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En rappel | Les C.A de petites tailles performent mieux !

2 novembre 2015

Selon une étude du The Wall Street Journal publié par Joann S. Lublin, les entreprises qui comptent moins d’administrateurs ont de meilleurs résultats que les entreprises de plus grandes tailles.

Bien qu’il n’y ait pas nécessairement de relation de type cause à effet, il semble assez clair que la tendance est à la diminution de nombre d’administrateurs sur les conseils d’administration des entreprises publiques américaines. Pourquoi en est-il ainsi ?

Il y a de nombreuses raisons dont l’article du WSJ, ci-dessous, traite. Essentiellement, les membres de conseils de petites tailles :

  1. sont plus engagés dans les affaires de l’entité
  2. sont plus portés à aller en profondeur dans l’analyse stratégique
  3. entretiennent des relations plus fréquentes et plus harmonieuses avec la direction
  4. ont plus de possibilités de communiquer entre eux
  5. exercent une surveillance plus étroite des activités de la direction
  6. sont plus décisifs, cohésif et impliqués.

Les entreprises du domaine financier ont traditionnellement des conseils de plus grandes tailles mais, encore là, les plus petits conseils ont de meilleurs résultats.

La réduction de la taille se fait cependant très lentement mais la tendance est résolument à la baisse. Il ne faut cependant pas compter sur la haute direction pour insister sur la diminution de la taille des C.A. car il semblerait que plusieurs PCD s’accommodent très bien d’un C.A. plus imposant !

Il faut cependant réaliser que la réduction du nombre d’administrateurs peut constituer un obstacle à la diversité si l’on ne prend pas en compte cette importante variable. Également, il faut noter que le C.A. doit avoir un président du conseil expérimenté, possédant un fort leadership. Un conseil de petite taille, présidé par une personne inepte, aura des résultats à l’avenant !

Voici deux autres documents, partagés par Richard Leblanc sur son groupe de discussion LinkedIn Boards and Advisors, qui pourraient vous intéresser :

« Higher market valuation of companies with a small board of directors« : http://people.stern.nyu.edu/eofek/PhD/papers/Y_Higher_JFE.pdf

« Larger Board Size and Decreasing Firm Value in Small Firms« : http://scholarship.law.cornell.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1403&context=facpub

Je vous convie donc à la lecture de l’article du WSJ dont voici un extrait de l’article. Bonne lecture !

Smaller Boards Get Bigger Returns

Size counts, especially for boards of the biggest U.S. businesses.

Companies with fewer board members reap considerably greater rewards for their investors, according to a new study by governance researchers GMI Ratings prepared for The Wall Street Journal. Small boards at major corporations foster deeper debates and more nimble decision-making, directors, recruiters and researchers said. Take Apple Inc. In the spring when BlackRock founding partner Sue Wagner was up for a seat on the board of the technology giant, she met nearly every director within just a few weeks. Such screening processes typically take months.

But Apple directors move fast because there only are eight of them. After her speedy vetting, Ms. Wagner joined Apple’s board in July. She couldn’t be reached for comment.

Smaller boards at major corporations have more nimble decision-making processes, directors, recruiters and academic researchers say. Eric Palma

Among companies with a market capitalization of at least $10 billion, typically those with the smallest boards produced substantially better shareholder returns over a three-year period between the spring of 2011 and 2014 when compared with companies with the biggest boards, the GMI analysis of nearly 400 companies showed.

Companies with small boards outperformed their peers by 8.5 percentage points, while those with large boards underperformed peers by 10.85 percentage points. The smallest board averaged 9.5 members, compared with 14 for the biggest. The average size was 11.2 directors for all companies studied, GMI said.

« There’s more effective oversight of management with a smaller board, » said Jay Millen, head of the board and CEO practice for recruiters DHR International. « There’s no room for dead wood. »

Many companies are thinning their board ranks to improve effectiveness, Mr. Millen said. He recently helped a consumer-products business shrink its 10-person board to seven, while bringing on more directors with emerging-markets expertise.

GMI’s results, replicated across 10 industry sectors such as energy, retail, financial services and health care, could have significant implications for corporate governance.

Small boards are more likely to dismiss CEOs for poor performance—a threat that declines significantly as boards grow in numbers, said David Yermack, a finance professor at New York University’s business school who has studied the issue.

It’s tough to pinpoint precisely why board size affects corporate performance, but smaller boards at large-cap companies like Apple and Netflix Inc. appear to be decisive, cohesive and hands-on. Such boards typically have informal meetings and few committees. Apple directors, known for their loyalty to founder Steve Jobs, have forged close ties with CEO Tim Cook, according to a person familiar with the company. Mr. Cook frequently confers with individual directors between board meetings « to weigh the pros and cons of an issue, » an outreach effort that occurs quickly thanks to the board’s slim size, this person said.

Mr. Cook took this approach while mulling whether to recruit Angela Ahrendts, then CEO of luxury-goods company Burberry Group PLC for Apple’s long vacant position of retail chief. Private chats with board members helped him « test the thought » of recruiting her, the person said. She started in April.

Ms. Wagner, Apple’s newest director, replaced a retiring one. The board wants no more than 10 members to keep its flexibility intact, according to the person familiar with the company, adding that even « eye contact and candor change » with more than 10 directors.

Apple returns outperformed technology sector peers by about 37 cumulative percentage points during the three years tracked by GMI. An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment.

Netflix, with seven directors, demonstrated equally strong returns, outperforming sector peers by about 32 percentage points. Board members of the big video-streaming service debate extensively before approving important management moves, said Jay Hoag, its lead independent director.

« We get in-depth, » he said. « That’s easier with a small group. »

Netflix directors spent about nine months discussing a proposed price increase, with some pushing back hard on executives about the need for an increase, Mr. Hoag said. Netflix increased prices this spring for new U.S. customers of the company’s streaming video plan, its first price bump since 2011.

A board twice as big wouldn’t have time for « diving deeper into the business on things that matter, » Mr. Hoag said.

….

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