Dix thèmes majeurs pour les administrateurs de sociétés en 2017


Aujourd’hui, je partage avec vous la liste des dix thèmes majeurs en gouvernance que les auteurs Kerry E. Berchem* et Rick L. Burdick* ont identifiés pour l’année 2017.

Vous êtes assurément au fait de la plupart de ces dimensions, mais il faut noter l’importance accrue à porter aux questions stratégiques, aux changements politiques, aux relations avec les actionnaires, à la cybersécurité, aux nouvelles réglementations de la SEC, à la composition du CA, à l’établissement de la rémunération et aux répercussions possibles des changements climatiques.

sans-titre-gump

Afin de mieux connaître l’ampleur de ces priorités de gouvernance pour les administrateurs de sociétés, je vous invite à lire l’ensemble du rapport publié par Akin Gump.

Bonne lecture !

Dix thèmes majeurs pour les administrateurs de sociétés en 2017

 

top-10

 

1. Corporate strategy: Oversee the development of the corporate strategy in an increasingly uncertain and volatile world economy with new and more complex risks

Directors will need to continue to focus on strategic planning, especially in light of significant anticipated changes in U.S. government policies, continued international upheaval, the need for productive shareholder relations, potential changes in interest rates, uncertainty in commodity prices and cybersecurity risks, among other factors.

2. Political changes: Monitor the impact of major political changes, including the U.S. presidential and congressional elections and Brexit

Many uncertainties remain about how the incoming Trump administration will govern, but President-elect Trump has stated that he will pursue vast changes in diverse regulatory sectors, including international trade, health care, energy and the environment. These changes are likely to reshape the legal landscape in which companies conduct their business, both in the United States and abroad.

With respect to Brexit, although it is clear that the United Kingdom will, very probably, leave the European Union, there is no certainty as to when exactly this will happen or what the U.K.’s future relationship, if any, with the EU will be. Once the negotiations begin, boards will need to be quick to assess the likely shape of any deal between the U.K. and the EU and to consider how to adjust their business model to mitigate the threats and take advantage of the opportunities that may present themselves.

3. Shareholder relations: Foster shareholder relations and assess company vulnerabilities to prepare for activist involvement

The current environment demands that directors of public companies remain mindful of shareholder relations and company vulnerabilities by proactively engaging with shareholders, addressing shareholder concerns and performing a self-diagnostic analysis. Directors need to understand their company’s vulnerabilities, such as a de-staggered board or the lack of access to a poison pill, and be mindful of them in any engagement or negotiation process.

4. Cybersecurity: Understand and oversee cybersecurity risks to prepare for increasingly sophisticated and frequent attacks

As cybercriminals raise the stakes with escalating ransomware attacks and hacking of the Internet of Things, companies will need to be even more diligent in their defenses and employee training. In addition, cybersecurity regulation will likely increase in 2017. The New York State Department of Financial Services has enacted a robust cybersecurity regulation, with heightened encryption, log retention and certification requirements, and other regulators have issued significant guidance. Multinational companies will continue implementation of the EU General Data Protection Regulation requirements, which will be effective in May 2018. EU-U.S. Privacy Shield will face a significant legal challenge, particularly in light of concerns regarding President-elect Trump’s protection of privacy. Trump has stated that the government needs to be “very, very tough on cyber and cyberwarfare” and has indicated that he will form a “cyber review team” to evaluate cyber defenses and vulnerabilities.

5. SEC scrutiny: Monitor the SEC’s increased scrutiny and more frequent enforcement actions, including whistleblower developments, guidance on non-GAAP measures and tougher positions on insider trading

2016 saw the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) award tens of millions of dollars to whistleblowers and bring first-of-a-kind cases applying new rules flowing from the protections now afforded to whistleblowers of potential violations of the federal securities laws. The SEC was also active in its review of internal accounting controls and their ability to combat cyber intrusions and other modern-day threats to corporate infrastructure. The SEC similarly continued its comprehensive effort to police insider trading schemes and other market abuses, and increased its scrutiny of non-GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) financial measure disclosures. 2017 is expected to bring the appointment of three new commissioners, including a new chairperson to replace outgoing chair Mary Jo White, which will retilt the scales at the commissioner level to a 3-2 majority of Republican appointees. 2017 may also bring significant changes to rules promulgated previously under Dodd-Frank.

6. CFIUS: Account for CFIUS risks in transactions involving non-U.S. investments in businesses with a U.S. presence

Over the past year, the interagency Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) has been particularly active in reviewing—and, at times, intervening in—non-U.S. investments in U.S. businesses to address national security concerns. CFIUS has the authority to impose mitigation measures on a transaction before it can proceed, and may also recommend that the President block a pending transaction or order divestiture of a U.S. business in a completed transaction. Companies that have not sufficiently accounted for CFIUS risks may face significant hurdles in successfully closing a deal. With the incoming Trump administration, there is also the potential for an expanded role for CFIUS, particularly in light of campaign statements opposing certain foreign investments.

