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



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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.

On assiste à une grande résistance aux changements dans la composition des CA en 2018 !

Aujourd’hui, je vous invite à faire un bref tour d’horizon des pratiques des conseils d’administration dans les compagnies publiques américaines (S&P 500 and Russell 3000) au cours de la dernière année.

Cet article publié par Matteo Tonello, Directeur de la recherche  ESG du Conference Board, a été publié sur le site de Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance.

Il est notable que les pratiques des conseils d’administration n’aient pas évolué au même rythme que les changements dans les processus de gouvernance.

L’étude montre que la composition des conseils d’administration reste inchangée pour environ la moitié des entreprises cotées.

Cela laisse donc peu de place aux jeunes administrateurs de la relève puisque, lorsqu’il y a un poste vacant au sein d’un conseil, celui-ci est comblé par l’ajout d’un administrateur qui a déjà une longue expérience sur des conseils d’administration.

Parmi les résultats les plus concluants, je retiens les suivants :

  1. Directors are in for a long ride: their average tenure exceeds 10 years.
  2. Despite demand for more inclusiveness and a diverse array of skills, in their director selection companies continue to value prior board experience.
  3. Corporate boards remain quite inaccessible to younger generations of business leaders, with the highest number of directors under age 60 seen in new-economy sectors such as information technology and communications. 
  4. While progress on gender diversity of corporate directors is being reported, a staggering 20 percent of firms in the Russell 3000 index still have no female representatives on their board.
  5. Periodically evaluating director performance is critical to a more meritocratic and dynamic boardroom.
  6. Among smaller companies, staggered board structures also stand in the way of change

Pour plus d’information, je vous incite à lire le bref article qui suit.

Bonne lecture !


Corporate Board Practices in the S&P 500 and Russell 3000 | 2019 Edition



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According to a new report by The Conference Board and ESG data analytics firm ESGAUGE, in their 2018 SEC filings 50 percent of Russell 3000 companies and 43 percent of S&P 500 companies disclosed no change in the composition of their board of directors. More specifically, they neither added a new member to the board nor did they replace an existing member. In those cases where a replacement or addition did happen, it rarely affected more than one board seat. Only one-quarter of boards elected a first-time director who had never served on a public company board before.

These findings provide some important context to the current debate on gender diversity and board refreshment, underscoring the main reasons why progress remains slow: average director tenure continues to be quite extensive (at 10 years or longer), board seats rarely become vacant and, when a spot is available, it is often taken by a seasoned director rather than a newcomer with no prior board experience.

The study, Corporate Board Practices in the Russell 3000 and S&P 500: 2019 Edition, documents corporate governance trends and developments at 2,854 companies registered with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that filed their proxy statement in the January 1 to November 1, 2018 period and, as of January 2018, were included in the Russell 3000 Index. Data are based on disclosure included by companies in proxy statements and other periodic SEC reports as well as on other organizational and policy documents (charters, bylaws, board committee charters, and corporate governance principles) accessible through the EDGAR database and the investor relations section of corporate websites. For comparative purposes, data are compared with the S&P 500 index and segmented by 11 business sectors under the Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS), five annual revenue groups, and three asset value groups.

The project was developed in collaboration with the John L. Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance (successor of the Investor Responsibility Research Center Institute (IRRCi)), Debevoise & Plimpton and Russell Reynolds Associates. Part of The Conference Board ESG Intelligence suite of benchmarking products, the study continues the long-standing tradition of The Conference Board as a provider of comparative information on organizational policies and practices. The suite is available at www.conference-board.org/ESGintelligence

Corporate governance has undergone a profound transformation in the last two decades, as a result of the legislative and regulatory changes that have expanded director responsibilities as well as the rise of more vocal shareholders. Yet the composition of the board of directors has not changed as rapidly as other governance practices. To this day, many public company boards do not see any turnover that is not the result of retirement at the end of a fairly long tenure.

Other findings from the report illustrate the state of board practices, which may vary markedly depending on the size of the organization or its business industry:

Directors are in for a long ride: their average tenure exceeds 10 years. About one-fourth of Russell 3000 directors who step down do so after more than 15 years of service. The longest average board member tenures are seen in the financial (13.2 years), consumer staples (11.1 years), and real estate (11 years) industries.

Despite demand for more inclusiveness and a diverse array of skills, in their director selection companies continue to value prior board experience. Only a quarter of organizations elect a director who has never served on a public company board before. Companies with annual revenue of $20 billion or higher are twice as likely to elect two first-time directors as those with an annual turnover of $1 billion or less (7.3 percent versus 3.2 percent).

Corporate boards remain quite inaccessible to younger generations of business leaders, with the highest number of directors under age 60 seen in new-economy sectors such as information technology and communications. Only 10 percent of Russell 3000 directors and 6.3 percent of S&P 500 directors are aged 50 or younger, and in both indexes about one-fifth of board members are more than 70 years of age. These numbers show no change from those registered two years ago. Regarding data on the adoption of retirement policies based on age, only about one-fourth of Russell 3000 companies choose to use such policies to foster director turnover.

While progress on gender diversity of corporate directors is being reported, a staggering 20 percent of firms in the Russell 3000 index still have no female representatives on their board. Albeit still slow, progress has been steady in the last few years—a reflection of the increasing demand for diversity made by multiple stakeholders and policy groups: For example, the Every Other One initiative by the Committee for Economic Development (CED) of The Conference Board advocates for a system where every other corporate board seat vacated by a retiring board member should be filled by a woman, while retaining existing female directors. [1] However, even though women are elected as corporate directors in larger numbers than before, almost all board chair positions remain held by men (only 4.1 percent of Russell 3000 companies have a female board chair).

Periodically evaluating director performance is critical to a more meritocratic and dynamic boardroom. However, even though many board members consider the performance of at least one fellow director as suboptimal, in the Russell 3000 index, only 14.2 percent of companies disclose that the contribution of individual directors is reviewed annually.

Among smaller companies, staggered board structures also stand in the way of change. Almost 60 percent of firms with revenue under $1 billion continue to retain a classified board and hold annual elections only for one class of their directors, not all. And while just 9.5 percent of financial institutions with asset value of $100 billion or higher have director classes, the percentage rises to 44.1 for those with asset value under $10 billion.

Though declining in popularity, a simple plurality voting standard remains prevalent. This voting standard allows incumbents in uncontested elections to be re-elected to the board even if a majority of the shares were voted against them. In the Russell 3000, 51.5 percent of directors retain plurality voting.

Only 15.5 percent of the Russell 3000 companies have adopted some type of proxy access bylaws. Such bylaws allow qualified shareholders to include their own director nominees on the proxy ballot, alongside candidates proposed by management. In all other companies, shareholders that want to bring forward a different slate of nominees need to incur the expense of circulating their own proxy materials.


1Every Other One: A Status Update on Women on Boards, Policy Brief, The Conference Board, Committee for Economic Development (CED), November 14, 2016, https://www.ced.org/reports/every-other-one-more-women-on-corporate-boards(go back)

Recommandations pour l’amélioration de la gouvernance des organismes publics au Québec

Je suis tout à fait d’accord avec la teneur de l’article de l’IGOPP, publié par Yvan Allaire* intitulé « Six mesures pour améliorer la gouvernance des organismes publics au Québec», lequel dresse un état des lieux qui soulève des défis considérables pour l’amélioration de la gouvernance dans le secteur public et propose des mesures qui pourraient s’avérer utiles. Celui-ci fut a été soumis au journal Le Devoir, pour publication.

L’article soulève plusieurs arguments pour des conseils d’administration responsables, compétents, légitimes et crédibles aux yeux des ministres responsables.

Même si la Loi sur la gouvernance des sociétés d’État a mis en place certaines dispositions qui balisent adéquatement les responsabilités des C.A., celles-ci sont poreuses et n’accordent pas l’autonomie nécessaire au conseil d’administration, et à son président, pour effectuer une véritable veille sur la gestion de ces organismes.

Selon l’auteur, les ministres contournent allègrement les C.A., et ne les consultent pas. La réalité politique amène les ministres responsables à ne prendre principalement avis que du PDG ou du président du conseil : deux postes qui sont sous le contrôle et l’influence du ministère du conseil exécutif ainsi que des ministres responsables des sociétés d’État (qui ont trop souvent des mandats écourtés !).

Rappelons, en toile de fond à l’article, certaines dispositions de la loi :

– Au moins les deux tiers des membres du conseil d’administration, dont le président, doivent, de l’avis du gouvernement, se qualifier comme administrateurs indépendants.

– Le mandat des membres du conseil d’administration peut être renouvelé deux fois

– Le conseil d’administration doit constituer les comités suivants, lesquels ne doivent être composés que de membres indépendants :

1 ° un comité de gouvernance et d’éthique ;

2 ° un comité d’audit ;

3 ° un comité des ressources humaines.

– Les fonctions de président du conseil d’administration et de président-directeur général de la société ne peuvent être cumulées.

– Le ministre peut donner des directives sur l’orientation et les objectifs généraux qu’une société doit poursuivre.

– Les conseils d’administration doivent, pour l’ensemble des sociétés, être constitués à parts égales de femmes et d’hommes.

Yvan a accepté d’agir en tant qu’auteur invité dans mon blogue en gouvernance. Voici donc son article.


Six mesures pour améliorer la gouvernance des organismes publics au Québec

par Yvan Allaire*


La récente controverse à propos de la Société immobilière du Québec a fait constater derechef que, malgré des progrès certains, les espoirs investis dans une meilleure gouvernance des organismes publics se sont dissipés graduellement. Ce n’est pas tellement les crises récurrentes survenant dans des organismes ou sociétés d’État qui font problème. Ces phénomènes sont inévitables même avec une gouvernance exemplaire comme cela fut démontré à maintes reprises dans les sociétés cotées en Bourse. Non, ce qui est remarquable, c’est l’acceptation des limites inhérentes à la gouvernance dans le secteur public selon le modèle actuel.




En fait, propriété de l’État, les organismes publics ne jouissent pas de l’autonomie qui permettrait à leur conseil d’administration d’assumer les responsabilités essentielles qui incombent à un conseil d’administration normal : la nomination du PDG par le conseil (sauf pour la Caisse de dépôt et placement, et même pour celle-ci, la nomination du PDG par le conseil est assujettie au veto du gouvernement), l’établissement de la rémunération des dirigeants par le conseil, l’élection des membres du conseil par les « actionnaires » sur proposition du conseil, le conseil comme interlocuteur auprès des actionnaires.

Ainsi, le C.A. d’un organisme public, dépouillé des responsabilités qui donnent à un conseil sa légitimité auprès de la direction, entouré d’un appareil gouvernemental en communication constante avec le PDG, ne peut que difficilement affirmer son autorité sur la direction et décider vraiment des orientations stratégiques de l’organisme.

Pourtant, l’engouement pour la « bonne » gouvernance, inspirée par les pratiques de gouvernance mises en place dans les sociétés ouvertes cotées en Bourse, s’était vite propagé dans le secteur public. Dans un cas comme dans l’autre, la notion d’indépendance des membres du conseil a pris un caractère mythique, un véritable sine qua non de la « bonne » gouvernance. Or, à l’épreuve, on a vite constaté que l’indépendance qui compte est celle de l’esprit, ce qui ne se mesure pas, et que l’indépendance qui se mesure est sans grand intérêt et peut, en fait, s’accompagner d’une dangereuse ignorance des particularités de l’organisme à gouverner.

Ce constat des limites des conseils d’administration que font les ministres et les ministères devrait les inciter à modifier ce modèle de gouvernance, à procéder à une sélection plus serrée des membres de conseil, à prévoir une formation plus poussée des membres de C.A. sur les aspects substantifs de l’organisme dont ils doivent assumer la gouvernance.

Or, l’État manifeste plutôt une indifférence courtoise, parfois une certaine hostilité, envers les conseils et leurs membres que l’on estime ignorants des vrais enjeux et superflus pour les décisions importantes.

Évidemment, le caractère politique de ces organismes exacerbe ces tendances. Dès qu’un organisme quelconque de l’État met le gouvernement dans l’embarras pour quelque faute ou erreur, les partis d’opposition sautent sur l’occasion, et les médias aidant, le gouvernement est pressé d’agir pour que le « scandale » s’estompe, que la « crise » soit réglée au plus vite. Alors, les ministres concernés deviennent préoccupés surtout de leur contrôle sur ce qui se fait dans tous les organismes sous leur responsabilité, même si cela est au détriment d’une saine gouvernance.

Ce brutal constat fait que le gouvernement, les ministères et ministres responsables contournent les conseils d’administration, les consultent rarement, semblent considérer cette agitation de gouvernance comme une obligation juridique, un mécanisme pro-forma utile qu’en cas de blâme à partager.

Prenant en compte ces réalités qui leur semblent incontournables, les membres des conseils d’organismes publics, bénévoles pour la plupart, se concentrent alors sur les enjeux pour lesquels ils exercent encore une certaine influence, se réjouissent d’avoir cette occasion d’apprentissage et apprécient la notoriété que leur apporte dans leur milieu ce rôle d’administrateur.

Cet état des lieux, s’il est justement décrit, soulève des défis considérables pour l’amélioration de la gouvernance dans le secteur public. Les mesures suivantes pourraient s’avérer utiles :

  1. Relever considérablement la formation donnée aux membres de conseil en ce qui concerne les particularités de fonctionnement de l’organisme, ses enjeux, ses défis et critères de succès. Cette formation doit aller bien au-delà des cours en gouvernance qui sont devenus quasi-obligatoires. Sans une formation sur la substance de l’organisme, un nouveau membre de conseil devient une sorte de touriste pendant un temps assez long avant de comprendre suffisamment le caractère de l’organisation et son fonctionnement.
  2. Accorder aux conseils d’administration un rôle élargi pour la nomination du PDG de l’organisme ; par exemple, le conseil pourrait, après recherche de candidatures et évaluation de celles-ci, recommander au gouvernement deux candidats pour le choix éventuel du gouvernement. Le conseil serait également autorisé à démettre un PDG de ses fonctions, après consultation du gouvernement.
  3. De même, le gouvernement devrait élargir le bassin de candidats et candidates pour les conseils d’administration, recevoir l’avis du conseil sur le profil recherché.
  4. Une rémunération adéquate devrait être versée aux membres de conseil ; le bénévolat en ce domaine prive souvent les organismes de l’État du talent essentiel au succès de la gouvernance.
  5. Rendre publique la grille de compétences pour les membres du conseil dont doivent se doter la plupart des organismes publics ; fournir une information détaillée sur l’expérience des membres du conseil et rapprocher l’expérience/expertise de chacun de la grille de compétences établie. Cette information devrait apparaître sur le site Web de l’organisme.
  6. Au risque de trahir une incorrigible naïveté, je crois que l’on pourrait en arriver à ce que les problèmes qui surgissent inévitablement dans l’un ou l’autre organisme public soient pris en charge par le conseil d’administration et la direction de l’organisme. En d’autres mots, en réponse aux questions des partis d’opposition et des médias, le ministre responsable indique que le président du conseil de l’organisme en cause et son PDG tiendront incessamment une conférence de presse pour expliquer la situation et présenter les mesures prises pour la corriger. Si leur intervention semble insuffisante, alors le ministre prend en main le dossier et en répond devant l’opinion publique.


*Yvan Allaire, Ph. D. (MIT), MSRC Président exécutif du conseil, IGOPP Professeur émérite de stratégie, UQÀM

Il y a encore trop de CA sans représentation féminine !

