richard Drouin, avocat-conseil, McCarthy Tétrault.

« Conseils d’administration : la diversité, mode d’emploi », avec Mme Nicolle Forget, administratrice de sociétés.

« Les administrateurs doivent-ils développer leurs compétences ? », avec Mme Louise Champoux-Paillé, administratrice de sociétés et présidente du Cercle des administrateurs de sociétés certifiés.

« Vous souhaitez occuper un poste sur un conseil d’administration ? », avec M. Richard Joly, président, Leaders et Cie.

« Une bonne gouvernance, c’est aussi pour les PME », avec M. Réjean Dancause, président et directeur général, Groupe Dancause et Associés inc.

« Les défis de la gouvernance à l’ère du numérique », avec M. Gilles Bernier, directeur des programmes, Collège des administrateurs de sociétés.

« La montée de l’activisme des actionnaires en six questions », avec M. Jean Bédard, titulaire de la Chaire de recherche en gouvernance de sociétés, Université Laval.

« Gouvernance : 12 tendances à surveiller », avec M. Jacques Grisé, auteur du blogue jacquesgrisegouvernance.com

Les programmes de formation du CAS

 

Gouvernance des PME | 5 et 6 novembre 2014, à Québec

Certification – Module 1 : Les rôles et responsabilités des administrateurs |  6, 7 et 8 novembre 2014, à Montréal et 12, 13 et 14 février 2015, à Québec

Les événements en gouvernance auxquels le CAS est associé

 

Journée conférence de la Chaire de recherche en gouvernance de sociétés | 6 juin 2014, à Québec

Déjeuner-causerie de la Section du Québec de Dirigeants Financiers Canada sur les « Enjeux d’actualité pour CFO : Gestion des risques d’affaires et considérations éthiques » | 11 juin 2014, à Montréal

Forum PME de l’IAS section du Québec | 12 juin 2014, à Québec

Journée thématique « De la prévention à la résolution » par la Commission des normes du travail du Québec | 12 juin 2014, à Québec

Série « Gouvernance » du Cercle des ASC, dans le Journal Les Affaires

 

1 de 5 – Stratégie d’affaires : jamais sans mon conseil d’administration

2 de 5 – Être administrateur, une lourde responsabilité

3 de 5 – Une préoccupation accrue du facteur humain au sein des CA

Boîte à outils pour administrateurs

 

Nouvelle référence mensuelle en gouvernance : Perspectives pour les administrateurs, par Deloitte.

La capsule d’expert du mois  : La gestion de crise, par Sébastien Théberge

 Top 5 des billets les plus consultés au mois de mai du blogue Gouvernance | Jacques Grisé.

 

 

Bonne lecture !

____________________________________________

Collège des administrateurs de sociétés (CAS)

Faculté des sciences de l’administration Pavillon Palasis-Prince

2325, rue de la Terrasse, Université Laval Québec (Québec) G1V 0A6

418 656-2630; 418 656-2624

info@cas.ulaval.ca

Les priorités en gouvernance en 2014 selon Harvard Law School *


Je vous propose une lecture parue dans Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance, publiée par Holly J. Gregory du « Corporate Governance and Executive Compensation group » de la firme Sidley Austin LLP.

On y décrit les priorités que les conseils d’administration doivent considérer en 2014 :

Les investisseurs institutionnels

Le conseil d’administration

Les priorités

Global Governance: A Review of Multilateralism...La performance de l’entreprise et l’orientation stratégique

La sélection du PCD, la rémunération, la relève

Les contrôles internes, la gestion du risque et la conformité

La préparation pour la gestion de crises

L’activisme et les relations avec le C.A.

La composition du C.A. et le leadership

Bonne lecture !

Governance Priorities for 2014

 

As the fallout from the financial crisis recedes and both institutional investors and corporate boards gain experience with expanded corporate governance regulation, the coming year holds some promise of decreased tensions in board-shareholder relations. With governance settling in to a “new normal,” influential shareholders and boards should refocus their attention on the fundamental aspects of their roles as they relate to the creation of long-term value.