7. Board composition: Evaluate and refresh board composition to help achieve the company’s goals, increase diversity and manage turnover

In order to promote fresh, dynamic and engaged perspectives in the boardroom and help the company achieve its goals, a board should undertake focused reassessments of its underlying composition and skills, including a review and analysis of board tenure, continuity and diversity in terms of upbringing, educational background, career expertise, gender, age, race and political affiliation.

8. Executive compensation: Determine appropriate executive compensation against the background of an increased focus on CEO pay ratios

Executive compensation will continue to be a hot topic for directors in 2017, especially given that public companies will soon have to start complying with the CEO pay ratio disclosure rules. Recent developments suggest that such disclosure might not be as burdensome or harmful to relations with employees and the public as was initially feared.
The SEC’s final rules allow for greater flexibility and ease in making this calculation, and a survey of companies that have already estimated their ratios indicates that the ratio might not be as high, on average, as previously reported.

9. Antitrust scrutiny: Monitor the increased scrutiny of the antitrust authorities and the implications on various proposed combinations

Despite the promise of synergies and the potential to transform a company’s future, antitrust regulators have become increasingly hostile toward strategic transactions, with the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission suing to block 12 transactions since 2015. Although directors should brace for a longer antitrust review, to help navigate the regulatory climate, work upfront can dramatically improve prospects for success. Company directors should develop appropriate deal rationales and, with the benefit of upfront work, allocate antitrust risk in the merger agreement. Merger and acquisition activity may also benefit from the Trump administration, taking, at least for certain industries, a less-aggressive antitrust enforcement stance.

10. Environmental disasters and contagious diseases: Monitor the impact of increasingly volatile weather events and contagious disease outbreaks on risk management processes, employee needs and logistics planning

While the causes of climate change remain a political sticking point, it cannot be debated that volatile weather events, environmental damage and a rise in the diseases that tend to follow, are having increasingly adverse impacts on businesses and markets. Businesses will need to account for, or transfer the risk of, the increasing likelihood of these impacts. The SEC recently announced investigations into climate-risk disclosures within the oil and gas sector to ensure that they adequately allow investors to account for these effects on the bottom line. The growing number of shareholder resolutions and suits addressing climate change confirm that investors want this information, regardless of the position of the next administration.

The complete publication is available here.


*Kerry E. Berchem is partner and head of the corporate practice, and Rick L. Burdick is partner and chair of the Global Energy & Transactions group, at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP.

Auteur : Gouvernance des entreprises | Jacques Grisé

Ce blogue fait l’inventaire des documents les plus pertinents et récents en gouvernance des entreprises. La sélection des billets, « posts », 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. Chaque jour, 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. Jacques Grisé est professeur titulaire retraité (associé) du département de management de la Faculté des sciences de l’administration de l’Université Laval. Il est détenteur d’un Ph.D. de la Ivy Business School (University of Western Ontario), d’une Licence spécialisée en administration des entreprises (Université de Louvain en Belgique) et d’un B.Sc.Comm. (HEC, Montréal). En 1993, il a effectué des études post-doctorales à l’University of South Carolina, Columbia, S.C. dans le cadre du Faculty Development in International Business Program. Il a été directeur des programmes de formation en gouvernance du Collège des administrateurs de sociétés (CAS) de 2006 à 2012. Il est maintenant collaborateur spécial au CAS. Il a été président de l’ordre des administrateurs agréés du Québec de 2015 à 2017. Jacques Grisé a été activement impliqué dans diverses organisations et a été membre de plusieurs comités et conseils d'administration reliés à ses fonctions : Professeur de management de l'Université Laval (depuis 1968), Directeur du département de management (13 ans), Directeur d'ensemble des programmes de premier cycle en administration (6 ans), Maire de la Municipalité de Ste-Pétronille, I.O. (1993-2009), Préfet adjoint de la MRC l’Île d’Orléans (1996-2009). Il est présentement impliqué dans les organismes suivants : membre de l'Ordre des administrateurs agréés du Québec (OAAQ), membre du Comité des Prix et Distinctions de l'Université Laval. Il préside les organisations suivantes : Société Musique de chambre à Ste-Pétronille Inc. (depuis 1989), Groupe Sommet Inc. (depuis 1986), Coopérative de solidarité de Services à domicile Orléans (depuis 2019) Jacques Grisé possède également une expérience de 3 ans en gestion internationale, ayant agi comme directeur de projet en Algérie et aux Philippines de 1977-1980 (dans le cadre d'un congé sans solde de l'Université Laval). Il est le Lauréat 2007 du Prix Mérite du Conseil interprofessionnel du Québec (CIQ) et Fellow Adm.A. En 2012, il reçoit la distinction Hommage aux Bâtisseurs du CAS. En 2019, il reçoit la médaille de l’assemblée nationale. Spécialités : Le professeur Grisé est l'auteur d’une soixantaine d’articles à caractère scientifique ou professionnel. Ses intérêts de recherche touchent principalement la gouvernance des sociétés, les comportements dans les organisations, la gestion des ressources humaines, les stratégies de changement organisationnel, le processus de consultation, le design organisationnel, la gestion de programmes de formation, notamment ceux destinés à des hauts dirigeants et à des membres de conseil d'administration.

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