Points saillants eu égard aux rémunérations des hauts dirigeants en 2016 | The Conference Board


Quels ont été les développements eu égard aux rémunérations de la haute direction des sociétés publiques américaines en 2016 ?

C’est le sujet de l’article publié par Matteo Tonello, directeur exécutif du Conference Board.

Chaque année, l’organisation publie un état de la situation de la rémunération des grands patrons des sociétés américaines.

L’étude, rendue publique récemment, vient de paraître dans le Harvard Law School Forum ; on y présente les changements majeurs dans les politiques de rémunération et l’on y dresse un portrait complet des pratiques de rémunération supervisées par les conseils d’administration.

C’est un compte rendu incontournable pour tous les membres de comités des ressources humaines.

Bonne lecture !

 

CEO and Executive Compensation Practices: 2016 Edition

 

The report has been designed to reflect the changing landscape of executive compensation and its disclosure. In addition to benchmarks on individual elements of compensation packages and the evolving features of short-term and long-term incentive plans (STIs and LTIs), the report provides details on shareholder advisory votes on executive compensation (say-on-pay) and outlines the major practices on board oversight of compensation design.

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Compensation data is examined and segmented by business industry and company size (measured in terms of annual revenue). For the purpose of the industry analysis, the report aggregates companies within 10 industry groups, using the applicable Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS) codes. In addition, to highlight differences between small and large companies, findings in the Russell 3000 Index are compared with those from the S&P 500 Index. The S&P 500, or subset of the S&P 500, is also used to further investigate certain compensation practices, such as changes in pension value, perquisites, and incentive plans. Figures and illustrations used throughout the report refer to the Russell 3000 analysis unless otherwise specified.

 

Key Findings from the study

 

Several highest paid CEOs have made the top-25 list for years; shareholder return is rarely the performance goal driving their compensation.

In the last few years, companies have been responding to public scrutiny over pay-for-performance and made significant adjustments to their compensation policies—curbing base salaries and annual bonuses, introducing retention requirements on equity awards, and shifting from single metric to blended-metric incentive plans. And yet The Conference Board found that pay and performance alignment, at least where performance is measured in terms of total shareholder return (TSR), continues to elude some industries’ chief executives; their top-level compensation is due to performance metrics other than TSR. For example, at asset management public company GAMCO, Mario Gabelli receives fees related to the total assets that his investment company manages, not only the returns generated by those invested assets. At media companies Viacom and CBS, the performance targets of choice are operating income and free cash flow, both for annual and long-term incentives; moreover, the compensation required to retain a CEO is inevitably distorted by the generous compensation offered by those companies to the artists and other media talent needed to appeal to wide audiences. Therefore, at least for these individuals, an analysis of TSR performance is only going to tell some of the story.

CEOs of smaller companies benefited from the highest total pay growth in 2015, but the compensation gap between them and their colleagues in the S&P 500 remains wide.

Excluding the effects of pensions, the increase in median total compensation for CEOs in the S&P 500 was 2.9 percent, contributing to a six-year rise (from 2010) of 22.25 percent. The equivalent figures for the Russell 3000 were 4.2 percent and 54.7 percent respectively. In fact, in the smallest company bracket by revenue, under US$100 million, the increase in median total pay was 37 percent, just between 2014 and 2015 levels. In contrast, the CEOs of the largest companies (US$50 billion and over) received a rise in median pay of 10.8 percent, while smaller organizations saw their median compensation shrink even when excluding the effects of pensions.

Smaller increases in total CEO compensation documented for some industries (including energy, utilities, and telecommunication services) reflect the lackluster performance caused by the slump in commodity prices, new regulatory restraints, and market saturation.

According to the business sector analysis, and again excluding the effect of pension change, CEOs in telecommunications, utilities, industrials, and energy saw median total compensation fall. For energy firm CEOS, the decrease was as large as 17.7 percent. In contrast, CEOs of companies in the consumer discretionary (such as entertainment and travel), consumer staples, and health care sectors all experienced double digit increases, with the highest going to consumer staples CEOs at 28 percent. On the other hand, no industry reported a negative six-year change, with health care CEOs experiencing median growth in total compensation between 2010 and 2015 of 94 percent, from US$1,817,000 to US$3,525,000.

As companies continue to strive to achieve pay-for-performance, a rise in the value of stock awards drives the bulk of total CEO compensation increases.

Stock awards have taken up the slack of virtually every other component of pay. S&P 500 CEOs receive 47 percent of their total pay in the form of stock awards, up from a third in 2010, while in the Russell 3000 it has risen from less than a quarter of total pay to more than a third. More specifically, in 2015 the value of stock awards grew by over 23 percent at the median for CEOs in the Russell 3000, and by 13.7 percent for CEOs in the S&P 500. Over the last six years, the growth in the value of median stock awards for the Russell 3000 has been impressive at 291.4 percent (and as high as 358.3 percent for small companies with asset values between US$500 and US$999 million). In the first quarter of 2015, when decisions about most stock awards are made, awarded stocks in both the S&P 500 and the Russell 3000 were higher than at the beginning of 2014. It remains to be seen whether the volatility that these equity indices registered in 2015 will curb the rise of stock award value in 2016.

With an inflation rate of less than one percent for both 2014 and 2015, market pressure and the looming application of the new SEC pay ratio rules explain the moderate rises in CEO base salary.

Compared to 2015, base salary rose four and 4.7 percent for CEOs in the S&P 500 and the Russell 3000, respectively. Double-digit total compensation increases for CEOs of consumer staples companies were not caused by any increase in base salary, since median salary fell by two percent in that industry. The base salary of energy CEOs showed no increase at all at the median. But for most others, base salary rose by between two percent (utilities and materials) and 6.8 percent (information technology (IT)). Similar disparities can be found when companies are broken down by revenue and asset size. CEOs at the largest companies saw either no increase in median salary or, in the case of companies with annual revenue between US$25 and US$49.9 billion, a decline in median salary by 8 percent. In contrast, CEOs of companies with annual revenue of less than US$100 million reported median salary increase of 9.4 percent, compared to a 7.5 percent increase for companies with asset values of US$500 million or less.

Stock options have been losing importance as a compensation incentive in large companies, where scrutiny on share value manipulation and other unintended behavioral effects has been felt the most.

However, when smaller organizations are analyzed, the move away from stock options is not as significant as is commonly claimed. Options as a percent of total CEO pay fell from around 18 percent to 15 percent in the S&P 500. In contrast, CEOs in the Russell 3000 have been steadily receiving around 15 percent of their pay in stock options in each of the last six years, with little or no change in the percentage.

Pension value changes and the increase in non-qualified deferred compensation (NQDC) have fallen back to normal levels following the absorption of the major actuarial valuation adjustments that occurred in 2014.

In the S&P 500, for example, the amount went from less than three percent of pay in 2013 to almost eight percent in 2014, before halving to four percent in 2015. Given the lack of involvement of boards and compensation committees in such volatility, it is hardly surprising that most surveys are careful to give figures that both exclude and include this element of pay. Across industries and company size groups, the change in pension value and NQDC was negative, both between 2014 and 2015 and over the entire six-year period.

The gain in strength of the US dollar has slowed the operational performance of many multinational companies, causing a sharp year-on-year decrease in the median annual bonuses granted to CEOs in both the Russell 3000 and the S&P 500.