Lyla Qureshi, analyste chez Equilar, vient de publier un article très intéressant sur les caractéristiques des entreprises du Russell 3000 qui n’ont pas de femmes siégeant au conseil d’administration.

L’une des raisons invoquées pour ne pas avoir de représentation féminine au conseil est que la composition du CA n’est pas une priorité pour les actionnaires ! Qu’en pensez-vous ?

La situation change, mais pas suffisamment rapidement selon les spécialistes de la gouvernance.

Bonne lecture !


Boardrooms Without Female Representation


Board diversity is a governance issue that has been getting a large amount of attention for the past couple of years. This year, gender diversity, particularly in relation to board member appointments, has been in the limelight. This heightened focus comes in part thanks to SB-826, a recently-passed California bill that will mandate that public companies headquartered in the state must place at least one woman on their board by the end of 2019. Furthermore, the legislation directs publicly listed companies to have two women on boards with five members, and three on those which have six or more members by 2021. To find out where the current Russell 3000, not just California, stands in terms of board gender diversity, Equilar conducted a study to examine which companies have not had a woman on their board.



Out of the entire Russell 3000 index, 344 companies have not had a female board member in the history of the Equilar database, which goes back to the year 2000. Additionally, the two sectors with the highest count of companies without a female on their board are the financial and technology sectors, with each having approximately 48 companies with all male boards. Healthcare, as well as the services sector, both had at least 40 companies with all male boards for their entire Equilar database history. On the flip side, companies that are a part of the utilities sector account for approximately 1.4% of the companies with all-male boards.

According to The Guardian, one of the reasons cited by companies for not recruiting females to their boards is the fact that the make-up of boards is not a priority for shareholders. However, that excuse may not necessarily hold true. For instance, BlackRock, one of the largest shareholders of American companies, stated in the beginning of this year that they would like to see at least two female board members at companies in which it invests. As mentioned in The Wall Street Journal, Michelle Edkins, Global Head of Investment Stewardship at BlackRock, wrote, “We believe that a lack of diversity on the board undermines its ability to make effective strategic decisions. That, in turn, inhibits the company’s capacity for long-term growth.” Yet another reason provided by companies to justify male-dominated boards is due to an alleged dearth of qualified female candidates and “over-boarding” of women who are experienced. Research conducted on this indicates that rather than a lack of expertise, what women tend to lack is board experience. This is because many businesses prefer veteran female directors over novices. Women trying to enter the world of board memberships have a tough time landing their first board position; however the same is not true for men. While speaking with The Wall Street Journal, Bill George, former head of Medtronic PLC, said, “To gain their first corporate board seat, women still have to overcome strong cultural issues that most men don’t have to overcome.” Furthermore, men also have the advantage of having a wider network made up of other powerful, well-positioned men. Coco Brown, founder of Athena Alliance, told The Journal, “Women on the whole are outside the trusted networks of public company boards. So they end up with the bar that requires board experience.”

Although the numbers provided above are not encouraging, what is positive is that there were approximately 44 new companies that added a female to their board in the second quarter of 2018. An interesting trend observed in the proxies of these companies is that almost all of the documents had a disclosure regarding diversity in them. Out of the 44 companies in discussion, 38 had text that addressed the topic of diversity, while 29 of those 38 disclosures had text pertaining specifically to gender diversity. The disclosures stated that the company recognized the importance of diversity and relayed the fact that they were cognizant that changes must be made to the organization in order show how truly committed they are to rectifying the male-dominated board structure. The appointments of female directors by these companies shortly after the release of their proxies showed that the companies followed through with their promise of making their board more gender balanced.

Although the numbers reported in this study with respect to the prevalence of all-male boards paint a bleak picture regarding gender equity in American boardrooms, the increased focus on gender-balanced boards has resulted in companies making concrete changes, as witnessed by the rise in female board members this year alone. In a study earlier this year, Equilar reported that the percentage of women on Russell 3000 boards increased from 16.9% to 17.7% between March 31 and June 30, 2018. Despite the fact that for some the pace of change is not fast enough, one hopes that if present efforts to ensure equal gender representation on boards continue, gender-balanced boardrooms will become a reality in the near future.

L’activisme actionnarial sans frontières et sans limites

L’activisme actionnarial est de plus en plus en vogue dans les grandes entreprises publiques, partout à l’échelle de la planète.

Selon François Dauphin, ce phénomène mondial est dommageable à plusieurs titres. Son article soulève plusieurs exemples d’organisations qui ont été la cible d’attaques de la part de fonds de couverture (hedge funds).

Les effets négatifs de ce mouvement sont encore trop méconnus des Québécois et plusieurs grandes entreprises ne sont pas suffisamment vigilantes à cet égard. L’auteur mentionne les cas d’entreprises de chez nous qui ont été ciblées.

Les recherches qu’il a menées avec Yvan Allaire de l’IGOPP ont démontré « que les rendements obtenus par les activistes n’étaient pas supérieurs à ceux d’un groupe d’entreprises comparables, sauf lorsque les entreprises ciblées étaient vendues. Lorsque des améliorations opérationnelles étaient constatées, celles-ci provenaient essentiellement de la vente d’actifs, d’une réduction des investissements en capital ou en recherche et développement, de rachat d’actions ou d’une réduction du nombre d’employés. Bref, les avantages sur le plan du rendement financier s’expliquaient par des manœuvres à courte vue ».

François a accepté d’agir en tant qu’auteur invité dans mon blogue en gouvernance. Voici donc son article ; vos commentaires sont les bienvenus.

Bonne lecture !


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Qu’est-ce que l’activisme actionnarial ? Définition d’une pratique aux multiples visages


L’activisme actionnarial sans frontières et sans limites

par François Dauphin*

Chargé de cours ESG-UQAM



Dans le cadre d’une conférence donnée à New York le 9 octobre dernier, Bill Ackman a dévoilé, dans son style habituel, que le fonds de couverture qu’il dirige, Pershing Square, a fait l’acquisition de 15,2 millions d’actions de Starbucks (une valeur de près de 900 millions de dollars). Après l’annonce, l’action a grimpé de 5 %, avant de clôturer la séance en hausse de 1,5 %, et le prix est demeuré relativement stable depuis, malgré la correction subie par les marchés durant la même période.

Les coups d’éclat se multiplient chaque année. Aux États-Unis, l’emblématique Campbell Soup est actuellement aux prises avec l’activiste Dan Loeb, de Third Point, qui menace de renverser le conseil d’administration au complet afin de prendre le contrôle de la compagnie. Le conseil en place se défend, accusant l’activiste de souhaiter faire vendre la compagnie en totalité ou en pièces détachées. L’ultime jury, composé des actionnaires de la compagnie, tranchera le 29 novembre prochain au moment de l’élection des 12 membres du conseil lors de l’assemblée annuelle.

Le phénomène de l’activisme actionnarial demeure relativement méconnu au Québec. Pourtant, des sociétés canadiennes ont fait l’objet d’attaques, parfois répétées, de ces actionnaires aux objectifs résolument à court terme. Seulement au cours de la dernière année, des sociétés comme HBC, Power Corp, Open Text et Aimia ont été ciblées. Elles s’ajoutent aux Canadien Pacifique, Tim Hortons et autres sociétés qui ont été profondément transformées par le passage d’un investisseur activiste au sein de leur actionnariat.

Le phénomène ne s’essouffle pas, bien au contraire. Selon les données compilées par la firme américaine Lazard, 62 milliards de dollars ont été déployés par 108 activistes dans le cadre de 193 campagnes activistes en 2017 (dans des entreprises ciblées ayant des capitalisations boursières de 500 millions de dollars ou plus [1]). Après 6 mois en 2018, 145 campagnes ciblant 136 entreprises ont déjà été enregistrées, un nouveau record.

Et ces campagnes portent fruit… Au cours de l’année 2017, les activistes ont ainsi gagné 100 sièges aux conseils d’administration d’entreprises ciblées, et un total de 551 administrateurs auront été déboulonnés au cours des cinq dernières années en conséquence d’attaques activistes. Voilà une statistique qui devrait faire réfléchir tout administrateur qui se croit en position immuable, incluant nos administrateurs québécois qui pourraient se croire à l’abri de telles agitations.

L’activisme actionnarial n’est plus limité à l’Amérique du Nord. Après diverses incursions au Japon au cours des dernières années, on voit maintenant de plus en plus de sociétés européennes ciblées par ces campagnes, incluant des entreprises que l’on croyait à l’épreuve de telles manœuvres. En effet, Nestlé (vives critiques sur la stratégie, avec une demande de recentrer les activités) et Crédit Suisse (demande de scission de la banque en trois entités), par exemple, ont été au cœur de campagnes virulentes. 33 campagnes activistes européennes ont déjà été entamées au cours du premier semestre de 2018.

Les rendements justifient-ils cette recrudescence de cas ?

Dans une étude menée par l’IGOPP [2], il avait été démontré que les rendements obtenus par les activistes n’étaient pas supérieurs à ceux d’un groupe d’entreprises comparables, sauf lorsque les entreprises ciblées étaient vendues. Lorsque des améliorations opérationnelles étaient constatées, celles-ci provenaient essentiellement de la vente d’actifs, d’une réduction des investissements en capital ou en recherche et développement, de rachat d’actions ou d’une réduction du nombre d’employés. Bref, les avantages sur le plan du rendement financier s’expliquaient par des manœuvres à courte vue. Ces constats ont été maintes fois observés dans des études subséquentes, mais une divergence idéologique demeure profondément ancrée dans certains milieux académiques (et financiers) soutenant sans réserve les bienfaits de l’activisme actionnarial.

Les rendements réels des fonds activistes font également réfléchir sur le bien-fondé de cette excitation qui perturbe grandement les activités des entreprises ciblées. Pershing Square, le fonds dirigé par Ackman, est une société inscrite à la bourse et publie donc des résultats annuellement. Les rendements nets du fonds : -20,5 %, -13,5 % et -4,0 % en 2015, 2016 et 2017 respectivement. Ces rendements sont comparés à ceux du S&P 500 qui ont été de 1,4 %, 11,9 % et 21,8 % pour les trois mêmes années. Peu impressionnant.

Les 16 hauts dirigeants du fonds Pershing Square se sont néanmoins partagé la modique somme de 81,6 millions de dollars en rémunération en 2017, soit une moyenne de 5,1 millions par individu. Il est vrai qu’il s’agissait là d’une importante réduction comparativement aux dernières années, dont 2015, alors que les 18 membres de la haute direction s’étaient partagé 515,4 millions de dollars (une moyenne de 28,6 millions par individu).

Si les bienfaits pour les entreprises ciblées demeurent à prouver, le bénéfice pour les activistes eux-mêmes n’est assurément plus à démontrer. Pourtant, de nombreux administrateurs de régimes de retraite se laissent tenter à investir dans ces fonds de couverture activistes sous le mirage de rendements alléchants, alors que, ironiquement, les conséquences des campagnes activistes affectent généralement en premier lieu les travailleurs pour lesquels ils administrent cet argent, un fait souvent décrié par Leo E. Strine Jr., juge en chef de la Cour Suprême du Delaware. Ces travailleurs, paradoxalement, fourbissent donc eux-mêmes l’arme de leur bourreau en épargnant dans des régimes collectifs. Les administrateurs de tels régimes qui appuient les activistes devraient réviser leur stratégie de placement à la lumière d’un nécessaire examen de conscience.

[1] Selon Activist Insight, l’année 2017 a été marquée par 805 campagnes activistes en faisant abstraction du critère de la taille des entreprises ciblées.

[2] Allaire Y, et F. Dauphin, « The game of activist hedge funds: Cui bono ? », International Journal of Disclosure and Governance, Vol. 13, no 4, novembre 2016, pp.279-308.


*François Dauphin, MBA, CPA, CMA

François est actuellement vice-président directeur pour Ellix Gestion Condo, une firme spécialisée dans la gestion de syndicats de copropriété de grande envergure au centre-ville de Montréal. Auparavant, François était Directeur de la recherche de l’Institut sur la gouvernance d’organisations privées et publiques (IGOPP) où il était notamment responsable des activités de recherche et de publication sur des sujets reliés la gouvernance corporative et à la réglementation financière. Avant de se joindre à l’IGOPP, François a travaillé pour l’Ordre des comptables professionnels agréés du Québec (CPA) dans le cadre du programme de formation continue en management et en comptabilité de management; il demeure impliqué auprès de l’Ordre à titre de membre du Groupe de travail en gouvernance et planification stratégique. François cumule une expérience professionnelle de plus d’une vingtaine d’années en entreprise, dont plusieurs à des fonctions de haute direction. Il a toujours maintenu un lien avec l’enseignement en parallèle à ses activités professionnelles; il est chargé de cours à l’UQAM où il enseigne la stratégie des affaires depuis 2008. Membre de l’Ordre des comptables professionnels agréés du Québec, François détient un MBA de l’Université du Québec à Montréal.

Manuel de saine gouvernance au Canada

Voici un excellent rapport produit par L’Alliance canadienne pour la mixité et la bonne gouvernance que je vous invite vivement à consulter.

L’Alliance « est un regroupement inédit d’organisations sans but lucratif de premier plan, axé sur la recherche, la promotion et l’information dans les domaines de la gouvernance et de la mixité ».

Les membres de l’Alliance sont les suivants :

Les initiatives de l’Alliance consistent en la publication de deux documents qui constituent en quelque sorte des jalons et des consensus sur les principes de saine gouvernance au Canada.
La première partie du rapport porte sur la mixité dans les conseils d’administration.
Tout porte à croire que les organisations dotées de conseils d’administration et d’équipe de haute direction où les deux sexes sont représentés de façon équilibrée sont plus susceptibles que les autres d’obtenir de solides résultats financiers à long terme et de bénéficier d’une culture organisationnelle plus positive et inspirante. Elles donnent l’exemple et signalent clairement que la diversité de pensée et d’expérience leur tient à cœur.
Cette première partie brosse un portrait de la situation de la mixité au Canada. On y traite des points suivants :
– Le contexte et les obstacles courants
– L’analyse de rentabilité
– Les conditions essentielles de la mixité dans les conseils d’administration
Dans la deuxième partie, les auteurs ont constitué une trousse pour les conseils d’administration.
On y aborde les sujets suivants, en présentant de nombreux outils pratiques utiles à tous les CA :
1. Processus d’évaluation officiel des conseils d’administration
2. Limites liées aux mandats et à l’âge
3. Matrice de compétences des conseils d’administration
4. Politique sur la diversité des genres
5. Recrutement des membres du conseil
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L’Alliance canadienne pour la mixité et la bonne gouvernance


Les auteurs espèrent que ce « manuel stimulera la réflexion et apportera des outils pratiques pour la prise de mesures qui se traduiront par un meilleur équilibre hommes-femmes dans les conseils d’administration ».

Bonne lecture !

Étude sur le mix des compétences dans la composition des conseils d’administration

Aujourd’hui, je vous recommande la lecture d’un article publié par Anthony Garcia, vice-président de la firme ISS, paru sur le forum de Harvard Law School, qui aborde le sujet des compétences (skills) requises pour siéger à un conseil d’administration.

Plus précisément, l’auteur explore la nature des compétences exigées des administrateurs ; comment celles-ci opèrent-elles pour améliorer les pratiques de gouvernance des entreprises ?

D’abord, il faut noter que la recherche de la diversité des compétences au sein des conseils d’administration est considérée comme un atout important ; cependant, les entreprises mettent encore l’accent sur les compétences et les expertises traditionnelles : le leadership, les connaissances financières, une expérience de CEO, une connaissance des marchés de l’entreprise et une familiarité avec la fonction audit.

