Le cas du transfert de l’entreprise familiale Heineken

Aujourd’hui, je partage avec vous une belle histoire de succession d’une entreprise familiale mondialement connue : Heineken.

Ce cas d’entreprise m’a été proposé par Paul Michaud, un administrateur de sociétés certifié (ASC), une personne expérimentée dans les situations de transferts d’entreprises familiales.

Comme Paul le mentionne : « C’est un cas intéressant ! Le bonhomme est un hybride entre un entrepreneur et un CEO, la fille entre la mère-au-foyer et CEO ».

Je vous invite donc à lire ce cas de relève d’entreprise familiale publié par Patricia Sellers dans Fortune.

Vous trouverez, ci-dessous, quelques certaines conclusions tirées du cas. C’est une belle lecture du temps des Fêtes !


Heineken’s Charlene de Carvalho: A self-made heiress


For anyone who oversees a family business, passing it on to the next generation is the ultimate challenge of leadership. “If we get that wrong, we’ve wasted our energy on all that we’ve built,” says Michel de Carvalho, the investment banker husband of Charlene Heineken.

heineken, de Carvalho family
The de Carvalho family (from left): Alexander, Michel, Charlene, Louisa, Charles, Sophie, and Isabel

Heineken has a stock market value of $44 billion, and Charlene aims to pass on her 25% ownership stake and control of the voting shares more prudently than her father, Freddy Heineken, did to her. So she and Michel have been diligently studying the best practices of passing on a family business. No matter the size of a dynasty, certain basic rules apply.


Other billionaire owners of family businesses have advised the de Carvalhos, regardless of how they divvy up the wealth, to select one of their five children to take control of the company. “But Charlene and I are not yet convinced that we could not have an odd number, perhaps three,” admits Michel, noting that ownership may be a lonely job for one heir. “Had Charlene not been married to someone who has a strong interest in the business, it would have been a terrible burden.”


Don’t trap them,” says Byron Trott, a former Goldman Sachs banker whose merchant bank, BDT & Co., invests in and advises closely held companies. “Allow them to find their passion.” Trott admires the way the de Carvalhos are getting their five children to define their interests, whether philanthropic, arts-related, or corporate. Meanwhile, they’re preparing eldest son Alexander, who works in private equity, to inherit control of Heineken. “He’s on the board. He’s working in the financial industry,” notes Trott. “He understands the rigor of opting in.”


Freddy Heineken stocked his board with yes men, which weakened the company before -Charlene inherited control in 2002. Charlene and Michel’s advice to Alexander or whoever among their children eventually takes control: “Surround yourself with the best possible people who are not yes men and sycophants. You want people who express doubt.”


Family control of a business protects management from “the short-term whims of Wall Street,” enabling it to focus on long-term growth, says Trott. “These companies tend to outperform the market over long periods of time.” Trott advises the de Carvalhos: “Keep doing what you’re doing, because you’re doing it very well.” —P.S.

Quelles sont les qualités managériales recherchées par les C.A. | Entrevue avec le PCD de Korn/Ferry

Voici un article qui met en exergue les qualités que les conseils d’administration veulent voir chez les futurs membres de la haute direction.

L’article, écrit par Lauren Weber dans les pages du The Wall Street Journal, relate un extrait de l’entrevue avec Gary Burnison, PCD de Korn/Ferry International, à propos de la recherche de talents en management à l’échelle internationale.

Le marché de la recherche des meilleurs talents de gestionnaires est en pleine expansion; il représente un marché d’environ 20 Milliards.

Toutes les grandes firmes font affaires avec des entreprises spécialisées dans la recherche des meilleurs talents, dans l’évaluation de ces derniers ainsi que dans leur rétention. De grandes firmes comme Korn/Ferry International possèdent des banques de données très à jour sur les carrières des hauts dirigeants ainsi que des outils de recherche à la fine pointe.

On est donc intéressé à connaître le point de vue du président et chef de la direction de la plus grande entreprise (1 Milliard par année) sur la croissance du marché et sur les qualités des candidatures recherchées.

On y apprend que les C.A. sont préoccupés par la plus grande diversité possible, par des candidats qui sont constamment en processus d’apprentissage, qui possèdent plusieurs réseaux d’affaires, qui savent bien s’entourer et qui ont fait leurs preuves dans des situations de gestion similaires. Le partenaire stratégique du PCD doit être le V-P Ressources humaines … et non le V-P Finance.

Je vous invite à lire l’extrait ci-dessous. Bonne lecture !

Korn/Ferry’s CEO: What Boards Want in Exécutives


WSJ: Your executive-search business was up in the first quarter by 9%. Are companies investing in growth, or are they mostly replacing people who leave?

Mr. Burnison: Industries like health care, technology and energy are going through massive change, and it’s going to continue for the foreseeable future. That creates a need for new positions, whether it’s about delivering health care remotely or finding new ways to tap people instantaneously through social media. Those needs didn’t exist a decade ago.


WSJ: Executive search seems like an old-fashioned, Rolodex business. Are LinkedIn and other social-networking tools going to make it obsolete?

Mr. Burnison: CEOs are in this mad fight for growth and relevancy, so they’re paying us not for finding people, but for finding out who people are. You can go lots of places to find people. But you’re going to want somebody to answer, “Okay, but what is this person really like? What do others really say about them?”

WSJ: How do you answer those questions?

Mr. Burnison: For the boardroom or the C-suite, the technical competencies are a starting point. What we’ve seen through our research is that the No. 1 predictor of executive success is learning agility. So we want to get a real line of sight into a person’s thinking style and leadership style. Right now, you’re seeing me how I want you to see me. What you really want to know is “How does Gary make decisions under pressure?”

WSJ: What is learning agility?

Mr. Burnison: It comes down to people’s willingness to grow, to learn, to have insatiable curiosity. Think about the levers of growth that a CEO has. You can consolidate, or tap [new markets], or innovate. When it comes down to the last two, particularly innovation, you want a workforce that is incredibly curious.

WSJ: What are companies getting wrong today about managing their employees?

Mr. Burnison: There’s this gap between what [executives] say and how they invest in people’s careers. They spend an enormous amount on development and performance management, but it’s not well spent.

WSJ: Where are they investing poorly in talent?

Mr. Burnison: They should be asking, how do you develop people in their careers? How do you extend the life of an employee? This is not an environment where you work for an organization for 20 years. But if you can extend it from three years to six years; that has enormous impact. [Turnover] is a huge hidden cost in a profit-and-loss statement that nobody ever focuses on. If there was a line item that showed that, I guarantee you’d have the attention of a CEO.

WSJ: Why aren’t CEOs focused on turnover?

Mr. Burnison: A CEO only has an average tenure today of five years. You have 20 quarters to show that you have a winning team. There is a trade-off between knowing in your heart that you’ve got to empower people, you’ve got to develop them. But then there’s the other side, that says, “Oh, my gosh. I’ve got to win this next game.”

WSJ: How should leaders look beyond the short-term horizon?

Mr. Burnison: The strategic partner to the CEO should be the CHRO [chief human-resources officer] in almost any organization. It shouldn’t be the CFO. The person that is responsible for people should be the biggest lever that a CEO can pull. Too often, it’s not.

WSJ: You’ve been CEO for seven years. Is the clock ticking?

Mr. Burnison: We’re all by definition “on the clock.” However, that ticking clock should never impede the journey. I am having a lot of fun and there is still an enormous amount of work to be done.

WSJ: You’re pushing to create more management products for companies. Why, and what are they?

Mr. Burnison: People are hard to scale. [Products are] very easy to scale. It’s going to be based on predictors of success. By culture, by industry, by function, around the world. It could be a program for how we assess and develop people. It could be licensing a piece of content around onboarding or hiring. Candidates could take an online assessment. You would get feedback and you could license our interviewing technology to say, “With this person, you may want to probe this area and this area when you’re interviewing them.”

WSJ: What do your search clients ask for most often?

Mr. Burnison: The No. 1 request we get in the search business is diversity. Diversity in thought. Diversity in backgrounds. Diversity, yes, in gender. Diversity yes, in race. Diversity, yes in terms of cultural upbringing. That’s got serious legs.

Les 10 plus importantes préoccupations des C.A. en 2015

En cette veille de Noël, voici un article de Kerry E. Berchem*, paru aujourd’hui dans le Harvard Law School Forum, qui présente une liste détaillée des 10 plus importantes préoccupations des conseils d’administration en 2015.

Cet excellent article devrait intéresser tous les membres de C.A., notamment le président du conseil et les présidents des comités du conseil. Même si l’article peut vous paraître assez dense, je crois qu’il fait vraiment le tour de la question.

Vous trouverez, ci-dessous, les sujets chauds à considérer par les C.A. en 2015.

Bonne lecture !

Les 10 plus importantes préoccupations des C.A. en 2015

1. Oversee strategic planning in the face of uneven economic growth and rising geopolitical tensions

2. Oversee cybersecurity as hackers seek to infiltrate even the most sophisticated information security systemsIMG_20141210_193400

3. Assess the impact of advances in technology and big data on the company’s business plans

4. Cultivate shareholder relations and assess company vulnerabilities as activist investors target more companies

5. Consider the impact of M&A opportunities

6. Oversee risk management as newer and more complex risks emerge

7. Ensure appropriate board composition in light of increasing focus on diversity, director tenure and board size

8. Explore new trends in reducing corporate health care costs

9. Set appropriate executive compensation

10. Ensure the company has a robust compliance program as the SEC steps up its enforcement efforts and whistleblowers earn huge bounties.


In light of these developments, it is critical for companies to have comprehensive and effective compliance programs in place, including a transparent process for internal investigations. Companies should also review and update as necessary their anti-retaliation policies and procedures and make sure employees and executives at every level are sufficiently trained in this area.

The complete publication, including footnotes, is available here.


* Kerry E. Berchem, associé et co-responsable des pratiques de gouvernance de la firme Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP.

Facteurs qui conditionnent les relations entre un C.A. et sa direction, notamment son PCD

Vous trouverez, ci-dessous, un extrait d’un excellent article paru sur le site de Russell Reynolds Associates (www.russellreynolds.com), une firme spécialisée dans la recherche de cadres supérieurs à l’échelle internationale.

On a souvent abordé l’importance de la recherche de nouveaux administrateurs dans ces pages, mais ici nous attirons votre attention sur les facteurs qui conditionnent les relations entre le conseil et le PCD.

Les auteurs ont identifié 25 éléments essentiels sur lesquels se fondent une solide relation entre le CA et la haute direction. Ces facteurs ont été regroupés en quatre catégories de responsabilités :

1. Les responsabilités relationnelles du président du conseil d’administration (PCA);

2. Les responsabilités relationnelles du président et chef de la direction (PCD);

3. Les responsabilités relationnelles des administrateurs;

4. Les responsabilités relationnelles partagées.

Bonne lecture !