In fact, in the S&P 500, median 2015 bonuses are lower than they were six years ago (when they stood close to US$2 million), though similar in level to the median bonus awarded in 2012 and 2011 (around US$1,850,000). As with other compensation elements, median bonuses for CEOs of the smallest companies reverse the general trend. Median bonuses for CEOs of companies with annual revenue of less than US$100 million increased by three percent; for companies with asset values of less than US$500 million, this increase was seven percent. In contrast, CEOs of companies with an asset value of more than US$100 billion saw median bonus value fall by almost a fifth.

In 2015, for the first time in years, the annual growth in percentage points of total NEO compensation exceeded that of CEOs—a sign that companies may be concerned about talent retention at the top in a tightening job market.

While growth of compensation for NEOs exceeded that of CEOs between 2014 and 2015, growth for NEO compensation in the long-term lags that of CEOs. NEO pay rose between 2010–2015 (32 percent and 15.8 percent in the Russell 3000 and S&P 500 respectively), but CEO pay rose more over this period (55 percent and 22 percent for each index). The latest year of slower pay growth may also reflect concerns that differentials are widening too far between CEOs and NEOs. In 2015, median total compensation for NEOs (other than the CEO) was US$1,439,000 in the Russell 3000 and US$3,563,000 in the S&P 500.

The increasing attention paid by investors and other stakeholders to sustainability and long-termism is prompting companies to add non-financial targets to their incentive plans, which seldom still rely on a single metric of performance.

The number of performance measures included in an incentive plan has steadily increased over the past five years, expanding to a series of qualitative aspects of firm performance—ranging from customer satisfaction to the implementation of safety standards and from employee turnover rates to environmental impact measures. When non-financial measures are included in the target count, more than a quarter of firms use more than six performance metrics in their STI plans. Excluding them brings that proportion down to one percent. Without non-financial measures, a third of companies have between two and three metrics for their annual plans. The volume of companies using only a single metric continues to shrink quite rapidly; in STIs, it is down from 16 percent to 14 percent from 2014 to 2015, up from almost a third of the examined 2010 sample. For LTIs, companies using a single metric dropped from 41 percent in 2010 to 19 percent in 2015.

Say-on-pay analysis confirms a significant turnover in failed votes, with several companies losing the confidence of their shareholders this year after winning the vote by a wide margin in 2014.

In the Russell 3000, only 27 of the executive compensation plans put to a say-on-pay vote in the first half of 2016 failed to receive the support of a majority of shareholders. This compares with 52 and 51 percent of companies with failed votes during the same period in 2015 and 2014, respectively. Two companies that reported failed votes in 2016 had also missed a majority support level in 2015: Masimo Corp and Tutor Perini Corporation. (There were eight of these cases in 2015.) Tutor Perini Corporation is the only company in the Russell 3000 that has failed all six years of say-on-pay advisory votes. Nabors Industries Ltd. had four consecutive failed votes as of 2014, received 65.3 percent of for votes at its 2015 annual general meeting (AGM), and then failed the advisory vote again in 2016 (with a mere 36 percent of votes cast in favor of the compensation plan proposed by management).

La fonction d’audit interne | de plus en plus incontournable pour assurer une saine gouvernance et l’intégrité du management


Voici le résumé d’un article du Wall Street Journal  (Internal Audit Chiefs Gain in Clout, Compensation), publié par Joann S. Lublin, et paru dans le journal The Australian.

Cet article porte sur l’importance accrue accordée au rôle de l’auditeur interne dans la vérification des mécanismes de contrôle interne, de la gestion des risques, notamment des risques de cyberattaques, ainsi que des processus de gouvernance et de conformité.

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L’influence du département de l’audit interne prend une place quasi incontournable dans la vaste majorité des grandes sociétés comme en témoignent les statistiques à ce sujet.

Ainsi, 83 % des directions d’audit interne se rapportent au CA ou au comité d’audit du CA ; c’est un accroissement de 76 % en trois ans !

On peut certainement constater que les activités d’audit interne représentent les « yeux et les oreilles du comité d’audit ».

Également, les directeurs des services d’audit interne ont vu leur rémunération augmenter d’environ 30 % au cours des dix dernières années.

Les conseils d’administration accordent maintenant une grande importance à la sélection et à la rémunération des « Chief Audit Executive » (CAE).

Bonne lecture !

Chief audit executives gaining clout and higher pay

 

Top watchdogs inside many companies bark louder these days.

They are known as chief audit executives, or CAEs, and they assess the effectiveness of corporate controls, risk management and governance processes. As boards worry more about cyber attacks, regulatory compliance and personal liability, these executives are gaining clout and commanding higher pay.

CAEs are becoming more visible in part because directors are playing bigger roles in selecting, evaluating and rewarding internal audit chiefs. In North America, 83 per cent of those executives now report to their employer’s full board or audit committee, according to a report by the Institute of Internal Auditors. That’s up from 76 per cent in 2013.

Another sign of their rising influence: this year, for the first time, the proportion of audit leaders who report to their chief executive matched those overseen by the chief financial officer, the report found.

Solid support from audit committees and top company leaders often give CAEs more freedom to raise red flags, experts said. It can also bring them sizeable pay cheques.

“Boards will pay a lot more for CAEs with superior risk-management and business acumen in their company’s industry,’’ said Richard Chambers, IIA president.

Recruiters agree. “Chief audit executives hired by large companies now command total pay packages approaching $US1 million — about 30 per cent more than a decade ago,’’ said Scott Simmons, a managing director at Crist Kolder Associates, which recruited nearly 15 current CAEs.

Sarbanes-Oxley, the sweeping corporate-reform law enacted in 2002, raised boards’ expectations for heads of internal audit, according to Charles Noski, chairman of the audit committee at Microsoft, Priceline Group and Avon Products.

“Internal audit really is the eyes and ears of the audit committee,’’ he said, adding that CAEs today “are stronger executives’’.

Mr Noski makes sure that’s true of candidates who interview for the job. He said he seeks “a strong backbone”, plus effective boardroom presence and communications skills.

Conseil d’administration | Perte de contrôle ?


Cette semaine, je donne la parole à Joanne Desjardins* qui agit à titre d’auteure invitée sur mon blogue en gouvernance.

L’auteure a une solide expérience de consultation dans plusieurs grandes sociétés. Joanne est associée de Keyboard, une firme spécialisée en gouvernance et en stratégie.

Elle est aussi régulièrement invitée comme conférencière pour échanger sur la stratégie et la gouvernance.

Dans ce billet, l’auteure présente les raisons sous-jacentes à la mise en place d’un conseil d’administration (et même d’un comité consultatif) et elle décrit les quatre principaux avantages de la constitution d’un CA.

Bonne lecture ! Vos commentaires sont les bienvenus.

 

Conseil d’administration | Perte de contrôle ?

par

Joanne Desjardins

 

Jonglez-vous avec l’idée de constituer un conseil d’administration (CA) ? Avez-vous le pied sur le frein ? Pourquoi ?

Avez-vous peur de perdre le contrôle ? Est-ce qu’un CA prendra véritablement le contrôle de votre entreprise ?

Mettons les pendules à l’heure… juste.

Allez-vous vraiment perdre le contrôle ? 

