Aux É.U., il est temps de favoriser le rapprochement entre les administrateurs et les actionnaires


Voici un excellent article paru dans la section Business du The New York Times du 28 mars 2015 qui porte sur les appréhensions, relativement injustifiées, des communications (engagement) entre les administrateurs et leurs actionnaires (en dehors des assemblées annuelles).

L’article évoque le manque de communication des Boards américains avec leurs actionnaires et avec les parties prenantes, contrairement à la situation qui prévaut du côté européen. Selon l’auteure, cette grande distance entre les administrateurs et les actionnaires mène aux insatisfactions croissantes de ceux-ci, et cela se reflète dans l’augmentation du nombre d’administrateurs n’obtenant pas le soutien requis lors des assemblées annuelles.

On le sait, les actionnaires des entreprises américaines souhaitent pouvoir faire inscrire leurs propositions dans les circulaires de procuration, notamment pour présenter des candidatures aux postes d’administrateurs.

En 2015, plusieurs grandes corporations américaines permettront l’accès des grands actionnaires à leurs circulaires de procuration (voir Les conséquences inattendues de l’accès des actionnaires à la circulaire de procuration lors de l’assemblée annuelle et Proxy Access Proposals: The Next Big Thing in Corporate Governance).

Il est donc temps de revoir le mode de communication entre les deux acteurs principaux et d’exposer les avantages à collaborer à la gouvernance de l’entreprise. Plusieurs pays européens donnent l’exemple à cet égard.

Ainsi, en Suède et en Norvège, les cinq (5) plus grands actionnaires d’une entreprise reçoivent des invitations à se joindre au comité de gouvernance et de nomination afin de choisir des administrateurs potentiels.

En Europe, les actionnaires ont plus de poids; ceux qui possèdent au moins 1 % de la propriété peuvent soumettre des candidatures pour les postes d’administrateurs. De plus, dans certains pays européens, contrairement à la situation américaine, les administrateurs doivent soumettre leurs démissions s’ils ne reçoivent pas un soutien majoritaire aux élections.

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Voici une politique sur la communication du CA avec les investisseurs qui pourrait être envisagée; elle présente un certain nombre de sujets jugés appropriés :

(1) la rémunération de la direction,

(2) la structure des comités du conseil,

(3) le processus de planification de la relève,

(4) le rôle du CA dans la supervision de la stratégie.

Je suis assuré que vous trouverez cet article du NYT stimulant et engageant ! Vos commentaires sont les bienvenus.

Bonne lecture !

At U.S. Companies, Time to Coax the Directors Into Talking

It’s shareholder meeting season again, corporate America’s version of Groundhog Day.

This is the time of year when company directors venture out of the boardroom to encounter the investors they have a duty to serve. After the meetings are over, like so many Punxsutawney Phils, these directors scurry back to their sheltered confines for another year.

This is a bit hyperbolic, of course. But institutional investors argue that there’s a troubling lack of interaction these days between many corporate boards in the United States and their most important investors. They point to contrasting practices in Europe as evidence that it’s time for this to change.

“It’s a very different culture in the U.S.,” said Deborah Gilshan, corporate governance counsel at RPMI Railpen Investments, the sixth-largest pension fund in Britain, which has 20 billion pounds, or about $30 billion, in assets. “In the U.K., we get lots of access to the companies we invest in. In fact, I’ve often wondered why a director wouldn’t want to know directly what a thoughtful shareholder thinks.”

As Ms. Gilshan indicated, directors at European companies routinely make themselves available for investor discussions; in some countries, such meetings are required. Many directors of foreign companies even — gasp — give shareholders their private email addresses and phone numbers.

Their counterparts in the United States seem fearful of such contact. Large shareholders say that some directors of American companies refuse to meet at all, preferring to let company officials speak for them.

Le rôle du président du conseil lors des réunions


Dans ce blogue, j’ai souvent rappelé le rôle fondamental du président du conseil dans le bon fonctionnement des réunions du CA mais aussi dans la mise en œuvre de règles de saine gouvernance.

L’article qui suit, publié par David Ferguson et Chuanchan Ma sur le site de l’Association of Corporate Counsel, insiste sur trois points importants eu égard au rôle légal du président du conseil d’administration (PCA) :

(1) Le comportement du président lors des rencontres du conseil;

(2) Le rôle du PCA eu égard aux règles de gouvernance;

« The chair of the board is responsible for leading the board, facilitating the effective contribution of all directors and promoting constructive and respectful relations between directors and between the board and management. The chair is also responsible for setting the board’s agenda and ensuring that adequate time is available for discussion of all agenda items, in particular strategic issues ».

(3) L’autorité du président du conseil dans le processus de gouvernance.

Je vous invite à lire ce court article afin de mieux comprendre le rôle essentiel d’un président du conseil (PCA).

Bonne lecture !

Company meetings – tips and insights: the role of the chair

In cooperation with Association of Corporate Counsel

Introduction

The constitutions of most companies divide the corporate powers between the board of directors, which is usually given the power to manage the company’s business, and the members, who usually have the power to appoint and remove directors and change the constitution. The powers of the board and members are usually exercised through resolutions passed at a meeting.

This article considers the role of the chair in the context of meetings as well as the broad corporate governance role allocated to an individual director appointed to the role of chair of a public company. This reveals the increased expectations of the role while noting the limited formal powers of the chair.

The chair’s role in meetings

Courts have taken the view that, generally, a meeting can only take place with more than one participant.2 This reflects the fact that “according to the ordinary usage of the English language” that it is not possible for a person to have a meeting with themselves. This is the case even though the one person present holds proxies for others.3 While exceptions to this general position have been identified to enable a meeting of a single holder of a class of shares4 , the general concept of a meeting contemplates discussion between the participants and, for this reason, courts have also held that a meeting of directors or shareholders cannot proceed without a chair.

This indispensable element of any meeting was recognized in Colorado Constructions Pty Ltd v Platus5 where Street J identified that the chair’s role included the setting of the order of business, nomination of the person entitled to speak, putting questions to the meeting, declaring resolutions carried or not carried and declaring the meeting closed. As noted in a subsequent case, “the essence of chairmanship is actually exercising procedural control over the meeting”.6

In carrying out this role, the chair is required to act impartially to ensure that the meeting operates in a fair manner. As observed by Young J in NAB v Market Holdings Pty Ltd (in liq)7 , citing National Dwelling Society v Sykes8:

It is the duty of the chairman, and his functions, to preserve order, and to take care that the proceedings are conducted in a proper manner, that the sense of the meeting is properly ascertained with regard to any question which is properly before the meeting.

The chair’s role in corporate governance

Most public company constitutions provide that the board of directors will elect one of their number to act as chair and that the person elected also acts as chair of general meetings. While the position of chair could be filled on an ad hoc basis, there is a broader corporate governance significance to the role that the chair of a public company plays. This is reflected in the following excerpt from commentary to Recommendation 2.5 of the ASX Corporate Governance Principles and Recommendations:

The chair of the board is responsible for leading the board, facilitating the effective contribution of all directors and promoting constructive and respectful relations between directors and between the board and management. The chair is also responsible for setting the board’s agenda and ensuring that adequate time is available for discussion of all agenda items, in particular strategic issues.

Accordingly, the role of chair in a public company is usually attributed special status and additional remuneration. Although the position can be carried out in different individual styles, the chair often acts as spokesperson for the company on high level matters and usually plays an important link between the board and management of the company. It is worth noting that the ASX Corporate Governance Principles and Recommendations also express the view that the chair should be a non-executive role so as to separate the chair’s role from that of the chief executive officer and the executive management team. This article has been formulated on the assumption that the chair is a nonexecutive director, but a fuller discussion of this issue is beyond its scope.

The allocation of a broader corporate governance role has been recognised as potentially giving rise to a more extensive duty of care and diligence on the part of the chair. As noted by Austin J in reflecting on the duties of the chair of the board of One.Tel Limited:9

The court’s role, in determining liability of a defendant for his conduct as company chairman, is to articulate and apply a standard of care that reflects contemporary community expectations.

Austin J further noted that it is now commonplace to observe that the standard of care expected of company directors, both by the common law (including equity) and under statutory provisions, has been raised over the last century or so, and that “[o]ne might correspondingly expect that the standard for company chairmen has also been raised”.10

The individual requirements of the standard of care owed by the chair of a public company will depend on the allocation of corporate governance roles and responsibilities within the company and the skills and experience of the individual person carrying out the role of chair.11 In this respect, the responsibilities of the chair are not limited to delegated tasks but include the responsibilities with which the chair is entrusted by reason of his or her expertise and experience.12

The authority of the chair

Despite the essential nature of the chair’s role in the context of meetings and the elevated duty of care and diligence that may be attributed to the chair’s role within public companies, a person appointed to that role does not have authority, merely by virtue of that office, to make decisions binding on the company or to give binding directions.13 The board makes its decisions by resolutions which are carried or lost depending on a majority vote. Accordingly, unless the board has delegated powers, the chair has no more power to carry out matters on behalf of a company than any other individual non-executive director.

