La gouvernance de sociétés au Canada | Au delà de la théorie de l’agence


Les auteurs Imen Latrousa, Marc-André Morencyb, Salmata Ouedraogoc et Jeanne Simard, professeurs à l’Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, ont réalisé une publication d’une grande valeur pour les théoriciens de la gouvernance.

Vous trouverez, ci-dessous, un résumé de l’article paru dans la Revue Organisations et Territoires

Résumé

De nombreux chercheurs ont mis en évidence les aspects et conséquences discutables de certaines conceptions financières ou théories de l’organisation. C’est le cas de la théorie de l’agence, conception particulièrement influente depuis une quarantaine d’années, qui a pour effet de justifier une gouvernance de l’entreprise vouée à maximiser la valeur aux actionnaires au détriment des autres parties prenantes.

Cette idéologie de gouvernance justifie de rémunérer les managers, présumés négliger ordinairement les détenteurs d’actions, avec des stock-options, des salaires démesurés. Ce primat accordé à la valeur à court terme des actions relève d’une vision dans laquelle les raisons financières se voient attribuer un rôle prééminent dans la détermination des objectifs et des moyens d’action, de régulation et de dérégulation des entreprises. Cet article se propose de rappeler les éléments centraux de ce modèle de gouvernance et de voir quelles critiques lui sont adressées par des disciplines aussi diverses que l’économie, la finance, le droit et la sociologie.

 

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Voir l’article ci-dessous :

La gouvernance d’entreprise au Canada : un domaine en transition

Gouvernance fiduciaire et rôles des parties prenantes (stakeholders)


Je partage avec vous l’excellente prise de position de Martin Lipton *, Karessa L. Cain et Kathleen C. Iannone, associés de la firme Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, spécialisée dans les fusions et acquisitions et dans les questions de gouvernance fiduciaire.

L’article présente un plaidoyer éloquent en faveur d’une gouvernance fiduciaire par un conseil d’administration qui doit non seulement considérer le point de vue des actionnaires, mais aussi des autres parties prenantes,

Depuis quelque temps, on assiste à des changements significatifs dans la compréhension du rôle des CA et dans l’interprétation que les administrateurs se font de la valeur de l’entreprise à long terme.

Récemment, le Business Roundtable a annoncé son engagement envers l’inclusion des parties prenantes dans le cadre de gouvernance fiduciaire des sociétés.

Voici un résumé d’un article paru dans le Los Angeles Times du 19 août 2019 : In shocking reversal, Big Business puts the shareholder value myth in the grave.

Among the developments followers of business ethics may have thought they’d never see, the end of the shareholder value myth has to rank very high.

Yet one of America’s leading business lobbying groups just buried the myth. “We share a fundamental commitment to all of our stakeholders,” reads a statement issued Monday by the Business Roundtable and signed by 181 CEOs. (Emphasis in the original.)

The statement mentions, in order, customers, employees, suppliers, communities and — dead last — shareholders. The corporate commitment to all these stakeholders may be largely rhetorical at the moment, but it’s hard to overstate what a reversal the statement represents from the business community’s preexisting viewpoint.

Stakeholders are pushing companies to wade into sensitive social and political issues — especially as they see governments failing to do so effectively.

Since the 1970s, the prevailing ethos of corporate management has been that a company’s prime responsibility — effectively, its only responsibility — is to serve its shareholders. Benefits for those other stakeholders follow, but they’re not the prime concern.

In the Business Roundtable’s view, the paramount duty of management and of boards of directors is to the corporation’s stockholders; the interests of other stakeholders are relevant as a derivative of the duty to stockholders,” the organization declared in 1997.

Bonne lecture. Vos commentaires sont les bienvenus !

 

Stakeholder Governance and the Fiduciary Duties of Directors

 

Jamie Dimon
JPMorgan Chase Chief Executive Jamie Dimon signed the business statement disavowing the shareholder value myth.(J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)

 

There has recently been much debate and some confusion about a bedrock principle of corporate law—namely, the essence of the board’s fiduciary duty, and particularly the extent to which the board can or should or must consider the interests of other stakeholders besides shareholders.

For several decades, there has been a prevailing assumption among many CEOs, directors, scholars, investors, asset managers and others that the sole purpose of corporations is to maximize value for shareholders and, accordingly, that corporate decision-makers should be very closely tethered to the views and preferences of shareholders. This has created an opportunity for corporate raiders, activist hedge funds and others with short-termist agendas, who do not hesitate to assert their preferences and are often the most vocal of shareholder constituents. And, even outside the context of shareholder activism, the relentless pressure to produce shareholder value has all too often tipped the scales in favor of near-term stock price gains at the expense of long-term sustainability.

In recent years, however, there has been a growing sense of urgency around issues such as economic inequality, climate change and socioeconomic upheaval as human capital has been displaced by technological disruption. As long-term investors and the asset managers who represent them have sought to embrace ESG principles and their role as stewards of corporations in pursuit of long-term value, notions of shareholder primacy are being challenged. Thus, earlier this week, the Business Roundtable announced its commitment to stakeholder corporate governance, and outside the U.S., legislative reforms in the U.K. and Europe have expressly incorporated consideration of other stakeholder interests in the fiduciary duty framework. The Council of Institutional Investors and others, however, have challenged the wisdom and legality of stakeholder corporate governance.

To be clear, Delaware law does not enshrine a principle of shareholder primacy or preclude a board of directors from considering the interests of other stakeholders. Nor does the law of any other state. Although much attention has been given to the Revlon doctrine, which suggests that the board must attempt to achieve the highest value reasonably available to shareholders, that doctrine is narrowly limited to situations where the board has determined to sell control of the company and either all or a preponderant percentage of the consideration being paid is cash or the transaction will result in a controlling shareholder. Indeed, theRevlon doctrine has played an outsized role in fiduciary duty jurisprudence not because it articulates the ultimate nature and objective of the board’s fiduciary duty, but rather because most fiduciary duty litigation arises in the context of mergers or other extraordinary transactions where heightened standards of judicial review are applicable. In addition, Revlon’s emphasis on maximizing short-term shareholder value has served as a convenient touchstone for advocates of shareholder primacy and has accordingly been used as a talking point to shape assumptions about fiduciary duties even outside the sale-of-control context, a result that was not intended. Around the same time that Revlon was decided, the Delaware Supreme Court also decided the Unocal and Household cases, which affirmed the board’s ability to consider all stakeholders in using a poison pill to defend against a takeover—clearly confining Revlonto sale-of-control situations.

The fiduciary duty of the board is to promote the value of the corporation. In fulfilling that duty, directors must exercise their business judgment in considering and reconciling the interests of various stakeholders—including shareholders, employees, customers, suppliers, the environment and communities—and the attendant risks and opportunities for the corporation.

Indeed, the board’s ability to consider other stakeholder interests is not only uncontroversial—it is a matter of basic common sense and a fundamental component of both risk management and strategic planning. Corporations today must navigate a host of challenges to compete and succeed in a rapidly changing environment—for example, as climate change increases weather-related risks to production facilities or real property investments, or as employee training becomes critical to navigate rapidly evolving technology platforms. A board and management team that is myopically focused on stock price and other discernible benchmarks of shareholder value, without also taking a broader, more holistic view of the corporation and its longer-term strategy, sustainability and risk profile, is doing a disservice not only to employees, customers and other impacted stakeholders but also to shareholders and the corporation as a whole.

The board’s role in performing this balancing function is a central premise of the corporate structure. The board is empowered to serve as the arbiter of competing considerations, whereas shareholders have relatively limited voting rights and, in many instances, it is up to the board to decide whether a matter should be submitted for shareholder approval (for example, charter amendments and merger agreements). Moreover, in performing this balancing function, the board is protected by the business judgment rule and will not be second-guessed for embracing ESG principles or other stakeholder interests in order to enhance the long-term value of the corporation. Nor is there any debate about whether the board has the legal authority to reject an activist’s demand for short-term financial engineering on the grounds that the board, in its business judgment, has determined to pursue a strategy to create sustainable long-term value.

And yet even if, as a doctrinal matter, shareholder primacy does not define the contours of the board’s fiduciary duties so as to preclude consideration of other stakeholders, the practical reality is that the board’s ability to embrace ESG principles and sustainable investment strategies depends on the support of long-term investors and asset managers. Shareholders are the only corporate stakeholders who have the right to elect directors, and in contrast to courts, they do not decline to second-guess the business judgment of boards. Furthermore, a number of changes over the last several decades—including the remarkable consolidation of economic and voting power among a relatively small number of asset managers, as well as legal and “best practice” reforms—have strengthened the ability of shareholders to influence corporate decision-making.

To this end, we have proposed The New Paradigm, which conceives of corporate governance as a partnership among corporations, shareholders and other stakeholders to resist short-termism and embrace ESG principles in order to create sustainable, long-term value. See our paper, It’s Time to Adopt The New Paradigm.


Martin Lipton * is a founding partner of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, specializing in mergers and acquisitions and matters affecting corporate policy and strategy; Karessa L. Cain is a partner; and Kathleen C. Iannone is an associate. This post is based on their Wachtell Lipton publication.

Deux développements significatifs en gouvernance des sociétés


Aujourd’hui, je veux porter à l’attention de mes lecteurs un article de Assaf Hamdani* et Sharon Hannes* qui aborde deux développements majeurs qui ont pour effet de bouleverser les marchés des capitaux.

D’une part, les auteurs constatent le rôle de plus en plus fondamental que les investisseurs institutionnels jouent sur le marché des capitaux aux É. U., mais aussi au Canada.

En effet, ceux-ci contrôlent environ les trois quarts du marché, et cette situation continue de progresser. Les auteurs notent qu’un petit nombre de fonds détiennent une partie significative du capital de chaque entreprise.

Les investisseurs individuels sont de moins en moins présents sur l’échiquier de l’actionnariat et leur influence est donc à peu près nulle.

Dans quelle mesure les investisseurs institutionnels exercent-ils leur influence sur la gouvernance des entreprises ? Quels sont les changements qui s’opèrent à cet égard ?

Comment leurs actions sont-elles coordonnées avec les actionnaires activistes (hedge funds) ?

La seconde tendance, qui se dessine depuis plus de 10 ans, concerne l’augmentation considérable de l’influence des actionnaires activistes (hedge funds) qui utilisent des moyens de pression de plus en plus grands pour imposer des changements à la gouvernance des organisations, notamment par la nomination d’administrateurs désignés aux CA des entreprises ciblées.

Quelles sont les nouvelles perspectives pour les activistes et comment les autorités réglementaires doivent-elles réagir face à la croissance des pressions pour modifier les conseils d’administration ?

Je vous invite à lire ce court article pour avoir un aperçu des changements à venir eu égard à la gouvernance des sociétés.

Bonne lecture !

 

 

The Future of Shareholder Activism

 

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Two major developments are shaping modern capital markets. The first development is the dramatic increase in the size and influence of institutional investors, mostly mutual funds. Institutional investors today collectively own 70-80% of the entire U.S. capital market, and a small number of fund managers hold significant stakes at each public company. The second development is the rising influence of activist hedge funds, which use proxy fights and other tools to pressure public companies into making business and governance changes.

Our new article, The Future of Shareholder Activism, prepared for Boston University Law Review’s Symposium on Institutional Investor Activism in the 21st Century, focuses on the interaction of these two developments and its implications for the future of shareholder activism. We show that the rise of activist hedge funds and their dramatic impact question the claim that institutional investors have conflicts of interest that are sufficiently pervasive to have a substantial market-wide effect. We further argue that the rise of money managers’ power has already changed and will continue to change the nature of shareholder activism. Specifically, large money managers’ clout means that they can influence companies’ management without resorting to the aggressive tactics used by activist hedge funds. Finally, we argue that some activist interventions—those that require the appointment of activist directors to implement complex business changes—cannot be pursued by money managers without dramatic changes to their respective business models and regulatory landscapes.

We first address the overlooked implications of the rise of activist hedge funds for the debate on institutional investors’ stewardship incentives. The success of activist hedge funds, this Article argues, cannot be reconciled with the claim that institutional investors have conflicts of interest that are sufficiently pervasive to have a substantial market-wide effect. Activist hedge funds do not hold a sufficiently large number of shares to win proxy battles, and their success to drive corporate change therefore relies on the willingness of large fund managers to support their cause. Thus, one cannot celebrate—or express concern over—the achievements of activist hedge funds and at the same time argue that institutional investors systemically desire to appease managers.

But if money managers are the real power brokers, why do institutional investors not play a more proactive role in policing management? One set of answers to this question focuses on the shortcomings of fund managers—their suboptimal incentives to oversee companies in their portfolio and conflicts of interest. Another answer focuses on the regulatory regime that governs institutional investors and the impediments that it creates for shareholder activism.

We offer a more nuanced account of the interaction of activists and institutional investors. We argue that the rising influence of fund managers is shaping and is likely to shape the relationships among corporate insiders, institutional investors, and activist hedge funds. Institutional investors’ increasing clout allows them to influence companies without resorting to the aggressive tactics that are typical of activist hedge funds. With institutional investors holding the key to their continued service at the company, corporate insiders today are likely to be more attentive to the wishes of their institutional investors, especially the largest ones.

In fact, in today’s marketplace, management is encouraged to “think like an activist” and initiate contact with large fund managers to learn about any concerns that could trigger an activist attack. Institutional investors—especially the large ones—can thus affect corporations simply by sharing their views with management. This sheds new light on what is labeled today as “engagement.” Moreover, the line between institutional investors’ engagement and hedge fund activism could increasingly become blurred. To be sure, we do not expect institutional investors to develop deeply researched and detailed plans for companies’ operational improvement. Yet, institutional investors’ engagement is increasingly likely to focus not only on governance, but also on business and strategy issues.

The rising influence of institutional investors, however, is unlikely to displace at least some forms of activism. Specifically, we argue that institutional investors are unlikely to be effective in leading complex business interventions that require director appointments. Activists often appoint directors to target boards. Such appointments may be necessary to implement an activist campaign when the corporate change underlying the intervention does not lend itself to quick fixes, such as selling a subsidiary or buying back shares. In complex cases, activist directors are required not only in order to continuously monitor management, but also to further refine the activist business plan for the company.

This insight, however, only serves to reframe our Article’s basic question. Given the rising power of institutional investors, why can they not appoint such directors to companies’ boards? The answer lies in the need of such directors to share nonpublic information with the fund that appointed them. Sharing such information with institutional investors would create significant insider trading concerns and would critically change the role of institutional investors as relatively passive investors with a limited say over company affairs.

The complete article is available here.

________________________________________________________________

*Assaf Hamdani is Professor of Law and Sharon Hannes is Professor of Law and Dean of the Faculty at Tel Aviv University Buchmann Faculty of Law. This post is based on their recent article, forthcoming in the Boston University Law Review. Related research from the Program on Corporate Governance includes Dancing with Activists by Lucian Bebchuk, Alon Brav, Wei Jiang, and Thomas Keusch (discussed on the Forum here); The Agency Problems of Institutional Investors by Lucian Bebchuk, Alma Cohen, and Scott Hirst (discussed on the Forumhere); and Index Funds and the Future of Corporate Governance: Theory, Evidence, and Policy by Lucian Bebchuk and Scott Hirst (discussed on the forum here).

Quelles sont les responsabilités dévolues à un conseil d’administration ?


En gouvernance des sociétés, il existe un certain nombre de responsabilités qui relèvent impérativement d’un conseil d’administration.

À la suite d’une décision rendue par la Cour Suprême du Delaware dans l’interprétation de la doctrine Caremark (voir ici),il est indiqué que pour satisfaire leur devoir de loyauté, les administrateurs de sociétés doivent faire des efforts raisonnables (de bonne foi) pour mettre en œuvre un système de surveillance et en faire le suivi.

Without more, the existence of management-level compliance programs is not enough for the directors to avoid Caremark exposure.

L’article de Martin Lipton *, paru sur le Forum de Harvard Law School on Corporate Governance, fait le point sur ce qui constitue les meilleures pratiques de gouvernance à ce jour.

Bonne lecture !

 

Spotlight on Boards

 

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  1. Recognize the heightened focus of investors on “purpose” and “culture” and an expanded notion of stakeholder interests that includes employees, customers, communities, the economy and society as a whole and work with management to develop metrics to enable the corporation to demonstrate their value;
  2. Be aware that ESG and sustainability have become major, mainstream governance topics that encompass a wide range of issues, such as climate change and other environmental risks, systemic financial stability, worker wages, training, retraining, healthcare and retirement, supply chain labor standards and consumer and product safety;
  3. Oversee corporate strategy (including purpose and culture) and the communication of that strategy to investors, keeping in mind that investors want to be assured not just about current risks and problems, but threats to long-term strategy from global, political, social, and technological developments;
  4. Work with management to review the corporation’s strategy, and related disclosures, in light of the annual letters to CEOs and directors, or other communications, from BlackRock, State Street, Vanguard, and other investors, describing the investors’ expectations with respect to corporate strategy and how it is communicated;
  5. Set the “tone at the top” to create a corporate culture that gives priority to ethical standards, professionalism, integrity and compliance in setting and implementing both operating and strategic goals;
  6. Oversee and understand the corporation’s risk management, and compliance plans and efforts and how risk is taken into account in the corporation’s business decision-making; monitor risk management ; respond to red flags if and when they arise;
  7. Choose the CEO, monitor the CEO’s and management’s performance and develop and keep current a succession plan;
  8. Have a lead independent director or a non-executive chair of the board who can facilitate the functioning of the board and assist management in engaging with investors;
  9. Together with the lead independent director or the non-executive chair, determine the agendas for board and committee meetings and work with management to ensure that appropriate information and sufficient time are available for full consideration of all matters;
  10. Determine the appropriate level of executive compensation and incentive structures, with awareness of the potential impact of compensation structures on business priorities and risk-taking, as well as investor and proxy advisor views on compensation;
  11. Develop a working partnership with the CEO and management and serve as a resource for management in charting the appropriate course for the corporation;
  12. Monitor and participate, as appropriate, in shareholder engagement efforts, evaluate corporate governance proposals, and work with management to anticipate possible takeover attempts and activist attacks in order to be able to address them more effectively, if they should occur;
  13. Meet at least annually with the team of company executives and outside advisors that will advise the corporation in the event of a takeover proposal or an activist attack;
  14. Be open to management inviting an activist to meet with the board to present the activist’s opinion of the strategy and management of the corporation;
  15. Evaluate the individual director’s, board’s and committees’ performance on a regular basis and consider the optimal board and committee composition and structure, including board refreshment, expertise and skill sets, independence and diversity, as well as the best way to communicate with investors regarding these issues;
  16. Review corporate governance guidelines and committee workloads and charters and tailor them to promote effective board and committee functioning;
  17. Be prepared to deal with crises; and
  18. Be prepared to take an active role in matters where the CEO may have a real or perceived conflict, including takeovers and attacks by activist hedge funds focused on the CEO.

