La politique de gouvernance de BlackRock en 2021


Each January, BlackRock typically previews its stewardship priorities in CEO Larry Fink’s annual letter to portfolio companies, followed soon thereafter by updated proxy voting guidelines. Given BlackRock’s position as the world’s largest asset manager, with nearly $8 trillion in assets under management, companies are prepared for this typical release of information. But as one more oddity of 2020, BlackRock is front-running its traditional proxy priority roll-out with yesterday’s release of a “2021 Stewardship Expectations” document that signals significant shifts in BlackRock’s priorities and approach, coupled with “Proxy Voting Guidelines” issued yesterday, to be effective January 2021. These holiday season gifts include a number of takeaways for public companies, a few of which we highlight below.

Support for More Shareholder Proposals

Perhaps most eye-catching is BlackRock signaling an increased willingness to vote against companies in the coming year, whether in respect of shareholder proposals or in director elections. This is a significant shift with regard to shareholder proposals. BlackRock writes: “We see voting on shareholder proposals playing an increasingly important role in our stewardship efforts around sustainability. Accordingly, where we agree with the intent of a shareholder proposal addressing a material business risk, and if we determine that management could do better in managing and disclosing that risk, we will support the proposal. We may also support a proposal if management is on track, but we believe that voting in favor might accelerate their progress,” going on to note that supporting shareholder proposals significantly increases the likelihood of a company implementing the requested actions. Later, they write “Where our analysis and engagement indicate a need for improvement in a company’s approach to an issue, we will support shareholder proposals that are reasonable and not unduly constraining to management.”

Efficacy of Votes Against Director

It is also likely BlackRock will be marginally more demanding with other votes against a company, particularly on directors. BlackRock evaluated the “effectiveness” of its votes against and found that voting against directors was an effective way to cause change. They evaluated the effect of votes against directors over compensation concerns in FTSE 350 and found that the underlying concerns were substantively addressed by 83% of companies where they voted against a director the prior year. They also found that votes against U.S. directors for gender diversity concerns led 41% of companies to improve board diversity the following year. The use of these statistics is a clear message from BlackRock: it believes that voting against directors is effective.

Additional Highlights of 2021 Guidelines—The following bullets briefly highlight certain themes reflected in BlackRock’s proxy voting policies.

    • Heightened attention to board ethnic and gender diversity, including disclosure of diversity characteristics, specifically EEO-1 reports;
    • New attention to board tenure, using average tenure to “evaluate processes for board renewal” and potentially opposing boards that “appear to have an insufficient mix of short-, medium-, and long-tenured directors—though not explicitly linked, companies should expect that BlackRock will look for board refreshment that is aimed at meeting BlackRock’s desired diversity standards;
    • Increased focus on management compensation, including a new preference for annual Say-on-Pay votes, with the explicit warning that if a “company has failed to align pay with performance”, BlackRock will vote against the management compensation proposal and consider voting against the compensation committee members;
    • Requirement that companies disclose plans for how “their business model will be compatible with a low-carbon economy,” specifically a scenario (a) in which global warming is limited to well below 2 degrees Celsius and (b) consistent with an aspiration to reach net-zero GHG emissions by 2050 (which may be a difficult lift for some industries);
    • Support of enhanced political activity disclosure, which includes monitoring trade associations in which a company is an active member to ensure consistency with a company’s public statements on key policy issues, including sustainability; and
    • “More holistic commentary on our approach to natural capital,” including expectations on water and energy scarcity, promoting biodiversity, and counteracting deforestation.

BlackRock also provides companies with some flexibility by clarifying that companies should no longer focus exclusively on shareholders; rather to maximize long-term value, BlackRock encourages companies to focus on stakeholders, including employees, business partners, clients, consumers, government and regulators and the communities in which companies operate—how BlackRock will measure this commitment is unclear.

Further, while this early release was unexpected, we urge our public company clients and friends to take advantage of this preview of BlackRock’s priorities to consider how they may be assessed under this new guidance and potentially consider modifications to adapt their approach ahead of proxy season.

Les grands investisseurs et la diversité des genres au sein des conseils : l’efficacité de la voix des actionnaires


Voici l’extrait d’un récent article portant sur l’effet des efforts de BlackRock, State Street et Vanguard pour accroître la diversité des genres dans les conseils d’administration.

L’article a été publié par Todd Gormley, professeur agrégé de finance à l’Université de Washington à la St. Louis Olin Business School, Vishal K. Gupta, professeur agrégé de gestion à l’Université de l’Alabama Culverhouse College of Business ; David A. Matsa, professeur de finance à la Kellogg School of Management de la Northwestern University ; Sandra Mortal, professeur de finance à l’Université de l’Alabama Culverhouse College of Business ; et Lukai Yang, candidat au doctorat à l’Université de l’Alabama.

En 2017, les investisseurs institutionnels « The Big Three » (BlackRock, State Street et Vanguard) ont lancé des campagnes pour accroître la diversité des genres dans les conseils d’administration.

En utilisant l’estimation de la différence dans les différences, nous constatons que leurs campagnes ont conduit les entreprises à ajouter au moins 2,5 fois plus de femmes administratrices en 2019 qu’elles l’avaient fait en 2016 et ont augmenté la probabilité pour une administratrice d’occuper un poste clé au sein du conseil, y compris de présidente des comités de gouvernance, de ressources humaines et d’audit.

Les résultats suggèrent que les entreprises ont réalisé ces gains en s’appuyant moins sur leurs réseaux existants pour identifier des candidats qualifiés et en mettant moins l’accent sur l’expérience des dirigeants et des conseils d’administration des candidats.

Les résultats mettent en évidence le potentiel du plaidoyer des actionnaires pour accroître la participation des femmes à la direction des entreprises et la capacité des investisseurs indiciels à influencer les structures de gouvernance des entreprises.

Pour avoir le portrait complet de l’étude, je vous invite à prendre connaissance du document de recherche ci-dessous.

Bonne lecture ! Vos commentaires sont les bienvenus.

The Big Three and Board Gender Diversity: The Effectiveness of Shareholder Voice

 

Gender Diversity at the Board Level Can Mean Innovation Success

Vanguard appelle à la diversité des conseils d’administration


Aujourd’hui, je veux mettre en évidence le travail effectué par la firme d’investissement Vanguard dans la mise en œuvre des moyens susceptibles d’accroître la diversité dans les conseils d’administration.

L’article ci-dessous a été publié par John Galloway, responsable mondial de la gestion des investissements chez Vanguard inc.

Vanguard has long advocated for diversity of experience, personal background, and expertise in the boardroom. Diverse groups make better decisions, and better decisions can lead to better results for shareholders over the long term. [1] In 2017, we were a leader in advocating for gender diversity on boards. In 2019, we made more explicit our view that diversity includes not just gender but also other personal characteristics such as race, ethnicity, national origin, and age. We have also encouraged boards to publish their perspectives on diversity, to disclose board diversity measures, and to cultivate diverse pools of candidates for open director seats.

L’article ci-dessous a été publié par John Galloway, responsable mondial de la gestion des investissements chez Vanguard inc.

Je vous invite à lire la version française de la publication effectuée par Google, que j’ai corrigée. Ce travail de correction est certainement encore perfectible, mais le résultat est très satisfaisant.

Bonne lecture !

A Continued Call for Boardroom Diversity

 

Les avantages de la stratégie à conseillers multiples de Vanguard

 

Vanguard défend depuis longtemps la diversité des expériences, des antécédents personnels et de l’expertise dans les conseils d’administration. Divers groupes prennent de meilleures décisions, et de meilleures décisions peuvent conduire à de meilleurs résultats pour les actionnaires à long terme. [1] En 2017, nous avons été un chef de file dans la promotion de la diversité des genres au sein des conseils d’administration. En 2019, nous avons rendu plus explicite notre point de vue selon lequel la diversité comprend non seulement le sexe, mais également d’autres caractéristiques personnelles telles que la race, l’ethnicité, l’origine nationale et l’âge. Nous avons également encouragé les conseils à publier leurs points de vue sur la diversité, à divulguer les mesures de diversité du conseil et à cultiver des bassins diversifiés de candidats pour des sièges d’administrateur ouverts.

La diversité dans les conseils d’administration continuera d’être au centre des activités d’intendance de Vanguard en 2021 et au-delà. Bien que nous ayons constaté des progrès, nous reconnaissons que certaines entreprises peuvent en être aux premières étapes de l’élaboration et de la mise en œuvre d’une stratégie de diversité dans les conseils d’administration. Il existe également des différences régionales à prendre en compte et, dans certains cas, des réglementations spécifiques au pays qui créent des situations uniques pour la divulgation des données sur la diversité. Mais lorsque nous constatons un manque d’engagement pour progresser sur la diversité — par exemple, un conseil d’administration dépourvu de toute diversité de genre ou de diversité raciale ou ethnique — nous nous inquiétons du fait que les rendements à long terme des actionnaires pourraient en souffrir.

À partir des assemblées annuelles de 2021, les fonds Vanguard peuvent voter contre les administrateurs d’entreprises où les progrès en matière de diversité au sein du conseil d’administration sont inférieurs aux normes et aux attentes du marché. [2] Dans de tels cas, nous pouvons demander des comptes aux présidents des comités des candidatures ou à d’autres administrateurs concernés. Nous continuerons de préconiser des changements qui reflètent le point de vue selon lequel des conseils d’administration diversifiés sont dans l’intérêt supérieur des actionnaires à long terme.

Nous ne préconisons pas des mandats universels. Notre processus de diligence raisonnable est flexible et évalue les entreprises au cas par cas. C’est pourquoi nous insistons régulièrement sur l’importance de divulgations concises et claires pour aider les actionnaires d’une entreprise à comprendre sa stratégie de diversité au sein du conseil et ses progrès.