The chair’s authority in the context of meetings is more robust. Constitutions typically provide that the chair is elected by the board of directors and, in some cases, provide that the chair has a casting vote at meetings of directors and members. Consistent with his or her role in regulating meetings, constitutions also usually provide that the chair of a general meeting can require a vote to be taken by way of a poll and empower the chair to make certain rulings at the meeting.14 Where a company’s constitution provides that rulings by the chair on certain matters are final and the chair makes a ruling on those matters in good faith, there is no right in the meeting to challenge the ruling, although it could be overturned by a court in appropriate circumstances. Even if a decision is made by the chair in connection with the proper conduct of a meeting that does not have the protection of an express constitutional provision, courts have indicated that the decision should be regarded as correct unless the contrary is proved by a person objecting to it.15

If the chair has a casting vote at a meeting, that right must be exercised “honestly and in accordance with what (the chair) believes to be the best interests of those who may be affected by the vote”. Subject to this, the chair is entitled to exercise the casting vote as he or she thinks fit.16 While there has been a view that, because the chair has a duty to maintain impartiality, a casting vote should be used to maintain the status quo so as to allow further discussion of the relevant matter, it is doubtful that this general proposition exists.17

A number of provisions of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) also recognize the special status of the chair’s role in meetings. For example, the Corporations Act acknowledges that the chair often receives multiple proxy appointments and therefore imposes an obligation on the chair to vote as proxy on a poll.18 It also gives greater scope for the chair, as compared to other directors, to vote proxies in connection with directors’ remuneration.

Un guide des pratiques de gouvernance dans l’Union Européenne (EU)


Vous trouverez, ci-dessous, un guide complet des pratiques de gouvernance relatives aux entreprises de l’Union Européenne.

Il n’y a pas de version française de ce document à ce stade-ci. J’ai cependant demandé à ecoDa (European Confederation of Directors’ Associations) si un guide en français était en préparation. Toute personne intéressée par la gouvernance européenne trouvera ici un excellent outil d’information.

Bonne lecture !

This publication has been produced in collaboration with the European Confederation of Directors’ Associations (ecoDa) primarily aimed at ecoDa’s membership and for supporting IFC’s work in surrounding regions with countries aspiring to understand and follow rules, standards and practices applied in the EU countries but which may be of wider relevance and interest to practitioners, policy makers, development finance institutions, investors, board directors, business reporters, and others.

A Guide to Corporate Governance Practices in the European Union

The purpose of this publication is twofold: to describe the corporate governance framework within the European Union and to highlight good European governance practices. It focuses on the particular aspects of European governance practices that distinguish this region from other parts of the world.DSCN3217

In addition to providing a useful source of reference, this guide is designed to be relevant to anyone interested in the evolving debate about European corporate governance. It should be of particular interest to the following parties:

Policymakers and corporate governance specialists, to assist in the identification of good practices among the member states. Improvements in corporate governance practices in a country may attract foreign direct investment.

Directors of listed and unlisted companies, to inspire them to look again at their ways of working.

Directors of state-owned enterprises (SOEs), to assist in improving corporate governance practices prior to selling off state assets.

Bankers, to assist in the identification of good corporate governance practices to inform their lending and investing practices.

Staff within development financial institutions, to assist in the identification of good corporate

Proxy advisors and legal advisors, to assist in the identification of corporate governance compliance issues.

Investors, shareholders, stock brokers, and investment advisors, to assist in the identification of good practices in investor engagement and activism.

Senior company management, to assist in the identification of good relationship-management practices with boards of directors.

Journalists and academics within business schools, who are interested in good corporate governance practices.

Private sector and public sector stakeholders from the EU candidate and potential candidate countries in their preparation for eventual accession. Geographical areas of potential readership may include the following in particular:

The 18 Eurozone countries (listed in Appendix A);

The 28 EU member states (Appendix B);

The five EU candidate countries (Appendix C);

The three potential candidate countries

The 47 European Council Countries (Appendix E); and

Emerging markets and others seeking to increase trade or attract investment with European countries.

Les conséquences inattendues de l’accès des actionnaires à la circulaire de procuration lors de l’assemblée annuelle


Cet article est publié par David A. Katz associé de la firme Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, spécialisée dans les questions de fusions et acquisitions ainsi que dans les transactions boursières complexes. Cet article a été publié sur le site du Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance.

L’auteur explique les conséquences inattendues du processus utilisé par les entreprises cotées eu égard à la modification de leurs règlements internes afin de permettre l’inscription des propositions de certains actionnaires dans les circulaires de procuration.

L’on sait que, dans le passé, il y avait beaucoup de réticence à permettre aux actionnaires de soumettre des propositions lors des assemblées annuelles et à proposer des candidatures aux postes d’administrateurs, une initiative réservée au comité de gouvernance.

Cependant, à la suite d’intenses pressions des activistes, plusieurs entreprises ont accepté de soumettre au vote de leurs actionnaires une proposition autorisant les actionnaires majeurs à proposer des administrateurs désignés. Il semble qu’il ne reste que le pourcentage de propriété qui soit en suspend à ce moment-ci : 3% ou 5%.

L’auteur discute des difficultés que ces changements pourraient engendrer, notamment le gaspillage de ressources organisationnelles, les manquements au devoir de fiduciaire, l’isolation des administrateurs désignés, les dysfonctions du CA, les tensions au sein du conseil, etc.

L’auteur fait un bon résumé des conséquences négatives éventuelles pour la gouvernance des sociétés. Je vous invite également à lire l’article paru sur le blogue du Berkeley Center for Law, Business and the Economy  : Proxy Access Proposals: The Next Big Thing in Corporate Governance. Et vous, qu’en pensez-vous ?

Je vous encourage à lire l’extrait ci-dessous. Vos commentaires sont les bienvenus.

The Unintended Consequences of Proxy Access Elections

It’s official: Proxy access is the darling of the 2015 season. Shareholder-sponsored proxy access proposals are on the ballots of more than 100 U.S. public companies this spring. These precatory proposals seek a shareholder vote on a binding bylaw that would enable shareholders who meet certain ownership requirements to nominate board candidates and have them included in the company’s own proxy materials. P1000674

Powerful institutional investors have given the proxy access movement enormous momentum this spring, and blue chip firms such as GE, Bank of America, and Prudential have voluntarily adopted versions of proxy access in advance of their annual meetings. Companies such as Citigroup have agreed to support proxy access shareholder proposals in their definitive proxy materials. In the absence of regulatory guidance, proxy advisors such as ISS have stepped into the breach to define the terms and conditions of proxy access. As proxy access proposals proliferate—after years of controversy—the primary debate now seems to be whether a 3 percent or 5 percent ownership threshold is more appropriate.

….

Unintended Consequences

The detrimental consequences of proxy access fall into three general categories. First, there are those that occur before and during the proxy solicitation period. These include waste of corporate resources, negative publicity, the impairment of a company’s ability to attract qualified candidates to stand for election as a director, and the undermining of the company’s nominating committee and board leadership. Proxy access could cause tension among shareholders, particularly large shareholders, who disagree in public or private over whether to nominate candidates for inclusion in the proxy, and if so, which ones. It also could cause internal controversy for large shareholders; institutional investors or pension funds, for example, may find themselves pressured by certain constituencies (such as unions) to participate in proxy access for political reasons, while other constituencies support the current board’s direction on substantive grounds. The instability caused by proxy access—like that created by proxy fights—could create significant disruption in a business, as executives, managers, and employees struggle with fear and uncertainty about the future. Damaging effects on hiring, long-range planning, and employee retention can cause lasting harm to a corporation regardless of the election results.

Second, there are those consequences that relate to the composition of the board. Were proxy access to become widespread and effective, a board could become unable to ensure that it would have the necessary expertise (such as the audit committee financial expert mandated by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act or industry specialists) or make progress toward a desired diversity of skills, genders, and backgrounds. Moreover, it could create the potential for distrust and a lack of collegiality that would reduce the board’s effectiveness and distract the company’s management, and it would increase the likelihood of politicization and balkanization of directors into factions with different goals.