Comme dirigeant de l’entreprise, vous croyez avoir le contrôle. En affaires, la notion de contrôle est ambiguë, hachurée de zones grises. Qui a véritablement le contrôle de votre entreprise ? Vos actionnaires, votre banquier, vos clients, vos fournisseurs ont tous — collectivement — un certain contrôle sur votre entreprise.

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Une étude de chercheurs de l’Université Harvard (The Founder’s Dilemma) démontre que des fondateurs motivés par le contrôle vont généralement prendre des décisions qui leur permettent de diriger l’entreprise, au détriment de l’accroissement de sa valeur. Selon Pearl Zhu (Digitizing Boardroom : The Multifaceted Aspects of Digital Ready Boards), le rôle du CA est de faire descendre l’équipe de direction de l’arbre pour lui faire voir la forêt.

Avec un CA, vous aurez inévitablement des comptes à rendre. Même si vous rendez des comptes, vous demeurez le capitaine du navire. Néanmoins, vous devez être prêt à faire preuve d’ouverture, de transparence et à entretenir une relation avec votre CA.

Est-ce que le CA peut gérer mon entreprise ? 

Vous êtes responsable des opérations quotidiennes de votre entreprise. Vous possédez tous les pouvoirs et la capacité d’action requise pour assurer le bon fonctionnement de votre entreprise. Certains administrateurs connaissent bien les rudiments de la gestion puisqu’ils gèrent ou ont déjà géré des entreprises et des équipes.

La tentation est souvent grande pour ceux-ci de plonger dans la baignoire de la gestion avec vous. Mais, vous avez le bouchon de la baignoire. À titre d’administrateur, leur rôle se limite à accompagner, guider et orienter votre équipe de direction et non à gérer votre entreprise. Comme le dit le dicton : ¨nose in, fingers out!¨. Avec un CA, vous aurez le bénéfice de consulter des administrateurs cumulant ensemble plus de 100 ans d’expérience » (Solutions Keyboard).

Quels sont les 4 principaux avantages d’un CA ? 

Un CA comporte plusieurs avantages pour votre entreprise, dont les suivants :

(1) briser l’isolement du président 

Quand vient le moment de prendre des décisions importantes sur le destin de votre entreprise, les regards sont rivés sur vous. En période d’accalmie, cette responsabilité est plus facile à assumer. Cependant, quand le presto de la marmite saute, l’appui d’un CA aide à briser l’isolement et à vous éclairer dans les grandes décisions à la suite d’une réflexion partagée avec d’autres administrateurs expérimentés.

(2) source d’expertises complémentaires

Vous aurez le bénéfice de consulter des administrateurs cumulant collectivement plus de 100 ans d’expérience ! Utilisez le CA comme un tremplin pour vous propulser vers le sommet, comme un accélérateur de croissance.

(3) crédibilité accrue et réputation renforcée

Le CA accroît la crédibilité et renforce la réputation de votre entreprise. Vous cherchez du financement ou un nouveau partenaire ? L’appui d’un CA solide rassure les investisseurs potentiels, car il conduit à plus de rigueur dans la gestion de la performance et le suivi des résultats.

(4) force du réseau

Vous pourrez bénéficier du réseau des administrateurs pour renforcer vos projets d’affaires : nouveau marché, lancement d’un nouveau produit, recherche d’un fournisseur, etc. Pour des astuces sur le recrutement efficace d’administrateurs, nous vous invitons à consulter l’article suivant : Comité consultatif : sept erreurs de recrutement à éviter


*Joanne Desjardins, LL.B., MBA, ASC, CRHA, est associée chez Keyboard, www.solutionskeyboard.com une firme spécialisée en gouvernance et en stratégie. Elle est aussi régulièrement invitée comme conférencière pour échanger sur la stratégie et la gouvernance. Elle rédige actuellement un livre sur la stratégie et la gouvernance.

Étude sur les éléments à prendre en ligne de compte par les comités de rémunération eu égard à la compensation globale des PDG de sociétés publiques aux É.U.


Ce matin, je partage avec vous les conclusions d’une enquête effectuée par Ira Kay et Blaine Martin, pour le compte de la SEC, et parue dans la revue Pay Governance.

Quelle part de l’accroissement de l’inégalité des revenus aux États-Unis a été occasionnée par les rémunérations « excessives » des CEO ? Cette inégalité est-elle attribuable à une défaillance de la gouvernance des sociétés ?

Le mandat répond à certaines questions de la SEC, notamment :

Question 1 : Is the recent increase in US income inequality caused primarily by the increase in the number of public company executives in the top .1% of earners?

Question 2 : Alternatively, is the recent increase in US income inequality caused primarily by the increase in the aggregate pay levels of public company executives in the top 1% and .1% of earners?Résultats de recherche d'images pour « CEO compensation »

Question 3 : Is CEO pay aligned with the performance of their employer?

Question 4 : Have corporate governance failures caused excessive executive compensation levels at public companies, thus exacerbating the inequality issue?

Question 5 : Are shareholders dissatisfied with the US executive pay model?

Cet article apporte des réponses qui surprendront probablement les spécialistes de la gouvernance. Les auteurs tirent des conclusions très utiles pour les comités de rémunérations à l’occasion de l’évaluation de la paie de leurs CEO. « The conclusion of our research is that relatively high executive compensation at public companies, allegedly enabled by compliant boards, is not the primary explanation for rising income inequality in the US».

Voici quelques considérations à l’intention des comités de rémunération :

Ensure that competitive executive compensation opportunity levels are monitored annually against the median of an appropriately-sized peer group. This will provide a robust context for the CEO pay ratio.

Ensure that executive compensation program design provides appropriate pay-for-performance linkage, including setting challenging performance goals and providing the majority of compensation in long-term equity.

Apply best-practice compensation policies including robust stock ownership guidelines, clawback provisions, and prohibitions on hedging and pledging company shares to further link executive income and wealth to the performance of the company.

Maintain strong corporate governance practices including nominating directors using an independent Nominating Committee, using independent compensation consultants and legal counsel, and holding executive sessions at each Compensation Committee meeting.

Ensure that all employees are competitively and appropriately paid relative to the profitability, fairness and economics of the company.

Consider whether the Compensation Committee should review supplemental analyses related to the CEO pay ratio and broad-based pay practices (e.g., comparison of executive versus broad-based pay increases, review of number of employees covered under benefit programs, and review of pay ratio and median employee data to peers).

Consider how the Company will address and explain the disclosure of the ratio of CEO to median employee pay in the 2018 proxy. Since supporters of the CEO pay ratio believe that this disclosure will reduce “excessive” CEO pay caused by weak governance, companies may need to be explicit in responding to this theory. The data and analysis presented here could help in this regard.

 

The SEC’s Madated CEO Pay Ratio in the Context of Income Inequality : Perspectives for Compensation Committees

 

Key Takeaways

While the income inequality controversy started as a sociological and public Policy debate, Compensation Committees should have a strong understanding of the Relationship between public company executive compensation and income inequality.

The impending disclosure of the ratio of CEO to median employee pay in 2018 proxy statements, as required Under Dodd–‐Frank, will dramatically bring such discussions into the Compensation Committee in the near future. Supporters of the CEO pay ratio believe that this disclosure will reduce “excessive” CEO pay and lower the pay multiple.