L’étude montre aussi que les administrateurs récemment nommés ont des compétences plus diversifiées, notamment eu égard aux connaissances des marchés internationaux, aux compétences reliées aux ventes et à l’expertise dans le domaine des technologies de l’information (TI).

Également, l’étude montre que les femmes administratrices sont plus qualifiées que les hommes dans plusieurs types de compétences.

Résultats de recherche d'images pour « compétences des administrateurs »

Enfin, les entreprises qui ont une plus grande diversité de compétences sont plus susceptibles de divulguer leurs politiques de risques concernant la gouvernance, les aspects sociaux et les considérations environnementales (ESG).

L’auteur résume les caractéristiques d’une matrice des compétences jugée efficace. L’article comporte également plusieurs illustrations assez explicites.


A matrix that does more than “check the box”: The NYC Fund’s Boardroom Accountability Project 2.0 has focused on having companies disclose a “matrix” of skills, as well as race and gender, of the directors. The Project has a “compendium of best practices” that provides examples of the formats and details that are considered within the scope disclosure best-practices. With regard to race and gender, some of the examples disclosed gender and racial information in aggregate format while others listed the race and gender for each board member. With regard to skills, some companies simply listed the skills of each nominee; some provided a brief description of the underlying qualifications for the skill; some also broke out the director’s biography categorically based on the identified skills; the best examples also highlighted the relevance of the particular skill in the context of the company’s business.

Standardized skill disclosure: There is guidance for what constitutes a financial expert for Sarbanes-Oxley compliance. While being a former or current CEO is straightforward answer for whether a director has that skill, something like technology is much less clear. Would working at a company in the information technology sector suffice? Does the director need to be a Chief Technology officer? Setting market standards would reduce the uncertainty and expense for each company to take on the responsibility individually and would also increase investor confidence in analyzing a board based on skills.

Skills mapped to specific responsibilities: The analysis shows that having a particular skill on the board will reduce ESG risks. However, a more in-depth assessment would also consider the skills that exist on the board’s committees and map those skills to the responsibilities of key committees. For example, if the board gives the audit committee oversight of cybersecurity, has the board included any audit committee members that have technology or risk management experience?

Bonne lecture !


Director Skills: Diversity of Thought and Experience in the Boardroom



Indice de diversité de genre | Equilar

Voici le dernier rapport de l’indice de diversité de genre (GDI) publié par Amit Batish, de la firme-conseil Equilar Inc.

Le texte est très explicite et abondamment illustré.

Dans l’ensemble, le pourcentage de femmes siégeant à des conseils d’administration du Russell 3000 est passé de 16,9 % à 17,7 % entre le 31 mars et le 30 juin 2018.

Durant la même période, plus du tiers des postes d’administrateurs ont été pourvus par des femmes.

Bonne lecture !


For a third consecutive quarter, the Equilar Gender Diversity Index (GDI) increased. The percentage of women on Russell 3000 boards increased from 16.9% to 17.7% between March 31 and June 30, 2018. This acceleration moved the needle, pushing the GDI to 0.35, where 1.0 represents parity among men and women on corporate boards.

One of the primary drivers of this steady GDI increase is the number of new directorships that have gone to women over the last few quarters. The chart below illustrates a consistent pace of growth of female directorships. In Q2 2018, more than one-third of new directorships went to women—this is a near three percentage point increase from the previous quarter and a pace that has almost doubled since 2014.



“In the first half of 2018 over 30% of newly-elected directors were women, which we believe indicates that companies are changing their approach to diversity,” said Brigid Rosati, Director of Business Development at Georgeson.

“It seems that companies are beginning to better understand the benefits that a more diverse board can bring, but are also in some cases responding to signs of increased interest from investors, including in the way they vote in director elections.”



In Q1 2018 the percentage of all male Russell 3000 boards fell to 19.5%, the first time ever that this figure sat below 20%. That figure continued to dip in Q2 2018, falling to 17.1%—a 2.4 percentage point drop. This data is certainly a promising sign that boards are making a concerted effort to promote diversity in the boardroom and that male-dominant boardrooms are becoming less prevalent. However, this is still a relatively sizable figure that indicates possible hurdles do indeed remain.

“Progress on diversity continues to be slow but it is continuing to move for the most part,” said Susan Angele, Senior Advisor of Board Governance at KPMG’s Board Leadership Center.

“Depending on the board’s own network, it may take a larger investment of time and effort to find the right person to add diversity as well as skill set, and having a diversity champion on the board driving the search may make a difference.”


Pressure Begins to Mount From Investors and Lawmakers


One of the many reasons that boards have lagged progress on the topic of diversity is that historically, there has been little pressure from investors or other key stakeholders to regularly advocate for such initiatives.

However, over the last year or so, gender diversity has become an area of focus across corporate America. There have been numerous efforts from various sources including institutional investors, regulators and lawmakers. In the Q1 2018 GDI report, Equilar cited 2017 as being banner year for shareholder engagement around gender diversity on boards, beginning with State Street’s “Fearless Girl” statue of a young woman facing o with the Wall Street Bull to bring awareness to gender diversity.

The gesture won a major advertising award, but State Street also voted against hundreds of directors on boards that did not have women. Subsequently, BlackRock voted in favor of several shareholder proposals that requested more disclosure around diversity in 2017, and earlier in 2018, sent letters to all Russell 1000 companies that had fewer than two women on their boards.

“In addition to investor focus, I see a confluence of events that should play out over time,” said Angele.

“The changes in the business environment and expectations on boards—including technological disruption, competition coming from outside the industry, changing demographics, culture and risk—all of these forces are making it more important for the boardroom to include directors with a mix of backgrounds and experience.”

Additionally, lawmakers have begun to get more involved with issues regarding gender diversity. For instance, by August 31, 2018, California could become the first state in the nation to mandate publicly held companies that base their operations in the state to have women on their boards. The legislation—SB 826—will require public companies headquartered in California to have a minimum of one female on its board of directors by December 31, 2019. That minimum will be raised to at least two female board members for companies with five directors or at least three female board members for companies with six or more directors by December 31, 2021. Violators of this legislation will be subject to financial consequences.

A new Equilar study examined how California fared against the United States as a whole with respect to women on boards. According to the study, California is slightly below other states and the national average in terms of average women on a board. California, on average, has 1.65 female members per board, whereas other states and the United States as a whole average 1.76 and 1.75 female members, respectively.



As legislators become more involved in matters of diversity, one might expect that progress toward greater female board representation will continue. The last few quarters alone have shown signs of progress, and this is before any significant quotas had been put in place. It would come as no surprise that the number of boards achieving parity continues to increase year-over-year following implementation of gender quotas across the nation.

Boards That Have Reached Parity Are Becoming More Prevalent


In combination of numerous factors, some previously mentioned in this article, since the inception of the GDI study, the number of Russell 3000 boards that achieved gender parity has steadily increased in most quarters. The Q2 2018 GDI revealed the largest quarter-over-quarter increase in the number of boards that have achieved parity to date, reaching 39—an increase of eight from the previous quarter and a spike of 18 from the end of 2016. The list of boards at parity is at the bottom of this article.

The number of boards that have between 40% and 50% is rising regularly as well. Collectively, 71 boards now have at least 40% women, up from 62 in the previous quarter.

“Several large institutional investors updated their proxy voting policies in 2018, which we think could continue to drive change beyond the significant progress we saw in the first half of 2018,” said Rosati. “Beyond this, we believe that continued media coverage and scrutiny means that we will see continued pressure from investors towards companies with zero women on their boards.”


About Equilar Gender Diversity Index

The Equilar GDI reflects changes on Russell 3000 boards on a quarterly basis as cited in 8-K lings to the SEC. Most indices that track information about board diversity do so annually or even less frequently, and typically with a smaller sample size, sometimes looking back more than a full year by the time the information is published. While this data is reliable and accurate, the Equilar GDI aims to capture the influence of the increasing calls for diversity from investors and other stakeholders in real time.

L’âge des nouveaux administrateurs est une variable de diversité trop souvent négligée dans la composition des CA !

Lorsque l’on parle de diversité au sein des conseils d’administration, on se réfère, la plupart du temps, à la composition du CA sur la base des genres et des origines ethniques.

L’âge des nouveaux administrateurs est une variable de diversité trop souvent négligée de la composition des CA. Dans cette enquête complète de PwC, les auteurs mettent l’accent sur les caractéristiques des administrateurs qui ont moins de 50 ans et qui servent sur les CA du S&P 500.

Cette étude de PwC est basée sur des données statistiques objectives provenant de diverses sources de divulgation des grandes entreprises américaines.

En consultant la table des matières du rapport, on constate que l’étude vise à répondre aux questions suivantes :


(1) Quelle est la population des jeunes administrateurs sur les CA du S&P 500 ?

Ils sont peu nombreux, et ils ne sont pas trop jeunes !

Ils ont été nommés récemment

Les femmes font une entrée remarquable, mais pas dans tous les groupes…


(2) Qu’y a-t-il de particulier à propos des « jeunes administrateurs » ?

96 % occupent des emplois comme hauts dirigeants, 31 % des jeunes administrateurs indépendants sont CEO provenant d’autres entreprises,

Plus de la moitié proviennent des secteurs financiers et des technologies de l’information

Ils sont capables de concilier les exigences de leurs emplois avec celles de leurs rôles d’administrateurs

Ils sont recherchés pour leurs connaissances en finance/investissement ou pour leurs expertises en technologie

90 % des jeunes administrateurs siègent à un comité du CA et 50 % siègent à deux comités

La plupart évitent de siéger à d’autres conseils d’administration


(3) Quelles entreprises sont les plus susceptibles de nommer de jeunes administrateurs ?

Les jeunes CEO représentent une plus grande probabilité d’agir comme administrateurs indépendants

Plus de 50 % des jeunes administrateurs indépendants proviennent des secteurs des technologies de l’information, et des produits aux consommateurs

Les secteurs les moins pourvus de jeunes administrateurs sont les suivants : télécommunications, utilités, finances et immobiliers

Les plus jeunes administrateurs expérimentent des relations mutuellement bénéfiques.


La conclusion de l’étude c’est qu’il est fondamental de repenser la composition des CA en fonction de l’âge. Les conseils prodigués relatifs à l’âge sont les suivants :


Have you analyzed the age diversity on your board, or the average age of your directors?

Does your board have an updated succession plan? Does age diversity play into considerations for new board members?

Are there key areas where your board lacks current expertise—such as technology or consumer habits? Could a new—and possibly younger—board member bring this knowledge?

Does your board have post-Boomers represented?

Does your board have a range of diversity of thought—not just one or two people in the room who you look to continually for the “diversity angle”?

Could younger directors bring some needed change to the boardroom?


Notons que cette étude a été faite auprès des grandes entreprises américaines. Dans l’ensemble de la population des entreprises québécoises, la situation est assez différente, car il y a beaucoup plus de jeunes sur les conseils d’administration.

Mais, à mon avis, il y a encore de nombreux efforts à faire afin de rajeunir et renouveler nos CA.

Bonne lecture !



Board composition: Consider the value of younger directors on your board



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Résumé des principaux résultats


There are 315 Younger Directors in the S&P 500. Together, they hold 348 board seats of companies in the index. Of these 348 Younger Director seats, 260 are filled by independent Younger Directors.

Fewer than half of S&P 500 companies have a Younger Director. Only 43% of the S&P 500 (217 companies) have at least one Younger Director on the board. At 50 of those companies, one of the Younger Directors is the company’s CEO.

S&P 500 companies with younger CEOs are much more likely to have independent Younger Directors on the board. Sixty percent (60%) of the 527 companies with a CEO aged 50 or under have at least one independent Younger
Director on the board—as compared to just 42% of companies that have a CEO over the age of 50.

Almost one-third of Younger Directors are women. Women comprise a much larger percentage (31%) of Younger Directors than in the S&P 500 overall (22%). This is in spite of the fact that over 90% of Younger Directors nominated under
shareholder agreements—such as those with an activist, private equity investor or family shareholder—are men.

Information technology and consumer products companies are more likely to have Younger Directors. The three companies in the telecommunications sector have no Younger Directors.

Close to half of the independent Younger Directors have finance/investing backgrounds. Just under one-third are cited for their technology expertise, executive experience or industry knowledge.

Younger Directors fit in board service while pursuing their careers. According to their companies’ SEC filings, 96% of Younger Directors cite active jobs or positions in addition to their board service.

Younger Directors serve on fewer boards. The average independent S&P 500 director sits on 2.1 public company boards. In contrast, independent Younger Directors sit on an average of 1.7 boards. More than half serve on only one public board.

More than half of the independent Younger Directors have held their board seat for two years or less. Only 18% have been on the board for more than five yearsé

Le point sur la future loi californienne eu égard aux quotas de femmes sur les CA

Voici un article de Tomas Pereira, analyste de recherche à Equilar Inc, publié sur le site du Harvard Law School Forum qui fait le point sur la future loi californienne eu égard aux quotas de femmes sur les CA.

L’étude présente des statistiques intéressantes sur la situation des femmes sur les CA en Californie et fait état de projections concernant l’effet des mesures. Rappelons que l’état de la Californie est le premier état qui s’aventure dans l’établissement de quotas pour favoriser la diversité sur les conseils d’administration.

La législation propose qu’une entreprise ait au moins une femme sur le CA au 31 décembre 2019,

That minimum will be raised to at least two female board members for companies with five directors or at least three female board members for companies with six or more directors by December 31, 2021.

Ainsi en 2021, les conseils d’administration devront compter au moins trois femmes sur les CA, si le nombre d’administrateurs est de six ou plus.

Bonne lecture !


Gender Quotas in California Boardrooms


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By August 31, 2018, California could become the first state in the nation to mandate publicly held companies that base their operations in the state to have women on their boards. The legislation—SB 826—will require public companies headquartered in California to have a minimum of one female on its board of directors by December 31, 2019. That minimum will be raised to at least two female board members for companies with five directors or at least three female board members for companies with six or more directors by December 31, 2021.

If SB 826 is passed in the Assembly and signed by Governor Jerry Brown, corporations not compliant with the new rules will be subjected to financial consequences. Strike one will be accompanied with a fine equal to the average annual cash compensation of directors. Any subsequent violation would amount to a fine equal to three times the average annual cash compensation for directors. Hence, the consequences are very real for companies that choose not to comply with the new rules.

A new study by Equilar looks at where public companies headquartered in California currently lie in relation to the proposed legislation. The study includes public companies in California that have annual revenues of $5 million or more—amounting to a total of 211 companies with an aggregate of 349 female and 1,466 male board members.


Looking broadly, California is slightly below other states and the national average in terms of average women on a board. California, on average, has 1.65 female members per board, whereas other states and the United States as a whole average 1.76 and 1.75 female members, respectively. This type of statistic is a likely factor in spurring state legislators in Sacramento to make significant changes to the status quo and place California in a leading role for board diversity in the United States.


By 2019, most companies in California would be safe from any financial penalties for having an insufficient number of female board members. As it stands now, 82% of public companies in California who have annual revenues of over $5 million will meet the initial criteria, whereas 18% will not. Consequently, 37 public companies would be faced with a fine equal to the average annual director compensation for failing to comply.

In the following table, Equilar examined the 82% success rate a bit further and broke it down by sector in order to examine which industries are driving the rates of success and failure. By 2019, the basic materials and utilities sectors in California would both have a 100% success rate. Thus, every company within these two sectors has at least one female director present on their board. The next sector with the highest rate of success is services, with 92% having at least one female member. Both the healthcare and technology sectors are tied for lowest compliance at 83% pass.