Third, there are those consequences that relate to the board’s ability to fulfill its legal duties and obligations. Proxy access directors would owe a duty of loyalty to all shareholders under Delaware law—as all directors do—yet they might feel themselves to be—or be expected or viewed by others to be—beholden to the particular shareholder group that nominated them and pushed for their election. In conjunction with the paramount issue of loyalty, questions of confidentiality, transparency, board committee structure, and board dynamics could arise. Complications familiar from the constituency/blockholder director context likely would be exacerbated if sponsored directors were to reach the board through proxy access. Boards would be addressing these issues in a context of significant uncertainty, both as to the legal questions of fiduciary duty and as to the factual questions of a proxy access director’s allegiance.

If proxy access directors are elected in any meaningful number, boards will be contending with an array of complications that have the potential to impair board functioning in ways that the current debate has not addressed. As the popularity of proxy access reaches a high-water mark this season, shareholders should consider carefully whether they really want what proxy access proponents are asking for. If not, now is the time for them to say so.

Comportements néfastes liés au narcissisme de certains présidents et chefs de direction (PCD) | En reprise


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

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

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

P1040752La première étude citée montre que les organisations dirigées par des PCD prétentieux et tout-puissants ont tendances à avoir de moins bons résultats, tout en étant plus sujettes à des fraudes.

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

Voici en quelques paragraphes les conclusions de ces deux études.

Bonne lecture !

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

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

                             

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

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

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La juste rémunération des hauts dirigeants d’une OBNL : une tâche délicate !


Vous trouverez, ci-dessous, un article très intéressant d’Alice Korngold dans Huff Post – Canada, sur un sujet brûlant ! L’auteure montre les facettes positives et négatives de l’établissement d’une rémunération « juste et raisonnable » dans le contexte des OBNL américaines.

Elle propose une démarche logique pour assurer l’intégrité du processus.

Bonne lecture !

Executive Compensation in the Nonprofit Sector: Getting It Right

« In fact, one of the most important things that nonprofit boards can do to strengthen the organizations that they govern is to get the salaries right for the CEOs of their nonprofits.
What does it mean to get compensation right? And why does it matter so much?

Getting it right is called « fair and reasonable » by the IRS. It’s what the law requires, it’s what any CEO wants, and it’s what any donor and member of the public expects ».

Qualités managériales recherchées par les conseils d’administration | 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.

IMG_20141211_183948

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.

Recommandations des firmes ISS et Glass Lewis pour la votation aux assemblées annuelles de 2015 | En rappel


Quelles sont les avis émis par les firmes conseil en votation qui servent à évaluer la qualité de la gouvernance des entreprises cotées ? Quels sont les facteurs pris en compte par les actionnaires, les investisseurs institutionnels et les Hedge Funds pour juger de la gouvernance et de la performance globale des sociétés, et pour voter lors des assemblées annuelles des actionnaires ?

Cet article, publié dans Lexology, en collaboration avec l’association des juristes corporatifs, a été rédigé par Dykema Gossett, Robert Murphy, Mark A. Metz et D. Richard McDonald. Les auteurs présentent les recommandations des firmes ISS et Glass Lewis eu égard à des sujets chauds en gouvernance.

Je vous invite à prendre connaissance des mises à jour fournies par ces deux firmes-conseil et accessibles à tous les actionnaires, notamment les recommandations relatives à l’indépendance des présidents de conseils d’administration.

Bonne lecture !

ISS and Gass Lewis proxy voting policy updates for the 2015 proxy season

The proxy advisory firms ISS and Glass Lewis, recently announced updates to their respective voting policies for domestic companies for the upcoming 2015 proxy season. These two firms have risen to prominence in recent years, wielding significant power in corporate governance matters, proxy fights and takeover votes. Hedge funds, mutual fund complexes, institutional investors and similar organizations that own shares of multiple companies pay ISS and Glass Lewis to advise them regarding shareholder votes.

In cooperation with Association of Corporate Counsel

The ISS and Glass Lewis policy updates are effective for annual meetings on or after February 1, 2015, and January 1, 2015, respectively. For your convenience, we have summarized below the most important updates relating to corporate governance matters.

Independent Board Chairs

The most notable ISS policy change relates to shareholder proposals that seek to separate the chairman and chief executive officer positions. For the 2015 proxy season, ISS is adding new governance, board leadership and performance factors to its current analytical framework. In this regard, ISS’s policy will continue to generally recommend that shareholders vote “for” independent chair shareholder proposals after consideration in a “holistic manner” of the following factors:

Scope of the Proposal: Whether the shareholder proposal is binding or merely a recommendation and whether it seeks an immediate change in the chairman role or can be implemented at the next CEO transition.

Company’s Current Board Leadership Structure: The presence of an executive or non-independent chairman in addition to the CEO, a recent recombination of the role of CEO and chairman, and/or a departure from a structure with an independent chairman.

Company’s Governance Structure: The overall independence of the board, the independence of key committees, the establishment of governance guidelines, as well as board tenure and its relationship to CEO tenure.

Company’s Governance Practices: Problematic governance or management issues such as poor compensation practices, material failures of governance and risk oversight, related party transactions or other issues putting director independence at risk will be reviewed as well as corporate or management scandals and actions by management or the board with potential or realized negative impacts on shareholders.

Company Performance: One-, three- and five-year total shareholder return compared to the company’s peers and the market as a whole.

In view of its new holistic approach in evaluating these types of shareholder proposals, ISS indicates that a “For” or “Against” recommendation will not be determined by any single factor, but that it will consider all positive and negative aspects of the company based on the new expanded list of factors when assessing these proposals.

Glass Lewis generally does not recommend that shareholders vote against CEOs who also serve as chairman of the board of directors, but it encourages clients to support separating the roles of chairman and CEO whenever the issue arises in a proxy statement.

Unilateral Bylaw/Charter Amendments

ISS and Glass Lewis have adopted new policies pursuant to which they will generally issue negative vote recommendations against directors if the board amends the bylaws or charter without shareholder approval in a manner that materially diminishes shareholder rights or otherwise impedes shareholder ability to exercise their rights (“Unilateral Amendments”).

Under the updated policy, if the board adopts a Unilateral Amendment, ISS will generally make a recommendation for an “against” or “withhold” vote on a director individually, the members of a board committee or the entire board (other than new nominees on a case-by-case basis), after considering the following nine factors, as applicable:

– the board’s rationale for adopting the Unilateral Amendment;

– disclosure by the issuer of any significant engagement with shareholders regarding the Unilateral Amendment;

– the level of impairment of shareholders’ rights caused by the Unilateral Amendment;

– the board’s track record with regard to unilateral board action on bylaw and charter amendments and other entrenchment provisions;

– the issuer’s ownership structure;

– the issuer’s existing governance provisions;

– whether the Unilateral Amendment was made prior to or in connection with the issuer’s IPO;

– the timing of the Unilateral Amendment in connection with a significant business development; and

– other factors, as deemed appropriate, that may be relevant to the determination of the impact of the Unilateral Amendment on shareholders.

Glass Lewis has revised its policy to provide that, depending on the circumstances, it will recommend that shareholders vote “against” the chairman of the board’s governance committee, or the entire committee, in instances where a board has amended the company’s governing documents, without shareholder approval, to “reduce or remove important shareholder rights, or to otherwise impede the ability of shareholders to exercise such right” such as:

– the elimination of the ability of shareholders to call a special meeting or to act by written consent;

– an increase to the ownership threshold required by shareholders to call a special meeting;

– an increase to vote requirements for charter or bylaw amendments;

– the adoption of provisions that limit the ability of shareholders to pursue full legal recourse (e.g., bylaws that require arbitration of shareholder claims or “fee-shifting” bylaws);

– the adoption of a classified board structure; and

– the elimination of the ability of shareholders to remove a director without cause.

Equity Plan Proposals

Of particular importance to management are the revised ISS and Glass Lewis policies pertaining to their voting recommendations on company proposals seeking shareholder approval of equity compensation plans. Equity compensation of management remains a central focus of many institutional investors and shareholder activists.

For 2015, ISS adopted a new “scorecard” model, referred to as Equity Plan Scorecard (“EPSC”), that considers a range of positive and negative factors in evaluating equity incentive plan proposals, rather than the current six pass/fail tests focused on cost and certain egregious practices to evaluate such proposals. The total EPSC score will generally determine whether ISS recommends “for” or “against” the proposal.