 

Afin de satisfaire ces attentes, les entreprises publiques doivent :

 

  1. Have a sufficient number of directors to staff the requisite standing and special committees and to meet investor expectations for experience, expertise, diversity, and periodic refreshment;
  2. Compensate directors commensurate with the time and effort that they are required to devote and the responsibility that they assume;
  3. Have directors who have knowledge of, and experience with, the corporation’s businesses and with the geopolitical developments that affect it, even if this results in the board having more than one director who is not “independent”;
  4. Have directors who are able to devote sufficient time to preparing for and attending board and committee meetings and engaging with investors;
  5. Provide the directors with the data that is critical to making sound decisions on strategy, compensation and capital allocation;
  6. Provide the directors with regular tutorials by internal and external experts as part of expanded director education and to assure that in complicated, multi-industry and new-technology corporations, the directors have the information and expertise they need to respond to disruption, evaluate current strategy and strategize beyond the horizon; and
  7. Maintain a truly collegial relationship among and between the company’s senior executives and the members of the board that facilitates frank and vigorous discussion and enhances the board’s role as strategic partner, evaluator, and monitor.

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Martin Lipton* is a founding partner of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, specializing in mergers and acquisitions and matters affecting corporate policy and strategy. This post is based on a Wachtell Lipton memorandum by Mr. Lipton and is part of the Delaware law series; links to other posts in the series are available here.

Un document incontournable en gouvernance des entreprises cotées : « OECD Corporate Governance Factbook 2019 »


Voici un rapport de recherche exhaustif publié tous les deux ans par l’OCDE.

Vous y retrouverez une mine de renseignements susceptibles de répondre à toute question relative à la gouvernance des plus importantes autorités des marchés financiers au monde.

C’est un document essentiel qui permet de comparer et d’évaluer les progrès en gouvernance dans les 49 plus importants marchés financiers.

Vous pouvez télécharger le rapport à la fin du sommaire exécutif publié ici. Le document est illustré par une multitude de tableaux et de figures qui font image il va sans dire.

Voici l’introduction au document de recherche. Celui-ci vient d’être publié. La version française devrait suivre bientôt.

Bonne lecture !

 

The 2019 edition of the OECD Corporate Governance Factbook (the “Factbook”) contains comparative data and information across 49 different jurisdictions including all G20, OECD and Financial Stability Board members. The information is presented and commented in 40 tables and 51 figures covering a broad range of institutional, legal and regulatory provisions. The Factbook provides an important and unique tool for monitoring the implementation of the G20/OECD Principles of Corporate Governance. Issued every two years, it is actively used by governments, regulators and others for information about implementation practices and developments that may influence their effectiveness.

It is divided into five chapters addressing: 1) the corporate and market landscape; 2) the corporate governance framework; 3) the rights of shareholders and key ownership functions; 4) the corporate boards of directors; and 5) mechanisms for flexibility and proportionality in corporate governance.

 

OECD (2019), OECD Corporate Governance Factbook 2019

 

 

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The corporate and market landscape

 

Effective design and implementation of corporate governance rules requires a good empirical understanding of the ownership and business landscape to which they will be applied. The first chapter of the Factbook therefore provides an overview of ownership patterns around the world, with respect to both the categories of owners and the degree of concentration of ownership in individual listed companies. Since the G20/OECD Principles also include recommendations with respect to the functioning of stock markets, it also highlights some key structural changes with respect to stock exchanges.

The OECD Equity Market Review of Asia (OECD, 2018a) reported that stock markets have undergone profound changes during the past 20 years. Globally, one of the most important developments has been the rapid growth of Asian stock markets—both in absolute and in relative terms. In 2017, a record number of 1 074 companies listed in Asia, almost twice as many as the annual average for the previous 16 years. Of the five jurisdictions that have had the highest number of non-financial company IPOs in the last decade, three are in Asia. In 2017, Asian non-financial companies accounted for 43% of the global volume of equity raised. The proportion attributable to European and US companies has declined during the same period. In terms of stock exchanges, by total market capitalisation, four Asian exchanges were in the top ten globally (Japan Exchange Group, Shanghai Stock Exchange, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited, and Shenzhen Stock Exchange).

With respect to ownership patterns at the company level in the world’s 50 000 listed companies, a recent OECD study (De la Cruz et al., forthcoming) reports a number of features of importance to policymaking and implementation of the G20/OECD Principles. The report, which contains unique information about ownership in companies from 54 jurisdictions that together represent 95% of global market capitalisation, shows that four main categories of investors dominate ownership of today’s publicly listed companies. These are: institutional investors, public sector owners, private corporations, and strategic individual investors. The largest category is institutional investors, holding 41% of global market capitalisation. The second largest category is the public sector, which has significant ownership stakes in 20% of the world’s listed companies and hold shares representing 13% of global market capitalisation. With respect to ownership in individual companies, in half of the world’s publicly listed companies, the three largest shareholders hold more than 50% of the capital, and in three-quarters of the world’s public listed companies, the three largest owners hold more than 30%. This is to a large extent attributable to the growth of stock markets in Asian emerging markets.

Stock exchanges have also undergone important structural changes in recent years, such as mergers and acquisitions and demutualisations. Out of 52 major stock exchanges in 49 jurisdictions, 18 now belong to one of four international groups. Thirty-three (63%) of these exchanges are either self-listed or have an ultimate parent company that is listed on one or more of its own exchanges. More than 62% of market capitalisation is concentrated in the five largest stock exchanges, while more than 95% is concentrated in the largest 25. The top 25 highest valued exchanges include 11 non-OECD jurisdictions.

 

The corporate governance framework

 

An important bedrock for implementing the Principles is the quality of the legal and regulatory framework, which is consistent with the rule of law in supporting effective supervision and enforcement.

Against this background, the Factbook monitors who serves as the lead regulatory institution for corporate governance of listed companies in each jurisdiction, as well as issues related to their independence. Securities regulators, financial regulators or a combination of the two play the key role in 82% of all jurisdictions, while the Central Bank plays the key role in 12%. The issue of the independence of regulators is commonly addressed (among 86% of regulatory institutions) through the creation of a formal governing body such as a board, council or commission, usually appointed to fixed terms ranging from two to eight years. In a majority of cases, independence from the government is also promoted by establishing a separate budget funded by fees assessed on regulated entities or a mix of fees and fines. On the other hand, 25% of the regulatory institutions surveyed are funded by the national budget.

Since 2015 when the G20/OECD Principles were issued, 84% of the 49 surveyed jurisdictions have amended either their company law or securities law, or both. Nearly all jurisdictions also have national codes or principles that complement laws, securities regulation and listing requirements. Nearly half of all jurisdictions have revised their national corporate governance codes in the past two years and 83% of them follow a “comply or explain” compliance practice. A growing percentage of jurisdictions—67%—now issue national reports on company implementation of corporate governance codes, up from 58% in 2015. In 29% of the jurisdictions it is the national authorities that serve as custodians of the national corporate governance code.

 

The rights and equitable treatment of shareholders and key ownership functions

 

The G20/OECD Principles state that the corporate governance framework shall protect and facilitate the exercise of shareholders’ rights and ensure equitable treatment of all shareholders, including minority and foreign shareholders.

Chapter 3 of the Factbook therefore provides detailed information related to rights to obtain information on shareholder meetings, to request meetings and to place items on the agenda, and voting rights. The chapter also provides detailed coverage of frameworks for review of related party transactions, triggers and mechanisms related to corporate takeover bids, and the roles and responsibilities of institutional investors.

All jurisdictions require companies to provide advance notice of general shareholder meetings. A majority establish a minimum notice period of between 15 and 21 days, while another third of the jurisdictions provide for longer notice periods. Nearly two-thirds of jurisdictions require such notices to be sent directly to shareholders, while all but four jurisdictions require multiple methods of notification, which may include use of a stock exchange or regulator’s electronic platform, publication on the company’s web site or in a newspaper.

Approximately 80% of jurisdictions establish deadlines of up to 60 days for convening special meetings at the request of shareholders, subject to specific ownership thresholds. This is an increase from 73% in 2015. Most jurisdictions (61%) set the ownership threshold for requesting a special shareholder meeting at 5%, while another 32% set the threshold at 10%. Compared to the threshold for requesting a shareholder meeting, many jurisdictions set lower thresholds for placing items on the agenda of the general meeting. With respect to the outcome of the shareholder meeting, approximately 80% of jurisdictions require the disclosure of voting decisions on each agenda item, including 59% that require such disclosure immediately or within 5 days.

The G20/OECD Principles state that the optimal capital structure of the company is best decided by the management and the board, subject to approval of the shareholders. This may include the issuing of different classes of shares with different rights attached to them. In practice, all but three of the 49 jurisdictions covered by the Factbook allow listed companies to issue shares with limited voting rights. In many cases, such shares come with a preference with respect to the receipt of the firm’s profits.

Related party transactions are typically addressed through a combination of measures, including board approval, shareholder approval, and mandatory disclosure. Provisions for board approval are common; two-thirds of jurisdictions surveyed require or recommend board approval of certain types of related party transactions. Shareholder approval requirements are applied in 55% of jurisdictions, but are often limited to large transactions and those that are not carried out on market terms. Nearly all jurisdictions require disclosure of related party transactions, with 82% requiring use of International Accounting Standards (IAS24), while an additional 8% allow flexibility to follow IAS 24 or the local standard.

The Factbook provides extensive data on frameworks for corporate takeovers. Among the 46 jurisdictions that have introduced a mandatory bid rule, 80% take an ex-post approach, where a bidder is required to initiate the bid after acquiring shares exceeding the threshold. Nine jurisdictions take an ex-ante approach, where a bidder is required to initiate a takeover bid for acquiring shares which would exceed the threshold. More than 80% of jurisdictions with mandatory takeover bid rules establish a mechanism to determine the minimum bidding price.

Considering the important role played by institutional investors as shareholders of listed companies, nearly all jurisdictions have established provisions for at least one category of institutional investors (such as pension, investment or insurance funds) to address conflicts of interest, either by prohibiting specific acts or requiring them to establish policies to manage conflicts of interest. Three-fourths of all jurisdictions have established requirements or recommendations for institutional investors to disclose their voting policies, while almost half require or recommend disclosure of actual voting records. Some jurisdictions establish regulatory requirements or may rely on voluntary stewardship codes to encourage various forms of ownership engagement, such as monitoring and constructive engagement with investee companies and maintaining the effectiveness of monitoring when outsourcing the exercise of voting rights.

 

The corporate board of directors

 

The G20/OECD Principles require that the corporate governance framework ensures the strategic guidance of the company by the board and its accountability to the company and its shareholders. The most common board format is the one-tier board system, which is favoured in twice as many jurisdictions as those that apply two-tier boards (supervisory and management boards). A growing number of jurisdictions allow both one and two-tier structures.

Almost all jurisdictions require or recommend a minimum number or ratio of independent directors. Definitions of independent directors have also been evolving during this period: 80% of jurisdictions now require directors to be independent of significant shareholders in order to be classified as independent, up from 64% in 2015. The shareholding threshold determining whether a shareholder is significant ranges from 2% to 50%, with 10% to 15% being the most common.

Recommendations or requirements for the separation of the board chair and CEO have doubled in the last four years to 70%, including 30% required. The 2015 edition of the Factbook reported a binding requirement in only 11% of the jurisdictions, with another 25% recommending it in codes.

Nearly all jurisdictions require an independent audit committee. Nomination and remuneration committees are not mandatory in most jurisdictions, although more than 80% of jurisdictions at least recommend these committees to be established and often to be comprised wholly or largely of independent directors.

Requirements or recommendations for companies to assign a risk management role to board level committees have sharply increased since 2015, from 62% to 87% of surveyed jurisdictions. Requirements or recommendations to implement internal control and risk management systems have also increased significantly, from 62% to 90%.

While recruitment and remuneration of management is a key board function, a majority of jurisdictions have a requirement or recommendation for a binding or advisory shareholder vote on remuneration policy for board members and key executives. And nearly all jurisdictions surveyed now require or recommend the disclosure of the remuneration policy and the level/amount of remuneration at least at aggregate levels. Disclosure of individual levels is required or recommended in 76% of jurisdictions.

The 2019 Factbook provides data for the first time on measures to promote gender balance on corporate boards and in senior management, most often via disclosure requirements and measures such as mandated quotas and/or voluntary targets. Nearly half of surveyed jurisdictions (49%) have established requirements to disclose gender composition of boards, compared to 22% with regards to senior management. Nine jurisdictions have mandatory quotas requiring a certain percentage of board seats to be filled by either gender. Eight rely on more flexible mechanisms such as voluntary goals or targets, while three resort to a combination of both. The proportion of senior management positions held by women is reported to be significantly higher than the proportion of board seats held by women.

 

Mechanisms for flexibility and proportionality in corporate governance

 

It has already been pointed out that effective implementation of the G20/OECD Principles requires a good empirical understanding of economic realities and adaption to changes in corporate and market developments over time. The G20/OECD Principles therefore state that policy makers have a responsibility to put in place a framework that is flexible enough to meet the needs of corporations that are operating in widely different circumstances, facilitating their development of new opportunities and the most efficient deployment of resources. The 2019 Factbook provides a special chapter that presents the main findings of a complementary OECD review of how 39 jurisdictions apply the concepts of flexibility and proportionality across seven different corporate governance regulatory areas. The chapter builds on the 2018 OECD report Flexibility and Proportionality in Corporate Governance (OECD, 2018b). The report finds that a vast majority of countries have criteria that allow for flexibility and proportionality at company level in each of the seven areas of regulation that were reviewed: 1) board composition, board committees and board qualifications; 2) remuneration; 3) related party transactions; 4), disclosure of periodic financial information and ad hoc information; 5) disclosure of major shareholdings; 6) takeovers; and 7) pre-emptive rights. The report also contains case studies of six countries, which provide a more detailed picture of how flexibility and proportionality is being used in practice.

The complete publication, including footnotes, is available here.

Tendances observées eu égard à la diversité des conseils d’administration américains en 2019


L’article publié par Subodh Mishra, directrice générale de Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), paru sur le site du forum de Harvard Law School montre clairement que les tendances eu égard à la diversité des Boards américains sont remarquables.

Qu’entend-on par la diversité des conseils d’administration ?

  1. le taux de remplacement des administrateurs sur le conseil
  2. le pourcentage de femmes qui accèdent à des conseils
  3. la diversité ethnique sur les conseils
  4. le choix d’administrateurs dont les compétences ne sont pas majoritairement financières
  5. le taux de nouveaux administrateurs pouvant être considérés comme relativement jeune

 

L’étude indique que pour chacune de ces variables, les conseils d’administration américains font preuve d’une plus grande diversité, sauf pour l’âge des administrateurs qui continue de croître.

Je vous invite à prendre connaissance de cet article pour vous former une idée plus juste des tendances observées sur les conseils d’administration.

Je n’ai pas de données comparables au Canada, mais je crois que la tendance à l’accroissement de la diversité est similaire.

Bonne lecture !

 

U.S. Board Diversity Trends in 2019

 

 

Résultats de recherche d'images pour « U.S. Board Diversity Trends in 2019 »

 

As the U.S. annual shareholder meeting season is coming to an end, we review the characteristics of newly appointed directors to reveal trends director in nominations. As of May 30, 2019, ISS has profiled the boards of 2,175 Russell 3000 companies (including the boards of 401 members of the S&P 500) with a general meeting of shareholders during the year. These figures represent approximately 75 percent of Russell 3000 companies that are expected to have a general meeting during the year. (A small portion of index constituents may not have a general meeting during a given calendar year due to mergers and acquisitions, new listings, or other extraordinary circumstances).

Based on our review of 19,791 directorships in the Russell 3000, we observe five major trends in new director appointments for 2019, as outlined below.

1. Board renewal rates continue to increase, as board refreshment, director qualifications, and board diversity remain high-priority issues for companies and investors.

2. The percentage of women joining boards reaches a new record high, with 45 percent of new Russell 3000 board seats filled by women in 2019 (compared to only 12 percent in 2008) and 19 percent of all Russell 3000 seats held by women.

3. Ethnic diversity also reached record highs, but has grown at a much slower rate, with approximately 10 percent of Russell 3000 directors currently belonging to an ethnic minority group, while 15 percent of new directors are ethnically diverse.

4. New director appointments focus on non-financial skillsets, with an increased proportion of directors having international experience, ESG expertise, and background in human resources.

5. The average director age continues to increase, as the appointment of younger directors is less frequent than in previous years, with only 7.2 percent of new directorships filled by directors younger than 45 years, compared to 11.5 percent of new directors in 2008.

Board Refreshment

 

After a decline in board renewal rates in the first years after the Great Recessions, boards began to add more new directors starting in 2012 and reached record numbers of board replenishment in 2017 and 2018, as a growing number of investors focused on board refreshment and board diversity. In 2019, the trend of board renewal continued, as we observe relatively higher rates of new director appointments as a percentage of all directorships compared to the beginning of the decade. But overall renewal rates are low. As of May 2019, only 5.3 percent of profiled Russell 3000 board directors were new to their boards, down from the record-high figure of 5.7 percent in 2018.

 

Proposals by Category

 

The surge in new director appointments observed in the past few years can be attributed to a greater emphasis on board gender diversity and board refreshment by many investors and companies. The percentage of companies introducing at least one new board member increased from 34.3 percent in 2018 to 35.6 percent this year. The percentage of companies introducing at least two new directors declined from 11.2 percent in 2018 to 10.2 percent in 2019, consistently above the 10-percent threshold along with the record-setting years of 2017 and 2018.

 

Proposals by Category

Gender Diversity

 

Gender diversity on boards accelerated further this year, breaking another record in terms of the percentage of new directors who are women. In the Russell 3000, 45 percent of new directors are women, up from 34 percent in 2018. Unlike previous years, when the percentage of new female directors was higher at large-capitalization companies, the high rate of new female directors—at almost parity—is consistent across all market segments. Several asset owners and asset managers had voting policies related to gender diversity prior to 2017. However, following State Street’s policy initiative to require at least one female director at every board in 2017, many more large investors have become more vocal about improving gender diversity on boards in the past two years, and many have introduced similar voting policies. We expect this trend to continue, as more investors are beginning to require more than the bare minimum of at least one woman on the board. Proxy advisors also introduced similar policies, with ISS’ policy to make adverse recommendation at all-male boards coming into effect in 2020.

But, more importantly, the push for gender diversity is no longer driven by shareholder engagement and voting only. New regulation in California mandates that all boards of companies headquartered in the state should have at least one woman on their boards in 2019, while at least three women board members are required by 2021 for boards with six members or more. Other states may follow suit, as New Jersey recently introduced legislation modeled after the California law, and Illinois is debating a bill that will require both gender and ethnic diversity on corporate boards.

Given the California mandate (affecting close to 700 public companies) and the continued focus by investors, it is no surprise that smaller firms, where gender diversity has been considerably lower compared to large companies, are revamping their efforts to improve gender diversity.

 

Proposals by Category

 

As a result of the record-setting recruitment of women on boards, 2019 saw the biggest jump in the overall gender diversity. The S&P 500 is well on its way of reaching 30 percent directorships held by women in the next couple of years, much earlier than we had predicted in the beginning of last year using a linear regression analysis. Obviously, female director recruitments has seen exponential growth in the past two years, which has accelerated the trend.

 

Proposals by Category

Ethnic Diversity

 

In 2019, we also see record number of ethnic minorities joining boards as new board members, with more than one-in-five new directorships being filled by non-Caucasian nominees at S&P 500, while approximately 15 percent of new board seats at all Russell 3000 companies are filled by minorities (the figure stands at 13 percent when excluding the S&P 500). As the discussion of diversity moves beyond gender, we may see the trend of higher minority representation on boards continue.