 

Nos attentes en matière de diversité du CA

 

En 2019, Vanguard a appelé les conseils d’administration à atteindre une plus grande diversité. En 2020, nous apportons plus de clarté aux conseils d’administration pour qu’ils progressent à mesure que les attentes des fonds dans ce domaine continuent d’évoluer.

2019

Publiez vos points de vue sur la diversité de votre CA

Voici ce que nous demandons aux entreprises : votre conseil d’administration partage-t-il ses politiques ou ses perspectives sur la diversité ? Comment abordez-vous l’évolution du conseil d’administration ? Quelles mesures prenez-vous pour obtenir le plus large éventail de perspectives et éviter la pensée de groupe ? Vanguard et d’autres investisseurs veulent savoir.

Divulguez les mesures de diversité de votre conseil

Nous voulons que les entreprises divulguent la composition de la diversité de leurs conseils d’administration sur des dimensions telles que le sexe, l’âge, la race, l’ethnicité et l’origine nationale, au moins sur une base agrégée.

Élargissez votre recherche de candidats-administrateurs

Nous encourageons les conseils à regarder au-delà des bassins de candidats traditionnels — ceux qui ont une expérience au niveau des PDG — et à considérer délibérément des candidats qui apportent des perspectives diverses au conseil.

Progressez sur ce front

Vanguard s’attend à ce que les entreprises réalisent des progrès significatifs en matière de diversité dans les conseils d’administration dans de multiples dimensions et accordent la priorité à l’ajout de voix diverses à leurs conseils d’administration dans les prochaines années.

2020

Intensifiez les efforts de diversité du conseil.

Nous nous attendons à ce que les conseils publient leurs points de vue sur la diversité au sein des conseils d’administration, divulguent leurs mesures de diversité, interrogent divers bassins de candidats-administrateurs et reflètent un éventail de diversité.

Investissez dans un pipeline d’administrateurs potentiels.

Nous nous attendons à ce que les conseils d’administration identifient maintenant des candidats-administrateurs. Pour éviter les perturbations, les conseils d’administration doivent développer des relations avec les dirigeants qui dirigent les fonctions des finances, de la technologie, des ressources humaines, du marketing, de la comptabilité, de l’audit ou des investissements. Le moment venu, ces cadres peuvent apporter aux conseils d’administration une précieuse expertise en la matière.

Faites des progrès et montrez les résultats.

Nous nous attendons à des résultats tangibles tels que des conseils autrefois homogènes devenant de plus en plus diversifiés et reflétant mieux la composition des employés et des clients des entreprises qu’ils aident à diriger. Nous pouvons voter contre certains administrateurs lorsque nous constatons un manque de progrès.

Éléments à prendre en compte pour les conseils qui souhaitent progresser

 

Planification à long terme

Les conseils devraient avoir un plan à long terme sur la manière dont ils ont l’intention d’ajouter des voix diverses à leurs rangs. Notre recherche — ainsi que les innombrables discussions que nous avons eues avec les administrateurs, les présidents des comités de nomination, les groupes industriels et les cabinets de recrutement de cadres — a clairement montré que les progrès en matière de diversité exigent à la fois une action à court terme et un engagement à long terme. Le recrutement de membres du conseil ne doit pas seulement commencer lorsqu’un administrateur démissionne ou annonce sa retraite. À mesure que les conseils d’administration anticipent l’évolution de la stratégie et des risques de l’entreprise au cours des prochaines années, ils doivent identifier, rencontrer et constituer un groupe de candidats potentiels possédant l’expérience et la perspective requises. Cette planification préalable et l’établissement de relations peuvent accélérer le processus de recherche d’administrateurs et minimiser les perturbations dans le conseil lorsqu’un siège s’ouvre.

Recherches plus étendues de nouveaux candidats

Nous encourageons les conseils à regarder au-delà de l’environnement immédiat de l’entreprise pour trouver de nouveaux candidats-administrateurs. Les postes de PDG en exercice ou d’ex-PDG sont souvent des choix populaires pour les sièges au conseil, mais les dirigeants qui dirigent des fonctions de finance, de technologie, de ressources humaines, de marketing, de comptabilité, d’audit ou d’investissement, entre autres, peuvent également apporter une expertise approfondie et précieuse aux conseils. Ces recherches plus larges peuvent identifier des candidats présentant une diversité d’expérience et de caractéristiques personnelles.

Augmentation stratégique de la taille du conseil

Les conseils devraient envisager d’augmenter délibérément le nombre d’administrateurs au service d’une plus grande diversité. La concurrence pour les administrateurs peut être féroce et les entreprises doivent agir de manière opportuniste lorsqu’elles identifient des candidats diversifiés hautement qualifiés. Nous nous attendrions à ce qu’un conseil d’administration réajuste sa taille le cas échéant ultérieurement.

Des cultures de conseil qui favorisent la différence et le débat

Une stratégie de diversité dans les conseils d’administration ne s’arrête pas une fois qu’une variété d’administrateurs a été identifiée. À l’instar de toute équipe très performante, la culture d’un conseil est importante. Le président du conseil, l’administrateur principal et l’équipe de direction générale devraient conduire un processus d’intégration inclusif, inviter de nouveaux administrateurs à participer et encourager les divergences d’opinions. Les conseils d’administration ne réaliseront pas les avantages de la diversité si la culture des conseils d’administration résiste au changement.

Ce que nous cherchons à comprendre sur la diversité des conseils d’administration

 

Les informations qu’une entreprise fournit par le biais de la divulgation et de l’engagement nous aident à comprendre son approche de la diversité. Nous évaluons les entreprises dans le contexte de la compréhension de Vanguard des meilleures pratiques, de l’évolution des normes du marché et de l’importance des risques pour des secteurs industriels et des entreprises données, qui éclairent tous les votes par procuration émis par nos fonds.

Nous nous engageons à la fois avec des entreprises à l’avant-garde en matière de diversité et avec celles qui sont à la traîne de leurs pairs. Voici quelques questions typiques que nous pourrions poser aux administrateurs lors d’un mandat. Nous les partageons ici dans un esprit de divulgation et dans l’espoir que les conseils d’administration et les équipes de direction puissent les trouver utiles, même s’ils ne s’engagent pas avec notre équipe.

    • Comment les administrateurs définissent-ils la diversité du conseil ? Quel rôle joue la diversité dans la stratégie globale de gestion des talents de l’entreprise ? Quels sont les risques et opportunités ?
    • À quelle fréquence le conseil effectue-t-il une évaluation des compétences du conseil ? Des caractéristiques diverses sont-elles intégrées à votre processus ?
    • Comment le conseil applique-t-il les considérations de diversité à sa recherche de nouveaux administrateurs ?
    • Le conseil a-t-il fait face à des défis lorsqu’il cherchait à accroître la diversité du conseil ?
    • Quelles tactiques le conseil a-t-il envisagées pour accroître sa diversité ? Avez-vous envisagé d’élargir le conseil ? Cherchez-vous des administrateurs au-delà des candidats PDG ?
    • Le conseil a-t-il envisagé de s’associer avec des organisations de recherche externes axées sur l’identification de talents diversifiés ?
    • Comment le conseil a-t-il évalué son processus d’intégration pour s’assurer que les futurs membres diversifiés du conseil sont correctement intégrés et inclus dans les activités du conseil ?

Nous voulons entendre les conseils d’administration sur la façon dont ils ont donné la priorité à la diversité. Ces commentaires nous permettent de comprendre la compréhension par un conseil d’administration de ses risques et opportunités en matière de diversité, et de savoir où l’entreprise se situe sur sa volonté d’améliorer la composition de son conseil.

_________________________

Notes de fin

1 Hewlett, Sylvia Ann, Melinda Marshall et Laura Sherbin, décembre 2013. Comment la diversité peut-elle stimuler l’innovation ? Revue des affaires de Harvard. (retourner)

2 Nous prévoyons que les plus grands risques de diversité du conseil pour le portefeuille en 2021 seront les entreprises avec 0 % de diversité de genre au conseil, 0 % de diversité raciale ou ethnique au conseil, ou un manque de divulgation et de politique en matière de diversité au conseil. Pour le moment, nous nous concentrons sur l’Amérique du Nord et l’Europe, où nous pensons que les risques (induits par la réglementation ou d’autres pressions des parties prenantes) sont les plus grands. Nous continuerons d’évaluer au cas par cas les autres opportunités de progrès, y compris sur d’autres marchés. (retourner)

Principes de gouvernance qui guident les investissements de BlackRock


BlackRock vient de publier sa position concernant les principes de gouvernance qui doivent guider ses investissements dans les sociétés de rang mondial.

BlackRock est une entreprise pionnière dans la divulgation des critères qu’elle prend en compte avant d’investir dans les organisations. C’est pour cette raison que toutes les personnes intéressées par les questions de gouvernance doivent être bien informées sur les grands principes qui soutiennent ses décisions.

Dans cet article publié par Sandra Boss, responsable mondiale de la gestion des investissements, Michelle Edkins, directrice générale du management des investissements et Shinbo Won, directeur du management des investissements chez BlackRock, inc., les auteurs présentent en détail les règles qui gouvernent les investissements de BlackRock.

Celles-ci sont considérées comme le « Gold standard » dans le monde de la gouvernance.

L’article ci-joint présente la philosophie de placement de l’organisation, ainsi que les principes qui recouvrent les sept thèmes suivants :

    • Conseils et administrateurs
    • Auditeurs et problèmes liés à l’audit
    • Structure du capital, fusions, ventes d’actifs et autres transactions spéciales
    • Rémunération et avantages
    • Problèmes environnementaux et sociaux
    • Questions générales de gouvernance d’entreprise et protection des actionnaires
    • Propositions d’actionnaires

Dans ce billet, je fais référence au premier thème, celui portant sur les principes devant guider la gouvernance des entreprises, notamment les questions relatives à la gouvernance et à la composition des conseils d’administration.