When looking at the companies that would meet the secondary December 31, 2021 criteria, the picture is much bleaker at present for public companies in California. According to the proposed legislation, the required minimum would increase to two female board members for companies with five total directors or to three female board members for companies with at least six total directors.


Taking that future criteria and applying it to today, 79% of public companies would fail, while only 21% would pass. The following table sees basic materials—one of the sectors with 100% company success rate with the previous 2019 criteria—fall down to a 50-50 ratio of pass to fail. The sector with the highest success rate is utilities, while the industrial goods sector has the lowest success rate at 75% and 14%, respectively.


While the path for the proposed legislation is still a bit rocky, the broader trend towards diversifying boardrooms across the country is growing. Companies should anticipate new legislation—not just SB 826—sprouting throughout more state legislatures and get ahead of this rolling tide. States like Maine, Illinois and Ohio have already begun promoting resolutions to encourage companies to diversify their boards. In addition, BlackRock and other institutional investors have publicly stated that they will expect at least two female members per board. The push towards gender diversification is well warranted. Studies by management consulting firms, such as Boston Consulting Group and McKinsey & Co., have shown that diverse boards perform better financially. Signs do point to a gradual progression towards gender parity in the boardroom, as noted by the Q1 2018 Equilar Gender Diversity Index. However, without proactive encouragement or legislation, it would take decades before a true gender balance is realized.

La place des femmes sur les CA et dans la haute direction des entreprises

Voici un rapport qui fait le point sur la place des femmes dans les CA et dans des postes de haute direction des entreprises publiques (cotées) américaines et internationales.

Cet article, publié par Subodh Mishra* directeur de Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), est paru sur le forum du Harvad Law School on Corporate Governance, le 13 août 2018.

On note des progrès dans tous les domaines, mais l’évolution est encore trop lente. Eu égard à la présence des femmes sur les CA des grandes entreprises cotées, c’est la France qui remporte la palme avec 43 % de femmes sur les CA.

Les entreprises se dotent de plus en plus de politique de divulgation de la diversité sur les postes de haute direction. Le Danemark (96 %), l’Australie (91 %) et le R.U. (84 %) sont en tête de liste en ce qui concerne la présence de politique à cet égard. Les É.U. (32 %) et la Russie (22 %) ferment la marche. Le Canada est en milieu de peloton avec 63 %.

L’infographie présentée ici montre clairement les tendances dans ce domaine.

L’auteur identifie les cinq pratiques émergentes les plus significatives pour mettre en œuvre une politique de diversité exemplaire.

(1) Address subtle or unconscious bias.

Cultivating a strong culture free of subtle or unconscious bias is a fundamental step towards an inclusive work environment. A meta-analysis by the Harvard Business Review finds that subtle discrimination has as negative effects, if not more negative, than overt discrimination, as it can drain emotional and cognitive resources, it can accumulate quickly, and is difficult to address through legal recourse. The researchers suggest that structured processes and procedures around hiring, assignments, and business decisions limit the opportunity for unconscious bias to creep in. In addition, they suggest training programs and practicing techniques, such as mindfulness, to reduce bias.

(2) Establish clear diversity targets and measure progress towards goals.

Most companies with gender diversity strategies set clear, measurable targets. BP has set a goal of women representing at least 25 percent of its group leaders by 2020, while Symantecaims at having 30 percent of leadership roles occupied by women by the same year. This approach allows firms to focus on concrete performance results, while also creating a framework of accountability in the company’s gender diversity and inclusion program.

(3) Focus on key roles and redefine the path to leadership.

True meritocracy should determine the criteria for leadership roles. However, companies should recognize that there may be multiple paths to the CEO position, and should focus on their efforts on roles that lead to those paths. Women CEOs Speak, A Korn Ferry Institute study supported by the Rockefeller Foundation, identifies four different career approaches for women to prepare for the CEO role. However, the study identifies early assumption of profit-and-loss responsibilities in all four paths as a crucial experience leading to top positions.

(4) Establish mentorship and sponsorship programs.

Training and development programs within the organization can help facilitate mentorships and sponsorships, which are crucial in career development. GM’s Diversity and Inclusion Report explains how its Executive Leadership Program aims at creating a support network of female leaders, as well as training and development sessions hosted by female executives. Mentors can support employees earlier in their career with coaching and advice, while sponsors take a more active role later in one’s career to promote the individual. Gender should obviously not constitute a barrier for such mentorships and sponsorships, and organizations should take active steps to encourage such relationships across genders and remove any hesitations or biases.

(5) Provide flexibility and support towards work-life balance.

Top executive assignments often involve significant time commitments and travel that can impact an executive’s family life. In a New York Times news analysis, former McDonald’s executive Janice Fields, identified her choice not to work overseas as a handicap to becoming the CEO. Making accommodations in relation family, including both children and spouses, can remove some significant hurdles for women.



Women in the C-Suite: The Next Frontier in Gender Diversity


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Despite recent advances in female board participation globally, gender diversity among top executives remains disappointingly low across all markets, with some improvement discerned in the past few years. Moreover, there does not appear a correlation between board gender diversity and gender diversity in the C-Suite at the market level. Some of the markets that have implemented gender quotas on boards and have achieved the highest rates of female board participation, such as France, Sweden, and Germany, appear to have embarrassingly low rates of female top executives. In fact, many of the markets with progressive board diversity policies have lower gender diversity levels in executive positions compared to several emerging markets like South Africa, Singapore, and Thailand. Thus, achieving higher rates of gender diversity in the C-Suite will require deeper cultural shifts within organizations in order to overcome potential biases and hurdles to gender equality.

The number of female top executives remains low


In the past decade, gender quotas, policy initiatives, and—more recently—investor pressure have led to boards improving female board participation in Europe and North America significantly. The percentage of female directors in the Russell 3000 increased from 10 percent in 2008 to 18 percent in 2018, with most of the increase taking place since 2013. Similarly, the percentage of female directors in ISS’s core universe of widely-held European firms more than tripled from 8 percent in 2008 to 27 percent in 2018. While the recent push by policymakers, investors, and advocacy groups for greater gender diversity has primarily focused on board positions, the discussion is beginning to evolve to encompass diversity in all leadership roles, including top management. In the United States, we have observed small but significant changes in the gender composition of the C-Suite over the past five years. Since 2012, the Russell 3000 has seen a 70-percent increase in the number of female CEOs. Despite the relative increase, the number of top female executives remains disappointingly low, with only 5 percent of Russell 3000 companies having a female CEO in 2018.


Companies need to develop the pipeline of female executive leaders


The scarcity of female CEOs does not appear surprising, especially after taking a closer look at the rest of the members of the C-Suite, who often comprise the primary candidates in line for succession for the top job. These roles include the Chief Operating Officer, the Chief Financial Officer, and the Head of Sales, among others. Only 9 percent of top executive positions in the Russell 3000 are filled by women, which means that companies have a long way to go towards building gender equity within the top ranks where the next generation of CEOs are cultivated. Certain sectors lag considerably more than others, with Real Estate, Telecommunications and Energy exhibiting the lowest rates of female named executive officers.


Within the C-Suite, gender differentiation persists in terms of executive roles


The picture seems even bleaker for the future of gender parity at the CEO level when examining the types of roles that female top executives currently occupy within their organizations. Female executives appear scarcer at roles with profit-and-loss responsibilities that often serve as stepping stones to the CEO role, such as COO, Head of Sales, or CEOs of business units and subsidiary groups. Meanwhile, women are more highly concentrated in positions that rarely see a promotion to the top job, such as Human Resources Officer, General Counsel, and Chief Administrative Officer.



Not surprisingly, and in conjunction with the disparity in functions described above, women who belong to the group of the five highest paid executive officers in their organization, are far more likely to rank fourth or fifth in pay rank compared to their male counterparts. Approximately 46 percent of women in the top five positions rank either fourth or fifth in pay, compared to 33 percent of male top five executives in these pay rankings.


Breaking down barriers to gender diversity in the C-Suite


Companies can take a number steps to foster gender diversity in their executive leadership, and to remove biases or potential obstacles to an inclusive management environment. Many companies have identified gender diversity in leadership positions as a key priority, and have established gender diversity strategies to achieve specific goals. While workforce diversity policies appear to become the standard across most markets, gender diversity policies at the senior management level are common only in some markets. According to ISS Environmental & Social QualityScore data, the majority of companies in developed European markets and Canada disclose gender diversity policies for senior managers. The practice has not been widely established United States, where 32 percent of the S&P 500 and only 4 percent of the remaining Russell 3000 disclose such policies.



Several companies and advocacy groups identify gender diversity and inclusion as a major driver for talent acquisition and performance. The recognition of the absence of women in top executive roles has sparked several initiatives that seek to promote inclusivity in the workplace. The Rockefeller Foundation’s 100×25 advocacy initiative aims at bringing more women to the C-Suite, with the explicit goal of having 100 Fortune 500 female CEOs by 2025. Meanwhile, Paradigm for Parity was formed by a coalition of business leaders (CEOs, founders, and board members), and set the goal of achieving full gender parity by 2030. The group has created a 5-point action plan to help companies accelerate their progress.

Based on the work of these initiatives and actual programs disclosed by companies, we identify five of the emerging best practices that companies adopt to address gender diversity in leadership roles.

Address subtle or unconscious bias. Cultivating a strong culture free of subtle or unconscious bias is a fundamental step towards an inclusive work environment. A meta-analysis by the Harvard Business Review finds that subtle discrimination has as negative effects, if not more negative, than overt discrimination, as it can drain emotional and cognitive resources, it can accumulate quickly, and is difficult to address through legal recourse. The researchers suggest that structured processes and procedures around hiring, assignments, and business decisions limit the opportunity for unconscious bias to creep in. In addition, they suggest training programs and practicing techniques, such as mindfulness, to reduce bias.

Establish clear diversity targets and measure progress towards goals. Most companies with gender diversity strategies set clear, measurable targets. BP has set a goal of women representing at least 25 percent of its group leaders by 2020, while Symantecaims at having 30 percent of leadership roles occupied by women by the same year. This approach allows firms to focus on concrete performance results, while also creating a framework of accountability in the company’s gender diversity and inclusion program.

Focus on key roles and redefine the path to leadership. True meritocracy should determine the criteria for leadership roles. However, companies should recognize that there may be multiple paths to the CEO position, and should focus on their efforts on roles that lead to those paths. Women CEOs Speak, A Korn Ferry Institute study supported by the Rockefeller Foundation, identifies four different career approaches for women to prepare for the CEO role. However, the study identifies early assumption of profit-and-loss responsibilities in all four paths as a crucial experience leading to top positions.

Establish mentorship and sponsorship programs. Training and development programs within the organization can help facilitate mentorships and sponsorships, which are crucial in career development. GM’s Diversity and Inclusion Report explains how its Executive Leadership Program aims at creating a support network of female leaders, as well as training and development sessions hosted by female executives. Mentors can support employees earlier in their career with coaching and advice, while sponsors take a more active role later in one’s career to promote the individual. Gender should obviously not constitute a barrier for such mentorships and sponsorships, and organizations should take active steps to encourage such relationships across genders and remove any hesitations or biases.

Provide flexibility and support towards work-life balance. Top executive assignments often involve significant time commitments and travel that can impact an executive’s family life. In a New York Times news analysis, former McDonald’s executive Janice Fields, identified her choice not to work overseas as a handicap to becoming the CEO. Making accommodations in relation family, including both children and spouses, can remove some significant hurdles for women.


*Subodh Mishra is Executive Director at Institutional Shareholder Services, Inc. This post is based on an ISS Analytics publication by Kosmas Papadopoulos, Managing Editor at ISS Analytics.

La nouvelle loi californienne | Instauration de quotas pour accélérer la diversité sur les CA

Aujourd’hui, je souhaite vous familiariser avec la réalité de la nouvelle loi californienne eu égard à la mise en place de quotas pour accélérer la diversité sur les conseils d’administration.

Cet article paru sur le site de Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance, par David A. Katz et Laura A. McIntosh, associés à la firme Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, explique le contexte menant à la nouvelle législation californienne.

La Californie se distingue par l’originalité et par le caractère affirmatif de sa loi sur la composition des conseils d’administration. Bien entendu, cette loi a ses détracteurs, notamment les chambres de commerce qui redoutent les impacts négatifs de la loi pour les plus petites entreprises qui ont des CA composés essentiellement d’hommes !

Mais, il faut noter que l’état de la Californie est le seul état américain à avoir légiféré sur la diversité des membres de conseils d’administration en proposant des mesures qui s’apparentent aux quotas imposés par plusieurs pays européens.

Voici un extrait de l’article qui résume assez bien le contenu de cette loi.

Bonne lecture ! Vos commentaires sont les bienvenus.


The bill that passed the California State Senate at the end of May 2018 would, if enacted, require any public company with shares listed on a major U.S. stock exchange that has its principal executive offices in California to have at least one woman on its board by December 31, 2019. By year-end 2021, such companies with five directors would be required to have two women on the board, and companies with six or more directors would be required to have three women on the board.




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California has made headlines this summer with legislative action toward instituting gender quotas for boards of directors of public companies headquartered in the state. The legislation has passed the state senate; to be enacted, it must be passed by the California state assembly and signed by the governor. In 2013, California became the first state to pass a precatory resolution promoting gender diversity on public company boards, and five other states have since followed suit. The current legislative effort has come under criticism for a variety of reasons, and, while it is not certain to become law, it could be a harbinger of a broader push for public company board gender quotas in the United States. It is worth considering whether quotas in this area would be beneficial or harmful to the larger goals of gender parity and board diversity.


The California Bill


The bill that passed the California State Senate at the end of May 2018 would, if enacted, require any public company with shares listed on a major U.S. stock exchange that has its principal executive offices in California to have at least one woman on its board by December 31, 2019. By year-end 2021, such companies with five directors would be required to have two women on the board, and companies with six or more directors would be required to have three women on the board.

Section 1 of the California bill (SB 826) presents an argument in favor of establishing gender quotas: More women directors would be beneficial to California’s economy in various ways, yet progress toward gender parity is too slow. The bill cites studies indicating that companies perform better with women on their boards and observes that other countries have used quotas to achieve 30 percent to 40 percent representation. The bill notes that, of California public companies in the Russell 3000 as of June 2017, 26 percent had no women on their boards, while women composed 15.5 percent of directors on boards that have at least one woman. The bill cites further studies showing that, at current rates, it could take approximately four decades to achieve gender parity on boards. And finally, Section 1 of the bill concludes by citing studies suggesting that having at least three women directors increases board effectiveness.

The Opposing View


The California bill has been controversial. The California Chamber of Commerce filed an opposition letter on behalf of numerous organizations arguing that the bill would violate state and federal constitutions and conflict with existing California civil rights law, on the basis that it requires a person to be promoted—and another person disqualified—simply on the basis of gender. California legislators dispute that the bill requires men to be displaced by women, noting that boards can simply increase their size. This may be easier said than done, however: Because the required quota increases with board size, a company with a four-man board that did not wish to force out a current director would need to add three women to accommodate the requirements of the law by 2021. Suddenly expanding from four to seven would entail a very significant change to board dynamics. For a previously well-functioning board, the negative effects of a change that dramatic could outweigh the benefits of gender diversity.