Essential Elements of an Effective CEO-Board Relationship

Essential Elements of an Effective CEO-Board Relationship builds on the ongoing work of our global CEO and Board Services practice in assessing critical board composition, governance and performance issues. This discussion is meant to help boards led by non-executive chairmen understand the defining activities and attributes of the best CEO-board relationships— relationships that consistently contribute to organizational performance and superior results.

Our goal is twofold: To provide boards and CEOs with a clear understanding of the essential elements of an effective CEO-board relationship and to enable boards and CEOs to both assess and improve their current performance in delivering against each of these relationship attributes. We have identified 25 essential elements of an effective CEO-board relationship, each with an actionable defining standard. We hope these prove useful in assessing the health and quality of the relationship dynamics in your firm.



We developed the framework for Essential Elements of an Effective CEO-Board Relationship with the input of sitting CEOs, chairmen and directors from a range of industry sectors and regions to provide guidance and structure for boards as they assess the clarity of their roles and the effectiveness of their relationships across the board as a whole. The 25 essential activities and attributes identified here can serve as a diagnostic to help those involved in the process rate the importance of each role’s responsibilities, as well as determine how effective individuals currently in these roles are delivering against those responsibilities.

Our Global CEO and Board Services practice has an ongoing commitment to investigate critical corporate governance and board performance issues and to share our findings—with the aim of promoting discussion and adoption of best practices in board oversight.

Une approche équilibrée à la rémunération des hauts dirigeants

Récemment, nous avons abordé l’épineuse question du benchmarking dans l’établissement de la rémunération des hauts dirigeants et montré les effets insidieux de l’utilisation de cette approche.

Aujourd’hui, je vous propose la lecture d’un court article paru sur le site de Equilar. Les auteurs suggèrent la considération de trois pratiques exemplaires pour la fixation de rémunérations équilibrée et justes.

1. Mettez l’accent sur des comparaisons réalistes de l’univers des pairs;

2. Divulguez vos critères de choix;

3. Assurez-vous de bien démontrer comment la rémunération est liée à la performance, notamment à la performance de l’entreprise à long terme.

Bonne lecture ! Vos commentaires sont les bienvenus.

Executive Compensation Benchmarking: 3 Best Practices

Determining compensation is a process of comparison. What’s a candidate worth to the organization in relation to others? What if this candidate took their talents elsewhere? What could they expect to earn from another employer? How does location, industry, and company size play into the picture?

When you’re dealing with compensation at the executive level, the stakes become higher and the compensation package more nuanced, which means the process of comparison becomes more complex.023

Initially, attracting and motivating executive talent involves a large investment. And without performance-based incentives, annual salary increases can become an expectation rather than a reward.

On one end of the spectrum, ineffective benchmarking can lead to underperformance, over-inflated salaries, and sometimes even negative media coverage. On the other end of the spectrum, you don’t want to undercompensate talented executives and leave them feeling unmotivated—or worse—lose them to a competitor with better pay.

Effective executive compensation benchmarking can help an organization keep high-performers happy and motivated while staying out of the media spotlight. Use the following best practices to do it right.

1. Focus on authentic peer comparisons

Avoid the trap of performing “peer comparisons” using oversimplified criteria. In order to get an authentic benchmark, use more complex data mining. For example, not every CEO of a mid-sized organization in Silicon Valley deserves to be compensated at the same level as one who has just successfully led their company through an IPO. Factors like profitability are critical to getting an accurate compensation benchmark. Alternatively, age may be a completely irrelevant data point in determining appropriate peer comparisons.

2. Don’t dodge disclosure

The clarity with which your organization justifies compensation is important. When you can easily—and clearly—disclose data-driven justification for your compensation decisions, you’re supporting an atmosphere of transparency. And with transparency comes investor, client, and consumer confidence.

3. Bring up performance

Executive compensation packages that link pay to performance are critical in an era of increased scrutiny from institutional investors, regulatory agencies, proxy advisors, and shareholders. Incentive plans also benefit the executive and the organization with clear, detailed annual and long-term incentive points.

Le secteur des OBNL est-il dysfonctionnel sur le plan de la gouvernance | Mythes et réalités ?

Le Dr Eugene Fram a récemment publié un article pertinent qui fait l’apologie des OBNL, lesquelles doivent accomplir leurs missions en dépit de conditions sous-optimales.

L’article expose une série de caractéristiques des OBNL qui, trop souvent, contribuent à sous-estimer leur œuvre et qui teintent les perceptions du public envers celles-ci.

Parmi les particularités inhérentes à plusieurs OBNL, on retrouve souvent des éléments qui servent à justifier des lacunes de gouvernance; ces indices de dysfonction influent sur la perception des donateurs éventuels :

La plupart des organisations sont de très petites tailles;

Le défi de la gestion des bénévoles est très grand;

Les locaux et les équipements sont souvent peu attrayants;

Les relations entre le CA et la direction sont perçues comme immatures;

Les parties prenantes, notamment les donateurs, sont souvent mal informés de la distribution aux bénéficiaires, contribuant ainsi à créer l’impression qu’ils sont à la merci de la direction;

Les relations avec le CA sont souvent inhabituelles … en ce sens que les administrateurs ont tendance à s’immiscer régulièrement dans les activités des gestionnaires.

L’article tente de décrire ce qui peut être fait pour contrer ces perceptions.

Voici un extrait de l’article. Bonne lecture !

Dysfunction in the Nonprofit Sector—Reality or Myth ?

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum 1071 Fifth Avenue (at 89th Street) New York, NY

Judging from the vast literature on dysfunctional nonprofit boards and organizations (my own posts included!) one might conclude that the majority of nonprofits are struggling, incompetent and/or in crisis. I argue that this is not the case. Decades of experience lead me to believe that nonprofits have the same functional variables as profit making organizations—dysfunctional at times like Target or GM; efficient like Apple or Whole Foods; adaptable like Del Monte and Cisco. Everybody doesn’t get it right all the time.

Perceptions become reality to those who are quick to embrace popular labels such as the overused term, “dysfunctional.” Obviously, in the case of nonprofits, such perceptions are harmful. Once evaluated in this way the stigma persists and can seriously reduce the level of support that is so critical to the work of these organizations.

What characteristics color these perceptions?

Small Organizations: About one-third of the charitable nonprofits have gross receipts under $25,000 a year. At that level the vast majority can’t employ more than one full-time person, overworking those with job responsibilities that can’t be delegated. While small organization can’t do much to improve the misperceptions about nonprofit dysfunctions, more mature ones can take deliberate steps over time.

The Volunteer Challenge: A large cadre of board and operational volunteers take time to assist struggling charities, which give the organizations appearances of nonprofit always being on the edge or existence. Many outsiders are unaware that those on management and staff are highly competent people who accept this employment condition because they know how their work can positively impact the lives of clients.

Facilities: Nonprofit facilities are often second rate and appear highly dysfunctional. Client needs, not facilities, are primary to the board, management and staff.

Board Relationships: Many relationships between the board and management can be similar to that of a “parent-child” one. In the words of one nonprofit director, “We tell the executive director exactly what to do.”

Stakeholders: They often do not appreciate the tremendous impacts that the staff can have. Example: Donors often don’t have contact with those who directly benefit.

Board Dysfunctions: A root cause of the perception may be due to a dysfunctional board trying to resolve internal conflicts, and there is little the management and staff can do about it. Valiant managements and staffs can sometimes achieve productive impacts without board support.

What can be done?

Competency & Relationships: I have encountered many CEOs who have more management expertise than many of their board members who are professors, accountants or physician, etc. While I appreciated that dealing with volunteer directors may involve working with some persons with outsized egos, the CEO must strive to portray himself as a competent manager. The positive outcome is that the CEO is viewed as a peer working with the board, not under the board.

Many staff persons figuratively stand ten feet tall for what they accomplish on behalf of clients.. The CEO has an obligation to make sure that the stories about outstanding staff personnel are well acknowledged, so that stakeholders know about them. This takes more then simple public relations events. It involves highlighting and rewarding those who are highly productive.

Facilities: I understand the tradeoff between expenditures for facilities versus expenditures for clients. Having first class facilities may even hinder achieving a mission if donors perceive their donations are being used for plush facilities. At the least, the nonprofit needs to have an uncluttered area for board meetings and events with outside stakeholders.

Implications: Many suggest that a nonprofit organization being perceived as dysfunctional is not an important issue, as long as mission objectives and impacts are achieved. I argue that more resources for clients could be developed if the perception is not a diminished one. Some can equate dysfunction with being inefficient. In addition, a positive perception might make it easier to attract more qualified board members, management and staff.


Les fonds activistes créent-ils vraiment de la valeur à long terme pour la société ?

Vous trouverez ci-dessous un hyperlien menant au document qu’Yvan Allaire a présenté au Conference Board de New-York.

Voici donc la position adoptée par l’IGOPP eu égard au phénomène de l’activisme, des prises de contrôle hostile et de la création de valeur à long terme pour la société.

Je vous invite à télécharger le document Power Point au bas de la page. Vos commentaires sont les bienvenus.

Do activist hedge funds create long-term value for companies?

Le 14 novembre 2014, le président exécutif du conseil d’administration de l’IGOPP, le professeur Yvan Allaire fut conférencier-principal « keynote speaker » à la rencontre annuelle du Governance Center- Conference Board of New-York dont les membres sont tirés des plus grandes sociétés américaines.IMG_20141211_103437

La présentation portait sur le thème: Do activist hedge funds create long-term value for companies?

Le professeur Allaire a  pris part à un panel auquel participaient:

– Abe Friedman, Managing Partner, Camberview Partners, LLC

– Roy J. Katzovicz, Partner, Investment Team Member and Chief Legal Officer of Pershing Square Capital Management, L.P.

Modérateur : Charles Nathan, Senior Advisor, Finsbury

Rémunérations élevées dans les entreprises qui ont un actionnaire de contrôle !

Voici une étude très intéressante conduite par  Kobi Kastiel, fellow à la Harvard Law School Program on Corporate Governance. La publication aura lieu en janvier 2015, mais le sommaire présenté ici résume bien le sens de celle-ci.

L’auteur montre que les compagnies qui ont un actionnaire de contrôle ont plus tendance à offrir des rémunérations « excessives » au premier dirigeant (PCD), qui lui, en retour, a tendance à s’entourer de dirigeants très bien payés.

L’étude explique que les actionnaires de contrôle paient plus pour s’assurer de la loyauté de la direction et maximiser les bénéfices qui leurs reviennent. L’auteur avance plusieurs autres raisons qui expliquent cette situation. 