Pour en connaître davantage sur les autres principes, je vous invite à lire l’article au complet.

Bonne lecture !

BlackRock Investment Stewardship Global Principles

 

BlackRock assets reach $7.32T as crisis drives record investments | Fox Business

 

The purpose of this post is to provide an overarching explanation of BlackRock’s approach globally to our responsibilities as a shareholder on behalf of our clients, our expectations of companies, and our commitments to clients in terms of our own governance and transparency.

Introduction to BlackRock

BlackRock’s purpose is to help more and more people experience financial well-being. We manage assets on behalf of institutional and individual clients, across a full spectrum of investment strategies, asset classes, and regions. Our client base includes pension plans, endowments, foundations, charities, official institutions, insurers, and other financial institutions, as well as individuals around the world. As part of our fiduciary duty to our clients, we have determined that it is generally in the best long-term interest of our clients to promote sound corporate governance through voting as an informed, engaged shareholder. This is the responsibility of the Investment Stewardship Team.

Philosophy on investment stewardship

Companies are responsible for ensuring they have appropriate governance structures to serve the interests of shareholders and other key stakeholders. We believe that there are certain fundamental rights attached to shareholding. Companies and their boards should be accountable to shareholders and structured with appropriate checks and balances to ensure that they operate in shareholders’ best interests to create sustainable value. Shareholders should have the right to vote to elect, remove, and nominate directors, approve the appointment of the auditor, and amend the corporate charter or by-laws. Shareholders should be able to vote on matters that are material to the protection of their investment, including but not limited to, changes to the purpose of the business, dilution levels and pre-emptive rights, and the distribution of income and capital structure. In order to make informed decisions, we believe that shareholders have the right to sufficient and timely information. In addition, shareholder voting rights should be proportionate to their economic ownership—the principle of “one share, one vote” helps achieve this balance.

Consistent with these shareholder rights, we believe BlackRock has a responsibility to monitor and provide feedback to companies, in our role as stewards of our clients’ investments. BlackRock Investment Stewardship (“BIS”) does this through engagement with management teams and/or board members on material business issues including environmental, social, and governance (“ESG”) matters and, for those clients who have given us authority, through voting proxies in the best long-term economic interests of our clients. We also participate in the public debate to shape global norms and industry standards with the goal of a policy framework consistent with our clients’ interests as long-term shareholders.

BlackRock looks to companies to provide timely, accurate, and comprehensive reporting on all material governance and business matters, including ESG issues. This allows shareholders to appropriately understand and assess how relevant risks and opportunities are being effectively identified and managed. Where company reporting and disclosure is inadequate or the approach taken is inconsistent with our view of what supports sustainable long-term value creation, we will engage with a company and/or use our vote to encourage a change in practice.

BlackRock views engagement as an important activity; engagement provides us with the opportunity to improve our understanding of the business and ESG risks and opportunities that are material to the companies in which our clients invest. As long-term investors on behalf of clients, we seek to have regular and continuing dialogue with executives and board directors to advance sound governance and sustainable business practices, as well as to understand the effectiveness of the company’s management and oversight of material issues. Engagement is an important mechanism for providing feedback on company practices and disclosures, particularly where we believe they could be enhanced. We primarily engage through direct dialogue but may use other tools such as written correspondence to share our perspectives. Engagement also informs our voting decisions.

We vote in support of management and boards where and to the extent they demonstrate an approach consistent with creating sustainable long-term value. If we have concerns about a company’s approach, we may choose to engage to explain our expectations. Where we consider that a company has failed to address one or more material issues within an appropriate timeframe, we may hold directors accountable or take other voting actions to signal our concerns. We apply our voting guidelines to achieve the outcome we believe is most aligned with our clients’ long-term economic interests.

Key themes

We recognize that accepted standards and norms of corporate governance differ between markets; however, there are sufficient common threads globally to identify this overarching set of principles (the “Principles”) which are anchored in transparency and accountability. At a minimum, we expect companies to observe the accepted corporate governance standards in their domestic market or to explain why not doing so supports sustainable long-term value creation.

Our regional and market-specific voting guidelines explain how these Principles inform our voting decisions in relation to specific ballot items for shareholder meetings.

These Principles cover seven key themes:

  • Boards and directors
  • Auditors and audit-related issues
  • Capital structure, mergers, asset sales, and other special transactions
  • Compensation and benefits
  • Environmental and social issues
  • General corporate governance matters and shareholder protections
  • Shareholder proposals

Boards and directors

The performance of the board is critical to the economic success of the company and the protection of shareholders’ interests. As part of their responsibilities, board members owe fiduciary duties to shareholders in overseeing the strategic direction and operation of the company. For this reason, BlackRock focuses on directors in many of our engagements and sees the election of directors as one of our most important responsibilities in the proxy voting context.

We support boards whose approach is consistent with creating sustainable long-term value. This includes the effective management of strategic, operational, and material ESG factors and the consideration of key stakeholder interests. Our primary focus is on the performance of the board of directors. The board should establish and maintain a framework of robust and effective governance mechanisms to support its oversight of the company’s strategic aims. We look to the board to articulate the effectiveness of these mechanisms in overseeing the management of business risks and opportunities and the fulfillment of the company’s purpose. Disclosure of material issues that affect the company’s long-term strategy and value creation, including material ESG factors, is essential for shareholders to be able to appropriately understand and assess how the board is effectively identifying, managing, and mitigating risks.

Where a company has not adequately disclosed and demonstrated these responsibilities, we will consider withholding our support for the re-election of directors whom we hold accountable. We assess director performance on a case-by-case basis and in light of each company’s particular circumstances, taking into consideration our assessment of their governance, sustainable business practices, and performance. In serving the interests of shareholders, the responsibility of the board of directors includes, but is not limited to, the following:

– Establishing an appropriate corporate governance structure

– Supporting and overseeing management in setting long-term strategic goals, applicable measures of value-creation and milestones that will demonstrate progress, and steps taken if any obstacles are anticipated or incurred

– Providing oversight on the identification and management of material, business operational and sustainability-related risks

– Overseeing the financial resilience of the company, the integrity of financial statements, and the robustness of a company’s Enterprise Risk Management [1] frameworks

– Making decisions on matters that require independent evaluation which may include mergers, acquisitions and disposals, activist situations or other similar cases

– Establishing appropriate executive compensation structures

– Addressing business issues, including environmental and social issues, when they have the potential to materially impact the company’s long-term value

There should be clear definitions of the role of the board, the committees of the board and senior management. We set out below ways in which boards and directors can demonstrate a commitment to acting in the best interests of long-term shareholders. We will seek to engage with the appropriate directors where we have concerns about the performance of the company, board, or individual directors. As noted above, we believe that when a company is not effectively addressing a material issue, its directors should be held accountable.

Regular accountability

BlackRock believes that directors should stand for re-election on a regular basis, ideally annually. In our experience, annual re-elections allow shareholders to reaffirm their support for board members or hold them accountable for their decisions in a timely manner. When board members are not re-elected annually, we believe it is good practice for boards to have a rotation policy to ensure that, through a board cycle, all directors have had their appointment re-confirmed, with a proportion of directors being put forward for re-election at each annual general meeting.

Effective board composition

Regular director elections also give boards the opportunity to adjust their composition in an orderly way to reflect the evolution of the company’s strategy and the market environment. BlackRock believes it is beneficial for new directors to be brought onto the board periodically to refresh the group’s thinking and in a manner that supports both continuity and appropriate succession planning. We expect companies to keep under regular review the effectiveness of its board (including its size), and assess directors nominated for election or re-election in the context of the composition of the board as a whole. This assessment should consider a number of factors, including the potential need to address gaps in skills or experience, the diversity of the board, and the balance of independent and non-independent directors. We also consider the average tenure of the overall board, where we are seeking a balance between the knowledge and experience of longer-serving members and the fresh perspectives of newer members.

When nominating new directors to the board, there should be detailed information on the individual candidates in order for shareholders to assess the suitability of an individual nominee and the overall board composition. These disclosures should give a clear sense of how the collective experience and expertise of the board aligns with the company’s long-term strategy and business model. We also expect disclosures to demonstrate how diversity is accounted for within the proposed board composition, including demographic factors such as gender, ethnicity, and age; as well as professional characteristics, such as a director’s industry experience, specialist areas of expertise, and geographic location.

We expect there to be a sufficient number of independent directors, free from conflicts of interest or undue influence from connected parties, to ensure objectivity in the decision-making of the board and its ability to oversee management.

Common impediments to independence may include but are not limited to:

  • Current or recent employment at the company or a subsidiary
  • Being, or representing, a shareholder with a substantial shareholding in the company
  • Interlocking directorships
  • Having any other interest, business, or other relationship which could, or could reasonably be perceived to, materially interfere with a director’s ability to act in the best interests of the company

BlackRock believes that the board is able to fulfill its fiduciary duty when there is a clearly independent, senior non-executive director to chair it or, where the chairman is also the CEO (or is otherwise not independent), a lead independent l director. The role of this director is to enhance the effectiveness of the independent members of the board through shaping the agenda, ensuring adequate information is provided to the board and encouraging independent participation in board deliberations. The lead independent director or another appropriate director should be available to shareholders in those situations where an independent director is best placed to explain and justify a company’s approach.

There are matters for which the board has responsibility that may involve a conflict of interest for executives or for affiliated directors. BlackRock believes that objective oversight of such matters is best achieved when the board forms committees comprised entirely of independent directors. In many markets, these committees of the board specialize in audit, director nominations and compensation matters. An ad hoc committee might also be formed to decide on a special transaction, particularly one involving a related party, or to investigate a significant adverse event.