Under its new policy, ISS will evaluate equity-based compensation plans on a case-by-case basis depending on a combination of certain plan features and equity grant practices, as evaluated by the EPSC factors. The EPSC factors will fall under the following three categories (“EPSC Pillars”):

Plan Cost (45 percent weighting): The total estimated cost of the company’s equity plans relative to industry/market cap peers. ISS will measure plan cost by using ISS’s Value Transfer Model (SVT) for the company in relation to its peers. The SVT calculation assesses the amount of shareholders’ equity flowing out of the company to employees and directors.

Plan Features (20 percent weighting): The presence or absence of provisions in the plan providing for (i) automatic single-triggered award vesting upon a change in control; (ii) discretionary vesting authority; (iii) liberal share recycling on various award types; and (iv) minimum vesting period for grants made under the plan.

Grant Practices (35 percent weighting): The issuer’s recent grant practices under the proposed plan and all other plans including (i) the company’s three-year burn rate relative to its industry/market cap peers; (ii) vesting requirements in most recent CEO equity grants (three-year lookback); (iii) the estimated duration of the plan based on the sum of shares remaining available and the new shares requested, divided by the average annual shares granted in the prior three years; (iv) the proportion of the CEO’s most recent equity grants/awards subject to performance conditions; (v) whether the company maintains a clawback policy; and (vi) whether the company has established post exercise/vesting share-holding requirements.

In its updated voting policy, ISS will generally recommend voting “against” the plan proposal if the combination of the factors listed above in the EPSC Pillars indicates that the plan is not, overall, in the shareholders’ interests, or if any of the following apply:

– awards may vest in connection with a liberal change-of-control definition;

– the plan would permit repricing or cash buyout of underwater options without shareholder approval (either by expressly permitting it – for NYSE and Nasdaq listed companies – or by not prohibiting it when the company has a history of prepricing – for non-listed companies);

– the plan is a vehicle for “problematic pay practices” or a “pay-for-performance disconnect;” or

– any other plan features are determined to have a “significant negative impact on shareholder interests.”

Political Contributions

In recent years, many issuers have received shareholder proposals seeking reports or other disclosure regarding political contributions, including lobbying and political activities. Under the updated policy on political contribution shareholder proposals, ISS will generally recommend that shareholders vote “for” proposals requesting greater disclosure of a company’s political contributions and trade association spending policies and activities, after considering:

– the company’s policies as well as management and board oversight related to its direct political contributions and payments to trade associations or other groups that may be used for political purposes;

– the company’s disclosure regarding its support of, and participation in, trade associations or other groups where it makes political contributions; and

– recent significant controversies, fines or litigation related to the company’s political contributions or political activities.

Practical Considerations

Despite the policy changes discussed above, public companies should continue to tailor their individual governance policies with a view towards what is in the long-term best interests of their own shareholders as opposed to meeting the ISS and Glass Lewis guidelines. ISS notes that its 2015 policy is intended to address the recent substantial increase in bylaw/charter amendments that adversely impact shareholder rights without being subject to a shareholder vote. Companies that intend to adopt any corporate governance policies that adversely impact shareholder rights should consider seeking shareholder support before implementing such policies, if a negative ISS or Glass Lewis recommendation on re-election of directors is likely to have a material effect on the election.

Companies should review last year’s proxy compensation and governance disclosures in order to make improvements in this year’s disclosures where appropriate – particularly if the company has received comments on this disclosure from the SEC staff. The failure to address a previous year’s staff comment may provoke a more detailed review by the staff, with its attendant time delays, should it be noticed during the staff’s initial screening of the filing.

Companies should also review their corporate governance and compensation practices for potential vulnerabilities under ISS’ policy updates, such as equity compensation plans that may be up for a vote at the next annual meeting or an independent chair shareholder proposal, and decide what action, if any, to take in light of this assessment.

Companies should continue a regular dialogue with key investors, bearing in mind limitations imposed by the SEC on proxy solicitations. Shareholder engagement efforts should continue to focus on what shareholders’ greatest concerns are and the rationale for board action.

Formation en gouvernance pour les nouveaux administrateurs | Un prérequis ?


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

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

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

 

Soirée de remise des diplômes de la promotion 2014
Diplômés ASC du Collège des administrateurs de sociétés 2014

 

A head start for novices

 

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

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

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

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

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

_________________________________

* En reprise

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Les interventions des actionnaires activistes | Comportements de meutes de loups !


Vous trouverez, ci-dessous, une référence à un article publié par Alon Brav, professeur de finance à l’Université Duke, Amil Dasgupta du département de finance de la London School of Economics et Richmond Mathews du département de finance de l’Université du Maryland, et paru dans le Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance.

Dans cet article, qui intéressera certainement les administrateurs préoccupés par les interventions croissantes des actionnaires activistes, les auteurs mettent en évidence les tactiques des Hedge Funds dans la « coopération » de divers groupes d’activistes, menée par un leader de la coalition (« la meute »).

IMG_20141211_183948

L’étude montre comment plusieurs activistes peuvent s’allier « informellement » pour coordonner leur attaque d’une entreprise cible.

Ce phénomène est relativement récent mais on peut imaginer un développement accru de l’utilisation de ces manœuvres dans le contexte règlementaire actuel.

Bonne lecture ! Vos commentaires sont toujours les bienvenus.

Wolf Pack Activism

In our paper Wolf Pack Activism, which was recently made publicly available on SSRN, we provide a model analyzing a prominent and controversial governance tactic used by activist hedge funds. The tactic involves multiple hedge funds or other activist investors congregating around a target, with one acting as a “lead” activist and others as peripheral activists. This has been colorfully dubbed the “wolf pack” tactic by market observers. The use of wolf packs has intensified in recent years and has attracted a great deal of attention. Indeed, a recent post on this forum described 2014 as “the year of the wolf pack”.

The formation of a wolf pack may enable activist hedge funds to gain the significant influence that they appear to wield in target firms with relatively small holdings: According to recent research, the median stake of activist hedge funds at the initiation of an activist campaign is only 6.3%. Yet, the process by which a wolf pack form appears to be subtle, for at least two reasons. First, wolf pack activity appears to be ostensibly uncoordinated—i.e., no formal coalition is formed—a fact that is usually attributed to an attempt by the funds to circumvent the requirement for group filing under Regulation 13D when governance activities are coalitional (e.g., Briggs 2006). Second, wolf packs appear to form dynamically: Writing in this forum in 2009, Nathan describes the process of wolf pack formation as follows: “The market’s knowledge of the formation of a wolf pack (either through word of mouth or public announcement of a destabilization campaign by the lead wolf pack member) often leads to additional activist funds entering the fray against the target corporation, resulting in a rapid (and often outcome determinative) change in composition of the target’s shareholder base seemingly overnight.”

The subtle nature of wolf pack formation, combined with the prominence of this tactic, raises some questions of key importance to corporate governance: How can formally uncoordinated dynamic wolf pack activity work? What role does the lead activist play? What is the role of the peripheral wolf pack members? How do leaders and followers influence each other?

Our model addresses these questions. We consider multiple activists of different sizes: One large and many small. There is one lead activist who is as large as several small activists taken together and is better informed than the small activists. Our model involves two key components. The first component is a static model of “engagement” by activist investors, which may be interpreted to include talking with target management, making public statements, sponsoring and voting on proxy proposals etc. Successful engagement naturally involves a collective action problem: Engagement can only succeed if there is enough pressure on management, given the underlying fundamentals of the firm. To capture this collective action problem, we build on methodology for analyzing asymmetric coordination problems in Corsetti, Dasgupta, Morris, and Shin (2004). The second component is a dynamic model of block-building which anticipates the subsequent engagement process. A key aspect of our analysis is that the ownership structure of the target firm (the total activist stake and the size-distribution of activists) is endogenous and determines the success of activism, given firm fundamentals.

We first show that the concentration of skill and capital matters: holding constant total activist ownership, the presence of a lead activist improves the coordination of wolf pack members in the engagement game, leading to a higher probability of successful activism. This occurs solely because the lead activist’s presence implicitly helps the smaller activists to coordinate their efforts and become more aggressive at engaging the target, since in our model there is no overt communication among the activists and they all act simultaneously. An implication of this result is that, even when a significant number of shares are held by potential activists, the arrival of a “lead” activist who holds a larger block may be a necessary catalyst for a successful campaign, which is consistent with the activist strategies that are well documented in the empirical literature.

We next show the beneficial effect of the presence of small activists on a lead activist’s decision to buy shares in the target. In particular, the larger is the wolf pack of small activists the lead activist can expect to exist at the time of the campaign, the more likely it is that buying a stake will be profitable given the activist’s opportunity cost of tying up capital. Importantly, the expected wolf pack size consists of both small activists that already own stakes, and those that can be expected to purchase a stake after observing the lead activist’s purchase decision.