Le phénomène est tellement répandu dans ce type de compagnie que les recommandations des firmes de conseil en votation (telles que ISS), eu égard au « Say on Pay », devraient être suivies afin de neutraliser l’effet des actionnaires dominants qui ont l’habitude d’accepter des « packages » de rétribution beaucoup trop généreux, lesquels ne sont pas dans l’intérêt de tous les actionnaires …

L’article qui paraîtra dans Indiana Law Journal aura sûrement un impact sur les motivations derrières les rémunérations jugées excessives par beaucoup d’experts en gouvernance.

Bonne lecture !

 Executive Compensation in Controlled Companies

More than a decade ago, Professors Lucian Bebchuk and Jesse Fried published the seminal work on the role and significance of managerial power theory in executive compensation. Their work cultivated a vivid debate on executive compensation in companies with dispersed ownership. The discourse on the optimality of executive pay in controlled companies, however, has been more monolithic. Conventional wisdom among corporate law theorists has long suggested that the presence of a controlling shareholder should alleviate the problem of managerial opportunism because such a controller has both the power and incentives to curb excessive executive pay.IMG_20141210_201151

My Article, Executive Compensation in Controlled Companies, forthcoming in the Indiana Law Journal, challenges that common understanding by proposing a different view that is based on an agency problem paradigm, and by presenting a comprehensive framework for understanding the relationship between concentrated ownership and executive pay. On the theoretical level, the Article shows that controlling shareholders often have incentives to overpay professional managers instead of having an arm’s-length contract with them, and therefore it suggests that compensation practices in a large number of controlled companies may have their own pathologies.

To begin with, controllers may wish to overpay managers in order to maximize their consumption of private benefits, while providing professional managers with a premium for their “loyalty” and for colluding with tunneling activities. This tendency is further aggravated by the use of control-enhancing mechanisms, such as dual-class share structures, which distort controllers’ monitoring incentives due to the wedge it creates between controllers’ cash flow rights and control rights. In addition, certain controllers, such as second generation controllers, could be “weak” due to their lack of experience, motivation or talent, and thus are more easily captured by professional CEOs. Controllers could also be biased due to their longstanding professional and social relationship with professional managers, and cannot be expected to exercise an impartial influence over the formulation of compensation contracts. This alternative view presented in the Article could also help explain recent puzzling phenomena such as the overly generous pay patterns in Viacom or other controlled companies, as well as the rise in say-on-pay rules in countries with concentrated ownership (as observed in a recent study by Thomas & Van der Elst).

On the empirical level, the Article questions conventional beliefs on executive pay by reviewing the recommendations on say-on-pay votes of Institutional Shareholder Services, Inc. (ISS), the leading and most influential proxy advisory firm in the United States. In determining whether to recommend shareholders to vote against a management say-on-pay proposal, ISS examines the company’s pay-for-performance alignment compared to peer group alignment over a sustained period, as well as the use of problematic pay practices. This, in turn, makes the ISS recommendation a useful tool for determining whether a pay package is accurately calibrated to maximize shareholder value.

The data presented in the Article, which is based on the review of ISS recommendations for say-on-pay votes at companies included in the Russell 3000 Index during the 2011 and the 2012 proxy seasons, provides an indication that the compensation packages of professional managers in controlled companies appears to be a bigger problem than initially predicted. In particular, it shows that a controlled company managed by a professional CEO has a slightly higher likelihood to receive a negative recommendation than a widely held company. This result remains substantially similar and statistically significant even when controlling for firms’ market value and industry, or when neutralizing the effect of controllers who are also the CEOs of their firms.

Finally, on the normative level, the Article shows that a U.S. style say-on-pay rule, which requires a non-binding vote by the shareholders as a whole, is unlikely to mitigate the agency problem in determining executive compensation in controlled companies. Since controlling shareholders exercise significant control over the directors’ election process, receiving a failed say-on-pay vote and facing a risk of a withhold vote recommendation for the election of certain directors is unlikely to have any effect on controllers’ ability to elect their directors. And when controllers face no sanctions for failing their say-on-pay votes, they are more likely to ignore shareholders’ concerns, and to use their voting power to approve compensation packages that are suboptimal for other shareholders. The Article, therefore, calls for a new regulatory approach: re-conceptualize the pay of professional managers in controlled companies as an indirect self-dealing transaction and subject it to the applicable rules that regulate conflicted transactions.

The full paper is available for download here.

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

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

Le programme de certification universitaire en gouvernance de sociétés est le seul programme universitaire offert au Québec. Il s’adresse aux administrateurs siégeant à un conseil d’administration et disposant d’une expérience pertinente.

Les administrateurs de sociétés certifiés (ASC) sont regroupés dans la Banque des Administrateurs de sociétés certifiés (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.

Collège des administrateurs de sociétés

Bulletin du Collège des administraters de sociétés (CAS) | Décembre 2014



Le Collège des administrateurs de sociétés présentera sa Grande conférence annuelle en gouvernance de sociétés le mardi 27 janvier 2015, de 17 h à 21 h, au Parquet du Centre CDP Capital.

M. Jean-René HaldeM. Jean-René Halde, président et chef de la direction de la Banque de développement du Canada, agira à titre de conférencier lors de cette soirée et y partagera ses réflexions sur la gouvernance.

Cette soirée marquera aussi le 10e anniversaire du Collège et un hommage sera rendu à des partenaires pour leur engagement exceptionnel depuis sa création. Un cocktail dînatoire suivra la conférence.

Inscription et déroulement [+]
Réserver rapidement, places limitées.

Le Collège offrira gracieusement le service d’autocar faisant l’aller-retour à partir du campus de l’Université Laval..




Le 22 novembre 2014, le 33e groupe de finissants du Collège, composé de 16 participants, complétait le programme de certification universitaire en gouvernance de sociétés. Ces 16 finissants seront invités à l’examen du 28 février 2015, 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.

Tous les ASC sont regroupés dans la Banque des ASC et celle-ci est dotée d’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.

Finissants du module 5 de la certification universitaire en gouvernance de sociétés - novembre 2014
De gauche à droite, finissants du haut : Pierre Plamondon, vice-président des finances et chef de la direction financière, EXFO inc., Hugo St-Laurent, président et chef de la direction, Silicycle, Martine Rozon, directrice finances, administration, Productions Juste pour rire, Paul Beaudry, consultant, Charlotte Poirier, directrice générale, direction générale de l’administration, ministère de l’Immigration et des Communautés culturelles du Québec, Jacques-A. Chauvette, directeur, production, Des Cascades, Hydro-Québec, Julie Blackburn, secrétaire associée aux marchés publics, Secrétariat du Conseil du trésor , Jean-Paul Sabini, président et chef de la direction, Asturia Technologies inc., Jan Lembregts, gestionnaire professionnel, Normand Légaré, sous-ministre adjoint aux infrastructures, aux ressources informationnelles et aux relations de travail, ministère de l’Enseignement supérieur, de la Recherche, de la Science et de la Technologie. De gauche à droite, finissants du bas : Richard de La Fontaine, administrateur et directeur des finances, Groupe de La Fontaine, Gyslaine Desrosiers, présidente du conseil, Secrétariat international des infirmières et infirmiers de l’espace francophone (SIDIIEF), Benoît de Villiers, président-directeur général, RECYC-QUÉBEC, Isabelle Gratton, présidente, PMT, Claude Lachance, directeur principal, administration, Les Ponts Jacques Cartier et Champlain Incorporée, Édith Lapointe, secrétaire associée, Sous-secrétariat à la négociation, Secrétariat du Conseil du trésor.




Certification – Module 1 : Les rôles et responsabilités des administrateurs | 12, 13 et 14 février 2015, à Québec |  26, 27 et 28 mars 2015, à Montréal

Gouvernance des PME | 24 et 25 février 2015, à Montréal

Gouvernance des OBNL | 13 et 14 mars 2015, à Montréal |24 et 25 avril 2015, à Québec

Gouvernance des services financiers | 21 et 22 avril 2015, à Montréal

Gouvernance et leadership à la présidence | 19 et 20 mai 2015, à Montréal

Petit-déjeuner conférence de l’IAS, section du Québec sur « Quelles sont les attentes des investisseurs institutionnels en 2015 » | 21 janvier 2015, à Montréal

Forum OBNL, présenté par l’IAS, section du Québec | 4 février 2015, à Montréal

Congrès de l’Ordre des ADMA sur les changements sociaux et organisationnels | 5 et 6 février 2015, à Montréal




Michel Lamontagne, ASC | Fondation de l’Ordre des infirmières et infirmiers du Québec

Claude Blouin, ASC | Commission de la construction du Québec

Normand Cadieux, ASC | Canadian Pharmacists Association

Nicole D. Gélinas, ASC | Administration portuaire de Trois-Rivières

Maryse Lassonde, participante à la certification | Lauréate Le Soleil – Radio-Canada

Diane Jean, ASC | Prix hommage 2014 de l’Institut d’administration publique de Québec

Julie Chaurette, ASC | Prix Excellence CPA – Engagement social

Michel Samson, formateur au CAS | Prix Excellence CPA – Secteur public

Zhan Su, formateur au CAS | Prix Carrière en enseignement de l’Université Laval




Alliance des caisses populaires de l’Ontario

Le Collège est retourné cet automne dispenser six cours auprès de 100 administrateurs et dirigeants de l’Alliance des caisses populaires de l’Ontario, cette fois sur la gestion intégrée des risques et le rôle du comité d’audit. L’Alliance veut ainsi supporter son réseau dans le renforcement de sa gouvernance.

Mouvement Desjardins

Le Collège a poursuivi la formation des présidents des caisses du Mouvement Desjardins. Cet automne, 56 présidents ont eu l’occasion de participer au cours Leadership Président. Au total, plus de 400 administrateurs seront invités à participer à ce programme offert par l’Institut coopératif Desjardins.

Formation de la relève

Pour une nouvelle saison, le Collège a collaboré avec la Jeune chambre de commerce de Montréal et le Regroupement des jeunes chambres de commerce du Québec afin d’offrir un séminaire d’une quinzaine d’heures sur le rôle des administrateurs, notamment auprès des conseils d’administration d’OBNL, à près de 90 jeunes administrateurs de moins de 40 ans intéressés à s’impliquer davantage dans la société. La Conférence régionale des élus de Montréal a, de nouveau, généreusement supporté cette initiative.




Nouvelle référence mensuelle en gouvernance : Rapport de Davies 2014 sur la gouvernance.

Top 5 des billets les plus consultés au mois de novembre 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



Rôles du comité exécutif versus rôles du conseil d’administration*

Voici une discussion très intéressante paru sur le groupe de discussion LinkedIn Board of Directors Society, et initiée par Jean-François Denaultconcernant la nécessité de faire appel à un comité exécutif.