Sufficient capacity

As the role of a director is demanding, directors must be able to commit an appropriate amount of time to board and committee matters. It is important that every director has the capacity to meet all of his/her responsibilities—including when there are unforeseen events—and therefore, he/she should not take on an excessive number of roles that would impair his/her ability to fulfill his/her duties.

Top 10 des billets publiés sur Harvard Law School Forum au 19 novembre 2020


Voici le compte rendu hebdomadaire du forum de la Harvard Law School sur la gouvernance corporative au 19 novembre 2020.

Cette semaine, j’ai relevé les dix principaux billets.

Bonne lecture !

 

Top ten list Stock Photos, Royalty Free Top ten list Images | Depositphotos®

 

  1. Decision Making in 50:50 Joint Ventures
  2. Delaware Reaffirms Director Independence Principle in Founder-Led Company
  3. Shareholders’ Rights & Shareholder Activism 2020
  4. ESG Management and Board Accountability
  5. Financial Institution Regulation Under President Biden
  6. Corporations in 100 Pages
  7. Racial Equity on the Board Agenda
  8. The Rise of the General Counsel
  9. Revealing ESG in Critical Audit Matters
  10. SEC Division of Enforcement 2020 Annual Report

C’est le temps de faire appel aux compétences de son CA !


Voici un article qui devrait inciter les entreprises à adopter de meilleures pratiques eu égard à la contribution des membres du conseil d’administration.

L’article a été publié sur le Forum de Harvard Law School par deux experts des questions stratégiques.

Jeffrey Greene est conseiller principal chez Fortuna Advisors et Sharath Sharma est le leader d’EY Americas pour les transformations stratégiques.

Je vous soumets la version française de l’introduction de la publication, en utilisant l’outil de traduction de Google, lequel est certainement perfectible.

Les équipes de direction n’ont pas à affronter seules les défis redoutables de la pandémie. Alors qu’ils passent de la stabilisation des flux de trésorerie et de la réingénierie des lieux de travail à la création d’un peu de répit — à la fois financièrement et mentalement — les PDG et la haute direction devraient réfléchir à la manière de déployer leurs conseils d’administration le plus efficacement possible.

Quelle que soit la situation de la performance de l’entreprise sur le spectre — de la difficulté (détaillants physiques) à la prospérité (logiciel de vidéoconférence), les dirigeants peuvent améliorer les résultats en :

    1. Impliquer systématiquement les administrateurs dans les décisions critiques sur la stratégie, la culture, le renforcement de la résilience, la communication avec les investisseurs et la rémunération ;
    2. Mettre l’accent sur la formation des administrateurs, notamment en approfondissant les connaissances de l’entreprise et de ses marchés ;
    3. Tirer pleinement parti de l’expérience collective du conseil d’administration, des perspectives diverses, des connaissances en temps réel et des réseaux étendus.

La direction et les actionnaires ne peuvent pas se permettre de sous-utiliser le conseil d’administration pour faire face à cette crise, pour laquelle il n’existe pas de livres de recettes, ou à ses conséquences, qui ne ressembleront probablement pas aux reprises antérieures.

 

Time to Unlock the Hidden Value in your Board

 

Compétences du conseil d'administration : Que privilégier ?

 

Les entreprises sont confrontées à des défis dans de multiples dimensions — science médicale, soins de santé, marchés financiers, économie, chaînes d’approvisionnement et géopolitique — pour lesquels leur seule approche viable est un processus de résolution de problèmes adaptatif, rapide et décisif, mais itératif, à mesure que de nouvelles informations apparaissent.

Les incertitudes accrues et évolutives dans chaque domaine signifient que les dirigeants doivent résoudre les tensions persistantes entre (1) faire face aux événements à court terme et (2) se préparer à d’éventuelles phases de reprise. La contribution des administrateurs est cruciale pour faciliter l’obtention d’un équilibre raisonnable.

Le tableau ci-dessous montre l’étendue des contributions des administrateurs en cette période critique.

Figure 1: Améliorer le rendement grâce à l’engagement actif du conseil

Une étude de cas pour mieux saisir l’engagement accru des administrateurs dans l’exercice de leurs rôles de fiduciaires

 

Pour décider comment éduquer, informer et impliquer les administrateurs dans l’environnement actuel, les pratiques de gouvernance de Netflix nous fournissent une étude de cas instructive :

    • Les administrateurs assistent régulièrement aux réunions de la haute direction à titre d’observateurs ;
    • Avant chaque réunion du conseil, les administrateurs reçoivent une note narrative de 20 à 40 pages décrivant les performances, les tendances du secteur et les développements des concurrents, avec des liens vers les données sous-jacentes et l’analyse à l’appui ;
    • Les administrateurs ont accès à toutes les informations sur les systèmes internes de l’entreprise ;
    • Les membres du conseil sont habilités à assurer un suivi individuel avec le PDG et les autres dirigeants.

Ces pratiques ont vu le jour afin d’inciter les administrateurs à mieux comprendre les plans à long terme de la direction. Les administrateurs créditent la direction pour la transparence et pour la volonté de débattre des décisions de gestion, en toute confiance.

Il y a tellement d’étapes de transformation radicales majeures que Netflix a accomplies depuis que je suis membre du conseil d’administration : distribution de DVD en diffusion continue sur le Web, passage à l’international, engagement de millions de dollars en contenu…

L’équipe de direction est si réfléchie et ouverte aux différents points de vue dans le processus de prise de décision que cela rend les décisions très difficiles relativement plus aisées en raison de la rigueur du processus.

Chaque action pourrait s’appliquer directement aux défis de gestion de crise, de reprise et de croissance future auxquels chaque entreprise doit s’adapter aujourd’hui.

Des administrateurs bien informés avec des canaux de communication ouverts à la direction peuvent débattre des problèmes en temps réel et tester les hypothèses qui sous-tendent les recommandations des dirigeants.

Je vous invite à consulter l’article afin de connaître chaque élément du tableau : Time to Unlock the Hidden Value in your Board

Bonne lecture !

Taille du CA, limite d’âge et durée des mandats des administrateurs | En reprise


Comme je l’ai déjà évoqué dans plusieurs autres billets, il faut réfléchir très sérieusement à la taille du CA, à la limite d’âge des administrateurs ainsi qu’à la durée de leurs mandats.

Eu égard à la taille du CA, on note que les membres de conseils de petite taille :

(1) sont plus engagés dans les affaires de l’entité

(2) sont plus portés à aller en profondeur dans l’analyse stratégique

(3) entretiennent des relations plus fréquentes et plus harmonieuses avec la direction

(4) ont plus de possibilités de communiquer entre eux

(5) exercent une surveillance plus étroite des activités de la direction

(6) sont plus décisifs, cohésif et impliqués.

 

Image associée

 

On constate également une tendance lourde en ce qui regarde le nombre de mandats des administrateurs de sociétés, mais que ce changement ne se fait pas sans heurt.

Plusieurs pensent que, malgré certains avantages évidents à avoir des administrateurs séniors sur les CA, cette situation est un frein à la diversité et au renouvellement des générations au sein des conseils d’administration. Je crois que les CA devraient se doter d’une politique de limite d’âge pour les administrateurs ainsi que d’une limite au cumul des mandats ?

Les conseils d’administration devraient se préoccuper de ces questions afin :

(1) d’accroître la diversité dans la composition du conseil

(2) de faciliter la nomination de femmes au sein des CA

(3) d’assurer une plus grande indépendance des membres du conseil

(4) d’assurer la relève et l’apport d’idées neuves sur la gouvernance et les stratégies

(5) d’éviter que des administrateurs peu engagés s’incrustent dans leurs postes.

À cet égard, voici certains extraits d’études qui présentent les changements au Canada en 2015 :

Cumul des mandats d’administrateur

« Dorénavant, un administrateur qui est chef de la direction est considéré comme cumulant trop de mandats s’il siège au conseil de plus d’une société ouverte en plus du conseil d’administration de la société qui l’emploie (auparavant, il fallait que ce soit plus de deux sociétés). Un administrateur qui n’est pas chef de la direction cumule trop de mandats lorsqu’il siège à plus de quatre conseils d’administration de sociétés ouvertes (auparavant, c’était plus de six sociétés) ».

Renouvellement des conseils d’administration

Les Autorités canadiennes en valeurs mobilières (ACVM) ont révélé que « seulement 19 % des émetteurs examinés avaient adopté une combinaison quelconque de limites à la durée des mandats et/ou de limite d’âge… Toutefois, la grande majorité des émetteurs ne se sont dotés d’aucun mécanisme officiel pour le renouvellement du conseil, à part leur processus d’évaluation des administrateurs ».

Notons que les émetteurs assujettis sont tenus de divulguer les limites à la durée du mandat des administrateurs ainsi que les mécanismes de renouvellement du conseil. S’ils ne se conforment pas, ils doivent en expliquer les raisons.

En France, par exemple, un administrateur qui a siégé à un conseil pendant plus de 12 ans n’est plus considéré comme étant indépendant. Au Royaume-Uni, le conseil doit déclarer publiquement pourquoi il croit qu’un administrateur qui a siégé plus de 9 ans est toujours considéré comme étant indépendant.

Beaucoup de conseils au Canada estiment que les limites de mandat servent un objectif, 56 % des sociétés du Canadian Spencer Stuart Board Index (CSSBI) indiquant qu’elles recourent volontairement à des limites d’âge et de mandat. Selon une récente étude de Korn Ferry International/Patrick O’Callaghan and Associates, les limites de mandat pour les entreprises canadiennes inscrites en bourse ayant été sondées oscillent entre sept et vingt ans, 53 % d’entre elles présentant une limite de mandat de 15 ans.