 

Proposals by Category

 

While the trend of increasing ethnic diversity on boards is visible, the rate of change is considerably slower than the trend in board gender diversity. Among board members whose race was identified, non-white Russell 3000 directors crossed the 10-percent threshold for the first time in 2019, compared to approximately 8 percent in 2008. These figures stand well below the proportion of non-White, non-Hispanic population in the U.S. of approximately 40 percent, according to the U.S. census bureau.

 

Proposals by Category

Director Skills

 

But diversity among new directors goes beyond gender and ethnicity. We observe a change in the skillsets disclosed by companies for new directors compared to incumbent directors. The rate of disclosure of skills is generally higher for new directors compared to directors who have served on boards for five years or more. Relative to tenure directors, we observe an increase in the percentage of new directors with expertise in technology (10 percentage points), sales (8 percentage points), international experience (8 percentage points), and strategic planning (6 percentage points). At the same time, we see a decrease in some traditional skills, such as financial and audit expertise, and CEO experience.

 

Proposals by Category

The increase in non-traditional skills becomes more pronounced when we look at the percentage difference in the frequency of each skill for new directors compared to directors with tenure of five years or more. Based on this analysis, international expertise, experience in corporate social responsibility, and human resources expertise all increase by more than 50 percent at new directors compared to their counterparts with tenure on the board of at least five years. As sustainability and corporate culture become focus items for many investors and companies, we expect this trend to continue. The percentage of “other” skills, which do not fall neatly in the established categories, also increases considerably. The list of skills that rank the lowest in terms of change compared to the tenured directors is telling of the increased emphasis in non-traditional skills: CFO experience, financial expertise, CEO experience, government experience, and audit expertise.

Proposals by Category

Age Diversity

 

U.S. boards are getting older. During the past twelve years, the average director age in the Russell 3000 has increased from 59.7 years in 2008 to 62.1 years in 2019. This trend becomes apparent when observing the age groups of newly appointed directors. In 2008, approximately 11.5 percent of new director were younger than 45 years, and this number has dropped to an all-time low of 7.2 percent in 2019. The percentage of newly appointed directors above the age of 67 has also been decreasing in the past five years reaching 6.5 percent in 2019, compared to its peak of 10.8 in 2014.

 

Proposals by Category

 

However, as incumbent directors stay on boards with the passing of time, the overall percentage of directors above the age of 67 years continues to increase, reaching a record high of 31.6 percent of all directorships in 2019, compared to 22.1 percent in 2008. We observe the opposite trend in relation to younger directors, whereby the proportion of directors younger than 45 years has dropped by almost 40 percent from 5.1 percent of directorships in 2008 to 3.2 of directorships in 2019.

 

Proposals by Category

The Changing Landscape for U.S. Boards

The U.S. is experiencing a significant shift in the composition of corporate boards, as the market expects companies to address a new set of challenges and their boards to better reflect developments in society. Board refreshment continues its upward trajectory in 2019, with higher rates of new directors compared to the beginning of the decade. While traditional skillsets remain paramount, we see a greater emphasis on non-financial skills, highlighting the need to focus on corporate culture, sustainability, and technology. At the same time, investors, companies, and regulators recognize the benefits of diversity, as we see record numbers of women and minorities on boards. Experience and qualifications appear more important than ever, which may explain the decline in younger directors in the past decade. These trends will likely continue, as investors continue to focus on board quality and governance as a foremost measure for protecting their investments and managing risk for sustainable growth.

Un plan de fusion avorté entre deux OBNL


Voici un cas publié sur le site de Julie McLelland qui aborde un processus de fusion manqué entre deux OBNL dont la mission est de s’occuper de déficience.

C’est un bris de confiance dramatique qui se produit entre les deux organisations, et la plupart des organisations sont dépourvues lorsqu’une telle situation se présente.

Kalinda, la présidente du conseil d’administration, se pose beaucoup de questions sur l’éjection de deux de ses hauts dirigeants qui siégeaient au CA de l’entreprise ciblée.

Elle n’est pas certaine de la meilleure approche à adopter dans une telle situation et c’est la raison pour laquelle elle cherche les meilleures avenues pour l’organisation et pour les cadres déchus.

Le cas présente la situation de manière assez factuelle, puis trois experts se prononcent sur le cas.

Bonne lecture ! Vos commentaires sont toujours les bienvenus.

 

Un plan de fusion avorté entre deux OBNL

 

 

Kalinda chairs a small disability-sector not for profit company. For almost a year the company has been in friendly merger discussions with a similar company operating in an adjacent geographic area.

Kalinda’s CEO and CFO were elected to the board of the neighbouring company in advance of the merger. Everyone expected the merger to proceed. Kalinda’s CEO and CFO reported that the merger was a major topic of that board’s discussions, but they could not give details as it would be a conflict of interest and they were excluded from most of the discussions.

Now Kalinda has received a letter from the chair of the other board saying the merger is not going ahead because due diligence uncovered some ‘worrying information’.

The letter also said the CEO and CFO must resign immediately as it was ‘no longer appropriate’ for them to be directors. Kalinda immediately called the executives who said they had no idea what had happened: They had not been made aware of any issues.

Kalinda’s executives called the CEO of the other company but she refused to talk to them and said the other directors had voted them off in a special meeting three days ago. Kalinda tried calling the other chair but her calls were all declined.

She wants to know what has been found and if there is any possibility of getting the merger discussions back on course. Her company has deferred several strategic projects, incurred legal costs, and refrained from bidding for a government contract so as not to compete against the other company.

What should Kalinda do?

 

Julia’s Answer

Kalinda should identify the actual reasons for the merger failing and analyse whether the show stoppers are on her side, the partner’s side, or connected to a third-party.

What if the problem is in her company and not evident to her? It could possibly be known or even invented (?) by the partner company – but they don’t seem to be open to providing any information. They could even think she is involved herself. It could be fraud, financial problems or any other major issues they consider as deal breaking. Kalinda needs to do her homework in her own company, carefully prioritising, and usually with external support. Her aim is to eliminate any potential time bombs quickly and efficiently.

Step two – analysing third party show stoppers on the partner’s side: The partner has been offered more attractive merger conditions by another company – Kalinda should identify the competitor and consider adapting her conditions, or they decided not to merge anymore, e.g. due to changing market circumstances or new, promising chances for business growth without a partner – Kalinda should find out what these could be and what they mean for her. The partner could also think that his and Kalinda’s executives are not a good match in general. In this case Kalinda needs to evaluate the consequences of a future with a merger but without her CEO and CFO.

Kalinda also needs to consider a completely new strategy starting from scratch – without the original target partner, possibly with a different partner or a business model and growth strategy her executive team drives alone. In each case Kalinda should evaluate whether her executive team is capable of delivering the future target performance and adds value with regards to the option/s she finally chooses and whether alternative executives would add more value.

Julia Zdrahal-Urbanek is Managing Partner of AltoPartners Austria and heads their board practice. She is based in Vienna, Austria.

 

Julie’s Answer

What a mess!

Kalinda is too far removed from the negotiations. She needs to talk with whoever has been handling the merger discussions from her company’s side and find out what are the issues that have led to this decision. If these are a concern to the prospective merger partner they should be a concern to the board.

She then needs to decide how she is going to move forwards when her two most senior executives are on the other party’s board and thus bound to act in the other party’s interests.  Kalinda is in no position to instruct her CEO and/or CFO on whether they should resign; that is a personal decision for them to make. Whilst they are on the other board they cannot act for Kalinda’s board on the merger.

It is the members, rather than the directors, who can vote directors off a board and, until there is a properly constituted members’ meeting they remain on the board unless they resign; they are not off the board simply because the other directors said so!

There should be a draft heads of agreement setting out how the parties will treat each other. Kalinda should reread it and see what it says about the costs of the deal, non-compete on tendering, deferral of projects, and other issues, that have now harmed her company.  She needs to consult her company’s legal adviser and find out if they can recover costs or claim damages.

Most important, she needs to schedule a board meeting and build consensus on a way forward. That is a board decision and not hers, as chair, to make. With any merger, acquisition, or divestment, a good board should always have a contingency plan. It is now time to implement it.

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

 

Brendan’s Answer

Kalinda needs to take a hard look at how they approached this potential and so called “friendly” merger.

Conscious Governance uses a six-step model for assessing partnerships, alliances, mergers and acquisitions: you must have the right strategy, information, timing, price, conditions, and integration.

From the information available, Kalinda, her Board and her executives failed significantly in their duty to their own organisation, especially on the first three items.

Firstly, I hear no clear strategic imperative for the merger to be entertained.  It is also puzzling why Kalinda’s CEO and CFO were elected to the other Board.  It is puzzling why Kalinda’s and the organisation’s policies allowed them to join the other board as Directors.  It is also puzzling, if not troubling, that the other Board facilitated their engagement as Directors, especially while merger discussions were underway.

Conscious Governance also encourages Boards to consider 20 tough questions (copies available on request) before embarking on merger discussions, and hopefully before someone wants to merge with you.  One question proposes a $30,000 break fee if the other party pulls out of the merger discussions.  This will test how serious they are.  It would also would have helped Kalinda’s organisation cover some costs but would not recompense lost business opportunities or contracts.

Brendan Walsh is a Senior Associate at Conscious Governance. He is based in Parkville, Victoria, Australia.

 

 

 

 

Les actions multivotantes sont populaires aux États-Unis. Les entreprises canadiennes devraient-elles emboîter le pas ?


Je vous recommande la lecture de cet article d’Yvan Allaire*, président exécutif du conseil d’administration de l’IGOPP, paru dans le Financial Post le 6 mars 2019.

Comme je l’indiquais dans un précédent billet, Les avantages d’une structure de capital composée d’actions multivotantes, celles-ci « n’ont pas la cote au Canada ! Bien que certains arguments en faveur de l’exclusion de ce type de structure de capital soient, de prime abord, assez convaincants, il existe plusieurs autres considérations qui doivent être prises en compte avant de les interdire et de les fustiger ».

Cependant, comme l’auteur le mentionne dans son article, cette structure de capital est de plus en plus populaire dans le cas d’entreprises entrepreneuriales américaines.

Il y a de nombreux avantages de se prévaloir de la formule d’actions multivotantes. Selon Allaire, les entreprises canadiennes, plus particulièrement les entreprises québécoises, devraient en profiter pour se joindre au mouvement.

J’ai reproduit, ci-dessous, l’article publié dans le Financial Post. Quelle est votre opinion sur ce sujet controversé ?

Bonne lecture ! Vos commentaires sont les bienvenus.

 

Dual-class shares are hot in the U.S. again. Canada should join in

 

 

Image associée
Some 69 dual-class companies are now listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, down from 100 in 2005. Peter J. Thompson/National Post 

American fund managers are freaking out about the popularity of multiple voting shares among entrepreneurs going for an initial public offering (IPO). In recent years, some 20 per cent of American IPOs (and up to a third among tech entrepreneurs) have adopted a dual-class structure. Fund managers are working overtime to squelch this trend.

In Canada, this form of capital structure has been the subject of unrelenting attacks by some fund managers, proxy-advisory firms and, to a surprising degree, by academics. Some 69 dual-class companies are now listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, down from 100 in 2005. Since 2005, only 23 Canadian companies went public with dual-class shares and 16 have since converted to a single-class.

A dual class of shares provides some measure of protection from unwanted takeovers as well as from the bullying that has become a feature of current financial markets. (The benefits of homegrown champions, controlled by citizens of the country and headquartered in that country need no elaboration. Not even the U.S. tolerates a free-for-all takeover regime, but Canada does!)

These 69 dual-class companies have provided 19 of Canada’s industrial champions as well as 12 of the 50 largest Canadian employers. The 54 companies (out of the 69 that were listed on the TSX 10 years ago) provided investors with a mean annual compounded return of 8.98 per cent (median 9.62 per cent) as compared to 5.06 per cent for the S&P/TSX Index and 6.0 per cent for the TSX 60 index (as per calculations by the Institute for Governance of Private and Public Organizations).

As for the quality of their governance, by the standards set by The Globe and Mail for its annual governance scoring of TSX-listed companies, the average governance score of companies without a dual-class of shares is 66.15 while the score of companies with multiple voting shares, once the penalty (up to 10 points) imposed on dual-class companies is removed, is 60.1, a barely significant difference.

 


*Cet article a été et rédigé par Yvan Allaire, Ph. D. (MIT), MSRC, président exécutif du conseil d’administration de l’IGOPP.

Vague de déréglementation des sociétés américaines sous l’administration Trump | Est-ce judicieux ?


Aujourd’hui, un article publié par Mark Lebovitch et Jacob Spaid de la firme Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann, paru dans HLS Forum, a attiré mon attention.

En effet, l’article décrit les gestes posés par l’administration Trump qui sont susceptibles d’avoir un impact significatif sur les marchés financiers en réduisant la transparence et la reddition de compte des grandes entreprises publiques soumises à la réglementation de la SEC.

Les auteurs brossent un portrait plutôt sombre des attaques portées à la SEC par l’administration en place.

« Several administration priorities are endangering financial markets by reducing corporate accountability and transparency.

Nearly two years into the Trump presidency, extensive deregulation is raising risks for investors. Several of the administration’s priorities are endangering financial markets by reducing corporate accountability and transparency. SEC enforcement actions under the Administration continue to lag previous years. The Trump administration has also instructed the SEC to study reducing companies’ reporting obligations to investors, including by abandoning a hallmark of corporate disclosure: the quarterly earnings report. Meanwhile, President Trump and Congress have passed new legislation loosening regulations on the same banks that played a central role in the Great Recession. It is important for institutional investors to stay abreast of these emerging developments as they contemplate the risk of their investments amid stark changes in the regulatory landscape ».

L’article s’intitule « In Corporations We Trust : Ongoing Deregulation and Government Protections ». Les auteurs mettent en lumière les actions menées par les autorités réglementaires américaines pour réaffirmer les prérogatives des entreprises.

La SEC fait-elle fausse route en amoindrissant la réglementation des entreprises ? Quel est votre point de vue ?

 

In Corporations We Trust: Ongoing Deregulation and Government Protections

 

 

Résultats de recherche d'images pour « SEC »

 

The number of SEC actions against public companies is plummeting

 

The number of SEC actions enforcing the federal securities laws is now lower than in previous administrations. In 2016, before President Trump took office, the SEC filed 868 enforcement actions and recovered $4.08 billion in settlements. These figures declined to 754 enforcement actions and $3.78 billion in settlements in 2017. Enforcement actions against public companies in particular dropped by a third, from 92 actions in 2016 to just 62 in 2017. The first half of 2018 witnessed an even more precipitous decline in SEC enforcement actions. Compared to the same six-month period in 2017, enforcement actions against public companies have dropped by 66 percent, from 45 such actions to just 15. More importantly, recoveries against public companies over the same time period were down a stunning 93.5 percent.

The most recently released data confirms the SEC’s retreat from enforcement. On November 2, 2018, the SEC released its fiscal year 2018 Annual Report: Division of Enforcement, which shows that the SEC’s enforcement efforts and results during the first 20 months under the Trump administration pale in comparison to those of the same period under the Obama administration, with the SEC (1) charging far fewer high-profile defendants, including less than half as many banks and approximately 40 percent fewer public companies; (2) shifting its focus from complex, market-manipulation cases involving large numbers of investors, to simpler, less time-intensive cases involving fewer investors, such as actions against investment advisors accused of lying and stealing; (3) recovering nearly $1 billion less; and (4) returning approximately 62 percent less to investors ($1.7 billion compared to $5 billion).

The enforcement numbers with regard to public companies are consistent with Chairman Jay Clayton’s stated intention to change the SEC’s focus away from enforcement actions against large companies that commit fraud. During his first speech as SEC Chairman, Clayton expressly rejected the enforcement philosophy of former SEC Chair Mary Jo White, who had pushed the SEC to be “aggressive and creative” in pursuing penalties against all wrongdoers to ensure that the SEC would “have a presence everywhere and be perceived to be everywhere.” Clayton stated that “the SEC cannot be everywhere” and that “increased disclosure and other burdens” on public companies “are, in two words, not good.” Rather than utilizing SEC enforcement powers to protect investors and deter fraud, Clayton’s priority is to provide information to investors so they can protect themselves. As Clayton explained, his “short but important message” for investors is that “the best way to protect yourself is to check out who you are dealing with, and the SEC wants to make that easier.” This comment comes dangerously close to “caveat emptor.”

A recent appointee to the SEC under President Trump, Commissioner Hester M. Peirce, is also an advocate for limiting enforcement. Peirce views civil penalties against corporations not as an effective regulatory tool, but rather as an “area of concern” that justifies her vetoing enforcement actions. Commissioner Peirce has also publicly admitted (perhaps touted) that the current SEC is not inclined to bring any cases that involve novel issues that might “push the bounds of authority,” such as those involving “overly broad interpretations of ‘security’ or extraterritorial impositions of the law.” Far from focusing on the interests of investors whose capital literally keeps our markets at the forefront of the global economy, Peirce has expressed concern for the “psychological toll” that an SEC investigation can take on suspected perpetrators of fraud.

Given the SEC’s stark departure from its previous stance in favor of pursuing enforcement actions to protect investors, investors should take extra measures to stay informed about the companies in which they are invested. Investors should also demand increased transparency in corporate reporting, and evaluate their rights in the face of suspected fraud.

 

President Trump directs the SEC to consider eliminating quarterly reporting requirements

 

For generations, investors in the US stock markets have relied on quarterly reports to apprise them of companies’ financial condition, recent developments, and business prospects. Such quarterly reports have been required by the SEC since 1970, and are now widely considered part of the bedrock of corporate transparency to investors. Even before 1970, more than half of the companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange voluntarily issued quarterly reports.

Consistent with a focus on protecting companies, some of whom may well violate SEC rules and regulations, at the expense of the investing public, in August 2018, President Trump instructed the SEC to study whether eliminating quarterly reporting requirements will “allow greater flexibility and save money” and “make business (jobs) even better.” President Trump stated that he based his instruction on advice from “some of the world’s top business leaders,” but provided no evidence of that assertion.

While eliminating quarterly reporting would certainly “allow greater flexibility” for corporations doing the reporting, investors would suffer from the resulting lack of transparency. Unsurprisingly, some of the world’s most prominent financial leaders, including Warren Buffett and Jamie Dimon, have criticized the suggested elimination of quarterly reporting. Buffett and Dimon have explained that such reporting is necessary for corporate transparency and “an essential aspect of US public markets.” This makes sense for numerous reasons, including that without quarterly reports, significant corporate events that took place in between reporting periods could go unreported. Notably, Buffett and Dimon acknowledge that quarterly earnings guidance can over-emphasize short-term profits at the expense of long-term focus and growth. Yet they still favor the transparency and accountability offered by quarterly reporting over a world in which companies can effectively “go dark” for extended periods of time.

It is unclear how quickly the SEC may move to review President Trump’s suggested elimination of quarterly reporting. In October 2018, SEC Chairman Clayton explained that quarterly reporting will remain in effect. But days later, the SEC announced that it may, in fact, draft a notice for public feedback on the proposed change.

Meanwhile, Congress is moving forward with legislation that could lead to the elimination of quarterly reporting. In July 2018, the House of Representatives passed the JOBS and Investor Confidence Act of 2018 (aka “JOBS Act 3.0”). If enacted into law, the Act would require that the SEC provide to Congress a cost-benefit analysis of quarterly reporting requirements, as well as recommendations of ways to decrease corporate reporting costs. The harm to investors from decreased reporting is not necessarily a focus of Congress’s request. The Senate is expected to consider the JOBS 3.0 in the near term.