We also examine the dynamics of optimal purchase decisions by small activists. We find that the acquisition of a position by the large activist (in effect, a 13D filing) precipitates the immediate entry of a significant additional number of small activists. While these activists know about the potential for activism at the firm before the lead activist buys in, other attractive uses of funds keep them from committing capital to the firm before they are sure that a lead activist will emerge. Others with lower opportunity costs may be willing to buy in earlier, as the real (but smaller) chance of successful engagement in the absence of a lead activist provides sufficient potential returns. Thus, our model predicts that late entrants to activism will be those who have relatively higher opportunity costs of tying up capital. One potential way to interpret this is that more concentrated, smaller, and more “specialized” vehicles (such as other activist funds) may be more inclined to acquire a stake only after the filing of a 13D by a lead activist.

The full paper is available for download here.

Sept leçons apprises en matière de communications de crises | Richard Thibault


Nous avons demandé à Richard Thibault*, président de RTCOMM, d’agir à titre d’auteur invité. Son billet présente sept leçons tirées de son expérience comme consultant en gestion de crise.

En tant que membres de conseils d’administration, vous aurez certainement l’occasion de vivre des crises significatives et il est important de connaître les règles que la direction doit observer en pareilles circonstances.

Voici donc, en reprise, l’article en question, reproduit ici avec la permission de l’auteur.

Vos commentaires sont appréciés. Bonne lecture !

Sept leçons apprises en matière de communications de crise

Par Richard Thibault*

La crise la mieux gérée est, dit-on, celle que l’on peut éviter. Mais il arrive que malgré tous nos efforts pour l’éviter, la crise frappe et souvent, très fort. Dans toute situation de crise, l’objectif premier est d’en sortir le plus rapidement possible, avec le moins de dommages possibles, sans compromettre le développement futur de l’organisation.

Voici sept leçons dont il faut s’inspirer en matière de communication de crise, sur laquelle on investit généralement 80% de nos efforts, et de notre budget, en de telles situations.

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill as seen from s...
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill as seen from space by NASA’s Terra satellite on May 24, 2010 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(1) Le choix du porte-parole

Les médias voudront tout savoir. Mais il faudra aussi communiquer avec l’ensemble de nos clientèles internes et externes. Avoir un porte-parole crédible et bien formé est essentiel. On ne s’improvise pas porte-parole, on le devient. Surtout en situation de crise, alors que la tension est parfois extrême, l’organisation a besoin de quelqu’un de crédible et d’empathique à l’égard des victimes. Cette personne devra être en possession de tous ses moyens pour porter adéquatement son message et elle aura appris à éviter les pièges. Le choix de la plus haute autorité de l’organisation comme porte-parole en situation de crise n’est pas toujours une bonne idée. En crise, l’information dont vous disposez et sur laquelle vous baserez vos décisions sera changeante, contradictoire même, surtout au début. Risquer la crédibilité du chef de l’organisation dès le début de la crise peut être hasardeux. Comment le contredire ensuite sans nuire à son image et à la gestion de la crise elle-même ?

(2) S’excuser publiquement si l’on est en faute

S’excuser pour la crise que nous avons provoqué, tout au moins jusqu’à ce que notre responsabilité ait été officiellement dégagée, est une décision-clé de toute gestion de crise, surtout si notre responsabilité ne fait aucun doute. En de telles occasions, il ne faut pas tenter de défendre l’indéfendable. Ou pire, menacer nos adversaires de poursuites ou jouer les matamores avec les agences gouvernementales qui nous ont pris en défaut. On a pu constater les impacts négatifs de cette stratégie utilisée par la FTQ impliquée dans une histoire d’intimidation sur les chantiers de la Côte-Nord, à une certaine époque. Règle générale : mieux vaut s’excuser, être transparent et faire preuve de réserve et de retenue jusqu’à ce que la situation ait été clarifiée.

(3) Être proactif

Dans un conflit comme dans une gestion de crise, le premier à parler évite de se laisser définir par ses adversaires, établit l’agenda et définit l’angle du message. On vous conseillera peut-être de ne pas parler aux journalistes. Je prétends pour ma part que si, légalement, vous n’êtes pas obligés de parler aux médias, eux, en contrepartie, pourront légalement parler de vous et ne se priveront pas d’aller voir même vos opposants pour s’alimenter.  En août 2008, la canadienne Maple Leaf, compagnie basée à Toronto, subissait la pire crise de son histoire suite au décès et à la maladie de plusieurs de ses clients. Lorsque le lien entre la listériose et Maple Leaf a été confirmé, cette dernière a été prompte à réagir autant dans ses communications et son attitude face aux médias que dans sa gestion de la crise. La compagnie a très rapidement retiré des tablettes des supermarchés les produits incriminés. Elle a lancé une opération majeure de nettoyage, qu’elle a d’ailleurs fait au grand jour, et elle a offert son support aux victimes. D’ailleurs, la gestion des victimes est généralement le point le plus sensible d’une gestion de crise réussie.

(4) Régler le problème et dire comment

Dès les débuts de la crise, Maple Leaf s’est mise immédiatement au service de l’Agence canadienne d’inspection des aliments, offrant sa collaboration active et entière pour déterminer la cause du problème. Dans le même secteur alimentaire, tout le contraire de ce qu’XL Foods a fait quelques années plus tard. Chez Maple Leaf, tout de suite, des experts reconnus ont été affectés à la recherche de solutions. On pouvait reprocher à la compagnie d’être à la source du problème, mais certainement pas de se trainer les pieds en voulant le régler. Encore une fois, en situation de crise, camoufler sa faute ou refuser de voir publiquement la réalité en face est décidément une stratégie à reléguer aux oubliettes. Plusieurs années auparavant, Tylenol avait montré la voie en retirant rapidement ses médicaments des tablettes et en faisant la promotion d’une nouvelle méthode d’emballage qui est devenue une méthode de référence aujourd’hui.

(5) Employer le bon message

Il est essentiel d’utiliser le bon message, au bon moment, avec le bon messager, diffusé par le bon moyen. Les premiers messages surtout sont importants. Ils serviront à exprimer notre empathie, à confirmer les faits et les actions entreprises, à expliquer le processus d’intervention, à affirmer notre désir d’agir et à dire où se procurer de plus amples informations. Si la gestion des médias est névralgique, la gestion de l’information l’est tout autant. En situation de crise, on a souvent tendance à s’asseoir sur l’information et à ne la partager qu’à des cercles restreints, ou, au contraire, à inonder nos publics d’informations inutiles. Un juste milieu doit être trouvé entre ces deux stratégies sachant pertinemment que le message devra évoluer en même temps que la crise.

(6) Être conséquent et consistant

Même s’il évolue en fonction du stade de la crise, le message de base doit pourtant demeurer le même. Dans l’exemple de Maple Leaf évoqué plus haut, bien que de nouveaux éléments aient surgi au fur et à mesure de l’évolution de la crise, le message de base, à savoir la mise en œuvre de mesures visant à assurer la santé et la sécurité du public, a été constamment repris sur tous les tons. Ainsi, Maple Leaf s’est montrée à la fois consistante en respectant sa ligne de réaction initiale et conséquente, en restant en phase avec le développement de la situation.

(7) Être ouvert d’esprit

Dans toute situation de crise, une attitude d’ouverture s’avérera gagnante. Que ce soit avec les médias, les victimes, nos employés, nos partenaires ou les agences publiques de contrôle, un esprit obtus ne fera qu’envenimer la situation. D’autant plus qu’en situation de crise, ce n’est pas vraiment ce qui est arrivé qui compte mais bien ce que les gens pensent qui est arrivé. Il faut donc suivre l’actualité afin de pouvoir anticiper l’angle que choisiront les médias et s’y préparer en conséquence.

En conclusion

Dans une perspective de gestion de crise, il est essentiel de disposer d’un plan d’action au préalable, même s’il faut l’appliquer avec souplesse pour répondre à l’évolution de la situation. Lorsque la crise a éclaté, c’est le pire moment pour commencer à s’organiser. Il est essentiel d’établir une culture de gestion des risques et de gestion de crise dans l’organisation avant que la crise ne frappe. Comme le dit le vieux sage,  » pour être prêt, faut se préparer ! »

____________________________________

* Richard Thibault, ABCP

Président de RTCOMM, une entreprise spécialisée en positionnement stratégique et en gestion de crise

Menant de front des études de Droit à l’Université Laval de Québec, une carrière au théâtre, à la radio et à la télévision, Richard Thibault s’est très tôt orienté vers le secteur des communications, duquel il a développé une expertise solide et diversifiée. Après avoir été animateur, journaliste et recherchiste à la télévision et à la radio de la région de Québec pendant près de cinq ans, il a occupé le poste d’animateur des débats et de responsable des affaires publiques de l’Assemblée nationale de 1979 à 1987.