Voici quelques billets publiés sur mon blogue qui peuvent être utiles à un président de conseil aux prises avec ces questions délicates.

 

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

Réflexions sur les limites d’âge des membres de conseil d’administration et sur la durée des mandats

Faut-il limiter le nombre de mandats des administrateurs ?

 

Également, j’ai joint le Rapport de Davies sur la gouvernance | Décembre 2015 au Canada en 2015.

Enfin, voici deux articles qui devraient alimenter vos réflexions sur le sujet.

Le premier, Company directors getting older – fewer age limits, a été publié par Andrew Frye et Jeff Green dans le San Francisco Chronicle. Le second, Board Tenure: The New Hot Governance Topic ?, a été publié par Broc Romanek sur le blogue de CorporateCounsel.net. Vous trouverez, ci-dessous, des extraits de ces deux références.

Company directors getting older – fewer age limits

 

Buffett’s influence

Berkshire’s willingness to retain directors in their ninth decades reflects Buffett’s influence on the firm and a national trend toward older boards. About 15 percent of directors at companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index are older than 69, compared with 9.8 percent in 2002, according to executive-compensation benchmarking firm Equilar. Proxy filings show 52 directors are age 80 or older.

« You can have great 85-year-olds and horrible 55-year-olds, » said Anne Sheehan, director of corporate governance for the $155 billion California State Teachers’ Retirement System. « A lot of this depends on the 80-year-old, because I’d love to have Warren Buffett on any board. »

Boardroom age limits are less prevalent and set higher than they were five years ago, according to the latest report on director trends by executive recruitment company Spencer Stuart. Companies use age limits to promote turnover and assure investors that management is getting new ideas. Those goals may instead be achieved through term limits, Sheehan said.

« You have to refresh the board, whether it’s through term limits or through age limits, » said Charles Elson, director of the University of Delaware’s Center for Corporate Governance.

 

_______________________________________________________

Board Tenure: The New Hot Governance Topic ?

At a recent event, a member joked with me that his CEO was asked: « What was the average age of directors on his board? » – and the CEO answered: « Dead. » Based on recent stats, it appears that many directors are comfortable as turnover is quite low these days. This is reflected in Jim Kristie’s Directors & Boards piece entitled « Troubling Trend: Low Board Turnover. » As Jim points out, a director with a certain background might make sense for the company now – but might not ten years down the road as the circumstances change.

Perhaps even more important is the independence issue – is a director who sits on the board for several decades likely to still be independent after such a long tenure (see this WSJ article about the 40-year club)? Does it matter if management turns over during the director’s tenure? And if so, how much? These are issues that are being debated. What is your take?

As blogged by Davis Polk’s Ning Chiu, CII is considering policy changes linking director tenure with director independence, under which it would ask boards to consider a director’s years of service in determining director independence. According to the proposed policy, 26% of all Russell 3,000 directors have served more than 10 years and 14% have served more than 15 years. CII would not advocate for any specific tenure, unlike the European Commission, which advises that non-executive directors serve no more than 12 years. Note that under the UK’s « comply or explain » framework, companies need to disclose why a director continues to serve after being on the board nine years. I have heard that seven years is the bar in Russia.

How Does Low Board Turnover Impact Board Diversity?

Related to proper board composition is the issue of whether low board turnover is just one more factor that stifles board diversity. As well documented in numerous studies (see our « Board Diversity » Practice Area), gender diversity on boards has essentially flat-lined over the past decade – and actually has regressed in some areas. This is a real-world problem as it’s been proven that differing views on a board lead to greater corporate performance. To get boards back on track, I do think bold ideas need to be implemented – and plenty are out there, such as this one. I can’t believe that more investors haven’t been clamoring for greater diversity – but I do believe that day is near…

Bonne lecture !

Comment devenir administrateur de société de nos jours ? | Billet revisité


Plusieurs personnes très qualifiées me demandent comment procéder pour décrocher un poste d’administrateur de sociétés… rapidement.

Dans une période où les conseils d’administration ont des tailles de plus en plus restreintes ainsi que des exigences de plus en plus élevées, comment faire pour obtenir un poste, surtout si l’on a peu ou pas d’expérience comme administrateur ou comme PDG d’une entreprise ?

Je leur réponds qu’ils doivent (1) se concentrer sur un secteur d’activité dans lequel ils ont une solide expertise (2) de bien saisir en quoi ils se démarquent (en revisitant le CV) (3) réfléchir aux atouts qui peuvent ajouter de la valeur à l’organisation (4) faire appel à leurs réseaux de contacts (5) s’assurer de bien comprendre l’industrie et le modèle d’affaires de l’entreprise (6) faire connaître ses champs d’intérêt et ses compétences en gouvernance, notamment en communiquant avec le président du comité de gouvernance de l’entreprise convoitée, et (7) surtout… d’être patients !

Si vous n’avez pas suivi une formation en gouvernance, je vous encourage fortement à consulter les programmes du Collège des administrateurs de sociétés (CAS).

L’article qui suit présente une démarche de recherche d’un mandat d’administrateur en six étapes. L’article a été rédigé par Alexandra Reed Lajoux, directrice de la veille en gouvernance à la National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD).

Vous trouverez, ci-dessous, une brève introduction de l’article paru sur le blogue de Executive Career Insider, ainsi qu’une énumération des 6 éléments à considérer.

Je vous conseille de lire ce court article en vous rappelant qu’il est surtout destiné à un auditoire américain. Vous serez étonné de constater les similitudes avec la situation canadienne.

6 Steps to Becoming a Corporate Director This Year

 

 

Of all the career paths winding through the business world, few can match the prestige and fascination of corporate board service. The honor of being selected to guide the future of an enterprise, combined with the intellectual challenge of helping that enterprise succeed despite the odds, make directorship a strong magnet for ambition and a worthy goal for accomplishment.

Furthermore, the pay can be decent, judging from the NACD and Pearl Meyer & Partners director compensation studies. While directors do risk getting underpaid for the accordion-like hours they can be called upon to devote (typical pay is a flat retainer plus stock, but hours are as needed with no upper limit), it’s typically equivalent to CEO pay, if considered hour for hour. For example, a director can expect to work a good 250 hours for the CEO’s 2,500 and to receive nearly 10 percent of the CEO’s pay. In a public company that can provide marketable equity (typically half of pay), the sums can be significant—low six figures for the largest global companies.

Granted, directorship cannot be a first career. As explained in my previous post, boards offer only part time engagements and they typically seek candidates with track records. Yet directorship can be a fulfilling mid-career sideline, and a culminating vocation later in life—for those who retire from day to day work, but still have much to offer.

So, at any age or stage, how can you get on a board? Here are 6 steps, representing common wisdom and some of my own insights based on what I have heard from directors who have searched for – or who are seeking – that first board seat.

      1. Recast your resume – and retune your mindset – for board service
      2. Integrate the right keywords
      3. Suit up and show up
      4. Cast a wide net
      5. Join NACD
      6. Pace yourself

Conseils d’administration français | Plus de femmes, mais toujours aussi peu de jeunes


Voici un article d’intérêt pour les personnes intéressées par l’évolution en matière de gouvernance, publié sur le site de

The Conversation

Bonne lecture !

 

Conseils d’administration : plus de femmes, mais toujours aussi peu de jeunes

 

 

La diversité de genre est devenue naturelle dans les conseils d’administration du SBF 120, mais la diversité en matière d’âge reste limitée et l’ouverture des conseils d’administration aux 40 ans et moins demeure une exception (10 % des élus).

C’est ce qui ressort des statistiques établies après les assemblées générales 2020 du baromètre de la diversité dans les conseils d’administration publié chaque année depuis 2014 par Burgundy School of Business (BSB).

Une diversité de genre entrée dans les pratiques

Trois ans après la mise en place du quota de 40 % prévu par la loi Copé-Zimmermann, pratiquement la moitié des administrateurs nommés dans les sociétés françaises du SBF 120 aux AG 2020 sont en effet des femmes. Le SBF 120 est composé des 40 valeurs du CAC 40 et de 80 valeurs parmi les 200 premières capitalisations boursières françaises. Même si la proportion est moindre, les recrutements ont également été féminins pour 36 % dans les sociétés étrangères du SBF 120.

Évolution du % de femmes dans les conseils d’administration depuis la promulgation de la loi Copé-Zimmermann. baromètre BSB

La part des femmes dans les conseils d’administration se stabilise à 45,2 %.

Profils des femmes et hommes nommés en 2020 au sein des conseils d’administration. baromètre BSB

Les résultats confirment en outre la convergence des profils entre hommes et femmes que nous avions relevée en 2019. Les caractéristiques dominantes sont les mêmes chez les hommes et chez les femmes nouvellement nommés : formation en gestion (65 %), expérience de direction (directeurs, membres du comité exécutif : 66 %), expérience internationale (66 %), expérience en finance (53 %) et expérience comme administrateur(trice) d’autres sociétés cotées (60 %).

Par ailleurs, l’influence des réseaux sur le recrutement se renforce. Les administrateurs nommés aux assemblées générales de 2020 sont pour 44 % d’entre eux diplômés d’une école d’élite (contre 40 % en 2019), et 21 % ont une expérience en ministère (18 % en 2019). Après avoir connu une baisse de 2014 à 2017, les statistiques sont en augmentation pour les femmes comme pour les hommes. Les réseaux d’administrateurs sont également très influents avec 60 % des nouveaux nommés ayant ou ayant eu au moins un mandat dans une autre société cotée.

Évolution de la part des administrateurs et administratrices nouvellement nommés dont le recrutement est lié à l’influence des réseaux. baromètre BSB

Alors que les réseaux d’administrateurs étaient très masculins, ils se sont ouverts aux femmes avec la loi Copé-Zimmermann et les nouvelles administratrices sont même plus nombreuses en proportion à avoir cette expérience : 63 % contre 58 % pour les hommes.