Institutional investors and their beneficiaries, and society at large, have a decided interest in the long-term health of the corporation and in the effectiveness of its governing body. Corporate governance is likely to work best in supporting the creation of value when the decision rights and responsibilities of shareholders and boards set out in state corporate law are effectuated.

This article identifies and examines the key areas of focus that institutional investors and boards should prioritize in 2014.

Institutional Investors

  1. Apply a long-term value approach.
  2. Vote on a company-specific basis where possible.
  3. Focus on core issues.

The Board

Despite increased shareholder decision rights and influence, the board’s fundamental mandate remains to direct the affairs of the company. Key areas for boards to focus on include:

  1. Defining board priorities.
  2. Monitoring company performance and setting strategic direction.
  3. Selecting and compensating the CEO and planning for succession.
  4. Attending to internal controls, risk management and compliance.
  5. Preparing for a crisis.
  6. Engaging with shareholders and responding to shareholder activism.
  7. Determining board composition needs and leadership structure.

Board Priorities

Boards determine how to apportion their very limited time based on board responsibilities and the unique needs of the company. Each board must define the priorities that will shape its agenda and determine the information it needs to govern, driven by the needs of the business. Boards add value when they help management cope with the complex context in which the company operates, and when they support management in focusing on the long-term interests of the company and its shareholders.

Active board engagement in overseeing company performance, strategy and the culture of ethics should help to align the company’s approach to compensation, financial disclosure, internal controls, risk management and compliance. Therefore, in most circumstances the majority of board time should be reserved for matters related to company performance and strategy, and the ethical tone within the company.

Outside directors require considerable amounts of information as they get to know the business and the environment in which the company operates. Active involvement in prioritizing the agenda and defining information needs positions outside directors to provide objective guidance and judgment. The board should not leave decisions about the board agenda and information needs to management alone.

Company Performance and Strategic Direction

Challenges for boards include:

  1. Reserving appropriate time for review and discussion of company performance.
  2. Taking an active role in strategic planning while maintaining objectivity. (This is especially critical in enabling the board to assess the positions of activist shareholders versus management’s plans.)
  3. Supporting appropriate long-term investment and prudent risk-taking in the face of significant short-term pressures for immediate returns or other conflicts.
  4. Balancing guidance and support of management with objective assessment and constructive criticism.
  5. Holding management accountable for results in light of the agreed strategy by determining and applying performance benchmarks.
  6. Helping management anticipate and understand the potential for abrupt and long-term changes in the company’s economic, political and social environment.
  7. Testing key assumptions that underpin management’s proposed strategic plans and major transactions, including assumptions about risks.
  8. Maintaining appropriate deference to management on day-to- day operations without becoming unduly passive.

CEO Selection, Compensation and Succession

Challenges for boards include:

  1. Setting goals for the CEO (and other key executives) in line with corporate strategy, objectives and plans.
  2. Providing appropriate support, guidance and deference to the CEO while maintaining objectivity about performance.
  3. Designing compensation to attract and retain talent while aligning it with performance.
  4. Considering the CEO’s contributions in the context of the contributions of the broader team, an issue that will be highlighted with the new pay ratio disclosures.
  5. Discussing management development and succession planning on a regular basis, even regarding a new, young or high-performing CEO.
  6. Understanding and considering shareholder views about CEO compensation and succession without substituting those views for the board’s own objective judgment.
  7. Ensuring that company disclosures adequately communicate the board’s views and activities regarding compensation and succession planning.

Internal Controls, Risk Management and Compliance

Challenges for boards include:

  1. Ensuring that appropriate time is devoted to these key issues without becoming overly focused on controls and compliance.
  2. Using board committees efficiently to address these issues while keeping the entire board appropriately informed and involved.
  3. Remaining vigilant for red flags, which are often a series of yellow flags.
  4. Creating incentives for management to establish and maintain an appropriate control, risk management and compliance environment.
  5. Ensuring that the company has adopted appropriate standards of corporate social responsibility consistent with evolving societal expectations.
  6. Monitoring compliance with legal and ethical standards.