Many “overpaid” executives subject to weak boards and poor corporate governance for being the primary cause of US income inequality. This is not accurate. While corporate executives are paid well, public company executives represent a smaller portion of the highest .1% in more recent times than they did in the mid–‐1990s.

Additionally, for the top .1%, growth in public company executive compensation actually lags the growth in private company executive pay and finance Professional pay over the same 13–‐year time period. 

Pay Governance’s analyses of realizable pay for performance indicate that pay–‐for–‐performance is operating among US companies.

Improvements in corporate governance practices combined with similar executive pay levels and designs for private company executives suggest that high levels of public company CEO pay are not the result of corporate governance failure.

Further, widespread investor support for say–‐on–‐pay votes in the past six years indicate broad investor support of the current executive compensation regime.

We make strong arguments that the CEO pay ratio for a particular company will be indicative of market–‐driven industry, size and performance factors, rather than a failure of corporate governance.

As Compensation Committees consider the context of inequality issues and executive compensation decisions, Committees should focus on robust corporate governance practices, independent advice, and the company’s strategy for addressing the disclosure of the ratio of CEO to median employee pay in 2018.


The complete publication, including footnotes, is available here.

Le monde des affaires peut-il contribuer à assainir le processus politique américain ?


Aujourd’hui, je partage avec vous les réflexions de Ben W. Heineman, Jr*, ex-conseiller en chef de GE et Fellow de la Harvard Law School et de la Kennedy School of Government.

L’article illustre certaines dysfonctions du processus politique américain et montre que les sociétés américaines sont, en partie responsable du climat de méfiance de la population envers Washington.

L’auteur identifie plusieurs moyens que le monde des affaires devrait explorer afin de remédier aux lacunes observées dans le fonctionnement de notre démocratie et des relations entre le gouvernement et les sociétés :

  1. Limitation des sommes investies par les entreprises dans les campagnes politiques (7 milliards US en 2016)
  2. Divulgation financière accrue
  3. Meilleure identification des éléments factuels en matière politique
  4. Reconnaître la nécessité de se mettre à la place de l’autre partie dans le but d’atteindre un équilibre des valeurs
  5. Bâtir de larges coalitions
  6. Garder la tête froide afin d’éviter la confrontation
  7. Éviter la partisanerie

Le monde des entreprises ne doit pas s’ériger en modèle eu égard à la gestion des affaires de l’État ; cependant, je crois que les organisations doivent prendre en compte les moyens suggérés par l’auteur afin d’améliorer la communication et la bonne gouvernance.

Bonne lecture !

 

Can Business Help Fix Our Broken Politics?

 

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Many business people are appalled at the current state of our politics. Few, however, would admit that the “business community” is responsible, in part, for our dysfunctional political culture. And fewer yet may be prepared to think about how business can take steps—in concert with other political actors—to help soothe the distemper.

But, this dreary campaign season is a good time for corporate leaders to consider specific changes in political processes—less money, more disclosure, fair facts, balanced proposals, broad coalitions, cooler rhetoric, bi-partisanship—which could help fix our broken politics and rehabilitate business’s own political standing. Such process changes proceed from an understanding that there will always be significant substantive policy differences about societal problems but that those differences require a national politics that promotes common sense, civility and compromise to move the country forward, as has happened before in our history.

First a brief background sketch on the sorry state of our current political discourse.

The problem in our political system is not just the cacophony of the campaigns which distorts and obscures the real issues facing the nation. Below the noise, we have a populist revolt among a significant segment of the electorate that is more sharply critical of business than the general anti-corporate undercurrent which has long been present in American politics. That revolt stems partly from genuine problems of recession and a changing economy which is leaving some people behind but partly from the demagogic appeals to latent anger about race, immigration, Islam and trade. Moreover, the two major parties have been dead-locked for a long time on how to deal with major issues of paramount concern to the economy and the country—e.g., taxes, trade, worker dislocation, inequality, stimulus/deficit, infrastructure, immigration, education, energy and the environment—yielding a Congressional approval rating of only 14 percent!

Moreover, the well-publicized problems in the corporate community have added to political dysfunction, leading to low levels of trust in business’ role in policy and politics. These include: a steady drumbeat of corporate scandals (Wells Fargo is only the latest); ever higher executive compensation combined with stagnant real income of average citizens; corporate mistakes relating to leverage and liquidity as a major cause of the Great Recession; the perception that business elites are have disproportionate influence due to money in politics; and an aggregate sense that too much of corporate involvement in policy is in the service of “crony capitalism”, the range of subsidies, loopholes, franchises, concessions et al. that have little or no basis in advancing the broad public interest.

Business is hardly alone in its credibility problems with parts of the electorate. Other prominent actors—for example, unions, consumers, environmentalists and political parties—also have perceived failings. And, while some of the general distrust is due to political hyperventilation, there are, as noted, genuine substantive differences about whether libertarian, conservative, populist or liberal ideas are the right approach to various national problems.

But the rude noise of our current politics and the genuine substantive differences suggest that business ought to consider working with other actors in our political system on at least the following issues of political process to engender more civility and compromise. Each of these subjects is worthy of extended, book-length discussions, but here are the headlines:

New substantive limits on campaigns awash in money (more than $7B estimated in 2016 federal elections).

Although “independent” spending for educational purposes or in support of candidates is protected speech under the First Amendment, it may be limited under the Constitution if improperly “coordinated” with candidates’ campaigns or if used for “corrupt” purposes. Similarly, “educational” efforts by social welfare organizations authorized by the IRS could be more carefully circumscribed only to include genuine charitable and less partisan activities. Congress could take such narrowing steps or authorize the IRS and a reconstituted Federal Election Commission (which could have a tie-breaking chair appointed by the party in power) to address these issues.

More financial disclosure.

In elections, the Federal Election Commission and the IRS could require more real time disclosure of contributors and expenditures for “independent” entities organized under their jurisdiction. This timely disclosure (the IRS is particularly slow) would also cover more campaign finance if the scope of campaign activity funded through IRS entities was limited, forcing independent funds into the more transparent FEC Super PACs. And, the IRS could consider whether there should be an exception to the general rule of non-disclosure regarding contributors for trade associations or other authorized 501(c)(3) entities engaged in “education” on campaign issues during a defined political season.

Develop fairer, clearer facts in policy disputes.

Corporations and other parties could work with public officials to devise better, honest methods for establishing a record of consensus facts in legislative and regulatory disputes and identifying the assumptions underlying contested facts so that the battle of experts is more clearly understood by decision-makers and the public.

Acknowledge the need to balance values in conflict.

Corporations and other parties should identify and acknowledge the values on both sides of most regulatory and legislative debates and make a good faith effort to give weight to all the values in conflict, e.g. finding a fair balance between the verities of equity and efficiency in social welfare legislation or between access, cost and quality in healthcare legislation or between expedition and safety in drug approvals or between short-term cost and long-term benefit in environmental regulation.

Build broad coalitions.

Too often business public policy efforts take place in the self-referential echo-chamber of trade associations or other business groups. Working with other interested parties to create coalitions that include, but are not limited to, business allies increases the chances of broad-minded approaches that can secure approval and provide durable benefits. Indeed, there no united “business community,” and disagreements among business actors (e.g. global v. domestic, tech v. industrial) means broader coalition building is necessary.