Je vous invite à lire les commentaires présentés sur le fil de discussion du groupe afin de vous former une opinion.

Personnellement, je crois que le comité exécutif est beaucoup trop souvent impliqué dans des activités de nature managériale.

Dans plusieurs cas, le CA pourrait s’en passer et reprendre l’initiative !

Qu’en pensez-vous ?



La situation exposée par  est la suivante (en anglais) :

I’m looking for feedback for a situation I encountered.
I am a board member for a non-profit. Some of us learned of an issue, and we brought it up at the last meeting for an update.IMG_20141013_145537
We were told that it was being handled by the Executive Committee, and would not be brought up in board meetings.
It is my understanding that the executive committee’s role is not to take issues upon themselves, but to act in interim of board meetings. It should not be discussing issues independently from the board.
Am I correct in thinking this? Should all issues be brought up to the board, or can the executive committee handle situations that it qualifies as « sensitive »?


The Role of the Executive Committee versus the main board of directors

Alan Kershaw

Chair of Regulatory Board

Depends whether it’s an operational matter I guess – e.g. a staffing issue below CEO/Director level. If it’s a matter of policy or strategy, or impacts on them, then the Board is entitled to be kept informed, surely, and to consider the matter itself. 


John Dinner

John T,  Dinner Board Governance Services

Helping boards improve their performance and contributionI’ll respond a bit more broadly, Jean-François. While I am not opposed to the use of executive committees, a red flag often goes up when I conduct a governance review for clients and review their EC mandate and practices. There is a slippery slope where such committees find themselves assuming more accountability for the board’s work over time. Two classes of directors often form unintentionally as a result. Your situation is an example where the executive committee has usurped the board’s final authority. While I don’t recommend one approach, my inclination is to suggest that boards try to function without an executive committee because of the frequency that situations similar to the one you describe arise at boards where such committees play an active role. There are pros and cons, of course, for having these committees, but I believe the associated risk often warrants reconsideration of their real value and need.


Chuck Molina

Chief Technology Officer at DHI

I currently sit on the EC and have been in that role with other boards. Although I can see the EC working on projects as a subset of the board we Always go back to the full board and disclose those projects and will take items to the full board for approval. The board as a whole is accountable for decisions! There has to be transparency on the board! I found this article for you. http://www.help4nonprofits.com/BrainTeaser/BrainTeaser-Role_of_Executive_Committee.htm , which concurs to John’s comment. If used correctly the EC or a subset of the board can work on board issues more efficiently then venting through the full board, but they should always go back to the Full board for consideration or approval.  


Dave Chapman

CHM and CEO of NorthPoint ERM

I have experienced couple of EB’s and unless the company is in deep financial or legal trouble for the most part the took away from the main board and in the whole worked ok but not great. If the board has over 10 to 15 board members it is almost a requirement but the board them is there for optics more than or effective and efficient decision making

Experienced CEO & Board member of Domestic and European companies.

I think Mr. Dinner, Mr. Molina, and Mr. Chapman summed it up beautifully:
– You cannot have two classes of Directors
– You have to have transparency and every Board member is entitled to the same information
– A Board of 10-15 members is inefficient and may need committees, but that does not change the fact that all Board members are entitled to have input into anything that the Board decides as a body.
– An Executive Committee is a sub-committee of the entire Board, not an independent body with extraordinary powers.


Al Errington

Entrepreneur & Governance Advocate

I agree with John, executive committees tend to be a slippery slope to bad governance. The board of directors has the responsibility of direction and oversight of the business or organization. If anything goes substantially wrong, the board of directors will also be accountable, legally. The rules of thumb for any and all committees is
– Committees must always be accountable to the board of directors, not the other way around.
– Committees must always have limits defined by the board of directors on authority and responsibility, and should have limits on duration.
– Committees should always have a specific reason to exist and that reason should be to support the board of directors in addressing it’s responsibilities. 


Emerson Galfo

Consulting CFO/COO / Board Member/Advisor

Judging from the responses, we need to clearly define the context of what an Executive Committee is. Every organization can have it’s own function/view of what an Executive Committee is.

From my experience, an Executive Committee is under the CEO and reflects a group of trusted C-level executives that influence his decisions. I have had NO experience with Executive Boards other than the usual specific Board Committees dealing with specific realms of the organization.

So coming from this perspective, the Executive Committee is two steps down from the organizational pecking order and should be treated or viewed in that context.. 


Terry Tormey

President & CEO at Prevention Pharmaceuticals Inc.

I concur with Mr. James Clouser (above).
They should be avoided except in matters involving a performance question regarding C-Level Executive Board member, where a replacement may be sought.


John Baily

Board of Directors at RLI Corp

James hit the nail on the head. Executive committees are a throwback to times when we didn’t have the communication tools we do now. They no longer have a reason for their existence. All directors, weather on a not for profit or a corporate board have equal responsibilities and legal exposures. There is no room or reason for a board within a board in today’s world.


Chinyere Nze

Chief Executive Officer

My experience is; Board members have the last say in all policy issues- especially when it concerns operational matter. But in this case, where there is Executive Committee, what it sounds like is that, the organization in question has not clearly identified, nor delineated the roles of each body- which seem to have brought up the issue of ‘conflict’ in final decision- making. Often Executive Committees are created to act as a buffer or interim to the Board, this may sometime cause some over-lapping in executive decision-making.

My suggestion is for the organization to assess and evaluate its current hierarchy- clearly identify & define roles-benefits for creating and having both bodies, and how specific policies/ protocol would benefit the organization. In other words, the CEO needs to define the goals or benefits of having just a Board or having both bodies, and to avoid role conflict or over-lap, which may lead to confusion, as it seems to have been the case here. 



CEO / PRESIDENT/BOARD OF DIRECTORS /PRIVATE EQUITY OPERATING PARTNER known for returning growth to stagnant businesses

The critical consideration for all board members is ‘ fiduciary accountability’ of all bod members. With that exposure , all bod members should be aware of key issues . 


Thomas Brattle « Toby » Gannett

President and CEO at BCR Managment

I think for large organizations, that executive committees still have an important role as many board members have a great deal going on and operational matters may come up from time to time that need to be handled in a judicial manner. While I think that the Executive committee has an important, at times critical role for a BOD, it is also critical that trust is built between the executive Committee and the BOD. This is only done when the executive committee is transparent, and pushes as many decisions that it can to the full board. If the committee does not have time to bring a matter to the full BOD, then they must convey to the BOD the circumstances why and reasoning for their decision. It is the executive committees responsibility to build that trust with the BOD and work hard to maintain it. All strategic decisions must be made by the full BOD. It sounds like you either have a communication failure, governance issue, or need work with your policies and procedures or a combination of issues.


*En reprise

L’amitié entre un administrateur et un PCD (CEO) peut interférer avec les responsabilités de fiduciaire*

Voici un compte rendu, paru dans le NYT, d’un article scientifique, publié dans The Accounting Review en juillet 2014, qui montre que les administrateurs ayant des relations d’amitié avec le président et chef de la direction (PCD) de l’entreprise sont moins enclins à exercer une supervision serrée des activités de la direction.

Cependant, le fait de divulguer ces relations personnelles n’a pour effet de raffermir les devoirs de diligence et de vigilance des administrateurs, mais sert plutôt de prétexte pour les dédouaner en leur permettant d’être encore plus tolérants des actions de leur PCD.

Les auteurs tirent deux conclusions de ces résultats : (1) le fait de divulguer des conflits ou des relations personnelles n’élimine pas les conséquences négatives reliées à cette divulgation et (2) les actionnaires doivent se méfier des liens trop étroits que certains administrateurs entretiennent avec leur PCD.

Rappelons-nous que trop près n’est pas préférable à trop loin. Un juste équilibre doit s’imposer !

L’étude “Will Disclosure of Friendship Ties between Directors and CEOs Yield Perverse Effects? » a été conduite par Jacob M. Rose et Anna M. Rose de Bentley University, Carolyn Strand Norman de Virginia Commonwealth University et Cheri R. Mazza de Sacred Heart University. En voici quelques extraits. Bonne lecture !


 The C.E.O. Is My Friend. So Back Off


But the research makes a counterintuitive finding as well. The conventional wisdom holds that when you disclose personal ties, you create transparency and better governance. The experiment found that when social relationships were disclosed as part of director-independence regulations, board members didn’t toughen their oversight of their chief-executive pals. Rather, the directors went easier on the C.E.O., perhaps believing that they had done their duty by disclosing the Relationship.


Now for the results: Among the directors who counted the C.E.O. as a friend, 46 percent said they would cut research and development by one-quarter or more to ensure a bonus payout to their pal. By contrast, only 6 percent of directors with no personal ties to the chief executive agreed to reduce research and development to generate a bonus.

That’s to be expected.

The results get more interesting when disclosure is added to the mix.  An astonishing 62 percent of directors who disclosed a friendship with the C.E.O. said they would cut $10 million or more from the budget — the amount necessary to generate a bonus.  Only 28 percent of the directors who had not disclosed their relationship with the executive agreed to make the cuts necessary to generate a bonus.

Only one director with no ties to the executive agreed to cut the budget by $10 million or more.

Mr. Rose, an author of the paper, said he and his colleagues were surprised that so many directors said they’d be willing to put the company at risk to ensure a bonus for their pal, the C.E.O. “If just by mentioning that you’re friends with the C.E.O. it affects their decision-making, we think the effects going on in the real world are much, much larger than what we picked up in the lab,” Mr. Rose said in an interview last week.

Even more disturbing, he said, was that so many directors seemed to think that disclosing their friendships with the C.E.O. gave them license to put the executive’s interests ahead of the company’s.

“When you disclose things, it may make you feel you’ve met your obligations,” Mr. Rose said. “They’re not all that worried about doing something to help out the C.E.O. because everyone has had a fair warning.”


* En reprise

En reprise : Dix (10) activités que les CA devraient éviter !


Voici le condensé d’un article publié par Deloitte en 2011 et que j’ai relayé à mes premiers abonnés au début de la création de mon blogue.

En revisitant mes billets, j’ai été en mesure de constater que plusieurs parutions étaient encore d’une grande pertinence. Ainsi, afin de revenir sur mes débuts comme blogueur, je vous présente un document de la firme Deloitte qui énumère dix (10) activités que les conseils d’administration doivent éviter de faire.

Les suggestions sont toujours aussi d’actualité. Bonne relecture !

Avoid presentation overload

Presentations should not dominate board meetings. If your board meetings consist of a scripted agenda packed with one presentation after another, there may not be sufficient time for substantive discussions. The majority of board meetings should be focused on candid dialogue about the critical strategic issues facing the company. The advance meeting materials should comprise information that provides the basis for the discussions held during the meeting. Management should feel confident that the board will read these pre-meeting materials, and the board must commit an adequate amount of time in advance of the meeting to do so.