Congress and regulators weaken banking regulations

 

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank) is the landmark legislation passed in response to the high-risk, predatory and fraudulent banking practices that led to the Great Recession, and which has as a primary focus on increasing regulation of the financial services industry. President Trump, however, has referred to Dodd-Frank as a “disaster” that has prevented many “friends of [his], with nice businesses” from borrowing money. President Trump made promises on the campaign trail that he would “kill” Dodd-Frank and repeated the same vow early in his presidency, stating that he would “do a big number on” Dodd-Frank.

Making good on his promises, on May 24, 2018, President Trump signed into law Senator Mike Crapo’s Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act (the Crapo Bill). The Crapo Bill removes many mandatory oversight measures put in place to ensure that banks engage in transparent and safe lending, investing, and leverage activities, striking a significant blow to Dodd-Frank protections and placing investors’ assets at risk. As Senator Elizabeth Warren stated, despite the Crapo Bill being sold as one that will relieve “small” banks from “big” bank regulation, it puts “American consumers at greater risk.” The Crapo Bill rolled back certain regulations for banks with less than $250 billion in assets under management and rolled back additional regulations for banks with less than $10 billion in assets under management.

For example, the Crapo Bill raises from $50 to $250 billion the threshold at which a bank is considered a systemically important financial institution (SIFI)—the point at which the Federal Reserve’s heightened prudential standards become mandatory (e.g., mandatory stress tests that measure a bank’s ability to withstand a financial downturn). At the time Dodd-Frank was enacted, approximately 40 banks were considered SIFIs. Only 12 banks would now meet that standard. Moreover, proponents of the bill refer to the $250 billion threshold as an “arbitrary” benchmark to assess a bank’s systemic risk, arguing that over sight should be lessened even for banks with more than $250 billion. In short, the Crapo Bill essentially opens the door for the same type of high-risk, predatory and fraudulent banking practices that led to the financial crisis and threatens the stability and prominence of the United States’ financial markets.

A new direction at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) similarly invites banks to increase their leverage and thus threatens the stability of the financial system. OCC head Joseph Otting, a former CEO of OneWest Bank, recently instructed financial institutions that they should not feel bound by OCC leverage regulations, encouraging them to “do what you want as long as it does not impair safety and soundness. It’s not our position to challenge that.” Far from “challenging” the financial entities that the OCC is tasked with regulating, Otting instead has told bankers that they are the OCC’s “customers” and the Trump administration is “very banker-supportive.”

 

Institutional investors are the last line of defense

 

Congress and federal regulators have taken significant steps to change the regulatory landscape, and new efforts are underway to weaken well-established norms from SEC enforcement to quarterly reporting requirements. The core philosophy of those running the SEC and other critical regulators seems to abandon historic concern for investors in favor of a view that government should exist to protect and benefit corporations (whether or not they comply with the law). The institutional investor community should continue to speak out in favor of corporate transparency and help ensure the continued health and prominence of the United States’ financial

Les avantages d’une structure de capital composée d’actions multivotantes


C’est avec ravissement que je vous recommande la lecture de cette onzième prise de position d’Yvan Allaire* au nom de l’IGOPP.

Au Canada, mais aussi dans plusieurs pays, les actions multivotantes n’ont pas la cote ! Bien que certains arguments en faveur de l’exclusion de ce type de structure de capital soient de prime abord assez convaincantes, il existe plusieurs autres considérations qui doivent être prises en compte avant de les interdire et de les fustiger.

Comme l’auteur le mentionne dans ses recommandations, l’analyse attentive de ce type d’action montre les nombreux avantages à se doter de cet instrument.

J’ai reproduit, ci-dessous, le sommaire exécutif du document ainsi que les recommandations. Pour plus de détails, je vous invite à lire le texte au complet.

Bonne lecture ! Vos commentaires sont les bienvenus. Ils orienteront les nouvelles exigences en matière de gouvernance.

 

Prise de position en faveur des actions multivotantes

 

 

Résultats de recherche d'images pour « action multivotantes »

 

Sommaire exécutif

 

En 2018, 69 sociétés ayant des actions à droit de vote supérieur (ADVS) étaient inscrites à la bourse de Toronto alors qu’elles étaient 100 en 2005. De 2005 à 2018, 38 n’avaient plus d’ADVS suite à des fusions, acquisitions, faillites et autres, 16 sociétés avaient converti leurs ADVS en actions à droit de vote unique et 23 nouvelles sociétés ayant des ADVS s’étaient inscrites à la bourse de Toronto
en émettant des ADVS.

Les arguments pour ou contre ce type de structure de capital-actions sont nombreux et, à certains égards, persuasifs. D’une part, certains fonds « proactifs » (notamment les fonds de couverture « activistes ») insistent auprès de conseils et des directions de sociétés publiques ciblées pour que soient prises des mesures et des décisions, qui selon eux feraient accroître le prix de l’action, quand ce n’est pas carrément de chercher à imposer la vente prématurée de l’entreprise au plus offrant. Évidemment, ce phénomène a renforcé la détermination des entrepreneurs à se protéger contre de telles pressions en adoptant lors de leur premier appel public à l’épargne des actions ayant différents droits de vote (davantage aux USA qu’au Canada).

D’autre part, les fonds indiciels et les fonds négociés en bourse (FNB ou ETF en anglais), désormais des investisseurs importants et en croissance, mais obligés de refléter soigneusement dans leurs placements la composition et la valeur des titres des indices boursiers, ne peuvent donc pas simplement manifester leurs insatisfactions en vendant leurs actions. Ils doivent exercer leur influence sur la direction d’une société par l’exercice de leur droit de vote (lequel est restreint dans les sociétés ayant des ADVS) et en exprimant haut et fort leur frustration et leurs désaccords. C’est sans surprise que ces fonds sont farouchement opposés aux actions à droit de vote supérieur, exhortant avec succès les fournisseurs d’indices (ex. : Dow-Jones, et autres) à exclure toutes nouvelles sociétés ayant des actions à droit de vote supérieur.

Ils font aussi campagne, avec moins de succès à ce jour, auprès de la Securities and Exchange Commission des États-Unis (SEC) afin qu’elle interdise cette structure de capital-actions. Leur dernier stratagème en date, promu par le Council of Institutional Investors (CII), serait d’imposer une clause crépusculaire temporelle obligatoire rentrant en vigueur 7 ans après un PAPE3. Bien entendu, ce terme pourrait être renouvelé par un vote majoritaire de  l’ensemble des actionnaires (quels que soient leurs droits de vote).

La question des « clauses crépusculaires » est ainsi devenue un enjeu névralgique. Certains investisseurs institutionnels, les agences de conseils en vote et autres gendarmes de la gouvernance ainsi qu’un certain nombre de chercheurs académiques proposent de restreindre, de contrôler et d’imposer un temps limite à la liberté relative que procurent aux entrepreneurs et aux entreprises familiales les actions à droits de vote supérieurs.

Au cours des dernières années, un vif débat s’est engagé, particulièrement aux États-Unis, entre les apôtres du dogme « une action, un vote » et les hérétiques qui estiment bénéfiques les actions ayant des droits de vote inégaux.

 

Recommandations

 

Les sociétés ayant des ADVS et les entreprises familiales comportent de grands avantages à la condition que soient bien protégés les porteurs d’actions ayant des droits de vote inférieurs.

La clause d’égalité de traitement (« coattail ») imposée depuis 1987 par la Bourse de Toronto, une caractéristique uniquement canadienne, doit être conservée pour les sociétés qui ont émis ou voudraient émettre des actions ayant différents droits de vote.

Comme l’IGOPP l’a fait en 2006, il recommande à nouveau en 2018 que le ratio des droits de vote des ADVS soit plafonné à 4:1, ce qui signifie qu’il est nécessaire de détenir 20 % de la valeur des capitaux propres de la société pour en détenir le contrôle absolu (50 % des votes et plus).

La bourse TSX de Toronto devrait plafonner le ratio des droits de vote des ADVS à 10:1.

Les actions sans droit de vote devraient être interdites ; en effet, il est impossible d’accorder le droit d’élire un tiers des membres du conseil à des actionnaires qui n’ont aucun droit de vote ; ou encore d’assurer un décompte distinct des votes sur les propositions des actionnaires et pour l’élection des membres du conseil à une classe d’actionnaires sans droit de vote !

Nous recommandons fortement un décompte distinct des voix pour chaque classe d’actions et de rendre les résultats publics, tant pour l’élection des membres du conseil d’administration que pour toute autre proposition soumise au vote des actionnaires.

Les actionnaires disposant de droits de vote inférieurs devraient avoir le droit d’élire un tiers des membres du conseil d’administration, dont les candidatures seraient proposées par le conseil. Jumelée au décompte distinct des voix pour chaque classe d’actions, cette mesure inciterait le conseil et les gestionnaires à sélectionner des candidats susceptibles de s’attirer les faveurs des actionnaires « minoritaires ». Évidemment, tous les membres du conseil d’administration ne doivent agir que dans l’intérêt de la société.

Pour les raisons citées précédemment et expliquées par la suite dans la position, l’IGOPP s’oppose résolument à l’imposition de clauses crépusculaires temporelles pour les sociétés ayant des ADVS. Nous sommes aussi contre les clauses crépusculaires déclenchées par un événement précis ainsi que par celles déclenchées en fonction de l’âge du fondateur, de l’entrepreneur ou de l’actionnaire de contrôle.

Toutefois, l’IGOPP recommande qu’à l’avenir une clause crépusculaire basée sur un seuil de propriété (dilution sunset) soit incluse lors du PAPE d’une société faisant usage d’ADVS.

Dans la suite logique de notre démonstration de la valeur économique et sociale des entreprises familiales, l’IGOPP est favorable à une grande latitude de transférabilité du contrôle aux membres de la famille du fondateur.

Également dans la suite de notre appui aux ADVS comme rempart contre les visées à court terme et l’influence indue de certains types de spéculateurs, nous recommandons que le contrôle de ces sociétés puisse aussi être transmis à une fiducie dirigée par une majorité de fiduciaires indépendants au bénéfice des héritiers du fondateur.

Lorsqu’un parent ou un descendant de l’actionnaire de contrôle est candidat pour le poste de PDG, les administrateurs indépendants, conseillés adéquatement, devraient discuter des mérites des divers candidats avec l’actionnaire de contrôle et faire rapport de la démarche adoptée par le conseil pour arrêter son choix à l’assemblée annuelle des actionnaires suivant l’entrée en fonction d’un nouveau chef de la direction.

L’IGOPP est favorable à l’adoption d’une forme d’ADVS comportant des droits de vote supérieurs que pour l’élection de la majorité (ou la totalité) des membres du conseil.

« L’examen approfondi des arguments et des controverses à propos d’actions multivotantes nous mène à la conclusion que les avantages de cette structure l’emportent haut la main sur ses inconvénients.

Non seulement de plus en plus d’études confortent leur performance économique, mais le fait de combiner la propriété familiale et les actions à droit de vote supérieur résulte en une plus grande longévité de l’entreprise, en une meilleure intégration dans les collectivités hôtes, à moins de vulnérabilité aux pressions des actionnaires de court terme et à moins de susceptibilité aux « modes » stratégiques et financières.

Cette précieuse forme de propriété doit être assortie de mesures assurant le respect et la protection des droits des actionnaires minoritaires. Nous avons formulé un certain nombre de recommandations à cette fin. Nous encourageons les sociétés ayant présentement des ADVS et les entrepreneurs qui souhaiteront demain inscrire une société en bourse et émettre des ADVS à adopter nos recommandations ».

 


*Ce document a été préparé et rédigé par Yvan Allaire, Ph. D. (MIT), MSRC, président exécutif du conseil d’administration de l’IGOPP.

Dissension au conseil d’administration et violation de confidentialité


Voici un cas publié sur le site de Julie Garland McLellan qui expose un sérieux problème de gouvernance auquel plusieurs conseils d’administration sont confrontés, surtout dans les OBNL.

Certains administrateurs ont beaucoup de difficulté à soutenir les prises de position du conseil lorsqu’ils sont en profond désaccord avec les décisions du CA.

Comment un président de CA doit-il agir afin de s’assurer que les décisions prises au conseil sont confidentielles et que les administrateurs sont tenus d’y adhérer, même s’ils ne sont pas de l’avis du CA ?

Et comment le président du CA doit-il se comporter lorsque la situation dégénère lourdement comme dans le cas exposé ci-dessous ?

À tout le moins, le membre dissident ne devrait pas défendre son point de vue dissident sur la place publique !

Le cas présente une situation bien réelle et plus fréquente que l’on pense ; puis, trois experts se prononcent de façon relativement unanime sur le dilemme que vit Henry, le président du CA. Il s’agit de :

Jane Davel is a non-executive director and consultant. She is based in Auckland, New Zealand

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

Lauren Smith is President of the Florida Chapter of NACD and a director on five boards. She is based in Miami, Florida, USA

Je vous invite donc à prendre connaissance de ces avis, en cliquant sur le lien ci-dessous, et me faire part de vos commentaires, si vous le souhaitez.

Bonne lecture !

 

Dissension au conseil d’administration et violation de confidentialité

 

 

 

 

Henry chairs a not-for-profit company and usually finds it a gratifying experience. Recently the company has been through hard times as the government ceased funding some activities although the community still needs them.

Henry and his board worked hard to develop new income streams to support continuing the company’s work. They achieved some success, but not enough to avoid having to discontinue some work and reduce headcount. All directors regretted having to make long-serving and loyal staff redundant. However, they had to find a balance of activity and income that would be sustainable; this was a necessary part of the strategy for success.

One director was vehemently opposed to the changes, preferring to run at a loss, eat into reserves, and hope for a change of heart from the government. When it was clear that this director would never agree, Henry took the matter to a vote and the cuts were approved with only one dissenter. Henry reminded the board that board decisions were ‘board decisions’ and all agreed that they would publicly support the approved course of action.

Since then the CEO has complained to Henry that the dissenting director has spoken to staff suggesting they ‘lawyer up’ to protect themselves from redundancies, oppose the closure of the unsustainable activities, and start a Facebook campaign to ‘shame the government into resuming funding’. Henry has also heard from friends that his dissenter is complaining publicly about the decision even though board policy is that the CEO or Chair are the two authorised spokesmen.

How can Henry handle this dissident director?

Tendances globales en gouvernance et « Trends » régionaux


À l’occasion de la nouvelle année 2019, je partage avec vous une étude de la firme Russell Reynolds Associates sur les tendances en gouvernance selon différentes régions du monde.

L’article a été publié sur le site de Harvard Law School Forum par Jack « Rusty » O’Kelley, III, Anthony Goodman et Melissa Martin.

Ce qu’il y a de particulier dans cette publication ,c’est que l’on identifie cinq (5) grandes tendances globales et que l’on tente de prédire les Trends dans plusieurs régions du monde telles que :

(1) Les États-Unis et le Canada

(2) L’Union européenne

(3) La Grande-Bretagne

(4) Le Brésil

(5) l’Inde

(6) Le Japon

Les grandes tendances observées sont :

(1) la qualité et la composition du CA

(2) le degré d’attention apportée à la surveillance de la culture organisationnelle

(3) les activités des investisseurs qui limitent la primauté des actionnaires en mettant l’accent sur le long terme

(4) la responsabilité sociale des entreprises qui constitue toujours une variable critique et

(5) les investisseurs activistes qui continuent d’exercer une pression sur les CA.

Je vous recommande la lecture intégrale de cette publication pour vous former une opinion réaliste de l’évolution des saines pratiques de gouvernance. Les États-Unis et le Canada semblent mener la marche, mais les autres régions du globe ont également des préoccupations qui rejoignent les tendances globales.

C’est une lecture très instructive pour toute personne intéressée par la gouvernance des sociétés.

Bonne lecture et Bonne Année 2019 !

 

2019 Global & Regional Trends in Corporate Governance

 

 

Résultats de recherche d'images pour « Russell Reynolds Associates governance »

 

Institutional investors (both active managers and index fund giants) spent the last few years raising their expectations of public company boards—a trend we expect to see continue in 2019. The demand for board quality, effectiveness, and accountability to shareholders will continue to accelerate across all global markets. Toward the end of each year, Russell Reynolds Associates interviews a global mix of institutional and activist investors, pension fund managers, proxy advisors, and other corporate governance professionals regarding the trends and challenges that public company boards may face in the coming year. This year we interviewed over 40 experts to develop our insights and identify trends.

Overview of Global Trends

 

In 2019, we expect to see the emergence or continued development of the following key global governance trends:

 

1. Board quality and composition are at the heart of corporate governance.

Since investors cannot see behind the boardroom veil, they have little choice but to rely on various governance criteria as a stand-in for board quality: whether the board is truly independent, whether its composition is deliberate and under regular review, and whether board competencies align with and support the company’s forward-looking strategy. Directors face increased scrutiny around how equipped the board is with industry knowledge, capital allocation skills, and transformation experience. Institutional investors are pushing to further encourage robust, independent, and regular board evaluation processes that may result in board evolution. Boards will need to be vigilant as they consider individual tenure, director overboarding, and gender imbalance—all of which may provoke votes against the nominating committee or its chair. Gender diversity continues to be an area of focus across many countries and investors. Companies can expect increased pressure to disclose their prioritization of board competencies, board succession plans, and how they are building a diverse pipeline of director candidates. Norges Bank Investment Management, the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, has set a new standard for at least two independent directors with relevant industry experience on each of their 9,000 investee boards.

2. Deeper focus on oversight of corporate culture.

Human capital and intangible assets, including organizational culture and reputation, are important aspects of enterprise value, as they directly impact the ability to attract and retain top talent. Culture risk exists when there is misalignment between the values a company seeks to embody and the behaviors it demonstrates. Investors are keen to learn how boards are engaging with management on this issue and how they go about understanding corporate culture. A few compensation committees are including culture and broader human capital issues as part of their remit.

3. Investors placing limits on shareholder primacy and emphasizing long-termism.

The role of corporations in many countries is evolving to include meeting the needs of a broader set of stakeholders. Global investors are increasingly discussing social value; long-termism; and environment, social, and governance (ESG) changes that are shifting corporations from a pure shareholder primacy model. While BlackRock CEO Larry Fink’s 2018 letter to investee companies on the importance of social purpose and a strategy for achieving long-term growth generated discussion in the US, much of the rest of the world viewed this as further confirmation of the focus on broader stakeholder, as well as shareholder, concerns. Institutional investors are more actively focusing on long-termism and partnering with groups to increase the emphasis on long-term, sustainable results.

4. ESG continues to be a critical issue globally and is at the forefront of governance concerns in some countries.

Asset managers and asset owners are integrating ESG into investment decisions, some under the framework of sustainability or integrated reporting. The priority for investors will be linking sustainability to long-term value creation and balancing ESG risks with opportunities. ESG oversight, improved disclosure, relative company performance against peers, and understanding how these issues are built into corporate strategy will become key focus areas. Climate change and sustainability are critical issues to many investors and are at the forefront of governance in many countries. Some investors regard technology disruption and cybersecurity as ESG issues, while others continue to categorize them as a major business risk. Either way, investors want to understand how boards are providing adequate oversight of technology disruption and cyber risk.