Cool the rhetoric.

One of the poisonous aspects of our current political culture is rhetoric that demonizes opponents with words like “hate” or that bemoans an approaching American Armageddon. Business, especially, should use calm and reasoned civil discourse, recognizing that there are usually legitimate opposing values in political debates and helping find a middle ground that does not demand total victory.

Avoid Partisanship.

Corporations should seek bipartisan or nonpartisan solutions to our most pressing problems to mitigate the anger and hostility exchanged across the aisle on so many pressing national issues which require sensible compromises. Too often relations in Congress or between Congress and the Executive look like an insoluble “blood feud.”

There should be no mistake. These political process issues—relating to money, facts, balance, coalitions, rhetoric and bipartisanship—may be as vexing and controversial for the business community as substantive policy positions. Some companies will resist, inter alia, because they believe their particular substantive position is more important than general process or because they believe gridlock in public policy is better than compromise.

Nonetheless, a timely question is whether corporations, by focusing on these and other process issues, can help heal, rather than exacerbate, the manifest ills in our political system—ills posing serious threats to the maintenance of a healthy constitutional democracy and a sound mixed economy in which vital public goods can be secured and private enterprise can flourish? These issues relating to the process of political participation should be central to a company’s future debates about what constitutes being a “good corporate citizen.” This subject is too vast for a single corporation, but a broad based “coalition of the willing,” extending far beyond corporations, may be the way past the dystopic present—what leading political scientist Francis Fukuyama has warned is American “political decay”—to a post-election future of a vibrant and workable democracy.

__________________________________

*Ben W. Heineman, Jr. is former GE General Counsel and is a senior fellow at Harvard Law School and Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He is author of the new book, The Inside Counsel Revolution: Resolving the Partner-Guardian Tension (Ankerwycke 2016), as well as High Performance with High Integrity (Harvard Business Press 2008).

Amendements à la loi canadienne sur les sociétés par actions : De quoi s’agit-il ?


Le 28 septembre 2016, le gouvernement fédéral a proposé un certain nombre de modifications à la Loi canadienne sur les sociétés par actions (projet de loi C-25) afin de clarifier les obligations de divulgation des émetteurs canadiens. Les amendements à la loi ont deux objectifs :

(1) s’assurer que certaines règles adoptées par le Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) soient clarifiées et incorporées dans la loi canadienne sur les sociétés par actions ;

(2) faire en sorte que la loi amendée reflète davantage les bonnes pratiques de gouvernance généralement reconnue.

Dans leur compte rendu sur les implications de ce projet de loi, paru sur le site du Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance, Louis-Martin O’Neill et Jennifer Longhurst, associés de la firme Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP, discutent de trois changements susceptibles d’affecter la gouvernance et les modes de divulgation des sociétés.

Voici les changements proposés :

  1. True majority voting: requiring shareholders to cast their votes “for” or “against” each individual director’s election (rather than slate voting), and prohibiting a director who has not been elected by a majority of the votes cast from serving as a direcror, except in “prescribed circumstances”;
  2. Annual director elections: requiring corporations to hold annual elections for all directors of a company’s board, effectively prohibiting staggered boards; and
  3. Diversity disclosures: requiring corporations to place before shareholders, at each AGM, information respecting diversity among the directors and among the members of senior management.

Je vous encourage à prendre connaissance de ce bref article.

L’article suivant est également : Proposed Changes to the Canada Business Corporations Act – How Could this Affect You?

Bonne lecture !

Proposed Canada Business Corporations Act Amendments: A New Era?

 

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Amendement à la loi canadienne sur les sociétés par actions | Proposed Changes to the Canada Business Corporations Act – How Could this Affect You?

 

True majority voting requirement

In 2014, the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) implemented rules requiring majority voting for most TSX-listed issuers. This entailed adopting a majority voting policy requiring any undersupported director (i.e., a nominee who does not receive a majority of “for” votes) in an uncontested director election to tender his or her resignation to the board; the board is then required to consider and, save for “exceptional circumstances,” accept that resignation and publicly announce its decision. Since then, there has been some lingering controversy surrounding the TSX’s majority voting standard as a result of many boards rejecting the resignations of undersupported directors in reliance on those so-called exceptional circumstances, despite the expressed will of the shareholders.

For example, our Davies Governance Insights 2015 report revealed that in 2015 only one of 10 directors who failed to achieve majority support from shareholders had their resignation accepted by the board. The report explained how some of the boards relied on the “exceptional circumstances” carve-out to allow undersupported directors to remain on the board. Our most recent Davies Governance Insights 2016 report, however, suggests that this trend may be changing: in 2016, in those cases where directors of issuers on the TSX/S&P Composite and SmallCap indices received less than majority approval, the boards accepted their resignations.

The Proposed Amendments would put an end to this debate. They provide that (1) the shareholders of a distributing corporation will be able to vote only “for” or “against” each individual director (as opposed to withholding their votes); and (2) each director is elected only if the number of “for” votes represents a majority of the total shareholder votes cast. Slate voting would no longer be permitted, except for certain “prescribed corporations” (to be outlined in revised regulations, not yet published, to the CBCA). Moreover, the Proposed Amendments also provide that a director who is not elected by a majority cannot be appointed by the remaining directors to fill a vacancy on the board, except in “prescribed circumstances.”

In doing so, the Proposed Amendments would reverse the current practice that has developed under the TSX rules: rather than having an undersupported nominee elected as a matter of law and leaving to the board the decision on whether to accept their resignation, the Proposed Amendments would mean that a nominee who fails to get a majority of “for” votes is not elected as a matter of law, and may be appointed by the directors only in “prescribed circumstances.”  Whether the Proposed Amendments will result in meaningful change to the current practice for TSX-listed companies will, however, depend on what those “prescribed circumstances” are, to be set out in the not yet released regulations to the CBCA.

Annual elections now required

The TSX rules currently require its listed companies to hold annual director elections, effectively prohibiting staggered boards, a fairly uncommon practice in Canada. The Proposed Amendments will bring the CBCA up to speed with this current corporate governance best practice. We note that an exception included in the Proposed Amendments allows for elections to be held in accordance with existing CBCA requirements, which allow for three-year terms and staggered boards, in the case of “any prescribed class of distributing corporations” or “any prescribed circumstances respecting distributing corporations.” There is currently no such exception in the TSX rules, save for foreign issuers. The impact of this change will, therefore, depend upon the prescribed categories of corporations and circumstances that will be proposed in the CBCA regulations, if this change is implemented.

Disclosure relating to diversity

TSX-listed and other non-venture issuers are currently required, under National Instrument 58-101—Disclosure of Corporate Governance Practices (NI 58-101), to disclose certain information relating to the diversity of their board and executive officers, including whether they have adopted a written policy regarding female representation on the board, whether they consider the level of female representation when making board or executive officer nominations or appointments, and whether they have adopted a target regarding the representation of women on the board or in senior management; if not, the issuer must disclose why not. The Proposed Amendments to the CBCA would require “prescribed corporations” to provide the “prescribed information” respecting diversity among their directors and members of senior management.