Avoid understating the importance of compliance

There is no room for a culture of complacency when it comes to compliance with laws and regulations. As noted in the Deloitte publication

Avoid postponing the CEO succession discussion

CEO succession planning is one of the primary roles of the board. With the changing governance landscape and new and proposed regulations, the board has a full agenda these days. However, it is important to occasionally take a step back to ensure the board is addressing this important responsibility. During this time of rebuilding and prior to the implementation of new regulations, boards should assess where time is being spent and perhaps redirect focus on succession.

It is important to note that the succession planning process is continual and doesn’t end when a new CEO is selected. As the company evolves, its needs change, as do the skills required of the leadership team. The board needs to ensure that a leadership pipeline is developed and that its members have ample opportunity to connect with the next generation of leaders.

Avoid the trap of homogeneity

The topic of board composition and having the « right » people on the board continues to receive much attention. The SEC has proposed rules that would require more disclosure about director qualifications, including what makes each director qualified to participate on certain board committees. The shift to independent board members facilitated a move away from a « friends on the board » approach to a new mix. However, the board needs to assess whether this new mix translates into a positive and productive board dynamic. Boards should take a closer look at the expertise, experience and other qualities of each member to ensure the board that can provide the right expertise. Diversity of thought provides the perspectives needed to effectively address critical topics, which can contribute to greater productivity and ultimately a stronger board.

Avoid excessive short-term focus

Perpetual existence is one of the principal reasons for the initial development of a corporation. However, recent history offers many examples of modern corporate entities managing to reach short-term results at the expense of long-term prosperity. The board can demonstrate its leadership by being the voice of reason and openly discussing the sustainability of strategic initiatives. This can result in a well-governed company with a greater chance of achieving long-term, sustainable success.

Avoid approvals if you don’t understand the issue

Complex issues can have significant implications for the survival of an organization. It is up to directors to make sure that they understand issues that can alter the future of an enterprise before a vote is taken. This doesn’t require dissecting every detail, but it should consist of a thorough investigation and assessment of the risks and rewards of proposed transactions. If you don’t adequately understand the issue, ask for more education from management or external experts. It comes down to being able to ask the tough questions of management and probing further if things do not make sense. Consensus doesn’t mean going along with the crowd. True consensus results from a thorough debate and airing of the issues before the board, resulting in a more informed vote by directors.

Avoid discounting the value of experience

As a director, it is important to recognize the value that your experience can bring to the issues at hand. Good governance doesn’t mean checking all the right boxes. Rather, it is bringing together the diverse skills and experiences of each director to lead the company through challenges. Directors can provide greater insight by being ‘situationally aware’ when evaluating events and courses of action to take. Just as the captain of a ship needs to understand the various environmental factors that influence navigation, boards need to understand the external risks that may have an impact on the navigation of the company. Consider the context of the current issue, how it is similar to, or different from, previous experiences, what alternatives could be considered, and how outside forces may impede a successful outcome. Don’t discount the value of experience just because it was gained outside the boardroom.

Avoid stepping over the line into management’s role

A board that makes management decisions will find it difficult to hold the CEO accountable for the outcome. A director’s role is to oversee the efforts of management rather than stepping into management’s shoes. Directors must make a concentrated effort to ensure that they have clarity on management’s role, which is to operate the company. The distinction between the board and management is often blurred by directors who forget that they are not charged with running the day-to-day operations of an enterprise. This doesn’t prevent a director from getting into the details of an issue facing the company, but it does mean that directors should avoid stepping over the line.

Avoid ignoring shareholders

A company’s shareholders are among the most important and potentially vocal constituents of the enterprise. Concerns can sometimes be addressed by providing shareholders an audience with the board to air their concerns. Historically, compliance with the SEC Regulation Fair Disclosure (Reg FD) rules has been perceived as a hindrance to directors engaging in shareholder dialogue and meetings. As outlined in the Millstein Center for Corporate Governance and Performance policy briefing.

Avoid a bias to risk aversion

With the recent focus on excessive risk-taking and its impact on the credit crisis, there is concern that companies and boards may become risk-averse.

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Le secrétaire du conseil et la gouvernance de l’entreprise | En reprise

Ce matin, je tente de répondre à de nombreuses interrogations concernant le rôle et les fonctions d’un secrétaire du conseil. En premier lieu, voici une présentation faite par Richard Leblanc auprès des membres de la Canadian Society of Corporate Secretaries (CSCS) – Société canadienne des secrétaires corporatifs (SCSC) lors d’un panel à Toronto.

Le professeur Leblanc a énoncé dix recommandations très pertinentes sur les actions à entreprendre par les responsables afin de s’assurer du bon traitement réservé à la diversité. Mon billet du 24 octobre 2012, intitulé Le rôle des secrétaires corporatifs eu égard à la diversité des C.A. des sociétés canadiennes, aborde ce sujet.

Je constate que le président du conseil est un acteur clé dans la conduite des activités des secrétaires. Comme le président assume la responsabilité des communications entre le conseil et la direction, son rôle se confond souvent avec celui de secrétaire.

C’est le président qui établit l’ordre du jour avec le PCD et qui, souvent, rédige ou supervise étroitement les procès-verbaux, une tâche normalement accomplie par le secrétaire. Ainsi, dans beaucoup de cas, le secrétaire joue le rôle d’adjoint au président du conseil pour la gestion administrative des affaires du conseil.

Français : Cabinet du Secrétaire Perpétuel de ...
Français : Cabinet du Secrétaire Perpétuel de l’Académie nationale de Médecine, Paris, France (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

En cherchant à connaître davantage la description de tâche d’un secrétaire du conseil, j’ai trouvé, parmi les publications de notre partenaire IFA (Institut Français des Administrateurs), un document qui répond très bien à cette préoccupation et qui peut convenir à tous les types d’organisations.

Le document de l’IFA est le fruit d’une enquête menées auprès de 149 secrétaires du conseil; il traite (1) du statut, (2) de la fonction, (3) des moyens et (4) du profil du secrétaire du conseil. Vous pouvez télécharger le document au bas du communiqué de l’IFA.

Le Secrétaire du Conseil & la Gouvernance de l’Entreprise | IFA

Les fonctions de Secrétaire du Conseil et des comités du conseil, couvrent par ordre d’importance, les travaux suivants :

  1. rédige les procès-verbaux des réunions du Conseil et s’assure avant leur approbation qu’ils reflètent fidèlement le déroulement des séances ;
  2. est en relation avec les administrateurs en dehors du Conseil, répond à leurs questions, s’assure de leur présence pour le quorum, suit leurs questions matérielles et réglementaires (jetons de présence, suivi des déclarations pour les opérations sur titres etc.) ;
  3. met au point le calendrier des réunions du Conseil, prépare les ordres du jour et convoque les administrateurs ;
  4. prépare l’ordre du jour et organise le déroulement de la séance du Conseil avec le Président ;
  5. prépare ou contribue à l’élaboration des différents documents mis à la disposition des actionnaires en vue de l’Assemblée Générale ;
  6. organise matériellement les réunions, y compris hors du siège social ;
  7. surveille les règles de déontologie et de conformité ;
  8. organise le processus d’évaluation du fonctionnement du Conseil ;
  9. assure le suivi des relations avec les actionnaires individuels, les institutionnels;
  10. est le « Gardien de la gouvernance dans le Groupe »  et
  11. assure le secrétariat du Conseil de chaque filiale.


Voici les recommandations qui émanent de cette enquête :


1. La fonction de Secrétaire du Conseil doit être formalisée par le Conseil (plutôt que par des textes réglementaires). Son rôle doit être défini dans le Règlement Intérieur du Conseil et sa nomination entérinée lors d’une séance du Conseil.

2. Lorsque des comités spécialisés existent, il est recommandé que le Secrétaire du Conseil soit aussi le secrétaire de tous les comités. Dans le cas contraire, des comptes rendus des travaux de chaque comité doivent être établis et le Secrétaire du Conseil doit en être destinataire.

3. Dans les entreprises cotées, son poste doit évoluer vers un poste à plein temps et les moyens nécessaires à l’exercice de sa fonction doivent lui être donnés. Budgétairement et en comptabilité analytique, un centre de coût spécifique doit lui être attribué (frais de missions, de formation, jetons de présence …)

4. Le Secrétaire du Conseil doit être disponible et, si possible, rattaché directement au Président du Conseil (exécutif ou non) afin de favoriser une plus grande indépendance et un meilleur fonctionnement du Conseil.

5. Si son poste n’est pas à plein temps, il peut être rattaché à d’autres directions dans le cadre de ses autres fonctions.

6. Il est apparu utile qu’un lieu permanent de rencontre et d’échange (mais aussi d’information et de formation) soit mis à la disposition des Secrétaires du Conseil dans le cadre de l’IFA.

Tout sur la gouvernance des OBNL : Questions et réponses*

Voici le billet qui a attiré l’attention du plus grand nombre de lecteurs sur mon blogue depuis le début. Ce fait montre clairement que la gouvernance et la gestion des organisations à buts non lucratifs (OBNL) souffre d’un manque d’informations pertinentes. Le billet a été publié le 30 octobre 2011; je l’ai mis à jour récemment afin que les nombreuses personnes intéressées par la gouvernance des OBNL puissent être mieux informées. L’Institut canadien des comptables agréés (ICCA) a produit des documents pratiques, pertinents, synthétiques et accessibles sur presque toutes les questions de gouvernance. Il est également important de noter que l’ICCA accorde une attention toute particulière aux pratiques de gouvernance des organismes sans but lucratif (OSBL = OBNL).

Ainsi, l’ICCA met à la disposition de ces organisations la collection 20 Questions pour les OSBL qui comprend des questions que les administrateurs d’organismes sans but lucratif (OSBL=OBNL) devraient se poser concernant des enjeux importants pour la gouvernance de ce type d’organismes. Ces documents sont révisés régulièrement afin qu’ils demeurent actuels et pertinents. Si vous avez des questions dans le domaine de la gouvernance des OBNL, vous y trouverez certainement des réponses satisfaisantes. Si vous souhaitez avoir une idée du type de document à votre disposition, vous pouvez télécharger le PDF suivant:

Twenty questions I ask myself every day
Twenty questions I ask myself every day (Photo credit: opensourceway)

20 questions que les administrateurs d’organismes sans but lucratif devraient poser sur la gouvernance

Vous pouvez choisir le document pertinent (voir la liste ci-dessous) et le commander à la boutique CA.