Un âge moyen qui reste à 54 ans

 

En revanche, la diversité en matière d’âge reste limitée et l’ouverture des conseils d’administration aux 40 ans et moins reste une exception (10 % des élus).

Le code de gouvernement des entreprises cotées de l’Afep-Medef, actualisé en janvier 2020, suggère pourtant aux conseils « de s’interroger sur l’équilibre souhaitable de sa composition en matière de diversité (représentation des femmes et des hommes, nationalités, âge, qualifications et expériences professionnelles, etc.) ».

Répartition des nouveaux administrateurs (hommes et femmes) en fonction de l’âge. BSB

Plusieurs freins ont été identifiés : influence des réseaux d’administrateurs, les jeunes n’étant pas encore dans ces réseaux, crainte du manque de connaissances et d’expériences des candidats plus jeunes, d’une intégration et d’une cohésion avec le groupe qui seraient plus délicates.

Les études montrent pourtant que leurs apports pourraient être multiples : représentants d’une partie des consommateurs et au fait des enjeux de la société de demain, notamment ceux liés à la transformation numérique, ils favoriseraient l’innovation grâce à l’élargissement de la gamme des choix et des solutions lors des décisions stratégiques. La mixité d’âge faciliterait en outre la transmission de savoir entre les générations.

Peut-être faudra-t-il légiférer comme au Québec pour que le recrutement des administrateurs évolue en matière d’âge. Avec la loi 693 adoptée en 2016, les sociétés d’État québécoises devront, à compter de 2021, avoir une personne âgée de moins de 35 ans au sein de leur conseil d’administration.

D’autres pistes peuvent être suggérées pour plus de mixité d’âge : davantage informer et former aux mandats d’administrateurs dans l’enseignement supérieur, ou encore mettre en place des interfaces entre jeunes cadres et conseils d’administration telles que des plates-formes de recrutement et de candidatures.

Guide des administrateurs 2020 | Deloitte


Le document suivant, publié par Deloitte, est une lecture fortement recommandée pour tous les administrateurs, plus particulièrement pour ceux et celles qui sont des responsabilités liées à l’évaluation de la  performance financière de l’entreprise.

Pour chacun des sujets abordés dans le document, les auteurs présentent un ensemble de questions que les administrateurs pourraient poser :

« Pour que les administrateurs puissent remplir leurs obligations en matière de présentation de l’information financière, ils doivent compter sur l’appui de la direction et poser les bonnes questions.

Dans cette publication, nous proposons des questions que les administrateurs pourraient poser à la direction concernant leurs documents financiers annuels, afin que ceux-ci fassent l’objet d’une remise en question appropriée ».

Je vous invite à prendre connaissance de cette publication en téléchargeant le guide ci-dessous.

Guide des administrateurs 2020

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "guide des administrateurs 2020 Deloitte"

 

Spencer Stuart Board Index | 2019.


Julie Hembrock Daum , Laurel McCarthy et Ann Yerger, associés de la firme  Spencer Stuart présentent les grandes lignes du rapport annuel Spencer Stuart Board Index | 2019.

Comme vous le noterez, les changements observés sont cohérents avec les changements de fonds en gouvernance.

Cependant, puisque les CA ont tendance à être de plus petites tailles et que la rotation des administrateurs sur les conseils est plutôt faible, les changements se font à un rythme trop lent pour observer une modernisation significative

The 2019 U.S. Spencer Stuart Board Index finds that boards are heeding the growing calls from shareholders and other stakeholders and adding new directors with diversity of gender, age, race/ethnicity and professional backgrounds. However, because boardroom turnover remains low, with the new directors representing only 8% of all S&P 500 directors, changes to overall numbers continue at a slow pace.

Voici les points saillants de l’étude.

Bonne lecture !

2019 U.S. Spencer Stuart Board Index

 

A summary of the most notable findings in the 2019 U.S. Spencer Stuart Board Index.

Key Takeaways—2019 Spencer Stuart Board Index

Diversity is a priority

Of the 432 independent directors added to S&P 500 boards over the past year, a record-breaking 59% are diverse (defined as women and minority men), up from half last year. Women comprise 46% of the incoming class. Minority women (defined as African-American/Black, Asian and Hispanic/Latino) comprise 10% of new S&P 500 directors, and minority men 13%.

The professional experiences of S&P 500 directors are changing

Two thirds (65%) of the 2019 incoming class come from outside the ranks of CEO, chair/vice chair, president and COO. Financial talent is a focus area; 27% of the new directors have financial backgrounds. Other corporate leadership skills are valued, with 23% bringing experiences as division/subsidiary heads or as EVPs, SVPs or functional unit leaders.

Diverse directors are driving the changing profile of new S&P 500 directors

Only 19% of the diverse directors are current or former CEOs, compared to 44% of non-diverse men. Meanwhile 34% of the diverse directors are first-time corporate directors, nearly double the 18% of the non-diverse directors. Diverse directors bring other types of corporate leadership experience to the boardroom, with 31% of the diverse directors offering experiences as current or former line or functional leaders, compared to just 11% of the non-diverse men.

Sitting CEOs are increasingly not sitting on outside boards

This year’s survey found that on average, independent directors of S&P 500 companies serve on 2.1 boards, unchanged over the past five years. Meanwhile 59% of S&P 500 CEOs serve on no outside boards, up from 55% last year. Only 23 S&P 500 CEOs (5%) serve on two or more outside boards, and 79 independent directors (2%) serve on more than four public company boards.

Boards are adding younger directors, but the average age of S&P 500 directors is unchanged

Once again, one out of six directors added to S&P 500 boards are 50 or younger. Over half (59%) bring experiences from the private equity/investment management, consumer and information technology sectors. These younger directors are more diverse than the rest of the incoming class, with 69% either women (57% of “next gen” group) or minority men (12% of “next gen” group). They are also more likely to be serving on their first corporate board; 54% are first-time directors.

However, an overwhelming number of new directors are older. More than 40% of the incoming class is 60 or older; the average age of a new S&P 500 independent director is 57.5 years. Of the universe of S&P 500 independent directors, 20% are 70 or older, while only 6% are 50 or younger. The average age of an S&P 500 independent director is 63, largely unchanged since 2009.

Low turnover in the boardroom persists

Consistent with past years, 56% of S&P 500 boards added at least one independent director over the past year. More than one quarter (29%) made no changes to their roster of independent directors—neither adding nor losing independent directors—and 15% reduced the number of independent directors without adding any new independent directors.

The end result: in spite of the record number of female directors, representation of women on S&P 500 boards increased incrementally to 26% of all directors, up from 24% in 2018 and 16% in 2009. Today, 19% of all directors of the top 200 companies are male or female minorities, up from 17% last year and 15% in 2009.

Individual director assessments are gaining traction, but mandatory retirement policies continue to proliferate

This year 44% of S&P 500 companies disclosed some form of individual director assessment (up from 38% last year and 22% 10 years ago). However, 71% of S&P 500 boards (largely unchanged over the past five years) disclosed a mandatory retirement age for directors, and retirement ages continue to rise, with 46% of boards with caps setting the age at 75 or older, compared to just 15% in 2009.

Age caps influenced the majority of director departures from boards with retirement policies, with 41% either exceeding or reaching the age cap and another 14% leaving within three years of the retirement age.

Demographically, only 15% of the independent directors on boards with age caps are within three years of mandatory retirement. As a result, most S&P 500 directors have a long runway before reaching mandatory retirement.

Independent board chairs continue to grow in numbers and pay

Today more than half of S&P 500 boards (53%) split the chair and CEO roles, up from 37% a decade ago. One-third (34%) are chaired by an independent director, up from 31% last year and 16% in 2009.

Although the roles and responsibilities of an independent board chair and a lead director are frequently similar, the difference in compensation is wide and growing. Independent chairs receive, on average, an additional $172,000 in annual compensation, compared to an annual average supplement of $41,000 for independent lead directors.

For the first time, total director pay at S&P 500 boards averages more than $300,000

The average total compensation for S&P 500 non-employee directors, excluding independent chairs, is around $303,000, a 2% year-over-year increase. Director pay varies widely by sector, with a $100,000 difference between the average total pay of the highest and lowest paying sectors.

Key Takeaways—Survey of S&P 500 Nominating and Governance Committee Members

Our survey of more than 110 nominating and governance committee members of S&P 500 companies portends a continuation of trends identified in 2019 U.S. Spencer Stuart Board Index.

Turnover in the boardroom will remain low

On average, the surveyed nominating and governance committee members anticipate appointing/replacing one director each year over the next three years.

Boards will increase their focus on racial/ethnic diversity and continue to focus on gender diversity

Diversity considerations are two of the top five issues for the next three years. While 75% of the surveyed committee members reported that gender diversity was addressed in the past year, 66% said it would continue to be a priority over the next three years. Only 38% reported that racial/ethnic diversity was addressed in the past year, but 65% said it was a top priority for the next three years.

Industry experience will be a key recruiting consideration

The top priority for the next three years—cited by 82% of the surveyed committee members—is expanding director sector/industry experience.

Evaluations of boards and directors will be examined

Enhancing board and individual director evaluations is another top priority for the next three years, identified by 61% of the respondents. While more than three quarters of respondents ranked their full board and committee assessments as very or extremely effective, only 62% gave similar marks to peer evaluations and a just over a majority (53%) gave similar rankings to self-assessments.

Boards will have to cast a wide net to identify director talent

The top five recruiting priorities for the next three years are: female directors (40%); technology experience (38%); active CEO/COO (35%); digital/social media experience (29%); and minorities (27%). Finding a single director who meets all of these criteria is difficult at best, and given supply/demand pressures, boards will have to dig deeper to identify qualified director candidates.