Once again, the “prescribed corporations” and “prescribed information” that will need to be disclosed have not yet been determined. Accordingly, until proposed regulations clarifying these concepts have been released, it remains unclear whether the Proposed Amendments will alter the existing “comply or explain” model under NI 58-101 or impose stricter requirements on subject companies. We do not, however, expect the Proposed Amendments to impose targets or quotas on issuers; instead, they are likely to promote a similar approach to that currently in place under securities laws.

Conclusions

The majority voting requirement set forth in the Proposed Amendments is likely to bring an end to the debate over those circumstances in which an undersupported director may remain on the board. The questions, however, that are still unanswered will be whether boards will be inclined to use the Proposed Amendments to fill a vacancy by appointing an undersupported director whose failed election created the vacancy in the first place; and, in such a situation, how stringent the “prescribed circumstances” will be that would allow the directors to appoint an undersupported director. We also note there are some inconsistencies between the TSX rules and the Proposed Amendments that could subject some TSX-listed CBCA companies to potentially different (and potentially conflicting) sets of rules. We expect the regulators are attuned to and will be focused on minimizing that risk. In any case, if the Proposed Amendments are adopted, we expect TSX-listed issuers that are governed by the CBCA may need to revisit and revise their majority voting policies to ensure compliance with the Proposed Amendments.

While some view the Proposed Amendments as a welcome modernization of the federal corporate statute and a reflection of the need to enhance companies’ corporate governance practices, in many ways the Proposed Amendments are entrenching practices or policies that are already addressed under the TSX rules and securities laws. By delving into these areas, there remains a risk that the Proposed Amendments could lead to compliance and interpretational issues, as well as confusion over the appropriate mandates for each of the regulators, a concern expressed by some commentators in response to Industry Canada’s initial December 2013 consultation paper on the potential CBCA amendments. In addition, several undetermined exceptions and terms that will be laid out in revised CBCA regulations have yet to be published—only once they are will the full impact of the Proposed Amendments be known.

Prélude à un code de gouvernance aux É.U. !


Voici un bref article de Gary Larkin, associé à The Conference Board Governance Center, qui porte sur la perspective de concevoir un code de gouvernance qui  s’adresse à l’ensemble des entreprises publiques (cotées) américaines.

Le projet de code est l’initiative de quelques leaders d’entreprises cotées, de gestionnaires d’actif, d’un gestionnaire de fonds de pension et d’un actionnaire activiste.

Cet énoncé des grands principes de gouvernance se veut un exercice devant jeter les bases d’un code de gouvernance comme on en retrouve dans plusieurs pays, notamment au Royaume-Uni.

Voici les points saillants des principes retenus :

 

Every board should meet regularly without the CEO present, and every board should have active and direct engagement with executives below the CEO level.

Directors should be elected by a majority  of either “for” or “against/withhold” votes (with abstentions and non-votes not be counted)

Board refreshment should always be considered in order that the board’s skillset and perspectives remain current.

Every board should have members with complementary and diverse skills, backgrounds and experiences.

If the board decides on a combined CEO/Chair role, it is essential that the board have a strong independent director.

Institutional investors that make decisions on proxy issues important to long-term value creation should have access to the company, its management, and, in some circumstances, the board.

Companies should only provide earnings guidance to the extent they believe it is beneficial to shareholders.

Bonne lecture !

 

It’s Commonsense to Have a U.S. Corporate Governance Code

 

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Over the summer, one of the most interesting pieces of corporate governance literature was the Commonsense Corporate Governance Principles.

The publication was the result of meetings between a group of leading executives of public companies, asset managers, a public pension fund, and a shareholder activist. The principles themselves may not have broken new ground—they addressed such basic issues as director independence, board refreshment and diversity, the need for earnings guidance, and shareholder engagement.  But the fact that such a publication was released at a time when some in Congress to roll back Dodd-Frank corporate-governance-related regulations is impressive.

It’s impressive because of who was in the meetings. It’s impressive because the meetings took place without any government or third-party instigation. It’s impressive because it might be the beginning of a new strategy for overseeing corporate governance in the United States. It shows that sometimes industry can lead by example without rules and regulations to tell them how to govern their own companies and boards.

Maybe these principles could be the start of the first true US corporate governance code, something that our brethren in the UK have had for years. Even smaller markets such as South Africa and Singapore have codes that are used to guide corporate governance.

Granted, those at the meetings, some of who included J. P. Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, Berkshire Hathaway chief Warren Buffett, General Motors head Mary Barra, BlackRock Chair and CEO Larry Fink, and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board President and CEO Mark Machin might not have envisioned themselves as U.S. corporate governance pioneers. But it’s a first step toward a true principles-based approach to good corporate governance in a country that is used to following rules and hiring attorneys to find the loopholes.

If you look at the main points made in the Commonsense Principles, you can see the foundation for such a code:

  1. Every board should meet regularly without the CEO present, and every board should have active and direct engagement with executives below the CEO level.
  2. Directors should be elected by a majority  of either “for” or “against/withhold” votes (with abstentions and non-votes not be counted)
  3. Board refreshment should always be considered in order that the board’s skillset and perspectives remain current.
  4. Every board should have members with complementary and diverse skills, backgrounds and experiences.
  5. If the board decides on a combined CEO/Chair role, it is essential that the board have a strong independent director.
  6. Institutional investors that make decisions on proxy issues important to long-term value creation should have access to the company, its management, and, in some circumstances, the board.
  7. Companies should only provide earnings guidance to the extent they believe it is beneficial to shareholders.

Microsoft, a Governance Center member, is satisfied with the Commonsense Principles because it aligns with what it has in place, according to a blog from Microsoft Corporate Secretary John Seethoff. “For example, we’ve made a concerted effort to assure board refreshment occurs with a focus on diversity in skillsets, backgrounds, and experiences,” he wrote. “The Principles agree with this emphasis, asserting, ‘Diversity along multiple dimensions is critical to a high-functioning board. Director candidates should be drawn from a rigorously diverse pool.’ Board tenure receives similarly thoughtful consideration, with the Principles underscoring the need to temper ‘fresh thinking and new perspectives’ with ‘age and experience.’”

Seethoff concluded: “At Microsoft, we’ve long believed that good corporate governance encourages accountability and transparency, as well as promotes sound decision-making to support our business over time. The ultimate goal is to create a system that provides appropriate structure for the company at present, allows flexibility to change in the future, and has a long-term perspective that matches our business objectives and strategy. As part of this open, constructive mindset, we applaud the leaders for outlining these Principles and look forward to continued dialogue on this important effort.”

If you ask me, the Commonsense Principles can definitely be the US Corporate Governance Code Version 1.0. They could be treated like climate change agreements (i.e. the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement) where countries come together and sign on. The original group of executives could hold a follow-up meeting or convention that would allow US companies to promise to follow the principles, similar to The Giving Pledge started by Buffet and Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

L’évolution de la divulgation des comités d’audit aux actionnaires


Voici un article d’Ann Yerger, directrice du Center for Board Matters, de la firme Ernst & Young, qui porte sur l’évolution significative des politiques de divulgation des comités d’audit aux actionnaires des entreprises cotées en bourse aux États-Unis en 2106. L’article est paru sur le site du Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance le 9 octobre.