5. Activist investors continue to impact boards.

Activist investors are using various strategies to achieve their objectives. The question for boards is no longer if, but when and why an activist gets involved. The characterization of activists as hostile antagonists is waning, as some activists are becoming more constructive with management. Institutional investors are increasingly open to activists’ perspectives and are deploying activist tactics to bring about desired change. Activists continue to pay close attention to individual director performance and oversight failures. We are seeing even more boards becoming “their own activist” or commissioning independent assessments to preemptively identify vulnerabilities. Firms such as Russell Reynolds are conducting more director-vulnerability analysis, looking at the strengths and weaknesses of board composition and proactively identifying where activists may attack director composition. In the following sections, we explore these trends and how they will impact the United States and Canada, the European Union and the United Kingdom, Brazil, India, and Japan.

 

The United States and Canada

Investor stewardship.

Eighty-eight percent of the S&P 500 companies have either Vanguard, BlackRock, or State Street as the largest shareholder, and together these investors collectively own 18.7 percent of all the shares in the S&P 500. Because the index funds’ creators are obligated to hold shares for as long as a company is included in a relevant index (e.g., Dow Jones, S&P 500, Russell 3000), the institutional investors view themselves as permanent capital. These investors view governance not as a compliance exercise, but as a key component of value creation and risk mitigation. Passive investors are engaging even more frequently with companies to ensure that their board and management are taking the necessary actions and asking the right questions. Investors want to understand the long-term value creation story and see disclosure showing the right balance between the long term and short term. They take this very seriously and continue to invest in stewardship and governance oversight. Several of the largest institutional investors want greater focus on long-term, sustainable results and are partnering with organizations to drive the dialogue toward the long term.

Board quality.

Investors are pushing for improved board quality and view board composition, diversity, and the refreshment process as key elements. There is similarly a push for richer insight into director skill relevancy. The Boardroom Accountability Project 2.0 has encouraged more companies to disclose a “board matrix,” setting out the skills, experiences, and demographic profile of directors. That practice is fast becoming the norm for proxy disclosure. Many more institutional investors want richer disclosure around director competencies and a clearer, more direct link between each director’s skills and the company’s strategy. As one investor noted, “We want to know why this collection of directors was selected to lead the company and whether they are prepared for change and disruption.” Some of the largest US institutional investors are pushing for better board succession and board evaluation processes and the use of external firms to assess board quality, composition, and effectiveness. Institutional investors are even more concerned about board succession processes and the continued use of automatic refreshment mechanisms (retirement ages and tenure limits) rather than a “foundational assessment process over time with a mix of internal and external reviewers.”

Board diversity.

In 2019, directors should expect more investors to vote against the nominating committee or its chair if there are no women on the board (or fewer than two women in some cases). Investors want to see an increased diversity of thought and experiences to better enable the board to identify risks and improve company performance. In the US, gender diversity has become a proxy for cognitive diversity. Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) has updated its policies on gender diversity for Russell 3000 and S&P 1500 companies and may recommend votes against nominating committee chairs or members beginning in 2020. This follows recent California legislation requiring gender diversity for California-headquartered companies. Some very large investors are starting to take a broader approach to diversity, particularly as it relates to ethnicity and race. In Canada, nearly 40 percent of TSX-listed companies have no women on their boards. Proxy advisors have recently established voting guidelines related to the disclosure of formal gender diversity policies and gender diversity by TSX-listed companies.

ESG.

Investors are pushing companies to consider their broader societal impact—both what they do and how they disclose it. ESG has moved from being a discrete topic to a fundamental part of how investors evaluate companies. They will increasingly focus on how companies explain their approach to value creation, the impact of the company on society, and how companies weigh various stakeholder interests. Other investors will continue to look at ESG primarily through a financial lens, screening for risk identification and measurement, incorporation of ESG into strategy and long-term value creation, and executive compensation. There is continued and growing focus in the US on sustainability and climate change across a range of sectors. In Canada, proactive companies will consider developing and disclosing their own ESG policies and upgrading boards—through both changes in director education and, on occasion, board composition—to ensure that directors are equipped to understand ESG risk.

Oversight of corporate culture.

Given many high-profile failures in corporate culture and leadership over the last few years, investors and regulators will expect more disclosure and will ask more questions regarding how a board understands the company’s culture. When engaging with institutional investors, boards should expect questions regarding how they are understanding and assessing the health of a corporation’s culture. Boards need to reflect on whether they really understand the company culture and how they plan to assess hot spots and potential issues.

Activist investing.

Shareholder activism remains part of the US corporate governance landscape and is continuing to grow in Canada. In Canada, the industries with the highest levels of activism include basic materials, energy, banking, and financial institutions, and emerging sectors with high growth potential (e.g., blockchain, cannabis) could be next. Proxy battles are showing no signs of slowing down, but activists are using other methods to promote change, such as constructive engagement. Canadian companies are also seeing an increase in proxy contests launched by former insiders or company founders. Experts in Canada anticipate this trend will continue and, as a result, increased shareholder engagement will be critical.

Executive compensation.

Investors are looking for better-quality disclosure around pay-for-performance metrics, particularly sustainability metrics linked to risk management and strategy. In the US, institutional investors may vote against pay plans where there is misalignment and against compensation committees where there is “excessive” executive pay for two or more consecutive years. Some investors are uncomfortable with stock performance being a primary driver of CEO compensation since it may not reflect real leadership impact. In Canada, investors are urging companies to adopt say-on-pay policies in the absence of a mandatory vote, even though such adoption rates have been sluggish to date. Investors will likely continue to push for this reform.

Governance codes.

Earlier this year, the Corporate Governance Principles of the Investor Stewardship Group (ISG) went into effect with the purpose of setting consistent governance standards for the US market. Version 2.0 of the Commonsense Principles of Corporate Governance was also published. US companies will want to consider proactive disclosure of how they comply with these sets of principles.

European Union

Investors more active.

Institutional investors are expanding resources for their engagement and stewardship teams in Europe. In 2019, investors will focus on connecting governance to long-term value creation through board oversight of talent management, ESG, and corporate culture. Additionally, some US activists are setting their sights on Europe and raising funds focused on European companies. Institutional investors are more willing to support activist investors if inadequate oversight by the board has led to poor share price and total shareholder return (TSR) performance.

Company and board diversity.

Though EU boards tend to have more women directors due to legislation and regulation, progress on gender diversity has not carried over into the C-suite. Boards can expect to engage with investors on this topic and will need to explain the root causes and plans to address it through talent management processes and diversity and inclusion initiatives. With gender diversity regulations already widely adopted across Europe, Austria has now also stipulated that public company boards have at least 30 percent women directors. However, since board terms are usually for five years, the full impact likely will not be visible until future election cycles.

ESG.

Many investors are encouraging use of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) framework for consistent measurement, assessment, and disclosure of ESG risks. Investors are likely to integrate climate-change competency and risk oversight into their voting guidelines in some form, and boards will need to demonstrate that they are thinking strategically about the opportunities, risks, and impact of climate change. A new legislative proposal in France could mandate that companies consider various stakeholders, the social environment, and the nonfinancial outcome of their actions.

Revised governance codes.

A recent study found strong compliance rates for the German Corporate Governance Code, except for the areas of executive remuneration and board composition recommendations. German boards should expect more investor engagement and pressure on these matters, including enhanced disclosure. Next year, the German code may include amendments impacting director independence and executive compensation. The revised governance code in the Netherlands focuses more closely on how long-term value creation and culture are vital elements within the governance framework. Denmark’s code now recommends that remuneration policies be approved at least every four years and bars retiring CEOs from stepping into the chairman or vice chairman role.

Board leadership.

Norges Bank Investment Management (commonly referred to as The Government Pension Fund Global) is pushing globally for the separation of CEO and chairman roles and independent chair appointments. In France, investors are focused on board composition and quality. Boards should expect to see continued pressure on separating the CEO and chairman roles as well as strengthening the role and prevalence of the lead director. Companies without a lead director could see negative votes against the reelection of the CEO/chair.

United Kingdom

Revised code.

Recent legislation and market activity have set the stage for the United Kingdom to implement governance reforms that will continue to influence global markets. The new UK Corporate Governance code will apply to reporting periods starting from January 1, 2019, although many companies have begun to apply it more quickly. The new code was complemented by updated and enhanced Guidance on Board Effectiveness to reemphasize that boards need to focus on improving their effectiveness—not just their compliance. Meanwhile the voluntary principle of “comply or explain” is itself being tested as the Kingman Review reconsiders the Financial Reporting Council’s powers and its twin role as both the government-designated regulator and the custodian of a voluntary code. Proxy advisors, who are growing more powerful, are also frequently voting against firms choosing to “explain” rather than comply. 2019 code changes include guidance around the board’s duty to consider the perspective of key stakeholders and to incorporate their interests into discussion and decisionmaking. Employees can be engaged via designating an existing non-executive director (already on the board), a workforce advisory committee, or a workforce representative on the board.

Board leadership and composition.

Other changes in the code include prioritizing non-executive chair succession planning and capping non-executive chair total tenure at nine years (including any time spent previously as a non-executive director)—a recommendation which could impact over 10 percent of the FTSE 350. Several investors noted that they understand the new tenure rule may cause unintended consequences around board chair succession planning. Investors are likely to focus on skills mix, diversity, and functional and industry experience. While directors can expect negative votes against their reelection if they are currently on more than four boards, better disclosure of director capacity and commitment may help sway investors.

Culture oversight.

The board’s evolving role in overseeing corporate culture—now explicit in the revised code—will be a primary focus for investors in 2019. The Financial Reporting Council has suggested that culture can be measured using several factors, such as turnover and absenteeism rates, reward and promotion decisions, health and safety data, and exit interviews. The code emphasizes that the board is responsible for a healthy culture that should promote delivering long-term sustainable performance. Auditor reform. Given public concern about recent corporate collapses, the role of external auditor and the structure of the audit firm market are under scrutiny. The government is under pressure to improve auditing and increase competition. Audit independence, rigor, and quality are likely to be examined, and boards may face greater pressure to change auditors more regularly. ISS is changing its policies for its UK/Ireland (and Continental European) policies beginning in 2019. ISS will begin tracking significant audit quality issues at the lead engagement partner level and will identify (when possible) any lead audit partners who have been linked to significant audit controversies.

Activist investors.

While institutional investors’ concerns center around the impact of disruption and how companies are responding with an eye toward long-termism and sustainability, activist campaigns continue to act as a potential counterweight. UK companies account for about 55 percent of activist campaigns in Europe, and UK companies will likely continue to be targeted next year.

Company diversity.

Diversity will continue to be a priority for board attention, including gender and ethnic diversity. The revised code broadened the role of the nominating committee to oversee the development of diversity in senior management ranks and to review diversity and inclusion initiatives and outcomes throughout the business.

Brazil

Outlook.

Following the highly polarized presidential election, Brazil is still facing some political uncertainty around the potential business and political agenda the new government will pursue. Despite recent ministry appointments being generally well received, global investors will likely still be cautious about investing in the country given the government’s deep history of entanglement with corporate affairs.

Governance reforms and stewardship.

Governance regulation is still in its early stages in Brazil and continues to be focused on overhauling compliance practices and implementing governance reforms. Securities regulator CVM recently issued guidelines regarding indemnity agreements between companies and board members (and other company stakeholders), which could lead to possible disclosure implications. The guidance serves to warn companies about potential conflicts of interest, and directors are cautioned to pay close attention to these new policies. Brazilian public companies are now required to file a comply-or-explain governance report as part of the original mandate stemming from the 2016 Corporate Governance Code, with an emphasis on the quality of such disclosures. Stewardship continues to be of growing importance, and boards are at the center of that discussion. The Association of Capital Market Investors is focusing on ensuring that the CVM and other market participants are holding companies to the highest governance standards not issuing waivers or failing to hold companies accountable for their actions.

Improved independence.

There is an ongoing push for more independence within the governance framework. More independent directors are being appointed to boards due to wider capital distribution. Brazil is working toward implementing reforms targeting political appointments within state-owned enterprises (SOE), but progress could slow depending upon the new government’s priorities. Recently, the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies approved legislation that would allow politicians to once again be nominated to SOE boards. The Federal Senate will soon decide on the proposal, but its approval could trigger a backlash. Organizations like the Brazilian Institute of Corporate Governance are firmly positioning themselves against the law change, viewing it as a step back from recent governance progress. However, the Novo Mercado rules and Corporate Governance Code are strengthening the definition of independence and using shareholder meetings to confirm the independence of those directors.

Remote voting.

The recent introduction of the remote voting card for shareholders could have a major impact on boards. Public companies required to implement the new system should expect to see more flexibility and inclusion of minority shareholder-backed nominees on the ballot. While Brazil is making year-over-year progress toward minority shareholder protections, they continue to be a challenge.

Board effectiveness.

Experts anticipate increased pressure to upgrade board mechanics and processes, including establishing a nominations policy regarding board director and committee appointments, routine board evaluation processes, succession planning, and onboarding/training programs. CVM, along with B3 (the Brazilian stock exchange), continues to push for higher governance standards and processes. There is an increased focus on board and director assessment (whether internally or externally led) to ensure board effectiveness and the right board composition. Under the Corporate Governance Code, companies will have to comply or explain why they do not have a board assessment process.

Compensation disclosure.

For almost a decade, Brazilian companies used a court injunction (known as the “IBEF Injunction”) to avoid having to disclose the remuneration of their highest-paid executives. Now that this has been overturned, public companies will be expected to start disclosing compensation information for their highest-paid executives and board members. Companies are concerned that the disclosure may trigger a backlash among minority shareholders and negative votes against remuneration.

India

Regulatory reform.

Motivated by a desire to attract global investments, curb corruption, and strengthen corporate governance, India is continuing to push for regulatory reform. In the spring of 2018, much to the surprise of many, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) adopted many of the 81 provisions put forward by the Kotak Committee. The adoption of the recommendations has caused many companies to consider and aspire to meet this new standard. Kotak implementation has triggered a significant wave of governance implications centered around improving transparency and financial reporting. The adoption of these governance reforms is staggered, with most companies striving to reach compliance between April 2019 and April 2020.

Board composition, leadership, and independence.

Boards will face enhanced disclosure rules regarding the skills and experience of directors, which has triggered many companies to engage in board composition assessments. Directors will also be limited in the number of boards they can serve on simultaneously: eight in 2019; seven in 2020. The top 1,000 listed companies in India will need to ensure they have a minimum of six directors on their boards by April 2019, with the next 1,000 having an additional year to comply. Among other changes are new criteria for independence determinations and changes to director compensation. Additionally, the CEO or managing director role and the chair role must be separated and cannot be held by the same person for the top 500 listed companies by market capitalization. This will significantly change board leadership and control in many companies where the role was held by the same person, and it will boost overall independence. To further drive board and director independence, the definition of independence was strengthened, and board interlocks will receive greater scrutiny.

Board diversity.

India continues to make improvements toward gender diversity five years after the Companies Act of 2013 and ongoing pressure from investors and policymakers. Nevertheless, institutional investors and proxy advisors are calling for more progress, as a quarter of women appointments are held by family members of the business owners (and are thus not independent). Starting in 2019, boards of the top 500 listed companies will need to ensure they have at least one independent woman director; by 2020, the top 1,000 listed companies will need to comply.

Board effectiveness.

The reforms also include a requirement for the implementation of an oversight process for succession planning and updating the board evaluation and director review process.

Investor expectations.

Governance stakeholders are eager to see how much progress Indian companies will make during the next 18 months, but many are not overly optimistic given the magnitude of change required in such a short period of time. Investors are setting their expectations accordingly and understand that regional governance norms will not transform overnight. While it is unclear exactly how the government and regulators will respond to noncompliance, companies and their boards are feeling anxious about the potential repercussions and penalties.

Japan

Continued focus on governance.

The Japanese government continues to be a driving force for corporate governance improvements. To make Japan more attractive to global investors, policymakers are increasingly focused on improving board accountability. Despite a trend toward more proactive investor stewardship, regulatory bodies including the Financial Services Agency continue to lead reforms, with several new comply-or-explain guidelines added to the Amended Corporate Governance Code that came into effect in 2018. These guidelines, such as minimum independence requirements, establishing an objective CEO succession and dismissal process, and the unloading of cross-shareholdings, are aimed at enhancing transparency.

Director independence.

Director independence has been a concern for investors, with outside directors taking only about 31 percent of board seats. Though some observers perceive a weakening of language in the code regarding independence, investors are unlikely to lower their expectations and standards. The amended code now calls for at least one-third of the board to be composed of outside directors (up from the quota requirement of two directors that existed previously). The change is intended to encourage transparency and accountability around the board’s decision-making process. Starting next year, ISS will adopt a similar approach to its Japanese governance policies, employing a one-third independence threshold as well.

Executive compensation.

Given recent scandals, institutional investors and regulators will continue to pay close attention to the structure of executive compensation. Performance-based compensation plans will be a major area of focus in 2019. More companies are introducing new types of equity-based compensation schemes, such as restricted stock, and are expected to follow the trend into next year. Board diversity. Over 50 percent of listed companies still have no women on their boards. To upgrade board quality and performance, investors will likely engage more forcefully on gender diversity, board composition and processes, board oversight duties and roles, and the board director evaluation process.

ESG.

In 2019, boards can expect more shareholder interest in sustainability metrics and strategy. Investors are keen to see enhanced disclosure that aids their understanding of value creation and the link to performance targets, as well as explanations concerning board monitoring.

Activist investing.

Activism continues to rise in Japan, and we expect that trend to continue. Activists are showing a willingness to demand a board seat and engage in proxy battles, and institutional investors are increasingly willing to support the activist recommendations.

Governance practices.

Investors also will be paying close attention to several other governance practices, such as the earlier disclosure of proxy materials and delivery in digital format, and protecting the interest of minority shareholders. The code further emphasizes succession planning by requiring companies to implement a fair and transparent process for the CEO’s removal and succession. As a result, more companies are introducing nominating committees and discussing

CEO succession.

Companies are also being urged to unload their cross-shareholdings (when a listed company owns stock of another company in the same listing) and adopt controls that will determine whether the ownership of such equity is appropriate. Such holdings are likely to be policed more by regulators due to the tendency of such holdings to insulate boards from external pressure, including takeover bids.

___________________________________________________________

*Jack “Rusty” O’Kelley, III is Global Leader of the Board Advisory & Effectiveness Practice, Anthony Goodman is a member of the Board Consulting and Effectiveness Practice, and Melissa Martin is a Board and CEO Advisory Group Specialist at Russell Reynolds Associates.at Russell Reynolds Associates. This post is based on a Russell Reynolds memorandum by Mr. O’Kelley, Mr. Goodman, and Ms. Martin.

 

Enquête de Deloitte sur la diversité des conseils d’administration ! En rappel


Il existe une solide unanimité sur l’importance d’accroître la diversité dans les conseils d’administration.

Mike Fucci, président du conseil de Deloitte, nous présente une excellente infographie* sur le sujet.

Voici un sommaire des thèmes traités dans son article, paru dans Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance.

(1) Perception de la diversité dans les conseils d’administration

Les CA sont d’accord avec la nécessité d’une grande diversité

Les leaders perçoivent clairement les bienfaits de la diversité

Cependant, il y a peu d’administrateurs qui voient le manque de diversité comme un problème majeur !