* En reprise


20 Questions que les administrateurs d’organismes sans but lucratif devraient poser sur les ressources humaines
20 Questions que les administrateurs d’organismes sans but lucratif devraient poser sur les ressources humaines
(also available in English)
Le présent cahier d’information aidera les administrateurs d’OSBL à assumer leurs principales responsabilités à cet égard, soit : le recrutement, l’évaluation et la planification de la relève du directeur général ou du principal responsable au sein du personnel, l’établissement de la rémunération du directeur général et l’approbation de la philosophie de rémunération de l’organisme, ainsi que la surveillance des politiques et pratiques en matière de ressources humaines de l’organisme pris dans son ensemble.
20 Questions que les administrateurs d’organismes sans but lucratif devraient poser sur les risques
20 Questions que les administrateurs d’organismes sans but lucratif devraient poser sur les risques
(also available in English)
20 Questions que les administrateurs d’organismes sans but lucratif devraient poser sur les risques a été rédigé pour aider les membres des conseils d’administration des OSBL à comprendre leur responsabilité à l’égard de la surveillance des risques.
20 Questions que les administrateurs des organismes sans but lucratif devraient poser sur l’obligation fiduciaire
20 Questions que les administrateurs des organismes sans but lucratif devraient poser sur l’obligation fiduciaire
(also available in English)
20 Questions que les administrateurs des organismes sans but lucratif devraient poser sur l’obligation fiduciaire vise à aider les membres des conseils d’administration d’OSBL à comprendre leurs obligations fiduciaires et à s’en acquitter en leur fournissant un résumé des principes juridiques et des pratiques de pointe en matière de gouvernance pour ces organismes.
20 Questions que les administrateurs des organismes sans but lucratif devraient poser sur la gouvernance
20 Questions que les administrateurs des organismes sans but lucratif devraient poser sur la gouvernance
(also available in English)
Ce cahier d’information décrit brièvement les principaux éléments de gouvernance des organismes sans but lucratif et des responsabilités des administrateurs. Il sera utile non seulement aux administrateurs éventuels, nouveaux et expérimentés, mais aussi aux comités des candidatures et aux organisateurs des séances d’orientation et de formation des administrateurs. Il est le premier d’une série de cahiers d’information destinés aux administrateurs d’organismes sans but lucratif et portant sur des aspects particuliers de la gouvernance de ces organisations.
20 Questions que les administrateurs des organismes sans but lucratif devraient poser sur la stratégie et la planification
20 Questions que les administrateurs des organismes sans but lucratif devraient poser sur la stratégie et la planification
(also available in English)
La viabilité d’un organisme sans but lucratif, soit sa capacité de poursuivre et de financer ses activités année après année, est l’une des principales responsabilités du conseil. Les administrateurs doivent comprendre la raison d’être de l’organisme, les intérêts de ses parties prenantes et la façon dont il gère les risques auxquels il est exposé. Ils doivent également participer activement à l’élaboration de la stratégie de l’organisme et à son approbation.
20 Questions que les administrateurs des organismes sans but lucratif devraient poser sur le recrutement, la formation et l’évaluation des membres du conseil
20 Questions que les administrateurs des organismes sans but lucratif devraient poser sur le recrutement, la formation et l’évaluation des membres du conseil
(also available in English)
Le document 20 Questions que les administrateurs des organismes sans but lucratif devraient poser sur le recrutement, la formation et l’évaluation des membres du conseil explore les défis que doivent relever les OSBL pour recruter les personnes aptes à siéger à leur conseil d’administration. Il souligne aussi l’importance qu’il convient d’accorder à la formation et au perfectionnement des administrateurs ainsi qu’à l’évaluation régulière du conseil et de ses membres.
20 Questions que les administrateurs devraient poser sur l'indemnisation et l'assurance responsabilité des administrateurs et des dirigeants  (Comprend un supplément à l’intention des organismes sans but lucratif)
20 Questions que les administrateurs devraient poser sur l’indemnisation et l’assurance responsabilité des administrateurs et des dirigeants
(Comprend un supplément à l’intention des organismes sans but lucratif)
(also available in English)
Les administrateurs sont exposés à divers risques juridiques du fait de leur association avec une société et de leur obligation fiduciaire à son égard. De plus en plus, ils s’intéressent aux conditions de leur indemnisation et de leur assurance et se tournent vers leurs conseillers professionnels pour vérifier qu’ils disposent d’un niveau de protection adéquat. Il est recommandé aux conseils de s’intéresser activement aux dispositions prises par la société en ce qui concerne l’indemnisation et l’assurance relatives à la responsabilité civile des administrateurs et des dirigeants.

Comités des risques | Plus « risqués » que les comités d’audit ? *

Voici un excellent article publié hier par Howard Davies dans le FT portant sur les nouvelles réalités de la gouvernance, particulièrement dans les institutions financières.

En effet, une enquête du Financial Times (The FT’s A-List), montre, de manière convaincante, que les comités de risques sont maintenant plus « redoutés » que les comités d’audit. C’est un phénomène récent qui n’est pas encore bien documenté mais l’expérience des membres de conseils semble indiquer que ces comités sont moins recherchés, principalement parce que les experts en risques siégeant sur les conseils sont trop peu nombreux.

Il y a 10 ans, les administrateurs accordaient peu de temps à la surveillance des risques, faisant ainsi une confiance presqu’aveugle aux experts de la direction. Les préoccupations et les priorités des conseils ont changé radicalement depuis 2008, notamment depuis que les autorités réglementaires rendent obligatoire la constitution de comités de risques sur les C.A. des institutions financières.

Plusieurs autres secteurs d’activité ont suivis en accordant une place prépondérante à la gestion des risques et à la mise en place de comités de risques distincts des comités d’audit.

L’article ci-dessous présente l’état de la situation et les changements qui s’imposent dans la gouvernance des organisations, Voici un extrait de cet article. Bonne lecture !


 Audit is no longer the chore the board dreads most

« There is uncertainty about what risk committees should do »


Until recently, most non-executive directors would have told you that the audit committee is the one they really wish to avoid. The meetings are long, the papers voluminous, and the duties burdensome. So the conclusion of a recent survey by Per Ardua, an executive search company, came as a surprise. Eighty per cent of respondents in the financial sector now say that the risk committee is the one to dodge – even though audit and remuneration committees have so far more often exposed non-executives to public criticism.

The FT’s A-List

The A-list

The A-List provides timely, insightful comment on the topics that matter, from globally renowned leaders, policy makers and commentators

The survey responses suggest three possible explanations. First, the risk committee has a broad range of responsibilities. For a bank, traditional value-at-risk measures, which reflect the likelihood that the bank’s loans will go bad, are just the beginning. The agenda has broadened into operational, regulatory, legal and reputational risk, demanding detailed knowledge of all areas of the business – and of the relevant rules within which they operate. Regulation is increasingly complex, and varies significantly by country.

Second, whereas audit committees look backwards, risk committees must look forwards – a more difficult task. True, the dividing line is not quite so stark in practice; some auditors do live in the here and now. But overseeing future risks requires greater exercise of judgment, and involves the use of stress testing and other relatively novel techniques.

Third, the regulatory focus on risk committees has grown. Before the Walker review of corporate governance in financial firms, most banks in the UK did not have a separate risk committee. The same was true in the US. The audit committee did the job in its spare time. Now regulators on both sides of the Atlantic look to the risk committee and its chairman to answer for the stability of a bank, to oversee compliance with capital regulation and to take responsibility for its resolution and recovery plans. Those plans are highly technical.

Source: www.linkedin.com

Voir Scoop.itgouvernance


* En reprise




Sur quoi les organisations doivent-elles d’abord travailler ? | Sur la stratégie ou sur la culture*

Voici un article très intéressant de Elliot S. Schreiber* paru sur le blogue de Schreiber | Paris récemment. L’auteur pose une question cruciale pour mieux comprendre la nature et la priorité des interventions organisationnelles.

À quoi le management et le C.A. doivent-ils accorder le plus d’attention : À stratégie ou à la culture de l’organisation ?

L’auteur affirme que la culture, étant l’ADN de l’entreprise, devrait se situer en premier, …  avant la stratégie !

Le bref article présenté ci-dessous pose deux questions fondamentales pour connaître si l’entreprise a une culture appropriée :

(1) Does it cost us the same, more or less than competitors to recruit and retain top talent ?

(2) Are customers happy with the relationship they have with our company versus our competition ?

If it costs you more to recruit and retain your best talent or if customers believe that competitors are easier to deal with, you have cultural issues that need to be dealt with.   We can guarantee that if you do not, you will not execute your strategy successfully, no matter what else you do.

Ce point de vue correspond-il à votre réalité ? Vos commentaires sont les bienvenus. Bonne lecture !

Which To Work on First, Strategy or Culture ?


Peter Drucker famously stated “culture eats strategy for breakfast”.   A great quote no doubt and quite right, but it still raises the question – one that we recently got from a board member at a client organization – “which should we work on first, strategy or culture”?

Consider the following; you are driving a boat.  You want to head east, but every time you turn the wheel the boat goes south.  In this analogy, the course direction is strategy; the boat’s rudder is culture.  They are not in synch.  No matter how hard you turn the wheel, the rudder will win.  That is what Drucker meant.

Every organization has a culture, whether it was intentionally developed or not.  This culture gets built over time by the personalities and principles of the leaders, as well as by rewards, incentives, processes and procedures that let people know what really is valued in the company.

Culture is defined as “the way we do things around here every day and allow them to be done”. Employees look to their leaders to determine what behaviors are truly values, as well as to the rewards, incentives, processes and procedures that channel behaviors.

Executives we work with often get confused about culture, thinking that they need to duplicate the companies that are written up in publications as having the best cultures.  We all know the ones in these listings.  They are the ones with skate ramps, Friday beer parties, and day care centers.  All these things are nice, but there is no need to duplicate these unless you are attempting to recruit the same employees and create the same products and services.  No two companies, even those in the same market segment, need to have the same culture.

We know from discussions with other consultants and business executives that there are many who strongly believe that culture comes first.  What they suggest is that since culture is there—it is the DNA of the company—it comes before strategy.  It may be first in historical order, but that is not what matters. You don’t need pool tables and skate ramps like Google to have a good culture.   What matters with culture is whether or not it drives or undermines value creation, which comes from the successful interaction of employees and customers.



* Elliot S. Schreiber, Ph.D., is the founding Chairman of Schreiber Paris.  He has gained a reputation among both corporate executives and academics as one of the world’s most knowledgeable and insightful business and market strategists. Elliot is recognized as an expert in organizational alignment, strategy execution and risk management.  He is a co-founder in 2003 of the Directors College, acknowledged as Canada’s « gold standard » for director education.