L’étendue des divulgations aux actionnaires est vraiment très importante dans certains cas. Par exemple, en 2012, seulement 42 % des entreprises dévoilaient explicitement que le comité d’audit était responsable de l’engagement, de la rémunération et de la surveillance des auditeurs externes, alors qu’en 2016, 82 % divulguent, souvent en détail, les informations de cette nature.

Plusieurs autres résultats font état de changements remarquables dans la reddition de compte des comités d’audit aux actionnaires des entreprises.

Ceux-ci sont maintenant plus en mesure d’évaluer la portée des décisions des comités d’audit eu égard à la qualité du travail des auditeurs externes, aux raisons invoquées pour changer d’auditeur externe, à la fixation du mandat de l’auditeur externe, à la composition du comité d’audit, à l’augmentation des honoraires des firmes comptables dans les quatre catégories suivantes : audit, relié aux travaux d’audit, fiscalité et autres services connexes, etc.

Bonne lecture !

Audit Committee Reporting to Shareholders in 2016

 

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Audit committees have a key role in overseeing the integrity of financial reporting. Nevertheless, relatively little information is required to be disclosed by US public companies about the audit committee’s important work. Since our first publication in this series in 2012, we have described efforts by investors, regulators and other stakeholders to seek increased audit­-related disclosures, as well as the resulting voluntary disclosures to respond to this interest.

Over 2015–2016, US regulators have placed a spotlight on audit-related disclosures and financial reporting more generally. The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the US Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) have both taken action to consider the possibility of requiring new disclosures relating to the audit.

SEC representatives also have used speeches to urge companies and audit committees to increase disclosures in this area voluntarily. While additional disclosure requirements for audit committees are not expected in the near term, regulators continue to monitor developments in this area. This post seeks to shed light on the evolving audit­-related disclosure landscape.

Context

Public company audit committees are responsible for overseeing financial reporting, including the external audit. Under US securities laws, audit committees are “directly responsible for the appointment, compensation, retention and oversight” of the external auditor, and must include a report in annual proxy statements about their work. This audit committee report, however, currently must affirm only that the committee carried out certain specific responsibilities related to communications with the external auditor, and this requirement has not changed since 1999.

In recent years, a variety of groups have brought attention to the relative lack of information available about the audit committee and the audit, including their view that this area of disclosure may not have kept up with the needs of investors and other proxy statement users. These groups include pension funds, asset managers, investors, corporate governance groups, and domestic and foreign regulators. As efforts to seek additional information have continued, there has been a steady increase in voluntary audit-related disclosures.

Over the last year, the SEC has taken a series of actions to consider whether and how to improve transparency around audit committees, audits and financial reporting more generally. The combined effect of these activities has been to increase engagement by issuers, audit firms, investors and other stakeholders in discussions about the current state of financial reporting­ related disclosure as well as how it should change.

Findings

Our analysis of the 2016 proxy statements of Fortune 100 companies indicates that voluntaryaudit-related disclosures continue to trend upward in a number of areas. The CBM data for this review is based on the 78 companies on the 2016 Fortune 100 list that filed proxy statements each year from 2012 to 2016 for annual meetings through August 15, 2016. Below are highlights from our research:

  1. The percentage of companies that disclosed factors considered by the audit committee when assessing the qualifications and work quality of the external auditor increased to 50%, up from 42% in 2015. In 2012, only 17% of audit committees disclosed this information.
  2. Another significant increase was in disclosures stating that the audit committee believed that the choice of external auditor was in the best interests of the company and/or the shareholders. In 2016, 73% of companies disclosed such information; in 2015, this percentage was 63%. In 2012, only 3% of companies made this disclosure.
  3. The audit committees of 82% of the companies explicitly stated that they are responsible for the appointment, compensation and oversight of the external auditor; in 2012, only 42% of audit committees provided such disclosures.
  4. 31% of companies provided information about the reasons for changes in fees paid to the external auditor compared to 21% the previous year. Reasons provided in these disclosures include one­-time events, such as a merger or acquisition. Under current SEC rules, companies are required to disclose fees paid to the external auditor, divided into the following categories: audit, audit-related, tax and all other fees. They are not, however, required to discuss the reasons why these fees have increased or decreased. From 2012 to 2016, the percentage of companies disclosing information to explain changes in audit fees rose from 9% to 31%. Additional CBM research examined the disclosures of the subset of studied companies (43) that had changes in audit fees of +/-­ 5% or more compared to the previous year. Out of these 43 companies, roughly 20% provided explanatory disclosures regarding the change in audit fees.
  5. 29 of the 43 companies had fee increases of 5% or more, out of which 8 companies disclosed the reasons for the increases. 14 of the 43 companies had fee decreases of 5% or more, out of which only one company provided an explanatory disclosure.
  6. 53% of companies disclosed that the audit committee considered the impact of changing auditors when assessing whether to retain the current auditor. This was a 6 percentage point increase over 2015. In 2012, this disclosure was made by 3% of the Fortune 100 companies. Over the past five years, the number of companies disclosing that the audit committee was involved in the selection of the lead audit partner has grown dramatically, up to 73% in 2016. In 2015, 67% of companies disclosed this information, while in 2012, only 1% of companies did so.
  7. 51% of companies disclosed that they have three or more financial experts on their audit committees, up from 47% in 2015 and 36% in 2012.

Summary: Trends in Audit Committee Disclosure

(Cliquez pour agrandir)

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Le positionnement de l’Ordre des administrateurs agréés du Québec (OAAQ) sur la gouvernance du système professionnel


Dans ce billet, je vous présente un sommaire de l’allocution que j’ai exposé devant les membres de la commission des institutions de l’Assemblée nationale, le 21 septembre, et qui concerne la position de l’ordre des administrateurs agréés eu égard à la modernisation de la gouvernance du système professionnel québécois (Projet de loi 98).

Voici donc le sommaire de notre mémoire. Vous pouvez consulter la version complète du Mémoire de l’Ordre des administrateurs agréés du Québec en vous rendant sur le site de l’assemblée nationale et en cliquant sur le document PDF en question.

Bonne lecture.

Sommaire

 

L’Ordre des administrateurs agréés du Québec (« OAAQ ») accueille favorablement les mesures visant à moderniser la gouvernance des ordres professionnels. Le recentrage des responsabilités des conseils d’administration vers la vigie et la stratégie, la réduction de la taille des conseils et la distinction des rôles de président et de directeur général devraient favoriser le fonctionnement de nos organisations vouées à la protection du public.

Les principes de gouvernance qui sous-tendent cette réforme sont d’ailleurs implantés à l’OAAQ depuis 2011. L’OAAQ appuie vigoureusement l’obligation pour les administrateurs de se soumettre à une formation en gouvernance et en éthique. Compte tenu de son expertise, l’OAAQ invite les acteurs du système professionnel à lui confier ce mandat de formation.

Le projet de loi nº 98 donne également suite à quatre recommandations de la Commission Charbonneau, notamment quant aux pouvoirs du syndic. Tout en appuyant ces mesures, l’OAAQ souhaite que la réflexion sur la contribution du système professionnel au défi de l’intégrité soit l’occasion de réfléchir au potentiel lié à la professionnalisation de la gestion, un axe malheureusement occulté dans la réponse à donner aux suites de la Commission Charbonneau.