Further, the bill’s opponents argue that prioritizing only one element of diversity would be suboptimal, especially at time when many California companies are engaged in addressing and increasing diversity by focusing on all classifications of diversity. Advocates for greater representation of ethnic minority groups on boards have expressed concerns that prioritizing gender will be detrimental to progress toward greater ethnic diversity. For purposes of increasing overall diversity, quotas are not a solution that can be applied broadly; if quotas such as those in the California bill were established not only for gender but for ethnic and other categories of diversity, the project of board composition would soon become a near-impossible logic and recruitment puzzle, as nominating committees struggled to meet mandated quotas, expertise needs, and director independence requirements, all within the board size parameters set forth in the company’s organizing documents. Board functioning and effectiveness would be severely compromised by the legislative micromanaging of board composition.

Thanks to the establishment of quotas in various European countries over the past 15 years, there is evidence as to the effect of gender quotas for boards. A 2018 Economist study found that, despite high expectations, the effects of quotas were, in some ways, disappointing. According to the Economist, greater numbers of women on boards did not necessarily produce better performance or decision-making, nor was there a trickle-down effect of boosting women’s progress to senior management jobs.

On the other hand, fears about unqualified women being put on boards, or a few qualified women being overboarded, also did not materialize. While there is a great deal of evidence showing that having women directors does produce more effective boards—and there are even indications in Europe that diverse boards are less likely to be targeted by shareholder activists—the Economist study shows that diversity achieved through government-imposed quotas may not be as beneficial as diversity achieved through private-ordering efforts.

The Big Picture


Progress toward gender diversity in the board room is accelerating. In the first fiscal quarter of 2018, nearly one-third of new directorships in the Russell 3000 went to women, and for the first time, fewer than 20 percent of companies in that index had all-male boards. Institutional investors, corporate governance activists, and many large companies have been at the forefront of this progress. State Street and BlackRock have been leaders on this issue in the United States. Similarly, in the UK—a country that has made significant efforts to improve gender diversity on boards while also resisting the imposition of quotas—the large investment funds Legal & General Investment Management and Standard Life Aberdeen Plc have said that they will vote against boards that are composed of less than 25 percent or 20 percent women, respectively. British institutional investor Hermes has said that it expects boards to include at minimum 30 percent women, and it led a failed opposition to the reelection of the chairman of mining group Rio Tinto Plc due to lack of diversity on the board. Given the effectiveness of recent efforts by the private sector, and in light of the intense resistance to quotas in the business community, government intervention to establish quotas may be unnecessary as well as undesirable.

Recent research shows that simply adding women to boards does not necessarily improve board performance. As common sense would suggest, it turns out that to be a positive factor, the gender composition of the board must be considered along with the skills and knowledge of the board as a whole in the context of the organization and its stakeholders. A 2017 academic study indicated that the “right” level of gender diversity may be proportionate to the number of female stakeholders—employees, clients, and suppliers, for example—and may vary across countries and cultures. In certain circumstances, the appropriate gender diversity ratio might well be over 50 percent women. The authors of the study caution against selecting directors based on quotas if, in so doing, gender diversity is prioritized over the expertise needs of the board.

Overall board diversity, including gender and ethnic minorities, has never been higher. According to a comprehensive 2018 study by James Drury Partners, overall board diversity is now at 34 percent for America’s 651 largest corporations, as measured by revenue and market capitalization. The level of board diversity is increasing, as 49 percent of the 449 newly elected directors at these companies represent diverse groups. Of particular note, the study revealed that the diversity distribution of the 6,225 directors currently serving on the boards of these companies corresponds very closely to the diversity of the population in the executive ranks of 222 companies studied by McKinsey & Co. and LeanIn.org. While there clearly is more room for progress toward greater diversity at both the executive and board levels, this data point shows that boardrooms are indeed mirroring the increasingly diverse leadership of U.S. business.

The benefit of mandatory quotas, as the business community has seen through European examples, is that they compel companies and shareholders to focus on board composition and to establish more formal recruitment processes in order to find the necessary directors. Such developments are certainly beneficial. That said, boards can and should focus on composition and recruitment in the absence of quotas, and indeed they are doing so to a greater extent than ever before. Proponents of gender diversity can be heartened by recent developments in the United States, as organic and market-driven efforts have produced results that increase the business community’s enthusiasm for diverse boards. A real danger of legislation like the California bill is that context-free quotas may have the effect of destabilizing boards and undermining the business case for increased gender diversity. Were that to occur, then not only boards themselves, but stakeholders, the business community, and the larger societal goals of gender parity and board diversity would suffer as well.


*David A. Katz is partner and Laura A. McIntosh is consulting attorney at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. This post is based on a Wachtell Lipton memorandum by Mr. Katz and Ms. McIntosh that originally appeared in the New York Law Journal.

Les administrateurs de la nouvelle génération

Vous trouverez, ci-dessous, le résultat d’une enquête réalisée par SpencerStuart portant sur le renouvellement des conseils d’administration et les attentes des administrateurs de ladite nouvelle génération.

Le texte a été publié en anglais. Vous pouvez le lire dans cette langue en cliquant sur le titre ci-dessous. Je vous invite à le faire puisque le texte original contient des tableaux et des statistiques que l’on ne retrouve pas dans ma version.

Afin de faciliter la compréhension, j’ai révisé la traduction électronique produite. Je crois que cette traduction est très acceptable.

Bonne lecture ! Vos commentaires sont les bienvenus.



How Next‑Generation Board Directors Are Having an Impact



Guide du Secrétariat à la jeunesse

 Consultez le guide du SAJ


Les conseils font l’objet des pressions croissantes pour démontrer leur pertinence à un moment où de multiples forces perturbatrices menacent les modèles d’affaires établis et créent de nouvelles possibilités d’innovation et de croissance. De plus en plus, les investisseurs s’attendent à ce que les conseils aient des processus significatifs en place pour renouveler leur adhésion et maximiser leur efficacité.

En conséquence, un nombre croissant « d’administrateurs de prochaine génération » sont nommés aux conseils d’administration à travers le monde. Beaucoup apportent des connaissances dans des domaines tels que la cybersécurité, l’IA (intelligence artificielle), l’apprentissage automatique et les technologies de l’industrie 4.0 ; d’autres ont une expérience directe de la transformation numérique, de la conception organisationnelle, de la connaissance du client ou de la communication sociale. Inévitablement, les experts de ces disciplines ont tendance à provenir d’une génération différente de celle de la majorité des membres du conseil d’administration.

Les jeunes administrateurs ont un impact sur le contenu et la dynamique du débat en salle de réunion. Ils incitent d’autres administrateurs à s’engager sur des sujets qui ne leur sont pas familiers et à apporter une approche et une perspective différentes au rôle. Tout comme les entreprises élargissent leur réflexion sur la valeur de la diversité et reconnaissent les avantages de la main-d’œuvre intergénérationnelle, les conseils bénéficient de recrutements d’administrateurs qui apportent non seulement une expertise foncièrement nécessaire, mais aussi une vision contemporaine de la façon dont les décisions affectent les parties prenantes — des employés et des fournisseurs aux clients et à la communauté. Ces administrateurs font face à un ensemble différent de défis en milieu de travail dans leurs rôles exécutifs ; en tant qu’administrateurs, ils peuvent rarement exprimer leurs préoccupations et leurs points de vue, autour de la table du conseil d’administration.

Les conseils qui choisissent sagement leurs jeunes administrateurs peuvent bénéficier grandement de leur présence. Cependant, il ne suffit pas d’amener de nouveaux administrateurs compétents dans la salle du conseil ; il est vital que les conseils les préparent au succès en combinant une intégration complète, une intégration réfléchie et une attitude ouverte, réceptive et respectueuse envers leurs contributions.

Nous avons interrogé un groupe de présidents de conseil d’administration et d’administrateurs de la prochaine génération sur plusieurs continents à propos de leur expérience de cette dernière phase de l’évolution des conseils d’administration.


Qu’y a-t-il pour la prochaine génération?


Avant de rejoindre le conseil d’administration d’une entreprise publique, il est important d’être clair sur la motivation. Pourquoi maintenant ; et pourquoi cette entreprise ? Être un administrateur non exécutif est un engagement important, et vous devez vous assurer que vous et le conseil d’administration considérez que c’est un investissement qui en vaut la peine. Nous constatons que la plupart des administrateurs next-gén sont motivés par trois choses : (1) le développement personnel. (2) la possibilité d’enrichir leur rôle exécutif avec de nouvelles idées et de nouvelles expériences acquises en tant qu’administrateur et (3) le désir de faire une contribution.

Un cadre qui commençait à se familiariser avec son propre conseil estimait qu’il était temps de se joindre à un conseil externe : « Je voulais élargir mon point de vue, acquérir des expériences différentes et voir une entreprise sous un autre angle. Je sentais que cela finirait par faire de moi un leader meilleur et plus efficace ». Une autre gestionnaire d’entreprise a souligné l’occasion unique d’apprendre d’autres personnes plus expérimentées qu’elle-même : « Je pourrais voir que je serais parmi les gens inspirants et que je serais exposé à un secteur différent, mais aussi, à une culture différente et à de nouvelles façons de faire des affaires. “Un troisième a décrit la décision de rejoindre un conseil comme” l’une des choses les plus utiles que j’ai fait dans ma vie ».

Les nouveaux administrateurs citent un certain nombre d’expériences et de compétences qu’ils espèrent acquérir en siégeant à un conseil, allant d’un style de leadership différent et travaillant avec une culture organisationnelle différente à l’apprentissage d’un nouveau secteur ou marché géographique.

Bien sûr, rejoindre un conseil d’administration doit être un exercice mutuellement bénéfique. « C’est utile pour moi parce que j’apprends sur la gouvernance, et sur le fonctionnement interne du conseil ». Je peux appliquer ce que j’apprends dans mon autre travail. Le conseil, quant à lui, obtient quelqu’un avec un ensemble différent de spécialités et une perspective légèrement plus fraîche ; ils ont quelqu’un qui veut être plus ouvert et plus direct, un peu plus non-conformiste par rapport aux autres membres du conseil.

Les présidents de conseil d’administration sont de plus en plus ouverts au recrutement de talents de prochaine génération, citant plusieurs raisons allant du besoin de compétences et de compétences spécifiques à des voix plus diverses à la table. Un président recherchait spécifiquement quelqu’un pour déplacer le centre du débat : « Un nouvel administrateur plus jeune peut voir un dilemme d’un point de vue différent, nous faisant réfléchir à deux fois. Je cherche une personne intègre qui est prête à parler ouvertement et à défier la gestion. Ce que je ne peux pas nécessairement attendre de ces personnes, bien sûr, c’est l’expérience d’avoir vu beaucoup de situations similaires sur 30-40 ans dans les affaires. C’est un compromis, et c’est l’une des raisons pour lesquelles la diversité des âges au sein du conseil est si importante. L’expertise des spécialistes doit être équilibrée avec l’expérience, et avec l’expérience vient un bon jugement ».


Préparation au rôle


Si vous êtes un dirigeant actif qui rejoint le conseil d’administration d’une entreprise publique, beaucoup de temps est en jeu (ainsi que votre réputation), vous devez donc être sûr que vous prenez la bonne décision. Un processus de vérification préalable approfondi offre non seulement cette sécurité, mais contribue également à accélérer votre préparation au rôle. « Au cours de mes entrevues, j’ai lu énormément de choses sur l’entreprise », a déclaré un administrateur récemment nommé. « J’ai regardé les appels des analystes, j’ai lu les documents de la SEC et j’ai posé beaucoup de questions, en particulier sur la dynamique du conseil. Ils m’ont fait rencontrer tous les membres du conseil d’administration et j’ai pu voir comment ils se parlaient entre eux ».

Il est important d’avoir une compréhension claire de ce que le conseil recherche et de la façon dont vos antécédents et votre expérience ajouteront de la valeur dans le contexte de l’entreprise. Par exemple, bien que les membres du conseil les plus séniors puissent avoir un aperçu raisonnable de la perturbation de l’entreprise, ils n’auront pas d’expérience pratique d’une initiative de transformation numérique. Vous êtes peut-être parfaitement placé pour fournir ces connaissances de première main, mais il se peut que le président du conseil d’administration veuille bien faire face à certaines difficultés, ait appris à relever le défi technologique d’un point de vue commercial et sache quel type de questions poser. Seule une due diligence approfondie révélera si vos attentes sont alignées avec celles du conseil et vous permettront de procéder en toute confiance.


Embarquement (Onboarding)


L’une des choses les plus courantes que nous entendons des administrateurs de prochaine génération est qu’ils auraient aimé un processus d’intégration plus approfondi avant leur première réunion — c’est quelque chose que les conseils d’administration doivent clairement aborder. Il revient souvent aux nouveaux administrateurs de prendre l’initiative et de concevoir un programme qui les aidera à s’intégrer dans l’entreprise. « Une grande partie de l’immersion dont j’ai eu besoin est venue des étapes que j’ai suivies moi-même », a déclaré un administrateur qui estimait que rencontrer quelques dirigeants et présidents de comité du conseil ainsi qu’une lecture du matériel fourni par le secrétaire de la société constituait une préparation insuffisante.

Un bon programme d’initiation comprendra des présentations de la direction sur le modèle d’affaires, la rentabilité et la performance ; visites de site ; et des réunions avec des conseillers externes tels que des comptables, des banquiers et des courtiers. Assister avec le responsable des relations avec les investisseurs pour revoir les perspectives des investisseurs et des analystes peut aussi être utile.

Les administrateurs de la prochaine génération ont demandé à rencontrer les chefs d’entreprise pour un examen plus détaillé d’une filiale ou d’une activité particulière où leur propre expérience est particulièrement pertinente. Dans une entreprise de vente au détail, par exemple, il serait logique de rencontrer le responsable du merchandising d’un magasin phare pour se familiariser avec le positionnement des produits et l’expérience client.

Le temps passé avec le PDG pour en apprendre davantage sur l’entreprise est essentiel. La plupart des chefs d’entreprise seront ravis de faire en sorte que le nouvel administrateur puisse voir directement les principaux projets et rencontrer les personnes qui les dirigent, ainsi que passer du temps avec d’autres membres de l’équipe de la haute direction. « Ils étaient complètement ouverts à la possibilité de rencontrer d’autres personnes, mais cela ne faisait pas partie du programme d’initiation formel. J’ai trouvé ces conversations les plus éclairantes parce que je me suis simplement rapproché de l’entreprise et du travail. »

Un président d’une société de produits de consommation a ajouté une touche intéressante à l’intégration d’un nouvel administrateur nommé pour son expérience de leadership en matière de commerce électronique. Il a invité la nouvelle recrue à faire une présentation à toute l’équipe de direction au sujet de son propre cheminement. « Le genre de perturbation et la vitesse à laquelle fonctionne sa société en ligne étaient stupéfiants, et cet exercice s’est avéré une source d’apprentissage pour le conseil d’administration et l’équipe de direction », a déclaré le président. « Cela a également renforcé sa crédibilité auprès du reste du conseil ».


Faire la transition à un rôle d’administrateur non exécutif


La plupart des administrateurs de la prochaine génération comprennent qu’ils devront aborder les responsabilités de leur conseil d’une manière différente d’un rôle exécutif, mais la plupart sous-estiment les difficultés à faire cette transition dans la pratique.

Il est important d’être en mesure de faire la distinction entre les questions sur lesquelles seul le conseil peut se prononcer (par exemple, la relève du chef de la direction) et les sujets que le conseil doit laisser à la direction (questions opérationnelles). La stratégie est un domaine où, dans la plupart des marchés, le conseil d’administration et la direction ont tendance à collaborer étroitement, mais il y a beaucoup d’autres moyens où les administrateurs de la prochaine génération peuvent apporter leur expertise particulière.