(2) Recrutement et pratiques d’évaluation

Les CA s’en remettent trop souvent aux critères traditionnels de sélection des administrateurs (grande expérience de management ou de PDG)

Environ la moitié des organisations qui ont des plans de relève n’ont pas de processus de recrutement comportant des habiletés liées à la diversité

Presque toutes les organisations sont conscientes que les politiques concernant la limitation du nombre de mandats et de l’âge sont nécessaires pour assurer le renouvellement du CA

Cependant, les pratiques utilisées semblent limiter la diversité

(3) Nouveau modèle de gouvernance — la mixtocratie

Atteindre un équilibre entre l’expérience souhaitée et la diversité requise

Nécessité de revoir la notion de risque

Faire la promotion du modèle de diversité

Revoir systématiquement la composition du conseil

Redynamiser la planification de la relève

Avoir des objectifs clairs de diversité

 

L’infographie présentée parle d’elle-même. Bonne lecture !

 

 

2017 Board Diversity Survey

 

 

 

Part 1. Perceptions of board diversity

 

The findings in this section show that the survey found nearly universal agreement on the need for diverse skill sets and perspectives on the board, and on the potential benefits of diversity.

 

Boards agree on the need for diversity

 

Note, however, that this finding does not reveal where diversity of skill sets and perspectives are needed. Thus, the skills and perspectives could be those of, say, financial or operating or information
technology executives. Such backgrounds would represent diversity of skills and perspectives, but not the demographic diversity that the term “diversity” usually implies.

Demographic diversity remains an essential goal in that gender and racial differences are key determinates of a person’s experiences, attitudes, frame of reference, and point of view.

As the next finding reveals, however, respondents do not see demographic diversity as enough.

 

Board members see diversity as going beyond basic demographics

 

Nine in ten respondents agree that gender and racial diversity alone does not produce the diversity required for an organization to be innovative or disruptive. This may be surprising, given that gender and racial differences are generally seen as contributing to diverse perspectives. Yet those contributions may be tempered if recruiting and selection methods skew toward candidates with the backgrounds and experiences of white males with executive experience.

More to the point, it would be unfortunate if a focus on diversity of skills and perspectives were to undermine or cloud the focus on gender and racial diversity. In fact, typical definitions of board diversity include a demographic component. Deloitte’s 2016 Board Practices Report found that 53 percent of large-cap and 45 percent of mid-cap organizations disclose gender data on their board’s diversity; the respective numbers for racial diversity are, far lower, however: 18 percent and 9 percent. [1]

So, the deeper questions may be these: How does the board go about defining diversity? Does its definition include gender and racial factors? Does it also include factors such as skills, experiences, and perspectives? Will the board’s practices enable it to achieve diversity along these various lines?

Before turning to practices, we consider the potential benefits of diversity.

 

Leaders overwhelmingly perceive benefits in diversity

 


Taken at face value, these answers indicate that boards believe in diversity, however they go about defining it, for business reasons and not just for its own sake or reasons of social responsibility.

 

…Yet relatively few see a lack of diversity as a top problem

 

The foregoing findings show that leaders believe that boards need greater diversity of skills and perspectives, that demographic diversity alone may not produce that diversity, and that diversity is seen as beneficial in managing innovation, disruption, and business performance. Yet, somewhat surprisingly, few respondents cited a lack of diversity as a top problem.

So, while 95 percent of respondents agree that their board needs to seek out more candidates with diverse skills and perspectives, far smaller percentages cite lack of diversity as among the top problems they face in candidate recruitment or selection.

Does this reflect contentment with current board composition and acceptance of the status quo?

Perhaps, or perhaps not.

However, we can say that many board recruitment and selection practices remain very traditional.

 

Part 2. Recruitment and evaluation practices

 

Board recruitment practices have arguably not kept pace with the desire and need for greater board diversity.

 

Boards still rely on traditional candidate criteria

 

In addition, 81 percent of respondents would expect multiple board members to see a candidate without executive experience as unqualified to serve on the board.

The low percentage of women candidates (16 percent) is striking, as is that of racial minorities (19 percent). However, that may be a logical outcome of a process favoring selecting candidates with board experience—who historically have tended to be white and male.

So, in the recruitment process, board members are often seeking people who tend to be like themselves—and like management. Such a process may help to reinforce a lack of diversity in perspectives and experiences, as well as (in most companies) in gender and race.

Relying on resumes, which reflect organizational and educational experience, helps to reinforce traditional patterns of board composition.

 

About half of organizations have processes focused on diverse skills and disruptive views

 

Given all their other responsibilities, many boards understandably rely on existing recruitment tools and processes. They use resumes, their networks, and executive recruiters—all of which tend to generate results very similar to past results.

However, our current disruptive environment likely calls for more creative approaches to reaching diverse candidates. Some organizations have taken steps to address these needs.

 

Our survey did not assess the nature or extent of the processes for recruiting candidates with diverse skills or perspectives, indicating an area for further investigation.

 

Policies affecting board refreshment

 

Policies, as well as processes, can affect board composition. Low turnover on boards can not only hinder movement toward greater diversity but also lead to myopic views of operations or impaired ability to oversee evolving strategies and risks.

While board members expressed agreement with term and age limits, the latter are far more common. Our separate 2016 Board Practices Report found that 81 percent of large-cap and 74 percent of mid-cap companies have age limits, but only 5 percent and 6 percent, respectively, have term limits. [2] This evidences a large gap between agreement with term limits as an idea and term limits as a practice.

 

Current practices tend to limit diversity

 

Deloitte’s 2016 Board Practices Report also found that 84 percent of large-cap and 90 percent of mid-cap organizations most often rely on current directors’ recommendations of candidates. [3] That same study found that 68 percent and 79 percent, respectively, use a recruiting firm when needed, and that 62 percent and 79 percent use a board skills matrix or similar tool.

Relying on current directors’ recommendations will generally produce candidates much like those directors. Recruiting firms can be valuable, but tend to adopt the client’s view of diversity. Tools such as board competency matrices generally do not account for an organization’s strategy, nor do they provide a very nuanced view of individual board members’ experiences and capabilities. In other words, bringing people with diverse skills, perspectives, and experiences to the board—as well as women and racial and ethnic minorities—requires more robust processes than those currently used by most boards.

 

Part 3. A path forward—The Mixtocracy Model

 

The term meritocracy describes organizational advancement based upon merit—talents and accomplishments—and aims to combat the nepotism and cronyism that traditionally permeated many businesses. However, too often meritocracy results in mirrortocracy in which all directors bring similar perspectives and approaches to governance, risk management, and other board responsibilities.

A board differs from a position, such as chief executive officer or chief financial officer, in that it is a collection of individuals. A board is a team and, like any other team, it requires people who can fulfill specific roles, contribute different skills and views, and work together to achieve certain goals.

Thus, a board can include nontraditional members who will be balanced out by more traditional ones. Many existing recruiting methods do too little to achieve true diversity. The prevalence of those criteria and methods can repeatedly send boards back to the same talent pool, even in the case of women and minority candidates. For example, Deloitte’s 2016 Board Diversity Census shows that female and black directors are far more likely than white male directors to hold multiple Fortune 500 board seats. [4]

Therefore, organizations should consider institutionalizing a succession planning and recruitment process that more closely aligns to their ideal board composition and diversity goals. Here are three ways to potentially do that:

 Look beyond “the tried and true.” Even when boards account for gender and race, current practices may tend to source candidates with similar views. Succession plans should create seats for those who are truly different, for example someone with no board experience but a strong cybersecurity background or someone who more closely mirrors the customer base.

Take a truly analytical approach. Developing the optimal mix on the board calls for considering risks, opportunities, and markets, as well as customers, employees, and other stakeholders. A data-driven analytics tool that assesses management’s strategies, the board’s needs, and desired director attributes can help define the optimal mix in light of those factors.

Use more sophisticated criteria. Look beyond resumes and check-the-box approaches to recruiting women, minorities, and those with the right title. Surface-level diversity will not necessarily generate varying perspectives and innovative responses to disruption. Deep inquiry into a candidate’s outlook, experience, and fit can take the board beyond standard criteria, while prompting the board to more fully consider women and minority candidates—that is, to not see them mainly as women and minority candidates.

To construct and maintain a board that can meet evolving governance, advisory, and risk oversight needs, leaders should also consider the following steps.

 

Rethink risk

 

Digitalization continues to disrupt the business landscape. The ability to not only respond to disruption, but to proactively disrupt, has commonly become a must. Yet boards have historically focused on loss prevention rather than value creation. Every board should ask itself who best can help in ascertaining that management is taking the right risks to innovate and win in the marketplace. The more diversity of thought, perspectives, experiences, and skills a board collectively possesses, the better it can oversee moves into riskier territory in an informed and useful way—and to assist management in making bold decisions that are likely to pay off.

 

Elevate diversity

 

Current definitions of board diversity tend to focus on at-birth traits, such as gender and race. While such diversity is essential, it may promote a check-the-box approach to gender and racial diversity. Boards that include those traits and also enrich them by considering differences gained through employment paths, industry experiences, educational, artistic, and cultural endeavors, international living, and government, military, and other service will more likely achieve a true mix of perspectives
and capabilities.

They may also develop a more holistic vision of gender and racial diversity. After all, woman and minority board members do not want to be “women and minority board members”—they want to be board members. In other words, this approach should aim to generate a fuller view of candidates and board members, as well as more diversity of skills and perspectives and gender and race.

 

Retool board composition

 

Current tools for achieving an optimal mix of directors can generally be classified as simplistic, generic, and outdated. They often help in organizing information, but provide little to no support in identifying strategic needs and aligning a board’s skills, perspectives, and experiences with those needs.

Successful board composition typically demands analysis of data on organizational strategies, customer demographics, industry disruption, and market trends to identify gaps and opportunities. A board should consider not only individual member’s profiles but also assess the board as one working body to ascertain that complementary characteristics and capabilities are in place or can be put in place.

A tool to support this analysis should be the initial input into the succession planning and recruitment process. It should also be used in ongoing assessments to help ensure that the board equals a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.

 

Revitalize succession planning

 

The process of filling an open board position may be seen as similar to that for recruiting C-suite candidates. But that would ignore the fact that the board is a collection of individuals rather than a single role. An approach geared to creating a mixtocracy can strengthen the board by combining individual differences in a deliberate manner. Differing gender and ethnic backgrounds as well as skills, perspectives, and experiences can make for more rigorous, far-reaching, and thought-provoking discussions, inquiries, and challenges. This can enable the board to provide a more effective counterbalance to management as well as better support in areas such as innovation, disruption, and assessments of strategies, decisions, and underlying assumptions.

In plans for board succession, the uniqueness of thought an individual will bring to the table can be as important as his or her more ostensible characteristics and accomplishments.

 

Toward greater board diversity

 

Given its responsibility to provide guidance on strategy, oversight of risk, governance of practices, and protection of shareholders’ interests, the board arguably has a greater need for diversity than the C-suite, where diversity also enriches management. The path forward remains long, but it is becoming increasing clear as boards continue to work toward achieving greater diversity on multiple fronts.

____________________________________

Endnotes

1 2016 Boards Practices Report – A transparent look at the work of the board. Tenth edition, 2017, Society for Corporate Governance and Deloitte Development LLC.(go back)

2 ibid.(go back)

3 ibid.(go back)

4 Missing Pieces Report: The 2016 Board Diversity Census of Women and Minorities on Fortune 500 Boards, 2017, Deloitte Development LLC.(go back)


*The 2017 board diversity survey was conducted in spring 2017 among 300 board members and C-suite executives at U.S. companies with at least $50 million in annual revenue and at least 1,000 employees. Conducted by Wakefield Research via an email invitation and online questionnaire, the survey sought to ascertain respondents’ perspectives on board diversity and their organizations’ criteria and practices for recruiting and selecting board members. The margin of error for this study is +/- 5.7 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.

Faut-il rémunérer les administrateurs d’OBNL ? Une étude de cas


Voici un cas publié sur le site de Julie Garland McLellan qui expose un problème très réel dans la plupart des OBNL. Comment la présidente du CA doit-elle agir afin de respecter les politiques de rémunération en vigueur dans son organisme ?

La situation décrite dans ce cas se déroule dans une organisation à but non lucratif (OBNL) qui vient de recruter un nouvel administrateur, sur recommandation du Ministère de l’Éducation, qui provient d’une communauté autochtone bénéficiaire des bourses de l’organisation.

Dans ce cas, le nouvel administrateur a accepté de siéger au conseil sans rémunération et sans remboursement de dépenses. C’est la politique de l’organisme qui s’applique à tous les autres administrateurs.

À la première réunion du CA, celui-ci insiste pour se faire rembourser ses frais de voyage et il demande une rémunération de 1 000 $ par réunion. Devant un refus, il avise le ministère de son insatisfaction.

Comment Victoria, la présidente du conseil, doit-elle agir afin de dénouer cette impasse ?

Le cas présente la situation de manière assez explicite ; puis, trois experts se prononcent sur le dilemme que vit Victoria.

Je vous invite donc à prendre connaissance de ces avis, en cliquant sur le lien ci-dessous, et me faire part de vos commentaires, si vous le souhaitez.

Bonne lecture !

Faut-il rémunérer les administrateurs d’OBNL ? | Un cas particulier

 

 

Victoria chairs the board of a not-for-profit organisation that offers scholarships at leading boarding schools for children in secondary education from disadvantaged backgrounds and living in regional, rural and remote communities. Many of the beneficiaries are from indigenous peoples and her board was delighted when the Minister for Education offered to help them source a new director. The Minister suggested a high profile and well-connected leader from a beneficiary community. It seemed just what they needed.

Résultats de recherche d'images pour « rémunération OBNL »

The new director met Victoria for a coffee and said that he was delighted to be joining her board as his people had great need for quality education. He had some good insights about sourcing grant funds to supplement their current bequests and donations. He then met some other directors, and all agreed that he would be a perfect addition to the board. A letter of appointment was sent and a consent form was received.

At his first board meeting the new director asked for the company to pay his travel and accommodation in attending the meeting and also for a sitting fee of one thousand dollars. He said this was a legitimate expectation and that he was paid for his service on other boards. The letter of appointment clearly stated that directors were unremunerated and attended meetings at their own cost. Now he has complained to the Minister that he hasn’t been paid and a staffer has called to ask why not.

How can Victoria resolve this difference between the expectations of the board and its new director?

Attention aux huis clos du CA | en rappel


Nous avons déjà abordé l’importance d’inscrire un item « huis clos » à l’ordre du jour des réunions du conseil d’administration. Celui-ci doit normalement être à la fin de la réunion et comporter une limite de temps afin d’éviter que la réunion ne s’éternise… et que les membres de la direction (qui souvent attendent la fin de la rencontre) soient mieux informés.

Ensuite, le président du conseil d’administration (PCA) devrait rencontrer le président et chef de la direction (PCD) en privé, et dans les meilleurs délais, afin de rendre compte des résultats et de la portée du huis clos. Cette responsabilité du PCA est déterminante, car les dirigeants ont de grandes attentes et un souci eu égard aux discussions du huis clos.

Plusieurs dirigeants et membres de conseil m’ont fait part de leurs préoccupations concernant la tenue des huis clos. Il y a des malaises dissimulés en ce qui a trait à cette activité ; il faut donc s’assurer de bien gérer la situation, car les huis clos peuvent souvent avoir des conséquences inattendues, voire contre-productives !

Ainsi, le huis clos :

(1) ne doit pas être une activité imprévue et occasionnelle inscrite à l’ordre du jour

(2) doit comporter une limite de temps

(3) doit être piloté par le PCA

(4) doit comporter un suivi systématique et

(5) doit se dérouler dans un lieu qui permet de préserver la confidentialité absolue des discussions.

J’insiste sur cette dernière condition parce que l’on a trop souvent tendance à la négliger ou à l’oublier, carrément. Dans de nombreux cas, la rencontre du conseil a lieu dans un local inapproprié, et les dirigeants peuvent entendre les conversations, surtout lorsqu’elles sont très animées…

Au début de la séance, les membres sont souvent insoucieux ; avec le temps, certains peuvent s’exprimer très (trop) directement, impulsivement et de manière inconvenante. Si, par mégarde, les membres de la direction entendent les propos énoncés, l’exercice peut prendre l’allure d’une véritable calamité et avoir des conséquences non anticipées sur le plan des relations interpersonnelles entre les membres de la direction et avec les membres du conseil.

 

registre-conseils-d-administration

 

L’ajout d’un huis clos à l’ordre du jour témoigne d’une volonté de saine gouvernance, mais, on le comprend, il y a un certain nombre de règles à respecter si on ne veut pas provoquer la discorde. Les OBNL, qui ont généralement peu de moyens, sont particulièrement vulnérables aux manquements à la confidentialité ! Je crois que dans les OBNL, les dommages collatéraux peuvent avoir des incidences graves sur les relations entre employés, et même sur la pérennité de l’organisation.

J’ai à l’esprit plusieurs cas de mauvaise gestion des facteurs susmentionnés et je crois qu’il vaut mieux ne pas tenir le bien-fondé du huis clos pour acquis.

Ayant déjà traité des bienfaits des huis clos lors d’un billet antérieur, je profite de l’occasion pour vous souligner, à nouveau, un article intéressant de Matthew Scott sur le site de Corporate Secretary qui aborde un sujet qui préoccupe beaucoup de hauts dirigeants : le huis clos lors des sessions du conseil d’administration ou de certains comités.

L’auteur explique très bien la nature et la nécessité de cette activité à inscrire à l’ordre du jour du conseil. Voici les commentaires que j’exprimais à cette occasion.

«Compte tenu de la “réticence” de plusieurs hauts dirigeants à la tenue de cette activité, il est généralement reconnu que cet item devrait toujours être présent à l’ordre du jour afin d’éliminer certaines susceptibilités.

Le huis clos est un temps privilégié que les administrateurs indépendants se donnent pour se questionner sur l’efficacité du conseil et la possibilité d’améliorer la dynamique interne; mais c’est surtout une occasion pour les membres de discuter librement, sans la présence des gestionnaires, de sujets délicats tels que la planification de la relève, la performance des dirigeants, la rémunération globale de la direction, les poursuites judiciaires, les situations de conflits d’intérêts, les arrangements confidentiels, etc. On ne rédige généralement pas de procès-verbal à la suite de cette activité, sauf lorsque les membres croient qu’une résolution doit absolument apparaître au P.V.

La mise en place d’une période de huis clos est une pratique relativement récente, depuis que les conseils d’administration ont réaffirmé leur souveraineté sur la gouvernance des entreprises. Cette activité est maintenant considérée comme une pratique exemplaire de gouvernance et presque toutes les sociétés l’ont adoptée.

Notons que le rôle du président du conseil, en tant que premier responsable de l’établissement de l’agenda, est primordial à cet égard. C’est lui qui doit informer le PCD de la position des membres indépendants à la suite du huis clos, un exercice qui demande du tact!

Je vous invite à lire l’article ci-dessous. Vos commentaires sont les bienvenus».

Are you using in-camera meetings ?

Le processus de gestion des réunions d’un conseil d’administration | Première partie en reprise


Depuis quelques années, plusieurs personnes me demandent de l’information sur le processus de gestion des réunions d’un conseil d’administration. Souvent, les personnes intéressées souhaitent obtenir des documents pratico-pratiques et tangibles. Il y a cependant très peu d’informations aussi précises dans la littérature sur le sujet.

Afin d’explorer plus à fond  cette problématique, j’ai effectué une recherche documentaire assez exhaustive sur les bonnes pratiques eu égard aux réunions de conseils d’administration.