* En reprise

L’utilisation de consultants en rémunération a pour effet de faire augmenter significativement les salaires des PCD (CEO)

Voici un article, publié par Andrew Ross Sorkin et paru dans le New York Times récemment, qui montre très clairement que les entreprises qui embauchent un consultant en rémunération pour les aider à déterminer la « juste » rétribution du PCD (CEO) contribuent, par le biais de la divulgation extensive des rémunérations dans les circulaires de votation ainsi que par l’utilisation de la technique du « benchmarking » par les consultants, à faire gonfler significativement la paie des premiers dirigeants.

Nous le savions déjà … mais de plus en plus d’études le confirment.

Les entreprises qui, pour la première fois, engagent des consultants en rémunération (souvent suggérés par les PCD eux-mêmes), proposent des augmentations salariales 7,5 % plus élevées que celles d’autres organisations qui ne recourent pas aux services de consultants !

Alors, les entreprises ont tout intérêt à retenir des consultants pour établir la rémunération de leur PCD !

La question ici n’est pas de savoir si le CA devrait retenir les services de consultants en rémunération; cela me semble tout à fait nécessaire dans la plupart des cas. Cependant, il faut être conscient des conséquences non-anticipées de cette démanche et poser les bonnes questions afin de ne pas surpayer les hauts dirigeants.

De plus, les comités de rémunération doivent sérieusement se questionner sur les données provenant d’une approche basée sur le benchmarking.

Je vous invite à lire ce court article et, si vous êtes membre d’un CA, à prendre bonne note de cette conséquence éventuelle.

Bonne lecture !

How compensation consultants use data to ratchet up pay of CEOs

« It’s very seldom that publishing compensation accomplishes much for the shareholders. No CEO looks at a proxy statement and comes away saying, ‘I should be paid less.' »

Warren Buffett made that contrarian argument earlier this year, at the annual meeting of Berkshire Hathaway, about the steady push for companies to disclose compensation in increasingly specific detail in the name of transparency.

It was an intriguing, counterintuitive point, but largely anecdotal.

Now, a study by three professors at the University of Cambridge may help prove Buffett’s assertion.

The study shows in devastating detail how compensation consultants – which use the increasingly available public data on compensation to advise boards on how much to pay chief executives – are helping to ratchet up the pay for the nation’s top executives.

Companies have long tried to « benchmark » the compensation of their executives to that of their peers.

But as the cottage industry of compensation consultancy has emerged – along with more detailed information about salaries and bonuses – the increase in compensation has not slowed. In fact, quite the opposite has happened.

« We consistently find evidence that supports the argument that compensation consultants are hired to justify higher CEO pay to the board, shareholders, and other stakeholders, » wrote the study’s authors, Jenny Chu, Jonathan Faasse and P. Raghavendra Rau.

In theory, the hiring of compensation consultants – and the publication of compensation plans publicly – should have curbed the rise in executive pay. The various headline-grabbing lists of compensation for chief executives are seemingly meant to shame boards – and the armada of consultants around them – to restrain their largesse.

But according to the study, it’s the other way around: Companies that hire compensation consultants for the first time « show a 7.5 per cent increase in CEO pay compared to other firms, and such companies where CEOs get a pay boost are less likely to turn over consultants the following year. »

One of the study’s authors cited the jump in pay for Michael Dell, founder and chief executive of Dell, after it hired a compensation consultant in 2011. (His pay quadrupled, though it may be hard to ascribe it solely to the consultant.) Similarly, the CEO of Public Storage’s pay multiplied after hiring a consultant.

Worse, allowing a chief executive to hire a compensation consultant instead of leaving the task to the company’s board, led to a 13 percent increase in pay, the study’s authors found.

Why in the world is a chief executive in charge of hiring a compensation consultant? That’s a good question, but it happens more than you would imagine.

The study, which examined more than 1,000 U.S. companies from 2006 to 2012, shows that compensation consultants have an increasing influence inside boardrooms.

In 2009, the Securities and Exchange Commission changed the rules concerning compensation consultants because they were worried about their influence and suspected them of conflicts. Many of the consultants, like Towers Watson, Mercer and Aon Hewitt, offered multiple services in addition to consulting on compensation. As a result, the SEC theorized that the disclosure of consulting fees might help prevent the consultants from trying to curry favor with management by helping to lift pay in the hope of receiving more contracts for other services.

But the study’s authors say they found « that the SEC rule change didn’t work as designed, because both company management and pay consultancies have found ways to circumvent the intent of the new rules. »

Indeed, a cottage industry of boutique compensation consultants sprang up in the wake of the new rule, in part because then the companies do not have to disclose consulting fees if the firm does not provide other services. Some Mercer partners left to start Compensation Advisory Partners, and Towers Watson « announced that it would partner with a newly created spinoff, Pay Governance LLC, » the authors wrote.

All of which brings us back to Buffett’s larger point about the disclosure of the compensation plans in the first place.

Is transparency a good thing? In most cases, it is hard to argue against the benefit it provides.

But when consultants and others use that transparency as a weapon in a compensation arms race, questions, even uncomfortable ones, must be raised.

Let’s be honest, compensation at the top level is rarely based on a true marketplace. Unless a rival company tries to poach a chief executive, it is hard to determine exactly what they should be paid.

Most employers seek to hire people at the lowest possible cost while still paying them enough to do the best job possible and keep them from leaving. It’s delicate balance. But most companies seek to maximize whatever money they devote toward compensation.

That is rarely how boards think about it. For them, the best chief executive makes the most money.

« How do you tell your shareholders you have a great CEO? » Rau said. « ‘For proof, we pay him peanuts.’ They never say they do that. »

So between the consultants and disclosure of all this information about compensation, the likelihood is that pay will rise at an ever greater pace.

« American shareholders are paying a significant price because they get to look at that proxy statement each year, » Buffett said.

He told a story about the time he ran Salomon Bros. « At Salomon, everyone was dissatisfied with their pay, and they got enormous amounts. They were disappointed because they looked at others, and it drove them crazy. »

Buffett’s business partner, Charlie Munger, chimed in: « I would say that envy is doing the country harm. »

Les administrateurs doivent communiquer avec les actionnaires !

Vous trouverez, ci-dessous, un excellent article de John C. Wilcox*, président de Sodali, paru dans The Conference Board Governance Center Blog, sur la problématique de l’engagement des administrateurs avec leur actionnaires. Un sujet hautement d’actualité …

L’auteur affirme que la transparence est la clé de voute d’une bonne relation entre la direction et les actionnaires activistes. Selon lui, l’engagement est une mesure plutôt réactive parce ce que ce processus de communication avec les actionnaires n’établit pas une base solide à long terme ayant pour effet de prévenir l’activisme.

L’auteur propose plusieurs moyens très utiles pour rendre une organisation plus transparente et plus proactive dans ses communications avec ses actionnaires et avec les parties prenantes.

Une approche misant sur la valeur de la transparence est nécessaire pour assurer une bonne gouvernance. L’article évoque plusieurs moyens concrets pour y arriver en commençant par la clarification des rôles des administrateurs et l’établissement de la nette distinction à faire entre les tâches du CA et celles du management.

Voici les tâches qui relèvent de la responsabilité du conseil d’administration :

« Long-term strategy, company values, culture and “tone at the top”;
Oversight of management and long-term performance;
Accounting principles and the audit process;
Policies relating to ESG and sustainability;
Director nomination, selection and competence;
CEO succession planning;
Board evaluation;
Executive and board compensation;
Risk oversight;
Ethics, conflicts of interest and related-party transactions;
Non-financial performance goals and metrics;
Engagement and communication with shareholders and other constituents »

En fait, le CA doit avoir une voix clairement indépendante de la direction … et se doter des moyens pour l’exprimer.

Je vous invite à lire l’extrait ci-dessous qui résume bien la problématique abordée et à prendre connaissance de l’article qui suggère des moyens concrets pour accroître la transparence.

Directors Should Communicate With Shareholders

To demonstrate their effectiveness, corporate boards should increase transparency, provide an annual report of boardroom activities and take charge of their relations with shareholders.

With shareholders continuing to press for ever-deepening levels of engagement, companies must find a way to answer the most basic question of corporate governance: “How effective is the board of directors?” It is a question that can only be answered by the board itself, but it presents directors with a challenge as well as an opportunity. The challenge is to overcome the mindset, habits and perceived risks that have long kept boardroom activities under wraps. The opportunity, on the other hand, is to define governance and strategic issues from the board’s perspective, manage shareholder expectations, take the engagement initiative away from shareholders and reduce the likelihood of activism. Directors should give careful consideration to this opportunity. Over the long term, it will be far better for companies to control the process by which board transparency is achieved rather than waiting for yet again another set of governance reforms that could further erode the board’s authority.IMG00286-20100629-2027_2

Despite widespread support for board primacy and the board-centric governance model, boardroom transparency and director-shareholder relations are not a priority at most companies. A recent DealBook column in the New York Times described the situation as follows:

“What if lawmakers never spoke to their constituents? Oddly enough, that’s exactly how corporate America operates. Shareholders vote for directors, but the directors rarely, if ever, communicate with them.”

The problem is not limited to corporate America. Opaque boardrooms are a global phenomenon, particularly common in markets where companies are dominated by founding families, control groups, or the state.

The column concludes:

“…[S]ome form of engagement with shareholders – rather than directors simply taking their cues from management – would go a long way toward helping boards work on behalf of all shareholders…”
[Andrew Ross Sorkin, The New York Times, July 21, 2014]

Cues from management are not the only concern. In many global markets the board’s role is broadly defined, requiring directors to balance the competing demands of insiders, resolve conflicts of interest, deal with related-party transactions and juggle competing business and public policy goals in addition to their basic oversight duties. In these markets the need for transparency is even more compelling than in highly regulated markets, such as the UK, the European Union and the USA, where comprehensive legal, disclosure and accounting standards are well established.

Boards are under pressure…
Pressure for greater board transparency and more open communication continues to come from the usual suspects: activist investment funds, hedge funds with a range of long and short-term investment strategies, governance reform professionals, NGOs, shareholder advocacy groups, trade unions, individual shareholder activists, special interest proponents and other adversaries. Proxy advisory firms compound the pressure by providing a global audience for these disputes. When issues of policy are involved, the media and politicians often step in to further amplify the pressure on companies.

Companies have fought defensive rearguard actions against activism, occasionally prevailing in specific campaigns, but ultimately they have had to concede defeat on most policy disputes relating to governance and board accountability. The decade-long evolution of the say-on-pay vote exemplifies this pattern of opposition and retreat.