Cependant, il faut du temps pour apprendre comment ajouter de la valeur aux discussions du conseil sans pour autant saper l’autorité de la direction. L’écoute et l’apprentissage sont un aspect crucial pour gagner le respect et la crédibilité auprès du reste du conseil. « Il faut être très conscient du moment où il faut intervenir, quand il est nécessaire d’insister sur un sujet difficile, et quand il faut prendre du recul », explique un administrateur. « La compétence consiste à poser la bonne question de la bonne façon — à ne pas affaiblir ou à décourager la direction, mais à les encourager à voir les choses un peu différemment ».

En tant qu’administrateur non exécutif, vous devez vous engager à un niveau supérieur et de manière plus détachée que dans votre rôle exécutif. Avec des réunions mensuelles ou bimestrielles, il peut être difficile de déterminer si vous ajoutez de la valeur, ou même à quoi ressemble la valeur, surtout lorsque votre travail régulier implique de prendre la responsabilité d’une exécution de haute qualité. En tant qu’administrateur non exécutif, vous pouvez voir des choses qui doivent être prises en compte et vouloir vous impliquer plus activement, mais vous devez faire confiance en la capacité de l’équipe de direction à le faire. « J’avais l’impression que le conseil d’administration pourrait être un peu plus engagé. Nous avons des zones très précises dans lesquelles nous sommes censés contribuer à orienter les décisions et les actions, et il y en a d’autres où nous sommes plus consultatifs ; c’est une question de trouver le bon équilibre ».

Cependant, le travail des administrateurs de prochaine génération ne commence pas et ne se termine pas avec les réunions du conseil d’administration. Beaucoup interagiront avec la direction en dehors des réunions. Un directeur britannique nommé pour son expertise numérique prend le temps de se mettre à jour avec l’équipe numérique de l’entreprise lorsqu’elle est à New York « pour savoir à quoi ils travaillent, comprendre ce qui les motive et quelles sont leurs préoccupations ». Un nouvel administrateur indépendant a été invité par le PDG (CEO) à passer une journée avec l’équipe de management du développement de l’entreprise, après quoi il a passé en revue l’expérience client. « J’ai reçu des commentaires très clairs, mais je me suis contenté de l’envoyer au chef de la direction, pas à l’équipe que j’ai rencontrée ou à un autre membre du conseil ». Offrir de l’aide à l’équipe de direction de façon informelle.

Votre rôle n’est pas nécessairement de comprendre les problèmes, mais de proposer des idées et de poser des questions à l’équipe de direction.


Obtenir de la rétroaction


Les administrateurs de prochaine génération qui sont habitués à recevoir des commentaires dans leur capacité de direction peuvent avoir du mal à s’adapter à un rôle où il est moins facilement disponible. « La rétroaction est la chose la plus difficile à laquelle je me suis attaqué », explique un administrateur. « Avec votre propre entreprise, c’est un succès ou pas. Si vous êtes un employé, on vous dit si vous faites du bon travail. Ce n’est pas le cas sur un conseil ».

Les nouveaux administrateurs doivent identifier une personne avec laquelle ils se sentent à l’aise et qui peut leur offrir un aperçu de certaines des règles non écrites du conseil. Certains préfèrent une relation de mentorat plus formelle avec un membre du conseil d’administration, mais cette idée ne plaît pas à tout le monde. Des vérifications régulières auprès du président du conseil (et du chef de la direction) les aideront à évaluer leur rendement et à apprendre comment ils peuvent offrir une contribution plus utile.

Au-delà de la rétroaction individuelle informelle, le conseil peut avoir un processus pour fournir une rétroaction à chaque administrateur dans le cadre de l’auto-évaluation annuelle du conseil. Sur les conseils où cette pratique est en place, les administrateurs de la prochaine génération ont tendance à être très à l’aise avec elle et à accueillir les commentaires. S’il n’y a pas de processus de rétroaction individuelle des administrateurs en place, l’administrateur de la prochaine génération peut servir de catalyseur pour établir cette saine pratique en s’enquérant directement à ce sujet.


Le rôle du président du conseil


Les présidents de conseil ont une influence significative sur le succès des administrateurs de prochaine génération dans le rôle. Il peut être difficile d’arriver à un conseil qui compte beaucoup d’administrateurs plus âgés et plus expérimentés, en particulier s’il existe une dynamique « collégiale » établie de longue date. Le président a la double tâche de guider le nouvel administrateur, tout en s’assurant que les autres membres du conseil restent ouverts aux nouvelles idées et perspectives que celui-ci apporte au conseil. Cela peut impliquer de travailler dur pour encourager les relations à se développer à un niveau personnel, ce qui permettra ensuite d’émettre des points de vue divergents, et même dissidents sur le plan professionnel.

Un président peut faire un certain nombre de choses pour soutenir l’administrateur de la prochaine génération, par exemple : s’intéresser de près au processus d’intégration ; fournir un encadrement sur la meilleure façon de représenter les intérêts des investisseurs ; offrir des commentaires constructifs après les réunions ; et encourager le nouvel administrateur à se tenir à l’écart plutôt que de jouer la carte de la sécurité et à simplement s’aligner sur la culture existante du conseil d’administration. Comme l’a dit un président : « Certains conseils se méfient d’un nouvel administrateur qui pense différemment et qui menace, bien que respectueusement, de faire bouger les choses. Mais parfois, vous avez besoin que le nouvel administrateur perturbe le conseil avec des idées nouvelles, acceptant que cela puisse entraîner un changement culturel. C’est mon travail de laisser cela se produire ». Cela dit, si un nouvel administrateur est en désaccord avec certains éléments contenus dans la documentation du conseil d’administration ou s’il ne comprend pas, il serait sage d’en discuter avec le président du conseil en premier lieu.

Pour le nouvel administrateur, l’adaptation à la structure et à la formalité des réunions du conseil d’administration signifie adopter une approche mesurée et s’inspirer de la décision du président, en particulier à contre-courant. « Bien que je n’aie assisté qu’à trois réunions, je teste les barrières qui font que je peux être ouvert et direct, tout en en apprenant davantage sur l’entreprise », rapporte un administrateur. Un autre a défendu une position non partagée par la majorité du conseil d’administration, convaincu que le président est heureux de donner une tribune à ses opinions. Vous devez être respectueux et faire valoir votre point de vue et vos arguments, mais si ceux-ci ne prévalent pas, c’est bien aussi. Bien sûr, si cela devient une question de principe, vous êtes toujours libre de démissionner, n’est-ce pas ?


Vers un nouveau genre de conseil


Au fur et à mesure que les entreprises relèvent de nouveaux défis et qu’une jeune génération de cadres issus de milieux très différents accède à des postes d’administrateurs indépendants, les conseils d’administration devront trouver le bon équilibre entre expérience et pertinence. Ils devront également devenir plus dynamiques en matière de composition, de diversité, de discussion et d’occupation. Les administrateurs de longue date qui s’intéressent à la gouvernance et à la gestion des risques côtoieront des représentants de la prochaine génération nommés pour leur excellente connaissance du domaine ou leur expérience en temps réel des environnements transformationnels, mais le mandat de ces administrateurs sera probablement plus court que la moyenne actuelle.

Les conseils doivent être réalistes quant à la durée du mandat d’un candidat de la prochaine génération. Ils doivent également réfléchir soigneusement à la question de savoir si cet administrateur se sentirait moins isolé et plus efficace s’il était accompagné par un autre administrateur d’un âge et d’un passé similaires. « En tant que femme, j’ai été une minorité tout au long de ma carrière, donc c’est étrange d’être une minorité à cause de mon expertise numérique », a déclaré une administratrice. Tout comme la présence d’autres femmes au sein du conseil d’administration réduit le fardeau d’une femme administratrice, il y a lieu de nommer deux ou plusieurs administrateurs de la nouvelle génération.

Les conseils d’administration résolus à rester au fait des problèmes critiques affectant leurs entreprises devraient considérer les avantages potentiels de nommer au moins un administrateur de la prochaine génération, non seulement pour leur expertise, mais aussi pour leur capacité à apporter une pensée alternative et des perspectives multipartites dans la salle du conseil. Soutenus par un président du conseil attentif et par des administrateurs ouverts d’esprit, les administrateurs de la prochaine génération peuvent avoir un impact positif et durable sur l’efficacité du conseil en cette période de changement sans précédent.

L’évolution du statut d’administrateur indépendant en 2017 | EY

Comment a évolué la situation du statut d’indépendance des administrateurs en 2017 ?

La publication d’EY est très intéressante à cet égard ; elle tente de répondre à cette question et elle brosse un tableau de la composition des conseils d’administration en 2017.

L’étude effectuée par l’équipe de Steve W. Klemash* auprès des entreprises du Fortune 100 montre clairement l’importance accrue accordée au critère d’administrateur indépendant au fil des ans.

Ainsi, au cours des deux dernières années, 80 % des administrateurs nommés par les actionnaires avaient la qualité d’administrateurs indépendants.

La plupart des nouveaux administrateurs avaient une expertise en finance et comptabilité et 44 % de ceux-ci ont été nommés sur le comité d’audit.

Cette année, 54 % des nouveaux arrivants étaient des personnes qui n’étaient pas CEO, comparativement à 51 % l’année précédente.

On compte 40 % de femmes parmi les nouveaux administrateurs en 2017.

Également, les nouveaux administrateurs sont plus jeunes : 15 % ont moins de 50 ans comparativement à 9 % l’année précédente. De plus, 85 % des nouveaux administrateurs avaient entre 50 ans et 67 ans.

Les entreprises recherchent une plus grande diversité de profils d’origine, d’expertises, d’habiletés et d’expériences.

J’ai tenté de résumer les principales conclusions de cette étude. Je vous renvoie à l’étude originale afin d’en connaître les détails.

Bonne lecture ! Vos commentaires sont les bienvenus.



Independent Directors: New Class of 2017



Résultats de recherche d'images pour « independant director »



Companies are continuing to bring fresh and diverse perspectives into the boardroom and to enhance alignment of board composition with their forward-looking strategies.

In our second annual report, we share the results of our analysis of independent directors who were elected by shareholders to the board of a Fortune 100 company for the first time in 2017—what we refer to as the “new class of 2017.”

We looked at corporate disclosures to see what qualifications and characteristics were specifically highlighted, showcasing what this new class of directors brings to the boardroom. Our research was based on a review of proxy statements filed by companies on the 2017 Fortune 100 list. We also reviewed the same 83 companies’ class of 2016 directors to provide consistency in year-on-year comparisons.


Our perspective


What we’re hearing in the market is that boards are seeking slates of candidates who bring a diverse perspective and a range of functional expertise, including on complex, evolving areas such as digital transformation, e-commerce, public policy, regulation and talent management. As a result, boards are increasingly considering highly qualified, nontraditional candidates, such as non-CEOs, as well as individuals from a wider range of backgrounds. These developments are expanding the short lists of potential director candidates.

At the same time, companies are expanding voluntary disclosures around board composition. Our review of Fortune 100 disclosures around board composition found that:

While diverse director candidates are in high demand and related shifts in board composition are underway, these developments may be slow to manifest. For example, consider that the average Fortune 100 board has 10 seats. In this context, the addition of a single new director is unlikely to dramatically shift averages in terms of gender diversity, age, tenure or other considerations.

That said, whether a board’s pace of change is sufficient depends on a company’s specific circumstances and evolving board oversight needs. Boards should challenge their approach to refreshment, asking whether they are meeting the company’s diversity, strategy and risk oversight needs. Waiting for an open seat to nominate a diverse candidate may mean waiting for the value that diversity could bring.

In 2018, we anticipate that companies will continue to offer more voluntary disclosure on board composition, showing how their directors represent the best mix of individuals for the company—across multiple dimensions, including a diversity of backgrounds, expertise, skill sets and experiences.


Key findings

1. Most Fortune 100 companies welcomed a new independent director in 2017


This past year, over half of the Fortune 100 companies we reviewed added at least one independent director. This figure is a little lower than the prior year; but overall, during the two-year period from 2016 to 2017, over 80% of the companies added at least one independent director. Taking into account director exits—whether due to retirement, corporate restructuring, pursuit of new opportunities or other reasons—we found that nearly all of the companies experienced some type of change in board composition during this period.

2. The class of 2017 brings greater finance and accounting, public policy and regulatory, and operational skills to the table.


Corporate finance and accounting were the most common director qualifications cited by companies in 2017, up from fifth in 2016. A couple areas saw notable increases: government and public policy, operations and manufacturing, and transactional finance. This year, some areas tied in ranking, and in a twist, corporate references to expertise in strategy fell from third in 2016 to below the top 10 categories of expertise. Companies also made fewer references to board service or governance expertise compared to the prior year.

3. Most of the 2017 entering class was assigned to audit committees.


The strength of corporate finance and accounting expertise of the entering class is seen, too, with regards to key committee designations. Of the three “key committees” of audit, compensation, and nominating and governance, the 2017 entering class was primarily assigned to serve on audit committees. A closer look at the disclosures shows that 63% of the new directors that were assigned to the audit committee were formally designated as audit committee financial experts. In comparison, the corresponding figure in the prior year was 59%.


4. The Fortune 100 class of 2017 includes more non-CEOs.


While experience as a CEO is often cited as a traditional first cut for search firms, 54% of the entering class served in other roles, with non-CEO backgrounds including other executive roles or non-corporate backgrounds (academia, scientific organizations, nonprofits, government, military, etc.). This represents a slight increase from 2016 with most of the shift stemming from individuals holding or having held other senior executive positions. Approximately 30% appear to be joining a Fortune 100 public company board, having never previously served on a public company board—similar to 2016.

5. The class of 2017 is 40% female


As in the prior year, 40% of the entering class were women, but overall percentages were largely unchanged, with women directors averaging 28% board representation compared to 27% in 2016. Also, there was minimal age difference, with the women directors averaging 57 compared to 58 for male counterparts. Among the directors bringing the top categories of expertise, women directors accounted for over one-third of the disclosed director qualifications. In some cases, they represented over half of the disclosed category of expertise.

6. The class of 2017 tends to be younger


There appears to be an ongoing shift toward younger directors. For the class of 2017 entering directors, the average age of these individuals was 57, compared to 63 for incumbents and 68 for exiting directors. Of the entering class, 15% were under 50, an increase from 9% in the prior year. And, for the second consecutive year, we observe that over half of the entering class was under the age of 60. Exiting directors largely continue to be age 68 or older.

Questions for the board to consider


– How is the company aligning the skills of its directors—and that of the full board—to the company’s long-term strategy through board refreshment and succession planning efforts? How is the company providing voluntary disclosures around its approach in these areas?

– Does the company’s pool of director candidates challenge traditional search norms such as title, age, industry and geography?

– How is the company addressing growing investor and stakeholder attention to board diversity, and is the company providing disclosure around the diversity of the board—defined as including considerations such as age, gender, race, ethnicity, nationality—in addition to skills and expertise?


*Steve W. Klemash is Americas Leader, Kellie C. Huennekens is Associate Director, and Jamie Smith is Associate Director, at the EY Center for Board Matters. This post is based on their EY publication.

Les femmes CEO des grandes entreprises ont-elles une rémunération plus élevée que leurs homologues masculins ? Leurs CA comptent-ils plus de femmes ?

Les femmes PDG (CEO) des grandes entreprises ont-elles une rémunération plus élevée ? Leurs conseils d’administration sont-ils plus diversifiés, et comptent-ils plus de femmes ?

Ce billet publié par Dan Marcec, directeur d’Equilar, paru sur le forum de la Harvard Law School, tente d’apporter une réponse à ces questions.

On peut retenir que les femmes CEO, en général, comptent légèrement plus de femmes sur leurs conseils.