Cette recherche m’a amené à considérer quatre étapes incontournables dans la mise en place d’un processus efficace de gouvernance :

  1. la préparation de l’information et de la documentation pertinente ;
  2. la conduite de la réunion du conseil ;
  3. l’évaluation de la réunion ;
  4. les suivis apportés à la réunion.

Chacune de ces activités représente un niveau d’importance égal à mes yeux. Dans ce billet, j’aborderai les deux premières activités.

 

(1) La préparation de l’information et de la documentation à l’intention des administrateurs

 

La préparation d’une réunion de CA est une activité très importante et trop souvent négligée. Le document Comment bien préparer une réunion du CA, publié par la Base de référence entrepreneuriale 2016, présente, de façon sommaire, certaines activités à prendre en compte pour bien réussir une réunion du CA.

Ainsi, il appert très clair que le président du conseil d’administration a un rôle capital à jouer afin d’assurer le bon déroulement des réunions.

Étapes à effectuer :

– Convoquer les membres par écrit en leur accordant un délai raisonnable ;

– Fixer à l’avance la date des réunions régulières et établir l’ordre du jour normal ;

– Le président du CA et le chef de la direction (directeur général) rédigent l’ordre du jour en vérifiant que tous les sujets abordés relèvent bien de la compétence du conseil ;

– Envoyer aux membres du CA le projet d’ordre du jour avec l’avis de convocation. L’avis de convocation est un document envoyé aux membres du conseil d’administration les informant qu’il y aura une réunion du CA. Ce document doit mentionner la date, l’heure, l’endroit de la rencontre ainsi que le procès-verbal de la dernière réunion :

– S’assurer que les documents à étudier sont simples et courts. Vérifier qu’ils ne soient pas trop techniques. Veiller à ce que des analyses et des synthèses aient été effectuées par la permanence (surtout en ce qui a trait aux états financiers à défaut de quoi il serait difficile d’expliquer les écarts entre le budget et les résultats) ;

– Le président du conseil et le chef de la direction (directeur général) doivent bien connaître leurs dossiers et s’assurer de la disponibilité des cadres afin que ceux-ci puissent répondre aux demandes additionnelles d’information et clarifier certains points ;

– Exiger de chaque membre du conseil qu’il se prépare convenablement à la réunion et qu’il lise à l’avance les documents qui lui seront transmis.

 

Dans l’article de Johanne Bouchard, Comment un bon président de conseil d’administration se prépare-t-il pour sa réunion?le processus de préparation est présenté sous forme de questions.

Avant toute chose, il est très important de planifier les réunions du conseil sur une période assez longue (24 mois, si possible) à raison de 4-5 réunions formelles par année. En ce qui a trait aux réunions des comités, elles doivent également être fixées longtemps d’avance, à raison de 4 à 5 pour le comité d’audit et de 2 à 4 pour les comités de gouvernance et de ressources humaines.

Afin de bien se préparer pour une réunion du conseil, le président doit :

– Effectuer un retour sur la conduite de la dernière rencontre et réviser le PV afin de s’assurer qu’aucun sujet ne sera omis ;

– Explorer les sujets à mettre à l’ordre du jour en consultant les autres administrateurs, notamment les présidents des comités du conseil (ex. audit, gouvernance et ressources humaines) ;

– Au moins deux semaines avant la réunion, le président doit créer une esquisse de l’Ordre du jour qu’il complétera avec l’apport du DG et du secrétaire du conseil ;

– Avant l’envoi aux membres du conseil, le président doit revoir le dossier au complet et s’assurer qu’il contient toutes les informations utiles pour les administrateurs. C’est alors qu’il conviendra, avec le secrétaire, d’un agenda d’approbation, si le CA souhaite un tel document, pour mieux préparer les questions et les décisions lors de la rencontre.

 

Comment préparer l’ordre du jour et la réunion ?

 

Le document Le fonctionnement d’un conseil d’administration précise qui prépare l’ordre du jour et quelle préparation est nécessaire pour la réunion.

Ainsi, « la responsabilité de préparer lordre du jour revient à la personne responsable de la présidence de lorganisation, en collaboration avec celle qui en agit comme le secrétaire du conseil. Dans les organisations ayant une personne salariée chargée d’assumer la direction générale ou la coordination, il arrive fréquemment que celle-ci propose les principaux points à traiter et en discute avec le président et/ou le secrétaire ».

En ce qui a trait à la préparation de la réunion comme telle, l’article met l’accent sur les points suivants :

– Planifiez un ordre du jour « réalisable » en moins de trois heures.

– Si possible, envoyez auparavant aux membres du conseil l’ordre du jour proposé, le procès-verbal de la dernière réunion, les documents préliminaires et les dossiers d’information sur les sujets importants qui seront traités. Cela leur permettra de se préparer et de prendre des décisions plus éclairées.

– Placez dans l’ordre du jour les sujets les plus importants juste après les points obligatoires du début. De cette manière, vous vous donnez la possibilité de prendre plus de temps si nécessaire pour un débat sur un sujet important en reportant les sujets mineurs à la prochaine réunion.

– Pour chaque sujet prévu à l’ordre du jour, essayez d’évaluer le temps de débat qui sera nécessaire avant que les membres du CA en arrivent à s’entendre sur la décision à prendre (proposition).

– Proposez un minutage des points à l’ordre du jour. Cela vous permettra de ramener le conseil à l’ordre lorsque le temps imparti pour un point est près de s’achever.

– Il faut se rappeler que la valeur ajoutée d’un conseil d’administration réside dans son apport déterminant à la conception et à réalisation de la stratégie. C’est la raison pour laquelle les points de nature stratégiques doivent être couverts en priorité.

 L’article donne un exemple d’ordre du jour en indiquant :

(1) la durée prévue pour chaque point

(2) la nature des activités reliées à chaque point (Information, discussion, décision)

(3) la fiche de référence ou le sommaire exécutif se rapportant à chaque point, lorsque pertinent.

Le sommaire exécutif est généralement préparé par le secrétaire du conseil en collaboration avec la direction ; on y retrouve :

(1) la problématique et le contexte

(2) les impacts et les risques associés

(3) les documents de référence utilisés

(4) les recommandations ou les résolutions proposées.

Très souvent, les documents à l’intention des administrateurs comportent un agenda d’approbation préliminaire qui consiste à présenter les considérants, les attendus et les propositions. À mon avis, il s’agit de points très utiles pour la formulation du procès-verbal par le secrétaire, mais peu utile, voire confondant, pour les administrateurs.

L’ordre du jour doit aussi inclure un point de huis clos à la fin de la réunion. Comme le mentionne l’article suivant paru sur mon blogue, Attention aux huis clos!, la mise en place d’une période de huis clos est une pratique relativement récente, depuis que les conseils d’administration ont réaffirmé leur souveraineté sur la gouvernance des entreprises. Cette activité est maintenant considérée comme une pratique exemplaire de gouvernance et presque toutes les sociétés l’ont adoptée.

Certains conseils ont aussi comme pratique de faire un huis clos au début de la session, mais cela doit être fait dans des cas très particuliers, à mon point de vue.

Notons que le rôle du président du conseil, en tant que premier responsable de l’établissement de l’agenda, est primordial à cet égard. C’est lui qui doit informer le président de l’entreprise (ou le DG) de la position des membres indépendants à la suite du huis clos, un exercice qui demande du tact !

Ainsi, le huis clos :

  1. ne doit pas être une activité imprévue et occasionnelle inscrite à l’ordre du jour
  2. doit inclure une limite de temps
  3. doit être piloté par le président du conseil
  4. doit comporter un suivi systématique et
  5. doit se dérouler dans un lieu qui permet de préserver la confidentialité absolue des discussions

 

(2) La conduite de la réunion du conseil

 

 L’article Le fonctionnement d’un conseil d’administration, cité précédemment, présente très bien le rôle de la présidence du conseil. Ainsi, selon ce document, « la personne assumant la présidence n’a aucun pouvoir décisionnel. Si cette personne est également la présidente de l’organisme, son vote devient prépondérant quand il y a égalité des votes sur une proposition.

Lors d’une réunion du conseil, le président ou la présidente :

– ouvre la séance ;

– vérifie si le quorum est atteint pour que la réunion puisse être valide ;

– fais adopter l’ordre du jour ;

– assure le bon déroulement des réunions du conseil en proposant des règles de fonctionnement et en les faisant respecter (et en les respectant soi-même) ;

– ouvre et clôt les discussions sur chaque point de l’ordre du jour ;

– conduits les discussions en faisant en sorte que chaque membre du conseil puisse exprimer son opinion ;

– accorde le droit de parole et le retire lorsque nécessaire ;

– s’assure que le temps prévu pour la réunion sera respecté.

Pour assumer efficacement cette responsabilité, un minimum d’habiletés en animation et en communication est requis ».

L’article Comment bien préparer une réunion du C.A donne également plusieurs conseils sur la direction des réunions de CA.

L’article d’Yvan Allaire, président exécutif du conseil de l’Institut sur la gouvernance (IGOPP), Performance et dynamique des conseils d’administration, est très pertinent pour assurer une conduite efficace du CA. On y traite, entre autres, de la présidence du conseil et de la gestion de l’information. L’information a été recueillie auprès de 14 administrateurs siégeant au sein de 75 conseils.

Les documents suivants proposent de nombreuses recommandations en ce qui regarde la gestion des réunions de conseils.

Dix mesures que les présidents de CA devraient examiner afin d’affirmer leurs rôles de leader

Quinze (15) astuces d’un CA performant

Une réunion du conseil ennuyante ou une réunion du conseil inspirante?

On note que les CA sont de moins en moins tolérants à l’utilisation des téléphones intelligents aux réunions du conseil. Dans beaucoup de cas, ils sont interdits, ou ils ne doivent pas être placés sur la table !

Joanne Desjardins, dans son article Quinze (15) astuces d’un CA performant, nous donne une bonne liste de points à considérer :

Le CA doit rassembler des administrateurs aux compétences, expériences et connaissance présentant un juste équilibre, une diversité et une complémentarité avec celles de la haute direction et contribuant à alimenter la stratégie de l’organisation. Il n’y a pas de nombre idéal d’administrateurs. Cependant, un CA impair, composé de moins de 13 personnes fonctionne généralement mieux.

Le CA assure l’intégration efficace des nouveaux administrateurs pour leur permettre de se familiariser avec leurs fonctions aisément (par ex. : programme d’accueil et d’intégration, coaching, mentorat, etc.).

 Les administrateurs sont dédiés et ils s’engagent à consacrer le temps, les efforts et l’énergie nécessaires pour agir efficacement dans les meilleurs intérêts de l’entreprise. Ils partagent les valeurs de l’entreprise.

 Le CA désigne un président indépendant, mobilisateur, à l’écoute, qui a la capacité et le courage de concilier les points de vue divergents, de prendre des décisions difficiles et de régler les conflits. Le président gère efficacement les réunions du CA en favorisant un équilibre entre la spontanéité dans les échanges et les règles de régie interne.

 Les rencontres sont programmées à l’avance. Les rencontres sont d’une durée raisonnable et à des intervalles réguliers. Le président du CA et le président de l’entreprise s’entendent sur l’ordre du jour de chaque réunion du CA et priorisent les sujets en fonction de la stratégie de l’entreprise et des risques.

 Les administrateurs démontrent une capacité d’écoute, de communication et de persuasion pour pouvoir participer activement et constructivement aux délibérations du CA. Ils ont le courage de poser des questions difficiles.

 Le CA ne s’ingère pas dans les opérations de l’entreprise (¨Nose in, fingers out¨).

 La haute direction transmet aux administrateurs, en temps opportun, des informations fiables dont l’exhaustivité, la forme et la qualité sont appropriées pour permettre aux administrateurs de remplir adéquatement leurs fonctions.

 Le rôle, les responsabilités et les attentes envers les administrateurs, les comités et le CA sont clairement définis. Les administrateurs comprennent les obligations de fiduciaires qui leur incombent et les implications qui en découlent.

 Le CA a mis en place une procédure d’évaluation rigoureuse, fiable et confidentielle. Les attentes envers les administrateurs ainsi que les critères d’évaluation sont clairs et connus de tous. En fonction des résultats de l’évaluation, des mesures sont prises pour améliorer l’efficacité du CA et des administrateurs (par ex. : formation, outils, modifications aux pratiques, etc.).

 Le CA participe activement à la sélection et à l’évaluation du rendement du président de l’entreprise.

 Le CA participe à l’élaboration de la stratégie de l’entreprise et approuve le plan stratégique. Une fois approuvé, le CA suit l’état d’avancement du plan stratégique et les risques inhérents.

 Un système robuste de gestion des risques a été mis en place et la responsabilité́ de la surveillance des risques relève d’un comité du CA. Les administrateurs connaissent les principaux risques pouvant influencer la réalisation de la stratégie et le plan de mitigation.

Les administrateurs mettent à jour et actualisent leurs compétences et connaissances.

 On planifie la relève pour veiller au renouvellement du CA et assurer un équilibre entre les administrateurs expérimentés ayant une connaissance approfondie de l’organisation et les nouveaux, apportant une perspective différente aux problématiques.

À ce stade-ci, il est important de mentionner que les impératifs relatifs à la gestion des réunions de comité du conseil obéissent essentiellement aux mêmes règles de gouvernance que celles qui prévalent pour les CA.

Enfin, il faut souligner l’importance de la formation des administrateurs, notamment leurs rôles et leurs responsabilités en tant que fiduciaires, les questionnements de nature éthique et le caractère confidentiel de leurs fonctions. L’article Nature des relations entre le CA et la direction | Une saine tension est l’assurance d’une bonne gouvernance illustre très éloquemment pourquoi une saine tension entre le CA et la direction est garant d’une bonne gouvernance.

J’espère que cette documentation s’avérera utile pour bien organiser les réunions du conseil. Je vous invite à lire la deuxième partie relative aux deux autres étapes du processus de gestion des réunions d’un conseil :

3. l’évaluation de la réunion ;

4. les suivis apportés à la réunion.

Le processus de gestion des réunions d’un conseil d’administration | Deuxième partie

Indicateurs de mesure de la performance des fonctions d’audit interne


Denis Lefort, CPA, expert-conseil en gouvernance, audit et contrôle, porte à ma connaissance un rapport de recherche de l’IIA qui concerne « les indicateurs de mesure de la performance des fonctions d’audit interne ».

Encore aujourd’hui, les indicateurs utilisés sont souvent centrés sur la performance en interne de la fonction et non sur son réel impact sur l’organisation.

Par exemple, peu de services d’audit interne évaluent leur performance par la réduction des cas de fraude dans l’entreprise, par une meilleure gestion des risques, etc.

On utilise plutôt les indicateurs habituels comme le taux de recommandations implantées, la réalisation du plan d’audit, etc.

Voici, ci-dessous, l’introduction au document de l’IIA. Pour consulter le rapport détaillé, cliquez sur le titre du document.

Bonne lecture. Vos commentaires sont les bienvenus

 

Measuring Internal Audit Value and Performance

 

Résultats de recherche d'images pour « audit interne »

 

In 2010, The IIA recognized a need to capture a simple, memorable, and straightforward way to help internal auditors convey the value of their efforts to important stakeholders, such as boards of directors, audit committees, management, and clients. To that end, the association introduced the Value Proposition for Internal Auditing, which characterizes internal audit’s value as an amalgam of three elements: assurance, insight, and objectivity.

 

But identifying the conceptual elements of value is only part of what needs to be done. How does that construct look in the workplace? What activities does internal audit undertake that deliver the most value? What should be measured to determine that the organization’s expectations of value are being met? How does internal audit organize and structure the information that populates the metrics? And, most critically, do the answers to all these questions align; that is, does internal audit’s perception of its value, as measured and tracked, correlate with what the organization wants and needs from the internal audit function? (Exhibit 1)

Exhibit 1

The Internal Audit Value Proposition

 

1. ASSURANCE = Governance, Risk, Control

Internal audit provides assurance on the organization’s governance, risk management, and control processes to help the organization achieve its strategic, operational, financial, and compliance objectives.

2. INSIGHT = Catalyst, Analyses, Assessments

Internal audit is a catalyst for improving an organization’s effectiveness and efficiency by providing insight and recommendations based on analyses and assessments of data and business process.

3. OBJECTIVITY = Integrity, Accountability, Independence

With commitment to integrity and accountability, internal audit provides value to governing bodies and senior management as an objective source of independent advice.

These are the kinds of questions the CBOK 2015 global practitioner survey posed to chief audit executives (CAEs) from around the world. The activities these CAEs believe bring value to the organization are consistent with the three elements of The IIA’s value proposition. In fact, the nine activities identified by CAEs as adding the most value can be mapped directly to the three elements, as shown in exibit 2

However, in looking at the performance measures and tools used by the organization and the internal audit function, a gap appears to form between value-adding activities and the ways performance is measured. This report explores that gap in greater detail and clarifies the respondents’ view of value-adding activities, preferred performance measures, and the methodologies and tools most commonly used to support internal audit’s quality and performance processes. Where appropriate, responses tabulated by geographic regions and organization types are examined.

Finally, based on the findings, the final chapter of the report provides a series of practical steps that practitioners at all levels can implement to help their internal audit department deliver on its value proposition of assurance, insight, and objectivity.

Exhibit 2

The Internal Audit Value Proposition (mapped to response options from the CBOK Survey)

 

ASSURANCE ACTIVITIES

  1. Assuring the adequacy and effectiveness of the internal control system
  2. Assuring the organization’s risk management processes
  3. Assuring regulatory compliance
  4. Assuring the organization’s governance processes

INSIGHT ACTIVITIES

  1. Recommending business improvement
  2. Identifying emerging risks

OBJECTIVE ADVICE ACTIVITIES

  1. Informing and advising management
  2. Investigating or deterring fraud
  3. Informing and advising the audit committee

Cadre de référence pour évaluer la gouvernance des sociétés – un questionnaire de 100 items | En rappel


Le Bureau de la vérification interne (BVI) de l’Université de Montréal (UdeM) a récemment développé un cadre de référence novateur pour l’évaluation de la gouvernance. La méthodologie, ainsi que le questionnaire qui en résulte, contribue, à mon avis, à l’avancement des connaissances dans le domaine de l’évaluation des caractéristiques et des pratiques de la gouvernance par les auditeurs internes.

Ayant eu l’occasion de collaborer à la conception de cet instrument de mesure de la gouvernance des sociétés, j’ai obtenu du BVI la permission de publier le résultat de cet exercice.

Cette version du cadre se veut « générique » et peut être utilisée pour l’évaluation de la gouvernance d’un projet, d’une activité, d’une unité ou d’une entité.

De ce fait, les termes, les intervenants ainsi que les structures attendues doivent être adaptés au contexte de l’évaluation. Il est à noter que ce cadre de référence correspond à une application optimale recherchée en matière de gouvernance. Certaines pratiques pourraient ne pas s’appliquer ou ne pas être retenues de façon consciente et transparente par l’organisation.

Le questionnaire se décline en dix thèmes, chacun comportant dix items :

 

 

Thème 1 — Structure et fonctionnement du Conseil

Thème 2 — Travail du président du Conseil

Thème 3 — Relation entre le Conseil et le directeur général (direction)

Thème 4 — Structure et travail des comités du Conseil

Thème 5 — Performance du Conseil et de ses comités

Thème 6 — Recrutement, rémunération et évaluation du rendement du directeur général

Thème 7 — Planification stratégique

Thème 8 — Performance et reddition de comptes

Thème 9 — Gestion des risques

Thème 10 — Éthique et culture organisationnelle

 


 

On retrouvera en Annexe une représentation graphique du cadre conceptuel qui permet d’illustrer les liens entre les thèmes à évaluer dans le présent référentiel.