Richard Thibault a ensuite tour à tour assumé les fonctions de directeur de cabinet et d’attaché de presse de plusieurs ministres du cabinet de Robert Bourassa, de conseiller spécial et directeur des communications à la Commission de la santé et de la sécurité au travail et de directeur des communications chez Les Nordiques de Québec.

En 1994, il fonda Richard Thibault Communications inc. (RTCOMM). D’abord spécialisée en positionnement stratégique et en communication de crise, l’entreprise a peu à peu élargi son expertise pour y inclure tous les champs de pratique de la continuité des affaires. D’autre part, reconnaissant l’importance de porte-parole qualifiés en période trouble, RTCOMM dispose également d’une école de formation à la parole en public. Son programme de formation aux relations avec les médias est d’ailleurs le seul programme de cette nature reconnu par le ministère de la Sécurité publique du Québec, dans un contexte de communication d’urgence. Ce programme de formation est aussi accrédité par le Barreau du Québec.

Richard Thibault est l’auteur de Devenez champion dans vos communications et de Osez parler en public, publié aux Éditions MultiMondes et de Comment gérer la prochaine crise, édité chez Transcontinental, dans la Collection Entreprendre. Praticien reconnu de la gestion des risques et de crise, il est accrédité par la Disaster Recovery Institute International (DRII).

Spécialités : Expert en positionnement stratégique, gestion des risques, communications de crise, continuité des affaires, formation à la parole en public.

http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=46704908&locale=fr_FR&trk=tyah

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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.

Quelles sont les dix plus importantes préoccupations des C.A. pour l’année 2015 ?


Voici un article de Kerry E. Berchem*, paru récemment 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.

Les dix (10) billets vedettes en gouvernance sur mon blogue en 2014


Voici une liste des billets en gouvernance les plus populaires publiés sur mon blogue en 2014.

Cette liste constitue, en quelque sorte, un sondage de l’intérêt manifesté par des dizaines de milliers de personnes sur différents thèmes de la gouvernance des sociétés. On y retrouve des points de vue bien étayés sur des sujets d’actualité relatifs aux conseils d’administration.

Les dix (10) articles les plus lus du Blogue en gouvernance ont fait l’objet de plus de 1 0 000 visites.

Que retrouve-t-on dans ce blogue et quels en sont les objectifs ?

Ce blogue fait l’inventaire des documents les plus pertinents et récents en gouvernance des entreprises. La sélection des billets est le résultat d’une veille assidue des articles de revue, des blogues et sites web dans le domaine de la gouvernance, des publications scientifiques et professionnelles, des études et autres rapports portant sur la gouvernance des sociétés, au Canada et dans d’autres pays, notamment aux États-Unis, au Royaume-Uni, en France, en Europe, et en Australie.

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Je fais un choix parmi l’ensemble des publications récentes et pertinentes et je commente brièvement la publication. L’objectif de ce blogue est d’être la référence en matière de documentation en gouvernance dans le monde francophone, en fournissant au lecteur une mine de renseignements récents (les billets quotidiens) ainsi qu’un outil de recherche simple et facile à utiliser pour répertorier les publications en fonction des catégories les plus pertinentes.

Quelques statistiques à propos du blogue Gouvernance | Jacques Grisé

Ce blogue a été initié le 15 juillet 2011 et, à date, il a accueilli plus de 125 000 visiteurs. Le blogue a progressé de manière tout à fait remarquable et, au 31 décembre 2014, il était fréquenté par plus de 5 000 visiteurs par mois. Depuis le début, j’ai œuvré à la publication de 1 097 billets.

En 2015, on estime qu’environ 5 500 personnes par mois visiteront le blogue afin de s’informer sur diverses questions de gouvernance. À ce rythme, on peut penser qu’environ 70 000 personnes visiteront le site du blogue en 2015. 

On  note que 44 % des billets sont partagés par l’intermédiaire de LinkedIn et 44 % par différents engins de recherche. Les autres réseaux sociaux (Twitter, Facebook et Tumblr) se partagent 13 % des références.

Voici un aperçu du nombre de visiteurs par pays :

  1. Canada (64 %)
  2. France, Suisse, Belgique (20 %)
  3. Magreb (Maroc, Tunisie, Algérie) (5 %)
  4. Autres pays de l’Union Européenne (2 %)
  5. États-Unis (2 %)
  6. Autres pays de provenance (7 %)

En 2014, le blogue Gouvernance | Jacques Grisé a été inscrit dans deux catégories distinctes du concours canadien Made in Blog (MiB Awards) : Business et Marketing et médias sociaux. Le blogue a été retenu parmi les dix (10) finalistes à l’échelle canadienne dans chacune de ces catégories, le seul en gouvernance.

Vos commentaires sont toujours grandement appréciés. Je réponds toujours à ceux-ci.

Bonne lecture !

Top 10 de l’année 2014 du blogue en gouvernance de www.jacquesgrisegouvernance.com

1.       Guides de gouvernance à l’intention des OBNL : Questions et réponses
2.       Sur quoi les organisations doivent-elles d’abord travailler ? | Sur la stratégie ou sur la culture*
3.       Dix (10) activités que les conseils d’administration devraient éviter de faire !
4.       Douze (12) tendances à surveiller en gouvernance | Jacques Grisé
5.       Comportements néfastes liés au narcissisme de certains PCD (CEO)
6.       LE RÔLE DU PRÉSIDENT DU CONSEIL D’ADMINISTRATION (PCA) | LE CAS DES CÉGEP
7.       On vous offre de siéger sur un C.A. | Posez les bonnes questions avant d’accepter ! **
8.       Sept leçons apprises en matière de communications de crise
9.       Pourquoi les entreprises choisissent le Delaware pour s’incorporer ?
10.     Document de KPMG sur les bonnes pratiques de constitution d’un Board | The Directors Toolkit

Pourquoi séparer les fonctions de PCA et de PCD ? Réflexions d’Yvan Allaire


Très bonnes réflexions d’Yvan Allaire sur le dogme de la séparation des rôles entre le président du conseil d’administration (PCA) et le président et chef de la direction (PCD).

Rien à rajouter à ce billet de l’expert en gouvernance qui , comme moi, cherche des réponses à plusieurs théories sur la gouvernance. Plus de recherches dans le domaine de la gouvernance serait grandement indiquées…

Le CAS et la FSA de l’Université Laval ont mis sur pied une chaire de recherche en gouvernance des sociétés dont le but est de répondre à ce type de questionnement.

 À lire sur le blogue Les Affaires .com

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

 

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Gouvernance, stratégie…et al. Yvan Allaire

« Parmi les dogmes de la bonne gouvernance, la séparation des rôles du PCA et du PDG vient au deuxième rang immédiatement derrière « l’indépendance absolue et inviolable » de la majorité des administrateurs. … Bien que les études empiriques aient grande difficulté à démontrer de façon irréfutable la valeur de ces deux dogmes, ceux-ci sont, semble-t-il, incontournables.

Dans le cas de la séparation des rôles, le sujet a pris une certaine importance récemment chez Research in Motion ainsi que chez Air Transat. Le compromis d’un administrateur en chef (lead director) pour compenser pour le fait que le PCA et le PDG soit la même personne ne satisfait plus; le dogme demande que le président du conseil soit indépendant de la direction ».

Mesurer et rémunérer la performance de la direction | En rappel


Voici une étude empirique qui cherche à mieux comprendre comment le choix des mesures de performance influence la rémunération de la direction.

Globalement, les résultats montrent une corrélation positive entre la rémunération du CEO et plusieurs autres mesures de création de valeur. L’étude indique qu’il y a d’autres facteurs qui viennent nuancer cette conclusion.

Je vous invite à lire cet article pour mieux saisir les relations entre les mesures de performance et la structure de rémunération de la direction. Vous trouverez, ci-dessous, un court extrait de cette étude.

Bonne lecture !

MEASURING AND REWARDING PERFORMANCE: THEORY AND EVIDENCE IN RELATION TO EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION

 

Debate surrounding executive compensation is an enduring feature of the UK corporate landscape. While concern over compensation levels continue to exercise politicians, regulators, investors and the media, there is growing concern over the degree to which performance metrics commonly used in executive compensation contracts represent appropriate measures of long-term value creation. This debate partly reflects fears that UK executives face excessive pressure to deliver short-term results at the expense of long-term improvements in value (e.g., Kay Review 2012).