Preparing For Crisis

Shareholder Engagement and Activism

Board Composition and Leadership

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* En reprise

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Un document essentiel à l’intention du conseil d’administration d’un OBNL *


Voici un document synthèse récemment publié par Deloitte sur la gouvernance des OBNL. C’est un document très précieux car il examine chaque élément de la gouvernance de ces organisations, répondant ainsi à de multiples questions que se posent les dizaines de milliers d’administrateurs québécois (le document est en français).

Comme vous le verrez, on y présente, en annexe, plusieurs guides et outils qui seront assurément très pertinents pour un administrateur :

Modèle de mandat pour le conseil d’administration d’un OBNL
Modèle de mandat pour le comité d’audit d’un OBNL
Modèle de formulaire d’évaluation de la performance du conseil
Modèle de matrice des compétences du conseil
 

Je vous invite donc à prendre connaissance de ce document. Vous trouverez ci-dessous un texte introductif à l’ouvrage.

Faites-moi part de vos commentaires en tant que membre de conseil d’administration d’OBNL. Bonne lecture !

L’efficacité du conseil d’administration d’un OBNL

Il y a près de 20 ans, nous avons publié la première édition de L’efficacité du conseil d’administration d’un OSBL dans le but de présenter aux organismes à but non lucratif (OBNL) (aussi appelés OSBL) un exposé des enjeux de la gouvernance. Notre objectif était de les aider à surmonter les obstacles à la mise en place d’un système de gouvernance efficace. Depuis, les pratiques en la matière ont bien évolué. Au fil des années, de nouvelles exigences ont été mises en place à l’intention des sociétés ouvertes et les meilleures pratiques autre fois adoptées par un petit groupe de sociétés sont maintenant devenues la norme au sein de la plupart des organismes.

English: Office Deloitte Vienna Deutsch: Bürog...
English: Office Deloitte Vienna Deutsch: Bürogebäude Deloitte Wien (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Parallèlement à l’évolution des pratiques de gouvernance, les attentes des parties prenantes se sont accrues et tous les organismes ayant une obligation d’information du public, y compris les OBNL, sont désormais concernés. De nos jours, bon nombre d’OBNL vont au-delà de la simple conformité aux exigences réglementaires et ont adopté des pratiques exemplaires de gouvernance empruntées aux sociétés ouvertes ainsi que des pratiques établies et encouragées par le public et la communauté des OBNL elle-même.

Cette troisième édition de L’efficacité du conseil d’administration d’un OSBL traite de la gouvernance des OBNL en fonction de la situation actuelle de la réglementation et des parties prenantes. Elle s’adresse en premier lieu aux administrateurs, car ce sont eux qui assument au final la responsabilité de la gérance de l’organisme. Nous espérons que ce texte permettra au lecteur de mieux comprendre les responsabilités des administrateurs d’un OBNL et l’amènera à orienter son organisme vers des pratiques de gouvernance plus efficaces.

Dans cette édition, nous :

expliquons d’abord le sens d’une bonne gouvernance et nous soulignons son importance pour les OBNL;

présentons ensuite le cadre de gouvernance de Deloitte, qui reflète les pratiques exemplaires de gouvernance actuelles et émergentes;

traitons également en détail de chaque élément de ce cadre en plusieurs volets et proposons une série de questions pour permettre aux administrateurs de comprendre et de surmonter les difficultés au sein de leur propre organisme;

traitons aussi d’enjeux propres aux OBNL et proposons certaines mesures que les OBNL et leur conseil d’administration peuvent prendre pour y répondre;

présentons finalement certains outils populaires que Deloitte a conçus pour aider les conseils à s’acquitter de leurs responsabilités.