Le nombre de femmes sur les CA varie selon la taille des entreprises. Plus l’entreprise est grande, plus le CA est susceptible de compter un nombre plus important de femmes :

Equilar 100 Gender Diversity Index,  24 %

Fortune 500,  22,5 %

Fortune 501-1000,  19,2 %

Entreprises plus petites,  14,1 %

Également, la rémunération des femmes CEO des 100 plus grandes entreprises (8 femmes) est de 21,4 M $ comparativement à la moyenne des 92 hommes CEO qui est de 16,4 M $, une différence significative, mais sur un petit échantillon de femmes CEO !

Je vous invite à prendre connaissance de l’article ci-dessous afin de mieux saisir toutes les nuances de cette étude.

Bonne lecture !


Do Women CEOs Earn More and Have More Diverse Boards?


Résultats de recherche d'images pour « Les femmes CEO des grandes entreprises ont-elles une rémunération plus élevée que leurs homologues masculins ? Leurs CA comptent-ils plus de femmes ? »


As gender equity and diversity in corporate leadership continue to be critical discussions, research is regularly published showing links between these factors and company performance. Based on an analysis of Equilar 100 companies—the largest U.S.-listed firms to file proxy statements to the SEC before March 31—women CEOs had a higher representation of women on their boards on average than companies led by male counterparts. They also were awarded higher compensation on average in 2017.

Overall, Equilar 100 companies with women CEOs had an average of 24.0% representation of women on their boards, vs. 23.5% for the companies with male CEOs. Furthermore, the women in the CEO position at Equilar 100 companies were well paid in 2017 with an average pay package of $21.4 million. By comparison, the men who were on the list received an average pay package of $16.4 million. The following two questions examined this data just below the surface, finding that the complete picture is more complicated than it appears.


Do Women CEOs Bring More Females Into the Boardroom?


The Equilar 100 study analyzed recently reported data for fiscal year 2017, including eight women CEOs, a drop from nine the previous year. While Meg Whitman has since left her position at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, she was still in the CEO position during the periods studied, so HPE is included in the analysis.

The answer to the question above—based on an analysis of Equilar 100 data—is yes, companies with women CEOs do have slightly more women in the boardroom. The list of Equilar 100 companies that had women CEOs in 2017 is below, inclusive of their current board composition as of March 31.


Company % Female Board Members Average Board Age Average Board Tenure
Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co 38.5% 62.0 2.4
General Dynamics Corp 27.3% 64.0 5.9
Progressive Corp 27.3% 62.0 9.8
Oracle Corp 25.0% 70.5 14.4
Pepsico Inc 23.1% 63.0 5.5
IBM 20.0% 64.0 6.3
Lockheed Martin Corp 16.7% 66.0 6.6
Duke Energy Corp 14.3% 66.0 4.9
Women CEO Average 24.0% 64.7 7.0
Men CEO Average 
23.5% 63.0 7.2


There are two important factors to consider that give pause in definitively being able to say “women CEOs at Equilar 100 companies lead in gender diversity on boards.” While the numbers are clear—and they are—large-cap companies are much more likely to have women on their boards overall.

According to the recent Equilar Gender Diversity Index, Fortune 500 companies included in the Russell 3000 had an average of 22.5% women on their boards, as compared to 19.2% for Fortune 501-1000 companies and a much lower 14.1% for R3K firms outside the Fortune 1000. The Equilar 100 overall outpaced each of these groups.

It’s also worth noting that most CEOs are also on their own boards. Therefore, if CEOs were removed from the overall numbers, it’s likely the data would show Equilar 100 boards being more inclusive of independent women directors when a male CEO is in place.



The facts are the facts—boards at Equilar 100 companies led by women have a higher percentage of female directors than their counterparts. However, the small sample size—pointing to the lack of women in leadership overall—and these other mitigating factors make a definitive statement difficult to prove.


Do Women CEOs Make More Than Men?


While the women on the Equilar 100 list make more on average than the men, the caveat, of course, is that these numbers reflect a small sample size of women. To get to the eight highest-paid women on the list, you have to go all the way to number 87, whereas you don’t have to leave the top 10 to find the eight highest-paid men. The list of women on the Equilar 100 list (as well as their compensation rank) is below.


Company CEO 2017 Total Compensation ($MM) Equilar 100 RANK
Oracle Corp Safra A. Catz $40.7 4
Pepsico Indra K. Nooyi $25.9 7
General Dynamics Corp Phebe N. Novakovic $21.2 14
Duke Energy Corp Lynn J. Good $21.1 15
Lockheed Martin Corp Marillyn A. Hewson $20.2 16
IBM Virginia M. Rometty $18.0 30
Hewlett Packard Enterprise Margaret C. Whitman $14.8 60
Progressive Corp Susan P. Griffith $9.2 87
Women Ceo Average (N=8) $21.4
Men CEO Average 
(n=92) $16.4


Furthermore, similar to the findings on board composition, the larger the company, the higher the pay. Given the context of the Equilar 100 study more generally—that the largest companies by revenue tend to pay their CEOs more—this small sample size is not sufficient to make a claim that women CEOs earn more than men.

For example, using fiscal year 2016 data, it’s clear that the Equilar 100 stands out over all other public companies. (Since the Equilar 100 is an “early look” at proxy season, comprehensive data is not yet available for these other company groups in 2017.) In 2016, Equilar 100 CEOs were awarded $15.0 million at the median, in comparison to $11.0 million for Equilar 500 companies, and just $6.1 million for all public companies with more than $1 billion in revenue.



In other words, as with board composition, the numbers do indicate that women CEOs earn more than men at face value, but there is more than meets the eye. Ultimately, proof of greater equity in executive compensation and board diversity when women are CEOs is inconclusive from this analysis, highlighting the importance of questioning numbers at face value. Indeed, an academic study was released recently that found there is no meaningful difference in pay between men and women at the CEO level. Each company’s compensation and board refreshment strategy is unique to their circumstances, and monolithic assumptions are not always fair. The gravity of these decisions pored over by each board of directors and their executive teams spotlights the rise of shareholder scrutiny and direct engagement on these matters.

Abrègement de la durée des fonctions de CEO | Une étude d’Equilar

Voici une étude d’Equilar qui montre une diminution constante dans la durée d’exercice des CEO aux États-Unis au cours des 5 dernières années.

Le rapport a été publié par Dan Marcec directeur des communications de la firme.

Ainsi, la présence en poste des CEO est passée d’une médiane de 6 ans, en 2013, à 5 ans, en 2017.



On note également que plus du quart des CEO restent en poste plus de 10 ans, comparativement à 38,1 % qui sont en poste entre un an et cinq ans.




L’article présente également un tableau qui montre les raisons des départs des CEO : (1) démissions (2) retraites (3) congédiement. On note que seulement 10 CEO ont été congédiés sur une période de dix ans. On peut dire que l’emploi est assez stable !



Enfin, l’étude montre que l’accroissement du taux des départs n’a pas donné lieu à des progrès dans le cadre de la diversité. En effet, comme le montre le tableau suivant, le nombre de femmes CEO de grandes entreprises est passé de 3,7 %, en 2013, à 5,6 % en 2017. La fonction de CEO dans ces entreprises est encore réservée presque exclusivement aux hommes.



Vous pouvez prendre connaissance de cet article paru sur le site du Harvard Law School Forum :

CEO Tenure Rates

Quelle est l’influence des femmes CEO sur la structure de gouvernance des entreprises ?

Ceux qui se posent des questions sur l’influence que peut avoir une femme CEO sur la structure de gouvernance des entreprises seront certainement très intéressés par cette recherche de Melissa B. Frye, professeure de finance à l’University of Central Florida, et Duong T. Pham, professeur de finance à la Georgia Southern University.

L’étude montre que bien qu’il y ait encore peu de femmes qui occupent ces positions de pouvoir (5,4 % du S&P 500), il y a une différence significative dans les comportements des CEO masculins et féminins eu égard aux structures de gouvernance qui résultent de leurs actions managériales.

L’analyse des données en surprendra assurément plusieurs. En ce qui me concerne, c’est la première fois que je constate une telle évidence dans les comportements associés au genre.

Voici donc comment les auteurs résument les résultats de leur recherche :

« Using a sample of publicly traded firms in the U.S., we focus specifically on board characteristics that alter the efficiency of the monitoring of the board and are also influenced by the CEO. To capture monitoring intensity we use board size, board independence, the ratio of inside to outside directors, the gender diversity of the board, the board network, director age, interlocking directors, board attendance, and an aggregate board monitoring measure. We find that female CEOs are associated with boards of directors that are smaller, consist of more independent directors, have a lower ratio of inside to outside directors, are more gender diversified, have a broader director network, are composed of younger directors and are in general structured for more intense monitoring of the CEOs relative to the industry median, consistent with our first hypothesis ».

Toute étude comporte son lot de forces et faiblesses. Dans le cas de cette recherche quels sont vos questionnements et vos commentaires ?

Bonne lecture !


CEO Gender and Corporate Board Structures



In our article, CEO Gender and Corporate Board Structure (forthcoming in the Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance), we investigate the relationship between the gender of the CEO and corporate board structures. In recent years, women have made strides in cracking the glass ceiling in leadership positions in corporate America. Female CEOs have been appointed not only in female-friendly industries such as healthcare and consumer products but also in fields that are traditionally dominated by their male counterparts such as energy, utilities or automotive. The number of female CEOs leading S&P 500 companies reached a record high in 2016 with 27 women at the helm of these firms. However, women CEOs only make up 5.4% of the total S&P 500 CEO positions.

A growing body of academic research in finance shows that gender matters in terms of value enhancing decision making. Studies have documented that male executives carry out more acquisitions and issue more debt than their female counterparts, consistent with men being more overconfident than women and less effective corporate decision makers. Research has also shown that firms run by female CEOs have lower leverage, less volatile earnings, and a higher chance of survival than male CEO firms.

Since corporate governance helps mitigate agency conflicts between managers and shareholders of the firm, a good governance system is believed to enhance firm value. In our study, we focus on what is viewed as the most important governance mechanism for shareholders. The board of directors are trusted with monitoring and advising the firm’s management and protecting shareholders’ interests. While the literature has explored mechanisms that are associated with effective governance, the question of whether behavioral differences, associated with the gender of the CEO, play a role in shaping monitoring structures has not been addressed. Thus, we examine whether the “woman effect” in corporate decisions and performance extends to board structures. Essentially, we explore whether behavioral differences between men and women may lead to different board structures.

Whether female CEOs are associated with boards structured for more or less monitoring is an empirical question. To explore this, we consider three hypotheses based on documented behavioral differences between males and females. First, female CEOs may establish boards with greater monitoring. The channel between more board monitoring and gender comes from the literature on negotiations, overconfidence, and stereotyping. Several prior studies report that women perform worse than men at the negotiation table. Basic agency theory would suggest that all CEOs prefer less monitoring. Thus, if females are less savvy negotiators, they may not bargain as effectively with respect to board structure. Likewise, differences in overconfidence may lead to greater board monitoring. A male CEO may overestimate his ability and underestimate the role of board monitoring, thus he may seek to reduce board monitoring relative to a less overconfident female CEO. Stereotyping and/or discrimination on the part of the board may motivate directors to force stricter monitoring on a female CEO. Second, we consider that gender-based differences may lead to less monitoring of female CEOs. The conduit for less board monitoring for female CEOs comes from the perception that women leaders would simply need less monitoring. The overconfidence theory may suggest that boards would be less inclined to intensely monitor female CEOs, since women leaders may make better decisions. Third, it is also possible that male and female CEOs will not differ in terms of board structures. Essentially, females that make it to the top of a publicly traded firm may exhibit very similar behavioral characteristics as their male counterparts.

Using a sample of publicly traded firms in the U.S., we focus specifically on board characteristics that alter the efficiency of the monitoring of the board and are also influenced by the CEO. To capture monitoring intensity we use board size, board independence, the ratio of inside to outside directors, the gender diversity of the board, the board network, director age, interlocking directors, board attendance, and an aggregate board monitoring measure. We find that female CEOs are associated with boards of directors that are smaller, consist of more independent directors, have a lower ratio of inside to outside directors, are more gender diversified, have a broader director network, are composed of younger directors and are in general structured for more intense monitoring of the CEOs relative to the industry median, consistent with our first hypothesis.

In general, we provide strong evidence that female CEOs are associated with boards of directors that are significantly different in structure from their male counterparts. Our results are consistent with gender-based behavioral differences in negotiation, overconfidence, and/or discrimination leading to greater board monitoring at female-led firms. Prior literature shows that better governance is viewed positively by the market and leads to better performance. Activists and regulators also put significant weight on effective monitoring. In light of this, our study supports the push to increase the number of women leaders. Our findings suggest female CEOs welcome board monitoring and stronger governance structures.

The complete article is available for download here.

La gouvernance relative aux sociétés en 2017 | Un « Survey » des entreprises du SV 150 et de la S&P 100

Au début de la nouvelle année 2018, il est intéressant de connaître les tendances les plus marquantes dans les entreprises cotées en bourse.

L’enquête menée par David A. Bell*, associé de la firme Fenwick & West, est assez instructive à cet égard. Dans l’ensemble, l’année 2017 n’a pas connu de changements très significatifs dans les règles de gouvernance.

Cependant, l’étude est intéressante au regard des différences entre les entreprises de la Silicone Vallée 150 Index (SV 150) et les entreprises de la Standard & Poor’s 100 Index (S&P 100). Voici un sommaire des résultats :


Structure de classe d’actions multi votantes


Il y a peu de différences entre les deux groupes d’entreprises, soit environ 10 % pour le SV 150 et 9 % pour la S&P 100.


Règles de composition des conseils d’administration (Classified Boards)


Cette année, on a constaté peu de changements dans les règles de composition des conseils d’administration dans les deux groupes d’entreprises : 6,7 % pour le groupe SV 150 et 4 % pour le groupe S&P 100.


Vote majoritaire


C’est le domaine où il y a eu les changements les plus significatifs. Ainsi, presque toutes les entreprises de la S&P 100 ont adopté le vote majoritaire pour l’élection des administrateurs tandis que pour les entreprises du SV 150, l’adoption de la règle du vote majoritaire est passée de 0 à 60 % en 2 ans.


Directives concernant l’acquisition d’actions par les administrateurs


Les entreprises des deux groupes ont émis des directives concernant (1) le minimum de possession d’actions et (2) la période requise de rétention des actions. Mais, dans l’ensemble, on assiste à une augmentation continue des acquisitions d’actions par les administrateurs et les dirigeants dans les deux groupes.


 Politiques de distribution d’actions avec droit de vote comme mode de rémunération


Il y a une nette tendance au maintien des politiques de distribution d’actions avec droit de vote comme mode de rémunération des administrateurs et des dirigeants dans le groupe du SV 150. Cette rémunération en actions est beaucoup plus importante dans ce groupe que dans le groupe de la S&P 100.


La diversité au conseil


La présence de femmes sur les conseils d’administration est toujours en augmentation : 25,4 % des administrateurs dans le SV 150 et 23,9 % dans la S&P 100.


Taille des CA, fréquence des réunions du conseil et structures de leadership


Il existe toujours une différence importante entre les deux groupes eu égard à la dualité des rôles de présidents du conseil et PDG de l’entreprise. La dualité est présente dans 33 % des entreprises du SV 150 et dans 72 % des entreprises de la S&P 100. La fréquence des réunions du CA a diminué dans les deux groupes.

Les administrateurs provenant de la direction sont plus nombreux dans les entreprises du SV 150, bien qu’en constante diminution depuis plusieurs années.