Together the 2019 U.S. Spencer Stuart Board Index and Spencer Stuart’s Survey of S&P 500 Nominating and Governance Committee Members indicate that the profile of S&P 500 directors will continue to change and board composition will continue to evolve. But the pace of change will remain measured.

Les critères de benchmarking d’ISS eu égard aux guides de saine gouvernance


Les auteurs* de cet article, paru dans le Forum du Harvard Law School, présentent les résultats d’un survey sur quatre grandes dimensions de la gouvernance des sociétés cotées.

Les sujets touchent :

(1) board composition/accountability, including gender diversity, mitigating factors for zero women on boards and overboarding;

(2) board/capital structure, including sunsets on multi-class shares and the combined CEO/chair role;

(3) compensation ; and

(4) climate change risk oversight and disclosure.

Les points importants à retenir de cet article sont indiqués en bleu dans le sommaire.

Bonne lecture !

ISS 2019 Benchmarking Policy Survey—Key Findings

 

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[On Sept. 11, 2019], Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. (ISS) announced the results of its 2019 Global Policy Survey (a.k.a. ISS 2019 Benchmark Policy Survey) based on respondents including investors, public company executives and company advisors. ISS will use these results to inform its policies for shareholder meetings occurring on or after February 1, 2020. ISS expects to solicit comments in the latter half of October 2019 on its draft policy updates and release its final policies in mid-November 2019.

While the survey included questions targeting both global and designated geographic markets, the key questions affecting the U.S. markets fell into the following categories: (1) board composition/accountability, including gender diversity, mitigating factors for zero women on boards and overboarding; (2) board/capital structure, including sunsets on multi-class shares and the combined CEO/chair role; (3) compensation; and (4) climate change risk oversight and disclosure. We previously provided an overview of the survey questions.

The ISS report distinguishes responses from investors versus non-investors. Investors primarily include asset managers, asset owners, and institutional investor advisors. In contrast, non-investors mainly comprise public company executives, public company board members, and public company advisors.

Key Takeaways

Only 128 investors and 268 non-investors (85% were corporate executives) participated in the survey. While the results overall are not surprising for the survey questions relating to board diversity, overboarding, inclusion of GAAP metrics for comparison in compensation-related reports and climate change matters, the level of support for multi-class structures with sunsets was surprisingly high.

Summary

1. Board Composition/Accountability

a. Board Gender Diversity Including Mitigating Factors for Zero Women on Boards: Both investors (61%) and non-investors (55%) indicated that board gender diversity is an essential attribute of effective board governance regardless of the company or its market. Among respondents who do not believe diversity is essential, investors tended to favor a market-by-market approach and non-investors tended to favor an analysis conducted at the company level.

Another question elicited views on ISS’s diversity policy that will be effective in 2020. Under the new policy, ISS will recommend voting against the nominating committee chair (or other members as appropriate) at Russell 3000 and/or S&P 1500 companies that do not have at least one female director. Before ISS issues a negative recommendation on this basis, ISS intends to consider mitigating factors.

The survey questioned what other mitigating factors a respondent would consider besides a company’s providing a firm commitment to appointing a woman in the near-term and having recently had a female on the board. The survey provided the following three choices and invited respondents to check all that apply: (1) the Rooney Rule, which involves a commitment to including females in the pool of new director candidates; (2) a commitment to actively searching for a female director; and (3) other.

Results show that investors were more likely than non-investors to answer that no other mitigating factors should be considered (46% of the investors compared to 28% of the non-investors) besides a recent former female director or a firm commitment to appoint a woman. With regard to willingness to consider mitigating factors, 57 investors and 141 non-investors checked at least one answer. More non-investors found a company’s observance of the Rooney Rule to be a mitigating factor worth considering (selected by 113 non-investors) than the company’s commitment to conduct an active search (selected by 85 non-investors). These two factors were each selected by 34 investors.

b. Director Overboarding: The survey responses show investors and non-investors appear to hold diverging positions on director overboarding. On a plurality basis, investors (42%) preferred a maximum of four total board seats for non-executive directors while they (45%) preferred a maximum of two board seats (including the “home” board) for CEOs. In comparison, on a plurality basis, about one third of non-investors preferred to leave the determination to the board’s discretion for both non-executive directors and CEOs.

2. Board/Capital Structure

a. Multi-Class Structures and Sunset Provisions: Results reveal that 55% of investors and 47% of non-investors found a seven-year maximum sunset provision appropriate for a multi-class structure. Among respondents who indicated that a maximum seven-year sunset provision was inappropriate, 36% of non-investors replied that a longer sunset (10 years or more) was appropriate and 35% of investors objected to any form of multi-class structure.

b. Independent Chair: Currently, ISS generally supports shareholder proposals that request an independent board chair after taking into consideration a wide variety of factors such as the company’s financial practices, governance structure and governance practices. ISS asked participants to indicate which factors the respondent considers and listed factors for respondents to choose from, such as a weak or poorly defined lead director role, governance practices that weaken or reduce board accountability to shareholders, lack of board refreshment or board diversity, and poor responsiveness to shareholder concerns. Respondents were instructed to check all that applied.

The results unsurprisingly suggest that investors prefer an independent board chair more than non-investors. Investors chose poor responsiveness to shareholder concerns most often whereas non-investors selected the factor relating to a weak or poorly defined lead director role.

Investors’ second highest selection was governance practices that weaken or reduce board accountability to shareholders (such as a classified board, plurality vote standard, lack of ability to call special meetings and lack of a proxy access right). For non-investors, poor responsiveness to shareholder concerns was the second highest selection.

3. Compensation

a. Economic Value Added (EVA) and GAAP Metrics: Beginning in 2019, ISS research reports for the U.S. and Canadian markets started to include additional information on company performance using an EVA-based framework. Survey results showed that a strong majority of respondents still want GAAP metrics to be provided in the research reports as a means of comparison.

4. Climate Change Risk Oversight & Disclosure

a. Disclosures and Actions Relating to Climate Change Risk: The ISS survey asked respondents whether climate change should be given a high priority in companies’ risk assessments. ISS questioned whether all companies should be assessing and disclosing their climate-related risks and taking actions to mitigate them where possible.

Results show that 60% of investors answered that all companies should be assessing and disclosing climate-related risks and taking mitigating actions where possible. Roughly one third of investors indicated that “each company’s appropriate level of disclosure and action will depend on a variety of factors including its own business model, its industry sector, where and how it operates, and other company-specific factors and board members.” In addition, 5% of investors thought the possible risks related to climate change are often too uncertain to incorporate into a company-specific risk assessment model.

b. Shareholder Action in Response to a Company’s Failure to Report or Mitigate Climate Change Risk: Investors and non-investors indicated that the most appropriate actions to consider when a company fails to effectively report or address its climate change risk are (a) engaging with the company, and (b) voting for a shareholder proposal seeking increased climate-related disclosure.

 


*Betty Moy Huber is counsel and Paula H. Simpkins is an associate at Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP.

Répertoire des articles en gouvernance publiés sur LinkedIn | En reprise


L’un des moyens utilisés pour mieux faire connaître les grandes tendances en gouvernance de sociétés est la publication d’articles choisis sur ma page LinkedIn.

Ces articles sont issus des parutions sur mon blogue Gouvernance | Jacques Grisé

Depuis janvier 2016, j’ai publié un total de 43 articles sur ma page LinkedIn.

Aujourd’hui, je vous propose la liste des 10 articles que j’ai publiés à ce jour en 2019 :

 

Liste des 10 articles publiés à ce jour en 2019

 

Image associée

 

 

1, Les grandes firmes d’audit sont plus sélectives dans le choix de leurs mandats

2. Gouvernance fiduciaire et rôles des parties prenantes (stakeholders)

3. Problématiques de gouvernance communes lors d’interventions auprès de diverses organisations – Partie I Relations entre président du CA et DG

4. L’âge des administrateurs de sociétés représente-t-il un facteur déterminant dans leur efficacité comme membres indépendants de CA ?

5. On constate une évolution progressive dans la composition des conseils d’administration

6. Doit-on limiter le nombre d’années qu’un administrateur siège à un conseil afin de préserver son indépendance ?

7. Manuel de saine gouvernance au Canada

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

9. Indice de diversité de genre | Equilar

10. Le conseil d’administration est garant de la bonne conduite éthique de l’organisation !

 

Si vous souhaitez voir l’ensemble des parutions, je vous invite à vous rendre sur le Lien vers les 43 articles publiés sur LinkedIn depuis 2016

 

Bonne lecture !

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


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

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

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

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

Bonne lecture !

 

Spotlight on Boards

 

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

 

Afin de satisfaire ces attentes, les entreprises publiques doivent :

 

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

_________________________________________________________

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

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.

Le rôle du CA dans le développement durable et la création de valeur pour les actionnaires et les parties prenantes | En reprise


Aujourd’hui, je présente un article publié par Azeus Convene qui montre l’importance accrue que les entreprises doivent apporter au développement durable. 

L’article insiste sur le rôle du conseil d’administration pour faire des principes du développement durable à long terme les principales conditions de succès des organisations.

 

Les administrateurs doivent concevoir des politiques qui génèrent une valeur ajoutée à long terme pour les actionnaires, mais ils doivent aussi contribuer à améliorer le sort des parties prenantes, telles que les clients, les communautés et la société en général.

 

Il n’est cependant pas facile d’adopter des politiques qui mettent de l’avant les principes du développement durable et de la gestion des risques liés à l’environnement.