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Trois références utiles à la recherche d’un mandat comme administrateur de sociétés *


Plusieurs personnes souhaitent occuper un poste sur un conseil d’administration mais ne savent pas comment procéder pour y arriver. Depuis que je suis impliqué dans la formation des administrateurs de sociétés et dans la publication de ce blogue en gouvernance, c’est la question qui m’est le plus souvent posée.

J’ai déjà abordé ce sujet au cours de mes billets antérieurs. Aujourd’hui, je veux à nouveau porter à votre attention trois références très concretes à ce propos.

Le premier article proposé a été publié le 9 janvier 2013 dans Business Insider; il traite de questions que toutes les personnes intéressées à siéger sur un C.A. se posent :

  1. Quelles raisons m’inciteraient à siéger à un conseil d’administration ?
  2. Quelles actions dois-je poser pour obtenir un poste ?
  3. Dois-je viser un poste rémunéré ou un poste sur un conseil d’OBNL ?

 

L’article ci-dessous tente précisément de répondre à ces questions :

Your Complete Guide to Serving on a Board of Directors

 

« So here’s a question for you: Do you have a line in your resume stating you’re on a board of directors? Wait, you say. I have no experience, no connections, no way I could possibly do that! The truth is, many professionals don’t think of offering their services to a board until late into their career. But they could’ve reaped the career benefits of being on a board long before that.

2011 Board of Directors Retreat
2011 Board of Directors Retreat (Photo credit: sfbike)

Don’t expect to be appointed to a public company board seat and receive $200,000 in annual compensation and stock options. When you start your search, you will find many more available positions if you’re willing to work for free. Penelope Trunk offers a series of questions to help you decide if working for free is a good option for you, including :

    1. Who are you going to work with on the board ?
    2. What’s the scope of the projects you will be handling ?
    3. How will you be able to leverage your experience on the board ?

Bottom line: serving on a not-for-profit board can give you a taste of whether you enjoy being a board member. Are you ready to raise your game? Sitting on a board isn’t out of reach for you. You can do this ! »

________________________________________________

 

Le deuxième article proposé a été publié le 10 janvier 2013 sur le site de 2020 Women on Boards. Il aborde les étapes concrètes à accomplir afin de se dénicher un poste sur un C.A. Vous trouverez, ci-après, le lien vers l’article ainsi qu’une liste des gestes à poser.

Veuillez lire l’article au complet pour mieux comprendre la portée de ces actions.

Want to get on a corporate board ?

 

« One of the things we learned from our National Conversation on Board Diversity on 12/12/12 is that people want more tactical information on how to get on a board of directors. So, just how do you crack the code? Here are a few tips to get you going. Make it part of your New Years’ resolution!

  1. Make your intentions known
  2. Think about industries you know about and identify companies in those industries
  3. Make a short list of directors
  4. Communicate your interest
  5. Be Informed
  6. Network with a search firm
  7. Don’t waste anyone’s time
  8. Be Patient »

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La troisième référence est un très bon article de James Citrin, Senior Director de Spencer Stuart,publié sur mon blogue le 17 novembre 2012. C’est certainement un article susceptible d’intéresser plusieurs personnes désirant décrocher un poste sur un conseil d’administration.

Les diplômés et les diplômées des programmes de formation en gouvernance de sociétés, tels que le Collèges des administrateurs de sociétés (CAS), le Directors College (DC) et l’Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD), sont particulièrement invités (es) à lire ce billet d’expert, mais aussi à suivre les discussions sur son Blogue. Voici, ci-dessous, un extrait de l’article :

You Want to Be a Board Director – Now What?