L’évaluation s’effectue à l’aide d’un questionnaire de type Likert (document distinct du cadre de référence). L’échelle de Likert est une échelle de jugement par laquelle la personne interrogée exprime son degré d’accord ou de désaccord eu égard à une affirmation ou une question.

 

  1. Tout à fait d’accord
  2. D’accord
  3. Ni en désaccord ni d’accord
  4. Pas d’accord
  5. Pas du tout d’accord
  6. Ne s’applique pas (S.O.)

 

Une section commentaire est également incluse dans le questionnaire afin que les participants puissent exprimer des informations spécifiques à la question. L’audit interne doit réaliser son évaluation à l’aide de questionnaires ainsi que sur la base de la documentation qui lui sera fournie.

 

Résultats de recherche d'images pour « gouvernance d'entreprise »

 

Thème 1 — Structure et fonctionnement du Conseil

(Questions destinées au président du comité de gouvernance [PCG] et/ou au président du Conseil [PC])

 

1.       Le Conseil compte-t-il une proportion suffisante de membres indépendants pour lui permettre d’interagir de manière constructive avec la direction ?
2.       La taille du Conseil vous semble-t-elle raisonnable compte tenu des objectifs et de la charge de travail actuel ? (dans une fourchette idéale de 9 à 13 membres, avec une moyenne d’environ 10 membres)
3.       La composition du Conseil est-elle guidée par une politique sur la diversité des membres ?
4.       Le Conseil a-t-il conçu un processus rigoureux de recrutement de ses membres, basé sur une matrice des compétences complémentaires ?
5.       Le président et les membres du comité responsable du recrutement (comité de gouvernance) ont-ils clairement exprimé aux candidats potentiels les attentes de l’organisation en matière de temps, d’engagement et de contributions reliés avec leurs compétences ?
6.       Les réunions sont-elles bien organisées et structurées ? (durée, PV, taux de présence, documentation pertinente et à temps, etc.)
7.       Les échanges portent-ils sur surtout sur des questions stratégiques, sans porter sur les activités courantes (qui sont davantage du ressort de l’équipe de direction) ?
8.       Les membres sont-ils à l’aise d’émettre des propos qui vont à contre-courant des idées dominantes ?
9.       Une séance à huis clos est-elle systématiquement prévue à la fin de chacune des réunions afin de permettre aux membres indépendants de discuter des sujets sensibles ?
10.    Les membres ont-ils accès à la planification des rencontres sur une période idéale de 18 mois en y incluant certains items ou sujets récurrents qui seront abordés lors des réunions du Conseil (plan de travail) ?

 

 

Thème 2 — Travail du président du Conseil 

(Questions destinées à un administrateur indépendant, au PC [auto-évaluation] et au président du comité de gouvernance [PCG])

 

1.       Le président s’assure-t-il de former un solide tandem avec le directeur général et de partager avec lui une vision commune de l’organisation ?
2.       Le président promeut-il de hauts standards d’efficacité et d’intégrité afin de donner le ton à l’ensemble de l’organisation ?
3.       Le président, de concert avec le directeur général, prépare-t-il adéquatement les réunions du Conseil ?
4.       Le président préside-t-il avec compétence et doigté les réunions du Conseil ?
5.       Le président s’assure-t-il que les échanges portent surtout sur des questions stratégiques et que les réunions du Conseil ne versent pas dans la micro gestion ?
6.       Le président s’investit-il pleinement dans la sélection des présidents et des membres des comités du Conseil ?
7.       Le président s’assure-t-il de l’existence d’une formation et d’une trousse d’accueil destinées aux nouveaux membres afin qu’ils soient opérationnels dans les plus brefs délais ?
8.       Le président s’assure-t-il de l’existence d’un processus d’évaluation du rendement du Conseil et de ses membres ?
9.       Le président prend-il la peine d’aborder les membres non performants pour les aider à trouver des solutions ?
10.    Le président s’assure-t-il que les membres comprennent bien leurs devoirs de fiduciaire, c’est-à-dire qu’ils doivent veiller aux meilleurs intérêts de l’organisation et non aux intérêts de la base dont ils sont issus ?

 

 

Thème 3 — Relation entre le Conseil et le directeur général (direction)

(Questions destinées au PC et au Directeur général [DG])

 

1.       Le président du Conseil et le directeur général ont-ils des rencontres régulières et statutaires pour faire le point entre les réunions du Conseil ?
2.       Le président du Conseil et le directeur général maintiennent-ils une communication franche et ouverte ? (équilibre entre une saine tension et des relations harmonieuses et efficaces)
3.       Le Conseil résiste-t-il à la tentation de faire de la micro gestion lors de ses réunions et s’en tient-il à assumer les responsabilités qui lui incombent ?
4.       Le Conseil agit-il de façon respectueuse à l’endroit du directeur général lors des réunions du Conseil et cherche-t-il à l’aider à réussir ?
5.       Le Conseil procède-t-il à une évaluation annuelle du rendement du directeur général (par le comité de GRH) basée sur des critères objectifs et mutuellement acceptés ?
6.       Les membres du Conseil s’abstiennent-ils de donner des ordres ou des directives aux employés qui relèvent de l’autorité du directeur général ?
7.       Le président comprend-il que le directeur général ne relève pas de lui, mais plutôt du Conseil, et agit-il en conséquence ?
8.       Le directeur général aide-t-il adéquatement le président dans la préparation des réunions du Conseil, fournit-il aux membres l’information dont ils ont besoin et répond-il à leurs questions de manière satisfaisante ?
9.       Le directeur général s’assure-t-il de ne pas embourber les réunions du Conseil de sujets qui relèvent de sa propre compétence ?
10.    Le directeur général accepte-t-il de se rallier aux décisions prises par le Conseil, même dans les cas où il a exprimé des réserves ?

 

 

Thème 4 — Structure et travail des comités du Conseil

 (Questions destinées au PC et au président d’un des comités)

 

1.       Existe-t-il, au sein de votre organisation, les comités du Conseil suivants :

·         Audit ?

·         Gouvernance ?

·         Ressources humaines ?

·         Gestion des risques ?

·         Sinon, a-t-on inclus les responsabilités de ces comités dans le mandat du Conseil ou d’une autre instance indépendante ?

·         Autres comités reliés à la recherche (ex. éthique, scientifique) ?

 

2.       Les recommandations des comités du Conseil aident-elles le Conseil à bien s’acquitter de son rôle ?
3.       Les comités du Conseil sont-ils actifs et présentent-ils régulièrement des rapports au Conseil ?
4.       Estimez-vous que les comités créent de la valeur pour votre organisation ?
5.       Les comités du Conseil s’abstiennent-ils de s’immiscer dans la sphère de responsabilité du directeur général ?
6.       À l’heure actuelle, la séparation des rôles et responsabilités respectifs du Conseil, des comités et de la direction est-elle officiellement documentée, généralement comprise et mise en pratique ?
7.       Les membres qui siègent à un comité opérationnel comprennent-ils qu’ils travaillent sous l’autorité du directeur général ?
8.       Le directeur général est-il invité à assister aux réunions des comités du Conseil ?
9.       Chacun des comités et des groupes de travail du Conseil dispose-t-il d’un mandat clair et formulé par écrit ?
10.    S’il existe un comité exécutif dans votre organisation, son existence est-elle prévue dans le règlement de régie interne et, si oui, son rôle est-il clairement défini ?

 

 

Thème 5 — Performance du Conseil et de ses comités 

(Questions destinées au PC et au président du comité de gouvernance [PCG])

 

1.       Est-ce que la rémunération des membres du Conseil a été déterminée par le comité de gouvernance ou avec l’aide d’un processus indépendant ? (Jetons de présence ?)
2.       Par quels processus s’assure-t-on que le Conseil consacre suffisamment de temps et d’attention aux tendances émergentes et à la prévision des besoins futurs de la collectivité qu’il sert ?
3.       Est-ce que l’on procède à l’évaluation de la performance du Conseil, des comités et de ses membres au moins annuellement ?
4.       Est-ce que la logique et la démarche d’évaluation ont été expliquées aux membres du Conseil, et ceux-ci ont-ils pu donner leur point de vue avant de procéder à l’évaluation ?
5.       A-t-on convenu préalablement de la façon dont les données seront gérées de manière à fournir une garantie sur la confidentialité de l’information recueillie ?
6.       Est-ce que le président de Conseil croit que le directeur général et la haute direction font une évaluation positive de l’apport des membres du Conseil ?
7.       L’évaluation du Conseil et de ses comités mène-t-elle à un plan d’action réaliste pour prendre les mesures nécessaires selon leur priorité ?
8.       L’évaluation du Conseil permet-elle de relever les lacunes en matière de compétences et d’expérience qui pourraient être comblées par l’ajout de nouveaux membres ?
9.       Est-ce que les membres sont évalués en fonction des compétences et connaissances qu’ils sont censés apporter au Conseil ?
10.    Les membres sont-ils informés par le président du Conseil de leurs résultats d’évaluation dans le but d’aboutir à des mesures de perfectionnement ?

 

 

Thème 6 — Recrutement, rémunération et évaluation du rendement du DG

(Questions destinées au PC, au DG [auto-évaluation] et au président du comité des RH)

 

1.       Existe-t-il une description du poste de directeur général ? Cette description a-t-elle servi au moment de l’embauche du titulaire du poste ?
2.       Un comité du Conseil (comité de GRH) ou un groupe de membres indépendants est-il responsable de l’évaluation du rendement du directeur général (basé sur des critères objectifs) ?
3.       Le président du Conseil s’est-il vu confier un rôle prépondérant au sein du comité responsable de l’évaluation du rendement du directeur général afin qu’il exerce le leadership que l’on attend de lui ?
4.       Le comité responsable de l’évaluation du rendement et le directeur général ont-ils convenu d’objectifs de performance sur lesquels ce dernier sera évalué ?
5.       Le rendement du directeur général est-il évalué au moins une fois l’an en fonction de ces objectifs ?
6.       Les objectifs de rendement du directeur général sont-ils liés au plan stratégique ?
7.       Le comité responsable de l’évaluation du rendement s’est-il entretenu avec le directeur général en cours d’année pour lui donner une rétroaction préliminaire ?
8.       La rémunération du directeur général est-elle équitable par rapport à l’ensemble des employés et a-t-elle fait l’objet d’une analyse comparative avec le marché des organisations afin d’assurer un certain degré de compétitivité ?
9.       Les hausses salariales du directeur général sont-elles uniquement accordées en fonction de l’évaluation de son rendement ?
10.    Est-ce que le Conseil consacre l’attention nécessaire à la succession du directeur général et dispose-t-il d’un processus robuste d’identification d’un nouveau premier dirigeant, tant pour les transitions planifiées que non planifiées ?

 

 

Thème 7 — Planification stratégique 

(Questions destinées au PC et au DG)

 

1.       Votre organisation possède-t-elle un plan stratégique incluant notamment :

·         le contexte dans lequel évoluent la société et les principaux enjeux auxquels elle fait face ?

·         les objectifs et les orientations stratégiques de la société ?

·         les résultats visés au terme de la période couverte par le plan ?

·         les indicateurs de performance utilisés pour mesurer l’atteinte des résultats ?

2.       Le plan stratégique porte-t-il sur une période cohérente avec la mission et l’environnement dans lequel il œuvre ?
3.       La mission, les valeurs et l’énoncé de vision de l’organisation ont-ils été déterminés et réévalués périodiquement ?
4.       Est-ce qu’il y a eu une analyse Forces/faiblesses et opportunités/menaces ?
5.       L’ensemble des parties prenantes de l’organisation a-t-il été consulté notamment au moyen de sondages et d’entrevues, et lors d’un atelier de planification stratégique ?
6.       Les membres ont-ils été engagés dans le processus, notamment par la création d’un comité ad hoc chargé de piloter l’exercice et par des rapports périodiques aux réunions du Conseil ?
7.       Le Conseil évalue-t-il la stratégie proposée, notamment les hypothèses clés, les principaux risques, les ressources nécessaires et les résultats cibles, et s’assure-t-il qu’il traite les questions primordiales telles que l’émergence de la concurrence et l’évolution des préférences des clients ?
8.       Le président du Conseil s’assure-t-il que le plan stratégique soit débattu lors de réunions spéciales et que le Conseil dispose de suffisamment de temps pour être efficace ?
9.       Le Conseil est-il satisfait des plans de la direction pour la mise en œuvre de la stratégie approuvée ?
10.    Le Conseil surveille-t-il la viabilité permanente de la stratégie, et est-elle ajustée, si nécessaire, pour répondre aux évolutions de l’environnement ?

 

 

Thème 8 — Performance et reddition de comptes

 (Questions destinées au Président du comité d’audit ou au PC, au DG et au secrétaire corporatif)

 

1.       S’assure-t-on que les indicateurs de performance utilisés par la direction et présentés au Conseil sont reliés à la stratégie de l’organisation et aux objectifs à atteindre ?
2.       S’assure-t-on que les indicateurs de la performance sont équilibrés entre indicateurs financiers et non financiers, qu’ils comprennent des indicateurs prévisionnels et permettent une comparaison des activités similaires ?
3.       A-t-on une assurance raisonnable de la fiabilité des indicateurs de performance qui sont soumis au Conseil ?
4.       Utilise-t-on des informations de sources externes afin de mieux évaluer la performance de l’organisation ?
5.       Le Conseil et les comités réexaminent-ils régulièrement la pertinence de l’information qu’il reçoit ?
6.       Le Conseil examine-t-il d’un œil critique les informations à fournir aux parties prenantes ?
7.       Le Conseil est-il satisfait du processus de communication de crise de la société et est-il à même de surveiller de près son efficacité si une crise survient ?
8.       Le Conseil est-il satisfait de son implication actuelle dans la communication avec les parties prenantes externes et comprend-il les évolutions susceptibles de l’inciter à modifier son degré de participation ?
9.       Est-ce que la direction transmet suffisamment d’information opérationnelle au Conseil afin que celui-ci puisse bien s’acquitter de ses responsabilités de surveillance ?
10.    Est-ce que le Conseil s’assure que les informations sont fournies aux parties prenantes telles que les organismes réglementaires, les organismes subventionnaires et les partenaires d’affaires ?

 

 

Thème 9 — Gestion des risques

 (Questions destinées au PC et au Président du comité de Gestion des risques ou au Président du comité d’audit)

 

1.       L’organisation a-t-elle une politique de gestion des risques et obtient-elle l’adhésion de l’ensemble des dirigeants et des employés ?
2.       L’organisation a-t-elle identifié et évalué les principaux risques susceptibles de menacer sa réputation, son intégrité, ses programmes et sa pérennité ainsi que les principaux mécanismes d’atténuation ?
3.       L’organisation a-t-elle un plan de gestion de la continuité advenant un sinistre ?
4.       Est-ce que les risques les plus élevés font l’objet de mandats d’audit interne afin de donner un niveau d’assurance suffisant aux membres du Conseil ?
5.       L’organisation se penche-t-elle occasionnellement sur les processus de contrôle des transactions, par exemple l’autorisation des dépenses, l’achat de biens et services, la vérification et l’approbation des factures et des frais de déplacement, l’émission des paiements, etc. ?
6.       Existe-t-il une délégation d’autorité documentée et comprise par tous les intervenants ?
7.       Le Conseil a-t-il convenu avec la direction de l’appétit pour le risque ? (le niveau de risque que l’organisation est prête à assumer)
8.       Le Conseil est-il informé en temps utile lors de la matérialisation d’un risque critique et s’assure-t-il que la direction les gère convenablement ?
9.       S’assure-t-on que la direction entretient une culture qui encourage l’identification et la gestion des risques ?
10.   Le Conseil s’est-il assuré que la direction a pris les mesures nécessaires pour se prémunir des risques émergents, notamment ceux reliés à la cybersécurité et aux cyberattaques ?

 

Thème 10 — Éthique et culture organisationnelle

 (Questions destinées au DG et au PC)

 

1.       Les politiques de votre organisation visant à favoriser l’éthique sont-elles bien connues et appliquées par ses employés, partenaires et bénévoles ?
2.       Le Conseil de votre organisation aborde-t-il régulièrement la question de l’éthique, notamment en recevant des rapports sur les plaintes, les dénonciations ?
3.       Le Conseil et l’équipe de direction de votre organisation participent-ils régulièrement à des activités de formation visant à parfaire leurs connaissances et leurs compétences en matière d’éthique ?
4.       S’assure-t-on que la direction générale est exemplaire et a développé une culture fondée sur des valeurs qui se déclinent dans l’ensemble de l’organisation ?
5.       S’assure-t-on que la direction prend au sérieux les manquements à l’éthique et les gère promptement et de façon cohérente ?
6.       S’assure-t-on que la direction a élaboré un code de conduite efficace auquel elle adhère, et veille à ce que tous les membres du personnel en comprennent la teneur, la pertinence et l’importance ?
7.       S’assure-t-on de l’existence de canaux de communication efficaces (ligne d’alerte téléphonique dédiée, assistance téléphonique, etc.) pour permettre aux membres du personnel et partenaires de signaler les problèmes ?
8.       Le Conseil reconnaît-il l’impact sur la réputation de l’organisation du comportement de ses principaux fournisseurs et autres partenaires ?
9.       Est-ce que le président du Conseil donne le ton au même titre que le DG au niveau des opérations sur la culture organisationnelle au nom de ses croyances, son attitude et ses valeurs ?
10.    Est-ce que l’organisation a la capacité d’intégrer des changements à même ses processus, outils ou comportements dans un délai raisonnable ?

 

 

Annexe

Présentation du schéma conceptuel

 

 

Thème (1) — Structure et fonctionnement du Conseil

Thème (2) — Travail du président du Conseil

Thème (3) — Relation entre le Conseil et le directeur général (direction)

Thème (4) — Structure et travail des comités du Conseil

Thème (5) — Performance du Conseil et de ses comités

Thème (6) — Recrutement, rémunération et évaluation du rendement du directeur général

Thème (7) — Planification stratégique

Thème (8) — Performance et reddition de comptes

Thème (9) — Gestion des risques

Thème (10) — Éthique et culture organisationnelle

Le comité exécutif et le conseil d’administration


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

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

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

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

Qu’en pensez-vous ?

____________________________________________________

 

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

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

 

Résultats de recherche d'images pour « comité exécutif »

 

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

 

Alan Kershaw

Chair of Regulatory Board

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

 

John Dinner

John T,  Dinner Board Governance Services

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

 

Chuck Molina

Chief Technology Officer at DHI

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

 

Dave Chapman

CHM and CEO of NorthPoint ERM

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

Experienced CEO & Board member of Domestic and European companies.

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

 

Al Errington

Entrepreneur & Governance Advocate

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

 

Emerson Galfo

Consulting CFO/COO / Board Member/Advisor

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

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

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

 

Terry Tormey

President & CEO at Prevention Pharmaceuticals Inc.

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

 

John Baily

Board of Directors at RLI Corp

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

 

Chinyere Nze

Chief Executive Officer

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

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

 

STEPHEN KOSMALSKI

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

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

 

Thomas Brattle « Toby » Gannett

President and CEO at BCR Managment

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

 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

Voici les recommandations qui émanent de cette enquête :

 

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

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

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

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

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

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