La taille des CA est en diminution dans les entreprises du SV 150 et elle nettement plus petite que dans les entreprises de la S&P 100.


Propositions d’actionnaires


On constate une diminution de l’activisme des actionnaires dans les deux groupes d’entreprises. En fait, on note une seule contestation d’élection des administrateurs en 2017.


Officiers de la hautes direction


On note une diminution du nombre de hauts dirigeants dans les deux groupes d’entreprises bien que le déclin soit beaucoup plus marqué dans les entreprises du SV 100. En outre, on assiste à une croissance soutenue des postes de Secrétaire corporatif  « exécutif » et de Chef exécutif des technologies.


Pour plus de détails concernant ces résultats, veuillez consulter l’article ci-dessous, publié sur le site de la Harvard Law School  Forum on Corporate Governance.

Bonne lecture et bonne année 2018.



Corporate Governance Survey—2017 Proxy Season



Résultats de recherche d'images pour « gouvernance des sociétés cotées »
L’Actualité IFA de la gouvernance des sociétés



Since 2003, Fenwick has collected a unique body of information on the corporate governance practices of publicly traded companies that is useful for Silicon Valley companies and publicly‑traded technology and life science companies across the U.S. as well as public companies and their advisors generally. Fenwick’s annual survey covers a variety of corporate governance practices and data for the companies included in the Standard & Poor’s 100 Index (S&P 100) and the technology and life science companies included in the Silicon Valley [1]


Significant Findings


Governance practices and trends (or perceived trends) among the largest companies are generally presented as normative for all public companies. However, it is also somewhat axiomatic that corporate governance practices should be tailored to suit the circumstances of the individual company involved. Among the significant differences between the corporate governance practices of the SV 150 technology and life science companies and the uniformly large public companies of the S&P 100 are:

Dual‑Class Voting Stock Structure.

Adoption of dual-class voting stock structures has emerged as a recent clear trend among Silicon Valley technology companies—among the mid-to-larger SV 150 companies—though it is still a small percentage of companies. Historically, dual-class voting stock structures have been significantly more common among S&P 100 companies than among SV 150 companies, though the frequency in the SV 150 (11.3% in 2016 to 10.9% in 2017) has surpassed the S&P 100 (9.0% in both 2016 and 2017) in recent years.

Classified Boards

Classified boards are now significantly more common among SV 150 companies than among S&P 100 companies. Compared to the prior year, classified boards remained fairly consistent, holding steady at 6.7% for the top 15 companies in the SV 150 while the S&P 100 has been at 4.0% since 2016.

Majority Voting

The rate of implementation of some form of majority voting has risen substantially over the period of this survey. The increase has been particularly dramatic among S&P 100 companies, rising from 10% to 97% between the 2004 and 2017 proxy seasons. Among SV 150 companies, the rate has risen from zero in the 2005 proxy season to 59.9% in the 2017 proxy season.

Stock Ownership Guidelines

The prevalence of stock ownership guidelines has generally increased over time in both groups but the SV 150 only recently surpassed the level of the S&P 100. This year’s edition of the survey includes additional detail regarding the minimum holding amount and period requirements for executives and directors.

Executives and Directors ‑ Equity, Voting Power Ownership

There is a clear multi-year trend that the distribution of simple equity ownership and voting power ownership skews higher among technology and life sciences companies in the SV 150 than among S&P 100 companies.

Board Diversity

2017 continued the long-term trend in the SV 150 of increasing numbers of women directors and declining numbers of boards without women members. The rate of increase in women directors for SV 150 overall continues to be higher than among S&P 100 companies. When measured as a percentage of the total number of directors, the top 15 of the SV 150 now slightly exceed their S&P 100 peers (the top 15 averaged 25.4% women directors in the 2017 proxy season, compared to 23.9% in the S&P 100). Companies with at least one woman director went from 74% to 78.2% over the past year for the SV 150. Over a two-year period the percentage of companies with at least one woman director grew by 10 percentage points.

Board Size, Meeting Frequency, Leadership

Combined chair/CEOs existed at about one third of companies in the SV 150, while combined chair/CEOs exist at about 72% of S&P 100. SV 150 companies held board meetings more often in fiscal 2016, while S&P 100 companies decreased meeting frequency in 2016 (companies report meetings for the prior year). SV 150 companies, though, continued to skew noticeably toward fewer meetings compared to the S&P 100. Insider directors are more common among members of the boards of SV 150 companies than among board members at S&P 100 companies, though continuing a long-term downward trend. The number of directors also tends to be substantially lower among SV 150 companies than among S&P 100 companies.

Stockholder Proposals

Stockholder activism—measured in the form of proposals included in the proxy statements of companies—is substantially lower among the SV 150 than among S&P 100 companies. There is a current general downward trend of stockholder activism in both groups, although the SV 150 has had an upward trend in number of proposals in recent years. This year each group had just one contested director election. For more detail, please see our post, Silicon Valley and S&P 100: A Comparison of 2017 Proxy Season Results.

Executive Officers

The number of executive officers tends to be substantially lower among SV 150 companies than among the S&P 100, and there continues to be a general decline in the average number of executive officers per company in both groups. By contrast, the percentage of companies including General Counsel, Chief Legal Officer or Chief Technology Officer or engineering executive as “executive officers” have been on a long-term upswing.

Complete Coverage

In complete publication, available here, we present statistical information for a subset of the data we have collected over the years, updating for the 2017 proxy season. These include:

– makeup of board leadership

– number of insider directors

– gender diversity on boards of directors

– size and number of meetings for boards and their primary committees

– frequency and number of other standing committees

– majority voting

– board classification

– use of a dual‑class voting structure

– frequency, coverage and details of executive officer and director stock ownership guidelines

– frequency and number of shareholder proposals

– number and makeup of executive officers

In each case, comparative data is presented for the S&P 100 companies and for the high technology and life science companies included in the SV 150, as well as trend information over the history of the survey. In a number of instances we also present data showing comparison of the top 15, top 50, middle 50 and bottom 50 companies of the SV 150 (in terms of revenue), [2] illustrating the impact of company size or scale on the relevant governance practices.

The complete publication is available here.



1The S&P 100 is a cross‑section of companies across industries, but is not a cross‑section of companies across all size ranges (it represents the largest companies in the United States). While the SV 150 is made up of the largest public companies in Silicon Valley by one measure—revenue, it is actually a fairly broad cross‑section of companies by size, but is limited to the technology and life science companies based in Silicon Valley. Compared to the S&P 100, SV 150 companies are generally much smaller and younger, have lower revenue. The 2017 constituent companies of the SV 150 range from Apple and Alphabet with revenue of approximately $218B and $90B, respectively, to Aemetis and DSP Group with revenue of approximately $143M and $138M, respectively, in each case for the four quarters ended on or about December 31, 2016. Apple went public in 1980, Alphabet (as Google) in 2004, Aemetis in 2007 and DSP Group in 1994. Apple and Alphabet’s peers clearly include companies in the S&P 100, of which they are also constituent members (eight companies were constituents of both indices for the survey in the 2017 proxy season), where market capitalization averages approximately $130B. Aemetis and DSP Group’s peers are smaller technology and life sciences companies that went public relatively recently and have market capitalizations well under $1B. In terms of number of employees, the SV 150 averages 9,500 employees (with a median of 1,800 employees), ranging from Hewlett Packard Enterprise with 195,000 employees spread around the world in dozens of countries, to companies such as Aemetis with 144 employees in the United States and India, as of the end of their respective fiscal years 2016. The S&P 100 averages 130,000 employees and includes Wal‑Mart with 2.3 million employees in more than two dozen countries at its most recent fiscal year-end.(go back)

2The top 15, top 50, middle 50 and bottom 50 companies of the SV 150 include companies with revenue in the following respective ranges: $8.4B or more, $1.6B or more, $380M but less than $1.6B, and $138M but less than $375M. The respective average market capitalizations of these groups are $178.8B, $66B, $3.3B and $1.2B.(go back


*David A. Bell is partner in the corporate and securities group at Fenwick & West LLP. This post is based on portions of a Fenwick publication titled Corporate Governance Practices and Trends: A Comparison of Large Public Companies and Silicon Valley Companies (2017 Proxy Season); the complete survey is available here.

Évolution dans la composition des conseils d’administration aux É.U.

Les changements apportés à la gouvernance des entreprises passent souvent par un renouvellement du membership du conseil d’administration.

Le document publié par Spencer Stuart intitulé 2017 Spencer Stuart Board Index montre que les pressions sont de plus en plus grandes, notamment de la part des investisseurs institutionnels, pour moduler la composition du CA.

Ainsi, tel que le rapporte Julie Daum, Laurel McCarthy et Ann Yerger, dans une publication de Spencer Stuart, les changements sont assez importants, bien que jugés encore trop lents.

Vous trouverez, ci-dessous un résumé de cette publication ainsi que dix (10) suggestions à considérer afin de poursuivre dans la voie du renouvellement de la composition des conseils d’administration.

En cette période des fêtes de Noël et de la nouvelle année, je vous souhaite une lecture agréable et profitable.

Jacques Grisé, Ph. D., F.Adm.A.

Éditeur de ce blogue en gouvernance


Board Composition: A Slow Evolution


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Conseils d’administration : mesdames, il y a des places à prendre !


Interest in the composition of U.S. boards has never been greater. Pressure for change is coming from many fronts, particularly from institutional and activist investors. We have been tracking board composition issues for more than 30 years, and as the data from our 2017 Spencer Stuart Board Index show, U.S. boards are evolving, slowly.

– The number of new independent directors elected to S&P 500 boards during the 2017 proxy year rose to 397, the most since 2004 and an increase of 15% from 2016.

– For the first time in the history of our survey, just over half (50.1%) of incoming independent directors on S&P 500 boards are women or minorities.

– A record-breaking 45% of the new S&P 500 independent directors are serving on their first public company board.

– Boards are seeking talent beyond C-suite chairs, CEOs, presidents or COOs. Slightly more than a third of new independent directors are active or retired C-suite executives, down from 47% 10 years ago.

– Fewer active CEOs serve on boards. Today only 37% of S&P 500 CEOs serve on one or more outside public company boards, down from 52% 10 years ago.

Calls for greater boardroom diversity—encompassing considerations such as gender, race, age, skills, qualifications and backgrounds—are on the rise. And boards are responding.

Director skills and experiences are changing. Nearly 20% of new independent S&P 500 directors have experience in the technology or telecommunications industries. Directors with backgrounds in banking, finance, investment or accounting are in high demand, representing 29% of new directors in 2017, up from 19% in 2007. Of this group, directors with investing and investment management experience are of particular interest. Thirteen percent (13%) of new directors come from the investment field, up from 5% a decade ago; less than 20% of these directors were appointed under publicized settlements with activist investors.

S&P 500 boards are opening their doors to directors without prior public board experience. These first-time independent directors are more likely than other new directors to be actively employed (64% versus 42%). They are less likely to be C-suite executives and more likely to have other executive experiences, such as division or subsidiary leadership. They are younger, with an average age of 55.2, compared to 57.3 for other incoming independent directors. They are also more likely to be diverse; more than half (55%) of this year’s incoming first-time directors are women or minorities, a significant jump from 37% a year ago.

Female representation among all new independent S&P 500 directors rose to 36% in 2017—the highest percentage we’ve ever tracked—while 20% of incoming independent directors are minorities, defined as African-American, Hispanic/Latino or Asian. (Six percent of the new directors are women and minorities.) Women are increasingly assuming leadership roles on S&P 500 boards, chairing 20% of audit committees, 17% of compensation committees and 22% of nominating committees, up from 15%, 11% and 20%, respectively, in 2016.

Despite these steps forward, the overall pace of change in boardroom diversity remains slow. With 48% of S&P 500 boards adding no directors, board turnover continues to be low and hinders change to the overall composition of U.S. boardrooms.

– Today 22% of all S&P 500 directors are women, up incrementally from 21% in 2016 and 17% in 2012.

– Minority representation at the top 200 S&P 500 companies is low. Seventeen percent (17%) of directors of the top 200 companies are male or female minorities, and representation of African-Americans and Hispanics/Latinos in the top 200 boardrooms has not significantly changed over the past five to 10 years.

Boardroom refreshment faces other headwinds. About three-quarters (73%) of S&P 500 boards report having a mandatory retirement age for directors, unchanged over the past five years, and boards continue to raise retirement ages. Today 42% of S&P 500 companies with retirement policies set their retirement age at 75 or older, compared with 22% in 2012 and just 11% in 2007. Meanwhile, the percentage of S&P 500 companies disclosing some form of individual director assessments is low (37%) and largely unchanged. The data suggest that rather than using evaluations to evaluate director fit in the boardroom, boards are relying on mandatory retirement ages as a primary mechanism for board refreshment.

10 ways boards can continue to evolve

Purposeful leadership by directors is required to continue the evolution in the boardroom. In our experience working with boards, the most effective strategies for building a board composed of the diverse portfolio of skills, qualifications, perspectives and backgrounds matched to the company’s current and future strategic objectives and risks include these 10 elements:

  1. Continuously review the board’s skill sets and performance relative to the company’s strategy and direction. The annual board self-evaluation is a natural platform for the board to review its composition and future needs so that it is in the best position to oversee management as new challenges and market opportunities emerge.

  2. Expand the use of peer and self-evaluations, which can be invaluable tools for providing feedback to and enhancing the performance of new and tenured directors, and for identifying gaps in boardroom skills and experiences.

  3. Take a hard look at formal policies—such as mandatory retirement policies—intended to promote turnover and evaluate whether the policies may be impeding refreshment.

  4. Understand that boardroom diversity, defined broadly but with an emphasis on gender and racial diversity, is of growing interest not just to investors, but also to other key company stakeholders, including employees, suppliers and customers. A tangible commitment to boardroom diversity will be increasingly important, and a “one and done” mentality will be challenged more often in the future, particularly as boards plan for anticipated board vacancies. One approach is to strive to interview several qualified candidates for every open board seat.

  5. Carefully define the expertise that is important for the board—for example, industry or functional knowledge, digital expertise or international experience. Be clear about the perspectives or expertise that the board is looking to gain.

  6. Foster an open mind about what a director candidate should look like and the different ways a director can contribute. Consider senior business unit or functional leaders, including younger executives who may be experts in specific areas such as e-commerce, digital marketing and cybersecurity.

  7. Avoid creating an overly long list of director qualifications, which can limit the talent pool. Be realistic about desired director qualifications; sitting CEOs today are serving on fewer (if any) outside boards. The selection process should cast a wide net and look for the best candidate—not just the one known to board members.

  8. Consider candidates without prior board experience. When assessing first-time candidates, look at their underlying capabilities and mindset—including what we call “board intrinsics,” attributes such as intellectual approach, independent-mindedness, integrity, interpersonal skills and inclination to engage—to understand how likely they are to be able to contribute as well-rounded directors. Spencer Stuart’s Board Intrinsics™ assessment approach focuses on these critical underlying talents and competencies. Candidates who score well in all five areas are most likely to be capable of contributing as “all-round” directors, in addition to the specific knowledge, skill or set of experiences that makes them of interest to boards.

  9. Establish a robust new director orientation program. All new directors—male and female, first-time and experienced—benefit from an orientation program that helps them quickly get up to speed on the business and the company’s approach to governance.

  10. Commit to transparency about board governance practices. With investor attention to board performance on the rise, boards are enhancing their disclosure about key areas of investor interest, including board composition and leadership, director tenure and turnover, board evaluation and performance, and shareholder engagement.