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This report contributes to the debate over executive compensation generally and in particular to the question of performance measure choice in executive compensation contracts. The first part of the report summarises key insights from the academic and professional literatures regarding the structure of executive compensation arrangements and the metrics used to link pay with corporate performance.

The second part of the report presents findings from a pilot study of executive compensation arrangements and their association with corporate value creation using a subsample of FTSE-100 companies.

Our results provide some comfort but also create cause for concern. On the positive side, results demonstrate a material positive association between CEO pay and several measures of value creation for all capital providers. The evidence suggests that prevailing executive pay structures incentivise and reward important aspects of value creation even though contractual performance metrics are not directly linked with value creation in many cases. More troubling, however, is our evidence that (i) a large fraction of CEO pay appears unrelated to periodic value creation and (ii) key aspects of compensation consistently correlate with performance metrics such as TSR and EPS growth where the direct link with value creation is more fragile.

 

Le constat de l’incompétence de plusieurs administrateurs | Harvard Business Review


Aujourd’hui, je vous propose la lecture d’un récent article, paru dans Harvard Business Review, sous la plume de Dominic Barton* et Mark Wiseman*, qui traite d’un sujet assez brûlant : l’incompétence de plusieurs conseils d’administration.

Les auteurs font le constat que, malgré les nombreuses réformes règlementaires effectuées depuis Enron, plusieurs « Boards » sont dysfonctionnels, sinon carrément incompétents !

En effet, une étude de McKinsey montre que seulement 22 % des administrateurs comprennent comment leur firme crée de la valeur; uniquement 16 % des administrateurs comprennent vraiment la dynamique de l’industrie dans laquelle leur société œuvre.

L’article avance même que l’industrie de l’activisme existe parce que les « Boards » sont inadéquatement équipés pour répondre aux intérêts des actionnaires !

Je vous invite à lire cet article provocateur. Voici un extrait de l’introduction. Qu’en pensez-vous ?

Bonne lecture !

Where Boards Fall Short

Boards aren’t working. It’s been more than a decade since the first wave of post-Enron regulatory reforms, and despite a host of guidelines from independent watchdogs such as the International Corporate Governance Network, most boards aren’t delivering on their core mission: providing strong oversight and strategic support for management’s efforts to create long-term value. This isn’t just our opinion. Directors also believe boards are falling short, our research suggests.

435A mere 34% of the 772 directors surveyed by McKinsey in 2013 agreed that the boards on which they served fully comprehended their companies’ strategies. Only 22% said their boards were completely aware of how their firms created value, and just 16% claimed that their boards had a strong understanding of the dynamics of their firms’ industries.

More recently, in March 2014, McKinsey and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) asked 604 C-suite executives and directors around the world which source of pressure was most responsible for their organizations’ overemphasis on short-term financial results and underemphasis on long-term value creation. The most frequent response, cited by 47% of those surveyed, was the company’s board. An even higher percentage (74%) of the 47 respondents who identified themselves as sitting directors on public company boards pointed the finger at themselves.

_________________________________

*Dominic Barton is the global managing director of McKinsey & Company and the author of “Capitalism for the Long Term.”

*Mark Wiseman is the president and CEO of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.


Ce que chaque administrateur de sociétés devrait savoir à propos de la sécurité infonuagique |En rappel


Cet article est basé sur un rapport de recherche de Paul A. Ferrillo, avocat conseil chez Weil, Gotshal & Manges, et de Dave Burg et Aaron Philipp de PricewaterhouseCoopers. Les auteurs présentent une conceptualisation des facteurs infonuagiques (cloud computing) qui influencent les entreprises, en particulier les comportements de leurs administrateurs.

L’article donne une définition du phénomène infonuagique et montre comment les conseils d’administration sont interpellés par les risques que peuvent constituer les cyber-attaques. En fait, la partie la plus intéressante de l’article consiste à mieux comprendre, ce que les auteurs appellent, la « Gouvernance infonuagique » (Cloud Cyber Governance).

L’article propose plusieurs questions critiques que les administrateurs doivent adresser à la direction de l’entreprise.

Vous trouverez, ci-dessous, les points saillants de cet article lequel devrait intéresser les administrateurs préoccupés par les aspects de sécurité des opérations infonuagiques.

Bonne lecture !

 

Cloud Cyber Security: What Every Director Needs to Know

« There are four competing business propositions affecting most American businesses today. Think of them as four freight trains on different tracks headed for a four-way stop signal at fiber optic speed.

First, with a significant potential for cost savings, American business has adopted cloud computing as an efficient and effective way to manage countless bytes of data from remote locations at costs that would be unheard of if they were forced to store their data on hard servers. According to one report, “In September 2013, International Data Corporation predicted that, between 2013 and 2017, spending on pubic IT cloud computing will experience a compound annual growth of 23.5%.” Another report noted, “By 2014, cloud computing is expected to become a $150 billion industry. And for good reason—whether users are on a desktop computer or mobile device, the cloud provides instant access to data anytime, anywhere there is an Internet connection.”

IMG_20140219_205959

The second freight train is data security. Making your enterprise’s information easier for you to access and analyze also potentially makes it easier for others to do, too. 2013 and 2014 have been the years of “the big data breach,” with millions of personal data and information records stolen by hackers. Respondents to the 2014 Global State of Information Security® Survey reported a 25% increase in detected security incidents over 2012 and a 45% increase compared to 2011. Though larger breaches at global retailers are extremely well known, what is less known is that cloud providers are not immune from attack. Witness the cyber breach against a file sharing cloud provider that was perpetrated by lax password security and which caused a spam attack on its customers. “The message is that cyber criminals, just like legitimate companies, are seeing the ‘business benefits’ of cloud services. Thus, they’re signing up for accounts and reaching sensitive files through these accounts. For the cyber criminals this only takes a run-of-the-mill knowledge level … This is the next step in a new trend … and it will only continue.”

The third freight train is the plaintiff’s litigation bar. Following cyber breach after cyber breach, they are viewing the corporate horizon as rich with opportunities to sue previously unsuspecting companies caught in the middle of a cyber disaster, with no clear way out. They see companies scrambling to contend with major breaches, investor relation delays, and loss of brand and reputation.

The last freight train running towards the intersection of cloud computing and data security is the topic of cyber governance—i.e., what directors should be doing or thinking about to protect their firm’s most critical and valuable IP assets. In our previous article, we noted that though directors are not supposed to be able to predict all potential issues when it comes to cyber security issues, they do have a basic fiduciary duty to oversee the risk management of the enterprise, which includes securing its intellectual property and trade secrets. The purpose of this article is to help directors and officers potentially avoid a freight train collision by helping the “cyber governance train” control the path and destiny of the company. We will discuss basic cloud security principles, and basic questions directors should ask when considering whether or not the data their management desires to run on a cloud-based architecture will be as safe from attack as possible. As usual when dealing with cyber security issues, there are no 100% foolproof answers. Even cloud experts disagree on cloud-based data security practices and their effectiveness] There are only good questions a board can ask to make sure it is fulfilling its duties to shareholders to protect the company’s valuable IP assets.

What is Cloud Computing/What Are Its Basic Platforms

“Cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services). Cloud computing is a disruptive technology that has the potential to enhance collaboration, agility, scaling, and availability, and provides the opportunities for cost reduction through optimized and efficient computing. The cloud model envisages a world where components can be rapidly orchestrated, provisioned, implemented and decommissioned, and scaled up or down to provide an on-demand utility-like model of allocation and consumption.”

Cloud computing is generally based upon three separate and distinct architectures that matter when considering the security of the data sitting in the particular cloud environment.

……

Cloud Cyber Governance

As shown above, what is commonly referred to as the cloud actually can mean many different things depending on the context and use. Using SaaS to manage a customer base has a vastly different set of governance criteria to using IaaS as a development environment. As such, there are very few accepted standards for properly monitoring/administering a cloud-based environment. There are many IT consultants in the cloud-based computing environment that can be consulted in that regard. Our view, however, is that directors are ultimately responsible for enterprise risk management, and that includes cyber security, a subset of which is cloud-based cyber-security. Thus it is important for directors to have a basic understanding of the risks involved in cloud-based data storage systems, and with cloud-based storage providers. Below are a few basic questions that come to mind that a director could pose to management, and the company’s CISO and CIO:

1. Where will your data be stored geographically (which may determine which laws apply to the protection of the company’s data), and in what data centers?