En effet, le rôle joué par certains professionnels de la gestion – chargés de projets, cadres municipaux et administrateurs de contrats – a été remis en question. En sa qualité d’ordre professionnel encadrant la pratique des gestionnaires et veillant à la promotion de normes déontologiques et d’éthique, l’OAAQ peut compléter le dispositif en place aux fins de mitiger les risques d’inconduites dans le domaine des affaires et de la gestion. L’OAAQ interpelle l’État et l’invite à favoriser l’adhésion des gestionnaires au système professionnel ainsi qu’à l’OAAQ.

L’OAAQ appuie la volonté gouvernementale visant à assurer une meilleure efficacité des ordres dans leur mission de protection du public.

Toutefois, les ordres à titres réservés, comme l’OAAQ, doivent avoir les moyens d’exister pour remplir cette mission. Cette consultation sur la réforme du Code des professions est l’occasion de sensibiliser les parlementaires à l’enjeu de la pérennité auquel fait face notre ordre et d’exprimer nos attentes légitimes. Alors que l’OAAQ doit accentuer les mécanismes de protection du public, il doit d’autre part relever le défi de recruter des membres qui s’astreindront à des devoirs déontologiques et à des responsabilités supplémentaires (inspection, formation, assurance) sans bénéficier d’actes réservés.

Si l’État souhaite renforcer la protection du public et la contribution des ordres à titres réservés à cette mission, son action doit être cohérente et des mesures structurantes doivent être mises en œuvre.

Malheureusement, et bien que les consultations et travaux de l’Office des professions du Québec soient terminés, le projet de loi nº 98 ne comporte pas de disposition modernisant les champs descriptifs des ordres du secteur des affaires. L’OAAQ est également en attente de mesures législatives pour la réserve d’acte en gestion de copropriété, une action recommandée par l’Office des professions du Québec.

 

LISTE DES RECOMMANDATIONS

 

RECOMMANDATION 1

Que l’État reconnaisse le potentiel lié à la professionnalisation de la gestion comme une réponse à la Commission Charbonneau et que l’administration publique encourage et favorise l’adhésion des gestionnaires au système professionnel ainsi qu’à l’OAAQ.

 

RECOMMANDATION 2

Que le Code des professions soit amendé afin de renforcer la gouvernance des ordres professionnels et consacre les principes suivants :

  1. Recentrage des responsabilités du conseil d’administration vers la surveillance, les orientations stratégiques et la gouvernance ;
  2. Réduction de la taille des conseils d’administration ;
  3. Distinction des rôles de président (la gouvernance) et de directeur général (la gestion) ;
  4. Obligation d’adopter un code d’éthique et de déontologie pour les administrateurs des ordres et de se soumettre à une formation en gouvernance ;
  5. Discrétion accordée aux ordres dans leur choix de porte-parole.

 

RECOMMANDATION 3

Que le Code des professions consacre l’obligation de se soumettre à une formation en matière de gouvernance et d’éthique pour les administrateurs des ordres et que les acteurs du système professionnel confient à l’OAAQ ce mandat de formation.

 

RECOMMANDATION 4

Que la modernisation des champs descriptifs des ordres du secteur des affaires soit intégrée au projet de loi n° 98 (modifications au paragraphe i de l’article 37 du Code des professions).

 

RECOMMANDATION 5

Que le gouvernement donne suite aux orientations de l’Office des professions du Québec visant la modernisation des champs d’exercice des professions du secteur des affaires et légifère pour réserver l’activité de l’administration de copropriétés.

 

Le point sur la gouvernance au Canada en 2016 | Rapport de Davies Ward Phillips Vineberg


Le rapport annuel de Davies est toujours très attendu car il brosse un tableau très complet de l’évolution de la gouvernance au Canada durant la dernière année.

Le document qui vient de sortir est en anglais mais la version française devrait suivre dans peu de temps.

Je vous invite donc à en prendre connaissance en lisant le court résumé ci-dessous et, si vous voulez en savoir plus sur les thèmes abordés, vous pouvez télécharger le document de 100 pages sur le site de l’entreprise.

Cliquez sur le lien ci-dessous. Bonne lecture !

Rapport de Davies sur la gouvernance 2016

 

Davies Governance Insights 2016, provides analysis of the top governance trends and issues important to Canadian boards, senior management and governance observers.

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The 2016 edition provides readers with our take on important topics ranging from shareholder engagement and activism to leadership diversity and the rise in issues facing boards and general counsel. We also provide practical guidance for boards and senior management of public companies and their investors on these and many other corporate governance topics that we expect will remain under focus in the 2017 proxy season.

 

Les devoirs des administrateurs eu égard à un climat de travail malsain | Un cas pratique


Voici un cas de gouvernance publié sur le site de Julie Garland McLellan* qui illustre les contradictions entre les valeurs énoncées par une école privée et celles qui semblent animer les administrateurs et les parents.

Le cas montre comment un administrateur, nouvellement élu sur un CA d’une école privée, peut se retrouver dans une situation embarrassante impliquant des comportements de harcèlement et de menaces qui affectent la santé mentale et le bien-être des employés.

Cette situation semble se présenter de plus en plus fréquemment dans les institutions d’enseignement qui visent des rendements très (trop !) élevés.

Comment Ignacio peut-il s’y prendre pour bien faire comprendre aux administrateurs de son CA leurs devoirs et leurs obligations légales d’assurer un climat de travail sain, absent d’agression de la part de certains parents ?

Le cas présente, de façon claire, une situation de culture organisationnelle déficiente ; puis, trois experts en gouvernance se prononcent sur le dilemme qui se présente aux administrateurs qui vivent des expériences similaires.

Bonne lecture ! Vos commentaires sont toujours les bienvenus.

 

Un cas culture organisationnelle déficiente !

 

 drapeau-vicario1

 

Ignacio is an old boy of a private school with a proud sporting tradition. He was invited onto the board last year when a long-serving director retired. The school is well run with a professional principal who has the respect of the staff as well as many of the boys.

The school has worked hard to develop academic excellence and its place in rankings has improved with a greater percentage of boys qualifying for university.

At the last board meeting the CEO was absent. The chairman explained that he had taken stress leave because he couldn’t cope with bullying from some of the parents. Some directors sniggered and the rest looked embarrassed. There were a few comments about ‘needing to grow a backbone’, ‘being a pansy’, and ‘not having the guts to stand up to parents or lead the teams to victory on the field’.

Ignacio was aghast – he asked about the anti-harassment and workplace health and safety policies and was given leave by the chair « to look into ‘covering our backs’ if necessary ».

Ignacio met with the HR manager and discovered the policies were out of date and appeared to have been cut and pasted from the original Department of Education advice without customisation. From his experience running a business Ignacio is aware of the importance of mental health issues in the modern workplace and also of the legal duty of directors to provide a workplace free from bullying and harassment. School staff are all aware of a discrepancy between the stated School values and those of the board and some parents. The HR manager tells him that recent bullying by parents has become more akin to verbal and even physical assault. Staff believe the board will not support them against fee paying parents even though the school is, in theory, a not-for-profit institution.

How can Ignacio help lead his board to an understanding of their duty to provide a safe workplace?

 

Chris’s Answer  …..

 

Julie’s Answer ….

 

Leanne’s Answer ….

*Julie Garland McLellan is a practising non-executive director and board consultant based in Sydney, Australia.