 

Board of Directors Lineup
Board of Directors Lineup (Photo credit: OCAPA)

“You’re a sitting chief executive officer who wants to see how another company’s board governs.  Or you’re an aspiring CEO who wants to benefit from a valuable professional development opportunity and expand your marketability.  Perhaps you are a newly retired executive who wants to stay active and connected.  Or maybe you are a functional leader who wants to contribute your expertise in exchange for gaining a broader strategic perspective.  You may even be a CEO or chief HR officer looking for ways to improve your own company’s succession planning by getting your CEO-ready executives boardroom experience. Whether it is one of these or any other number of reasons, many of today’s senior executives would like to join a corporate board of directors. The irony is that while much has been written about the legitimate difficulties of companies finding qualified and interested directors for their boards, there are a growing number of prospective directors who would be all too happy to serve. If you are one of these prospective directors, the question is how position yourself and navigate the nuances of the director selection process to get placed on a board”.

L’auteur propose six étapes à suivre.  Lire l’article pour plus de détails.

    1. Board Bio
    2. Target List
    3. Your Interests
    4. Director Events
    5. Search Firms
    6. Not for Profits

* En reprise

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Comportements néfastes liés au narcissisme de certains PCD (CEO) *


Il est indéniable qu’un PCD (CEO) doit avoir une personnalité marquante, un caractère fort et un leadership manifeste. Ces caractéristiques tant recherchées chez les premiers dirigeants peuvent, dans certains cas, s’accompagner de traits de personnalité dysfonctionnels tels que le narcissisme.

C’est ce que Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic soutien dans son article publié sur le blogue du HuffPost du 2 janvier 2014. Il cite deux études qui confirment que le comportement narcissique de certains dirigeants (1) peut avoir des effets néfastes sur le moral des employés, (2) éloigner les employés potentiels talentueux et (3) contribuer à un déficit de valeurs d’intégrité à l’échelle de toute l’organisation.

L’auteur avance que les membres des conseils d’administration, notamment ceux qui constituent les comités de Ressources humaines, doivent être conscients des conséquences potentiellement dommageables des leaders flamboyants et « charismatiques ». En fait, les études montrent que les vertus d’humilité, plutôt que les traits d’arrogance, sont de bien meilleures prédicteurs du succès d’une organisation.

P1030704La première étude citée montre que les organisations dirigées par des PCD prétentieux et tout-puissants ont tendances à avoir de moins bons résultats, tout en étant plus sujettes à des fraudes.

La seconde étude indique que les valeurs d’humilité incarnées par un leader ont des conséquences positives sur l’engagement des employés.

Voici en quelques paragraphes les conclusions de ces deux études. Bonne lecture.

In the first study, Antoinette Rijsenbilt and Harry Commandeur assessed the narcissism levels of 953 CEOs from a wide range of industries, as well as examining objective performance indicators of their companies during their tenure. Unsurprisingly, organizations led by arrogant, self-centered, and entitled CEOs tended to perform worse, and their CEOs were significantly more likely to be convicted for corporate fraud (e.g., fake financial reports, rigged accounts, insider trading, etc.). Interestingly, the detrimental effects of narcissism appear to be exacerbated when CEOs are charismatic, which is consistent with the idea that charisma is toxic because it increases employees’ blind trust and irrational confidence in the leader. If you hire a charismatic leader, be prepared to put up with a narcissist.

In the second study, Bradley Owens and colleagues examined the effects of leader humility on employee morale and turnover. Their results showed that « in contrast to rousing employees through charismatic, energetic, and idealistic leadership approaches (…) a ‘quieter’ leadership approach, with listening, being transparent about limitations, and appreciating follower strengths and contributions [is the most] effective way to engage employees. » This suggests that narcissistic CEOs may be good at attracting talent, but they are probably better at repelling it. Prospective job candidates, especially high potentials, should therefore think twice before being seduced by the meteoric career opportunities outlined by charismatic executives. Greed is not only contagious, but competitive and jealous, too…

                             

If we can educate organizations, in particular board members, on the virtues of humility and the destructive consequences of narcissistic and charismatic leadership, we may see a smaller proportion of entitled, arrogant, and fraudulent CEOs — to everyone’s benefit. Instead of worshiping and celebrating the flamboyant habits of corporate bosses, let us revisit the wise words of Peter Drucker, who knew a thing or two about management:

The leaders who work most effectively, it seems to me, never say ‘I’. And that’s not because they have trained themselves not to say ‘I’. They don’t think ‘I’. They think ‘we’; they think ‘team’. They understand their job to be to make the team function. They accept responsibility and don’t sidestep it, but ‘we’ gets the credit.