Despite the chain of losses, the high-volume debate between companies and shareholders about the merits of governance reform continues today: Are corporate governance standards good or bad for companies? Does shareholder activism produce value or destroy value? Should shareholders have more power or less? Are directors sufficiently independent or not? Should corporate governance be director-centric or shareholder-centric? Is chronic short-termism the fault of greedy shareholders, or greedy CEOs, or weak boards, or does it represent the inevitable decline of free-market capitalism, or all of the above? The list of questions goes on and on. The debate has not lessened in intensity, but it has not resolved the questions either. The few answers that have been provided remain largely determined by research methodologies, policy perspectives or the merits of individual cases. The real answer to most of the big questions seems inevitably to be “It depends…”

As 2015 approaches, it remains unclear how much the debate really matters or whether answers to these questions would be helpful to businesses and investors. For individual companies, the answer would seem to be No.

…but institutional investors are under pressure, too.
Today’s governance and regulatory environment is changing rapidly for shareholders and the investment community as well as for companies. In the extended wake of the financial crisis, institutional investors remain under the regulatory microscope. They can no longer claim privileged status or remain exempt from the governance and accountability standards they impose on portfolio companies.

Stewardship codes and new laws in several major markets now require institutional investors to intensify their oversight of portfolio companies and disclose publicly their governance policies, voting practices and engagement activities. These requirements have further led to the development of new means of collective institutional engagement through organizations such as the UK Investors Forum.

Proxy advisory firms, themselves under regulatory and industry pressure to provide less standardized governance reviews as well as more information about the integrity of their research and vote recommendations, are relying much less on their traditional check lists of governance externalities. In response to client demand, they are digging for more detailed information about board effectiveness at individual companies.

The financial crisis awakened the investment community and the general public to the failures that resulted from overreliance on quantitative analysis to evaluate companies’ performance and risk. In response to new rules, institutional investors are now beginning to include intangibles and non-financial performance metrics in their analytical models. This wider lens embraces corporate governance, environmental practices, social policies, ethics, culture, reputation and other non-quantitative elements that are predictive of long-term performance. The terms “ESG” (Environmental, Social, Governance) and “sustainability” have become a form of shorthand for defining this new way of looking holistically at business enterprises. A recently issued Directive on disclosure of non-financial and diversity information by the EU Council puts the legal imprimatur on this broader set of data.

The enlarged analytical framework has important implications for companies — and specifically for boards of directors. Responsibility for ESG and sustainability falls squarely on the board. The directors, rather than management, are deemed by shareholders to be answerable for ESG and sustainability.

Investor focus on non-financial criteria is producing some interesting results. In the U.S., the Council of Institutional Investors and its members have taken an approach that involves a carrot rather than a stick. CII has begun publishing periodic reports, based on member surveys and feedback, identifying companies whose disclosure practices exemplify best practice. A February 2014 CII report named six U.S. companies — Coca-Cola, GE, Pfizer, Prudential Financial, Microsoft and Walt Disney — as examples of excellence in disclosure of director qualifications and skills. In September 2014 CII published an additional report on board evaluation practices, citing GE (USA), Potash, Agrium (both Canadian companies), BHP Billiton (Australia), Dunelm (UK) and Randstad Holdings (Netherlands) as examples of excellence. According to deputy director Amy Borrus, CII plans to continue publishing reports on issues deemed important for its members to evaluate board effectiveness.


Although global corporate governance standards continue to uphold the director-centric model, information about board effectiveness remains fragmentary and inconsistent. Both companies and shareholders would benefit from an annual board narrative and a structured program for directors to communicate and engage with shareholders.


*John C. Wilcox is Chairman of Sodali Ltd, a global consultancy providing companies and boards with services relating to corporate governance, shareholder relations, corporate actions and the capital markets. From 2005 to 2008 he served as Senior Vice President and Head of Corporate Governance at TIAA-CREF, one of the world’s largest private pension systems. Prior to joining TIAA-CREF he was chairman of Georgeson & Company, the U.S. proxy and investor relations.


Conseils d’administration français | « On est vraiment passé du copinage à la recherche de valeur ajoutée »

Vous trouverez, ci-dessous, un entretien mené par Patrick Amoux auprès d’Agnès Touraine, présidente de l’Institut Français des Administrateurs (IFA), publié dans le nouvel Economiste.fr, qui fait un excellent bilan de la gouvernance en France depuis 10 ans.

Les actionnaires peuvent lui dire merci … Si leurs représentants dans les conseils d’administrations se sont vigoureusement professionnalisés pour défendre leurs intérêts, se mettant ni plus ni moins aux standards anglo-saxons et aux normes de gouvernance moderne démodant les si fameux petits arrangement entre « chers amis » c’est à l’Institut Français des administrateurs, à Daniel Lebègue qui l’a créé, à Agnès Touraine qui le préside désormais. Une autre époque pour ces instance de pilotage de la stratégie des entreprises qui justifie quelques sérieuses remises en cause compte tenu de la consanguinité chronique des vieux modèles.

Diversité, internationalisation, transparence, éthique, formation, professionnalisme….sur tous les fronts, il faut batailler, convaincre, décider afin que l’autorégulation évite le couperet de la loi. Agnès Touraine est donc aux avants postes de tous ces combats. La méthode douce n’exclut pas la détermination. « Un projet nous tient vraiment à cœur, le lien entre la qualité de la gouvernance et la compétitivité. Il faut que les organes de gouvernance soient vus comme des apports de valeurs ajoutées. » Cela suppose la qualité des compétences composant les conseils. L’un des plus vastes chantiers de la présidente de l’IFA.IMG_20141013_160948

En 10 ans, Daniel Lebègue a fait un travail remarquable en travaillant à cette révolution de la gouvernance des entreprises en France. Il y a 15 ans, la gouvernance était quelque chose qui n’existait pas. Avec l’évolution des lois, des règlements, et le code Afep-Medef de 2013 qui s’est mis en place, c’est probablement l’un des domaines où il se produit une vraie révolution par rapport au comportement des administrateurs d’autrefois. Elle se concrétise notamment par l’instauration des comités. Il y a 15 ans, il n’y avait ni comité d’audit, ni comité de rémunération, ni comité de nomination. Aujourd’hui, il n’y a pas de groupe coté où il n’y ait pas un comité d’audit, bien sûr, et un comité de rémunération, de nomination.

Conseils d’administration : On est vraiment passé du copinage à la recherche de valeur ajoutée


Si vous souhaitez connaître la réalité française eu égard à la gouvernance, je vous conseille de lire cet article. Voici les sujets abordés dans cet entretien :

  1. L’apport de compétences
  2. L’entrée des femmes aux conseils d’administration
  3. Le déficit d’administrateurs étrangers
  4. Gouvernance et compétitivité
  5. La dissociation président/directeur général
  6. Les administrateurs indépendants
  7. Les rémunérations des patrons
  8. Les salariés administrateurs
  9. Le défi numérique
  10. Les conseils des ETI et des start-up
  11. L’évaluation des conseils d’administration
  12. La maison des administrateurs


Les chiffres clés des conseils d’administration

Part des femmes (2014) :
-29 % pour le CAC40 (19 % en 2012)
-26 % au sein du SBF120 (15 % en 2012)

Administrateurs étrangers (2014) :
-30 % au sein du CAC40 (23 % en 2012)
-22 % au sein du SBF120 (13 % en 2012)

Source : Étude Ernst & Young et Labrador

Dissociation des fonctions :
-14 % des sociétés du CAC40 dissocient président du conseil et direction générale
-21 % des sociétés du SBF120

-11 % des sociétés du CAC40 ont une structure conseil de surveillance/directoire
-16 % du SBF120 ont opté pour ce mode de gouvernance

Source : Rapport du Haut Comité de gouvernement d’entreprise

Le Say on Pay :
> 90% d’approbation aux AG 2014 du SBF120

Nombre d’administrateurs du marché Euronext Paris :
1/ Cote parisienne : 966 émetteurs
7 045 administrateurs, dont 795 indépendants (11,3 %) et 1 316 femmes (18,7 %).
Moyenne de 7,3 administrateurs par émetteur.

2/ CAC 40 : 587 administrateurs dont 204 indépendants (34,7 %) et 172 femmes (29,3 %).
Moyenne de 14,7 administrateurs par émetteur.

Source : Cofisem ©


*Bio express de Agnès Touraine, l’administrateure internationale

Sciences-Po, un MBA à Columbia, puis des débuts chez McKinsey… du classique haut de gamme, version délibérément grand large, pour l’entrée dans une vie professionnelle qui va mener Agnès Touraine chez Hachette. Membre du comité exécutif puis directrice de la branche grande diffusion du groupe Livre Hachette, avant de prendre la présidence de la filiale multimédia de CEP Communication, devenue Havas Interactive, elle devient ensuite directrice générale déléguée et membre du comité exécutif de Vivendi Universal Publishing du temps de Jean-Marie Messier et des grandes acquisitions américaines. Cette passionnée de nouvelles technologies crée ensuite la société de conseil en management Act III Consultants, puis une structure dédiée aux jeux vidéo, Act III Gaming. Administratrice de nombreuses sociétés (Neopost, ITV, Coridis, Playcast Media) et de l’Institut Français des administrateurs, dont elle a pris la présidence cette année.

Le dilemme d’un PDG | Un cas à résoudre

Voici un cas qui intéressera certainement tous les administrateurs qui siègent sur des CA d’entreprises familiales.

Comment un nouveau PDG (PCD), fils du propriétaire-fondateur, doit-il s’y prendre pour convaincre un CA formé d’administrateurs nommés par le père, lui-même maintenant président du conseil, du bien-fondé d’une décision audacieuse qui engage l’avenir de la société ?

Prenez connaissance du cas ci-dessous et consultez les avis émis par les trois experts en gouvernance retenus.

Bonne lecture !

Le dilemme d’un PDG |  Un cas à résoudre

Nils is the managing director of his family business, a position he was promoted into when his father, the company founder, became chairman of the board. He was previously the marketing director. The company manufactures a wide range of food products from its base south west of Sydney. These are mostly sold under home brand packaging to large retail chains and a distribution company.IMG_00001521

The other directors on the board are all longstanding advisors to his father and, as his father says, have kept the company from making many potentially costly mistakes, by providing prudent advice over the years.

Nils has conducted research and identified what he thinks is a great opportunity for the company to manufacture a branded product which it would initially sell through specialty stores and chemists to establish the brand before offering to the major supermarket chains. He is confident that the project can be funded from cash-flow and will not cannibalise the existing business. The bank has offered to increase the company’s line of credit to allow for working capital increases and possible cash flow timing issues.

Nils developed a proposal for the board and eagerly presented this under the title ‘new opportunity’ at the recent strategy retreat attended by the board and management. The board were horrified. They could only see risk in entering new distribution chains, possibly competing with their current customers, and investing in developing a branded product. Nils sees those risks and believes he has a strategy to counter them.

How can Nils encourage his board to be more innovative?

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