2. Is there any type of customer data co-mingling that could potentially expose the company data to competitors or other parties?

3. What sort of encryption does the cloud-based provider use?

4. What is the vendor’s backup and disaster recovery plan?

5. What is the vendor’s incident response and notification plan?

6. What kind of access will you have to security information on your data stored in the cloud in the event the company needs to respond to a regulatory request or internal investigation?

7. How transparent is the cloud provider’s own security posture? What sort of access can your company get to the cloud provider’s data center and personnel to make sure it is receiving what it is paying for?

8. What is the cloud servicer’s responsibility to update its security systems as technology and sophistication evolves?

9. What is the cloud provider’s ability to timely detect (i.e., continuously monitor) and respond to a security incident, and what sort of logging information is kept in order to potentially detect anomalous activity?

10. Are there any third party requirements (such as HITECH/HIPAA) that the provider needs to conform to for your industry?

11. Is the cloud service provider that is being considered already approved under the government’s FedRamp authorization process, which pre-approves cloud service providers and their security controls?

12. Finally, does the company’s cyber insurance liability policy cover cloud-based Losses assuming there is a breach and customer records are stolen or otherwise compromised?  This is a very important question to ask, especially if the company involved is going to use a cyber-insurance policy as a risk transfer mechanism. When in doubt, a knowledgeable cyber-insurance broker should be consulted to make sure cloud-based Losses are covered.

High-profile breaches have proven conclusively that cybersecurity is a board issue first and foremost. Being a board member is tough work. Board members have a lot on their plate, including, first and foremost, financial reporting issues. But as high-profile breaches have shown, major cyber breaches have almost the same effect as a high profile accounting problem or restatement. They cause havoc with investors, stock prices, vendors, branding, corporate reputation and consumers. Directors should be ready to ask tough questions regarding cyber security and cloud-based security issues so they do not find themselves on the wrong end of a major data breach, either on the ground or in the cloud. »

Le gouvernement résistera-t-il à la tentation partisane de la nomination du prochain PCD à Hydro-Québec ?


Voici un article de Michel Nadeau, ex vice-président de la Caisse de dépôt et placement et directeur général de l’Institut sur la gouvernance (IGOPP), paru dans le Devoir récemment.

L’auteur se questionne, tout comme moi d’ailleurs, sur le processus d’embauche du PDG d’Hydro-Québec et sur la tentation, très réelle, de procéder à une nomination partisane !

Le point de vue de M. Nadeau est tout à fait pertinent eu égard à gouvernance des sociétés d’État.

Ci-dessous, un extrait de l’article.

Bonne lecture. À suivre !

Règles de gouvernance à Hydro-Québec | Nomination du nouveau PDG

Photo: Hydro-Québec

Il était rafraîchissant d’entendre le ministre de l’Énergie et des Ressources naturelles, M. Pierre Arcand, terminer mercredi matin une entrevue chez Marie-France Bazzo en déclarant : « Je vais laisser le conseil d’administration faire le travail et c’est à lui de faire des recommandations quant au successeur de M. Vandal. » Photo: Hydro-Québec

La tentation est toujours très forte dans les cabinets politiques à Québec de passer outre les normes de bonne gouvernance et de sortir un p.-d.g. d’un chapeau partisan. Tout individu a droit à ses convictions politiques, mais l’essentiel est qu’il remplisse les critères de compétence et de crédibilité selon le mandat. À ce chapitre, le premier ministre, M. Philippe Couillard, n’a pas fait vivre un grand moment de gouvernance au Québec en confiant récemment la présidence du conseil d’administration et du comité de gouvernance d’Hydro-Québec à une personne qui n’a aucune expérience dans la gestion du CA d’une grande organisation. Cela étant dit, il faut maintenant faire confiance à M. Michael Penner.

Comme l’indique l’article 11.6 de sa Loi, le conseil d’administration a déjà établi le profil de compétence et d’expérience du candidat recherché….

Le ministre l’a dit : ce n’est pas un choix politique. Le comité des ressources humaines devra trouver le meilleur candidat en interne ou à l’externe sans se gêner pour regarder à l’international. Le CA, qui compte une bonne moitié de gens expérimentés, peut relever ce défi. Les administrateurs pourraient se précipiter sur le bottin de l’Ordre des ingénieurs en cherchant un dirigeant intègre et honnête. Malgré le flou accusateur des audiences de la commission Charbonneau, ce profil peut encore se trouver. Mais rappelons-nous que le marché de l’énergie a beaucoup changé et que l’époque de la construction de grands barrages dans les milliards de dollars et les régions lointaines est, pour le moment, chose du passé. Au cours des prochaines années, la priorité sera davantage la gestion serrée des actifs actuels de 73 milliards et un contrôle rigoureux de l’utilisation des revenus de 13 milliards. Les usagers veulent des gestionnaires intelligents… Pas juste des compteurs !

Cette nomination sera un indicateur du sérieux de ce gouvernement dans la gouvernance et la gestion du plus important outil de développement économique et industriel du Québec.

Les relations entre les devoirs des administrateurs et la RSE | Ivan Tchotourian


Ivan Tchotourian*, professeur en droit des affaires à l’Université Laval, vient de publier un ouvrage dans la collection du Centre d’Études en Droit Économique (CÉDÉ). Cet ouvrage aborde la gouvernance d’entreprise et les devoirs des administrateurs.

Intitulé « Devoir de prudence et de diligence des administrateurs et RSE : Approche comparative et prospective », ce livre analyse les liens entre les devoirs des administrateurs et la responsabilité sociale des entreprises (RSE).

L’interrogation centrale qu’aborde cette publication est de savoir ce qu’on attend aujourd’hui d’un administrateur de société prudent et diligent. De nos jours, une réflexion s’impose sur la prudence et la diligence dont doit faire preuve chaque administrateur. Après avoir exposé le devoir de prudence et de diligence des administrateurs dans ce qui fait son histoire et son actualité, les auteurs offrent une vision prospective sur le devenir de cette norme de conduite au tournant du XXe siècle faisant place à une responsabilisation croissante des sociétés par actions.

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Dans cet ouvrage, les auteurs s’interrogent de manière innovante sur le contenu du devoir de prudence et de diligence au regard de l’émergence des préoccupations liées à la RSE. Sous l’influence de facteurs macro juridiques et micro juridiques, la norme de conduite prudente et diligente des administrateurs évolue. La norme d’aujourd’hui ne sera sans doute plus celle de demain, encore faut-il pleinement en saisir les implications juridiques.

A priori, cet ouvrage devrait intéresser un certain nombre de lecteurs en gouvernance. En voici un bref aperçu :

La responsabilité sociale des entreprises et le développement durable sont devenus des objectifs tant politiques qu’économiques conférant de nouvelles attentes vis-à-vis du comportement des entreprises. Ces dernières détenant un pouvoir considérable, chacune de leurs décisions a des implications sur l’économie, l’emploi, l’environnement et la communauté locale. Au vu de ces observations, la norme de prudence et de diligence doit faire l’objet d’une attention renouvelée par les juristes non seulement dans ce qu’elle est aujourd’hui au Québec, au Canada et ailleurs, mais encore dans ce qu’elle se prépare à être dans un proche avenir.

Cet ouvrage s’intéresse à cette question en deux temps. La première partie de l’ouvrage détaille le devoir de gestion intelligente des administrateurs de sociétés dans une approche de droit comparé. La deuxième partie de l’ouvrage trace les grandes lignes de la norme de prudence et de diligence du XXI e siècle. En conclusion, l’auteur présente quelques réflexions prospectives.

Aperçu de la table des matières

Chapitre 1 – Introduction

Chapitre 2 – La norme de prudence et de diligence d’aujourd’hui

Prolégomènes sur le statut juridique des administrateurs

La norme de prudence et de diligence : des premières esquisses à l’ère des codifications

Contenu et régime du devoir de prudence et de diligence

Discussion autour de l’existence d’un recours judiciaire au profit du tiers

Chapitre 3 – La norme de prudence et de diligence de demain

Facteurs macro juridiques d’évolution Facteurs micro juridiques

Chapitre 4 – Conclusion

Postface

Bibliographie

Table de la législation

Table de la jurisprudence

Index analytique

Pour en savoir davantage.

 

*Ivan Tchotourian, professeur en droit des affaires, codirecteur du Centre d’Études en Droit Économique (CÉDÉ), membre du Groupe de recherche en droit des services financiers (www.grdsf.ulaval.ca), Faculté de droit, Université Laval.

 
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