 

* En reprise

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Comment bien se préparer à une réunion de conseil d’administration ? (revisité)


Voici un court texte publié par Bill Conroy* sur le site de OpenviewLabs qui présente quelques méthodes efficaces pour assurer la bonne conduite des réunions de conseils d’administration. La préparation et la gestion des réunions de C.A. sont certainement deux activités essentielles à la saine gouvernance des sociétés.

L’auteur insiste tout particulièrement sur l’adoption de deux méthodes :

(1) le livre de contrôle (control book) et

(2) le meeting de gestion précédent le C.A.

Je vous invite à prendre connaissance du site OpenviewLabs. Que pensez-vous de ces deux approches ? Vos commentaires sont les bienvenus.

« Bill Conroy, formerly CEO of Initiate Systems and currently a director at Kareo, Prognosis, and AtTask is a seasoned boardroom veteran who has often been “in companies where everybody is running up and down the hallways” hours before the board meeting is set to begin, frantically trying to finish preparations and reports. He has two remedies for manic board meeting preparation: 1) the control book; and 2) a management meeting prior to the board meeting ».

How to Guarantee You Are Properly Prepared for a Board Meeting

(1) The Control Book : “A source of truth”

 

Conroy calls the control book “a source of truth,” and considers it the only reporting that really matters. “It is published monthly to the board, as well as to the management team,” he says, eliminating the scramble before the meeting and the numbers update during the meeting since “the directors have been getting the control book in the same format all of the time.”

Inside the control book, board members find performance metrics, a profit and loss breakdown, a cash statement, a retention report, growth drivers, and any other salient reports that you know the board is after. The key is to make sure that all of the numbers are included and presented in the same format month after month. That way, Conroy says, “there is no discussion about what the numbers are in the board meeting, which is a total waste of time,” and you can focus on “what the numbers mean.”

(2) The Management Meeting: “80% of the board meeting”

 

Conroy recommends holding your management meeting one or two days prior to the board meeting. The format and deliverables for the management meeting should be 80% of what’s needed in the board meeting, making it an excellent form of board meeting preparation.

All presenters in the management meeting should be limited to 2-3 slides but discussion time should not be limited. Kick off the meeting with “somebody who is capable of being very neutral talking about the market,” so that he or she can provide an honest assessment of whether your company is gaining or losing market share. Next, have your product lead present the product roadmap like a forecast. “What are we going to deliver and are we on schedule?”

RDECOM Board of Directors holds meeting
RDECOM Board of Directors holds meeting (Photo credit: RDECOM)

After that, sales presents a simple breakdown of quarterly deals that have been closed, deals they are so confident in they can commit they will close, and upside deals. The sales leader also needs to take a stab at an end-of-year outlook regardless of what the current quarter is.

The CFO follows sales, and — instead of presenting what the numbers are — presents two slides discussing what the numbers mean, and what the causes for concern are. The CEO closes out the agenda by covering the company’s strategic initiatives and progress made on those fronts. The CEO needs to tell the board “what keeps me up at night” about the company.

  1. Market overview
  2. Product roadmap
  3. Sales recap & forecast
  4. CFO presentation
  5. CEO presentation

“If you go through all of those things in a management meeting,” Conroy says, take time afterward to fine tune them, and then have “the exact same people give the exact same reports” at the board meeting, you’re setting yourself up for an efficient discussion with the board.

Between the control book and the management meeting, you create “a lot of extra time for people to be focused externally as opposed to internally.” In board meetings, most of the discussion is around the numbers, and Conroy sees that as the main reason why they get bogged down. But the monthly control book gives “the directors plenty of time to make calls to the CFO” to inquire about numbers, leaving board meetings for what the CEO should really be focused on: strategy.

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