 

Dans ce document, publié sur le site de Board Agenda, on explique l’approche que les conseils d’administration doivent adopter en insistant plus particulièrement sur trois points :

 

    1. Un leadership capable de faire valoir les nombreux avantages stratégiques à tirer de cette approche ;
    2. Des conseils eu égard à l’implantation des changements
    3. Le processus de communication à mettre en œuvre afin de faire valoir les succès des entreprises

 

L’article qui suit donne plus de détails sur les fondements et l’application de l’approche du développement durable.

Bonne lecture ! Vos commentaires sont appréciés.

 

Le développement durable, la création de valeur et le rôle du CA

 

 

 

Businesses everywhere are developing sustainability policies. Implementation is never easy, but the right guidance can show the way.

When the experts sat down to write the UK’s new Corporate Governance Code earlier this year, they drafted a critical first principle. The role of the board is to “promote the long-term sustainable success of the company”. Boardroom members should generate value for shareholders, but they should also be “contributing to wider society”.

It is the values inherent in this principle that enshrines sustainability at the heart of running a company today.

Often sustainability is viewed narrowly, relating to policies affecting climate change. But it has long since ceased to be just about the environment. Sustainability has become a multifaceted concern embracing the long-term interests of shareholders, but also responsibilities to society, customers and local communities.

Publications like Harvard Business Review now publish articles such as “Inclusive growth: profitable strategies for tackling poverty and inequality”, or “Competing on social purpose”. Forbes has “How procurement will save the world” and “How companies can increase market rewards for sustainability efforts”. Sustainability is a headline issue for company leaders and here to stay.

But it’s not always easy to see how sustainability is integrated into a company’s existing strategy. So, why should your company engage with sustainability and what steps can it take to ensure it is done well?

…one of the biggest issues at the heart of the drive for sustainability is leadership. Implementing the right policies is undoubtedly a “top-down” process, not least because legal rulings have emphatically cast sustainability as a fiduciary duty.

The reasons for adopting sustainability are as diverse as the people and groups upon which companies have an impact. First, there is the clear environmental argument. Governments alone cannot tackle growing environment risk and will need corporates to play their part through their strategies and business models.

The issues driving political leaders have also filtered down to investment managers who have developed deep concerns that companies should be building strategies that factor in environmental, social and governance (ESG) risk. Companies that ignore the issue risk failing to attract capital. A 2015 study by the global benchmarking organisation PRI (Principles for Responsible Investment), conducted with Deutsche Bank Asset Management, showed that among 2,200 studies undertaken since 1970, 63% found a positive link between a company’s ESG performance and financial performance.

There’s also the risk of being left behind, or self-inflicted damage. In an age of instant digital communication news travels fast and a company that fails on sustainability could quickly see stakeholder trust undermined.

Companies that embrace the topic can also create what might be termed “sustainability contagion”: businesses supplying “sustainable” clients must be sustainable themselves, generating a virtuous cascade of sustainability behaviour throughout the supply chain. That means positive results from implemented sustainability policies at one end of the chain, and pressure to comply at the other.

Leadership

But perhaps one of the biggest issues at the heart of the drive for sustainability is leadership. Implementing the right policies is undoubtedly a “top-down” process, not least because legal rulings have emphatically cast sustainability as a fiduciary duty. That makes executive involvement and leadership an imperative. However, involvement of management at the most senior level will also help instil the kind of culture change needed to make sustainability an ingrained part of an organization, and one that goes beyond mere compliance.

Leaders may feel the need to demonstrate the value of a sustainability step-change. This is needed because a full-blooded approach to sustainability could involve rethinking corporate structures, processes and performance measurement. Experts recognise three ways to demonstrate value: risk, reward and recognition.

“Risk” looks at issues such as potential dangers associated with ignoring sustainability such as loss of trust, reputational damage (as alluded to above), legal or regulatory action and fines.

A “rewards”-centred approach casts sustainability as an opportunity to be pursued, as long as policies boost revenues or cut costs, and stakeholders benefit.

Meanwhile, the “recognition” method argues that sharing credit for spreading sustainability policies promotes long-term engagement and responsibility.

Implementation

Getting sustainability policies off the ground can be tricky, particularly because of their multifaceted nature.

recent study into European boards conducted by Board Agenda & Mazars in association with the INSEAD Corporate Governance Centre showed that while there is growing recognition by boards about the importance of sustainability, there is also evidence that they experience challenges about how to implement effective ESG strategies.

Proponents advise the use of “foundation exercises” for helping form the bedrock of sustainability policies. For example, assessing baseline environmental and social performance; analysing corporate management, accountability structures and IT systems; and an examination of material risk and opportunity.

That should provide the basis for policy development. Then comes implementation. This is not always easy, because being sustainable can never be attributed to a single policy. Future-proofing a company has to be an ongoing process underpinned by structures, measures and monitoring.
Policy delivery can be strengthened by the appointment of a chief sustainability officer (CSO) and establishing structures around the role, such as regular reporting to the chief executive and board, as well as the creation of a working committee to manage implementation of policies across the company.

Proponents advise the use of “foundation exercises” for helping form the bedrock of sustainability policies.

Sustainability values will need to be embedded at the heart of policies directing all business activities. And this can be supported through the use of an organisational chart mapping the key policies and processes to be adopted by each part of the business. The chart then becomes a critical ready reckoner for the boardroom and its assessment of progress.

But you can only manage what you measure, and sustainability policies demand the same treatment as any other business development initiative: key metrics accompanying the plan.

But what to measure? Examples include staff training, supply chain optimisation, energy efficiency, clean energy generation, reduced water waste, and community engagement, among many others.

Measuring then enables the creation of targets and these can be embedded in processes such as audits, supplier contracts and executive remuneration. If they are to have an impact, senior management must ensure the metrics have equal weight alongside more traditional measures.

All of this must be underpinned by effective reporting practices that provide a window on how sustainability practices function. And reporting is best supported by automated, straight-through processing, where possible.

Reliable reporting has the added benefit of allowing comparison and benchmarking with peers, if the data is available. The use of globally accepted standards—such as those provided by bodies like the Global Reporting Initiative—build confidence among stakeholders. And management must stay in touch, regularly consulting with the CSO and other stakeholders—customers, investors, suppliers and local communities—to ensure policies are felt in the right places.

Communication

Stakeholders should also hear about company successes, not just deliver feedback. Communicating a sustainability approach can form part of its longevity, as stakeholders hear the good news and develop an expectation of receiving more.

Companies are not expected to achieve all their sustainability goals tomorrow. Some necessarily take time. What is expected is long-term commitment and conviction, honest reporting and steady progress.

Care should be taken, however. Poor communication can be damaging, and a credible strategy will be required, one that considers how to deliver information frequently, honestly and credibly. It will need to take into account regulatory filings and disclosures, and potentially use social media as a means of reaching the right audience.

And that’s because successful sustainability policies are something to shout about. There is enormous pressure on companies to think differently, to reject a blinkered focus only on the bottom line and develop strategies that enable their companies to provide value, not only for shareholders but other stakeholders—society, customers, and suppliers—alike.

Companies are not expected to achieve all their sustainability goals tomorrow. Some necessarily take time. What is expected is long-term commitment and conviction, honest reporting and steady progress. The landscape on which businesses function is changing. They must change with it.

This article has been produced by Board Agenda in collaboration with Azeus Convene, a supporter of Board Agenda.

Les femmes sur les CA | Une perspective internationale


Voici un article de Dan Konigsburg, directeur du groupe Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (DTTL) qui donne une perspective internationale de la place des femmes sur les CA de 66 pays.

Les progrès sont très lents à venir. À ce rythme, la parité sur les CA ne sera atteinte que dans trente ans !

Les pays qui ont les meilleurs résultats sont ceux qui ont des législations ou des réglementations incitatives à l’égard du rôle de la place des femmes sur les conseils d’administration.

Bonne lecture !

Women in the boardroom | A global perspective

 

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Deloitte Global’s sixth edition of Women in the Boardroom: A Global Perspective shares the latest statistics on global boardroom diversity, exploring efforts and regulation in 66 countries to increase gender diversity in their boardrooms while featuring insights on the political, social, and legislative trends behind the numbers.

Globally, women hold just 16.9 percent of board seats, a 1.9 percent increase from the report’s last edition published in 2017. The numbers underscore a now-familiar challenge: women are largely under-represented on corporate boards, and progress to change this trend continues to be slow. If the global trend continues at its current rate of an approximately 1 percent increase of women on boards per year, it will take more than 30 years to achieve global gender parity at the board level. And even then, actual parity is likely to be concentrated to the few countries that are currently making concerted efforts to overcome this issue, leaving several regions lagging behind.

Studies have repeatedly shown that increasing diversity is not only the right thing to do for an organization’s culture, it also leads to better business outcomes. Increased diversity leads to smarter decision-making, contributes to an organization’s bottom line, and powers innovation, among other benefits. Yet, barriers to gender diversity in the boardroom, and more broadly throughout the workplace, persist. Outdated workplace cultures, unconscious bias, and lack of sponsorship are just a few of the factors which prevent many women from reaching senior leadership roles.

One example: women hold just 4.4 percent of CEO positions globally. CFO positions are nearly three times more diverse, but women still hold just 12.7 percent of these positions globally. Given that many board members are recruited from the executive level, this also contributes to a shortage of women in the boardroom.

Key findings from the research include:

  • Germany saw a 6.7 percent increase which is likely linked to recent gender quota legislation passed in 2015.
  • Finland saw a 7.2 percent increase through corporate governance code recommendations and the encouragement of career development programs for women.
  • Malaysia saw a 6.9 percent increase after implementing a series of targets for women in leadership positions, as well as through corporate governance code recommendations.
  • South Africa also saw a 6.9 percent increase after implementing recommendations for listed companies to disclose targets for gender and race representation at the board level.
  • Similarly, Australia, which saw a 5 percent increase, has a recommendation that listed companies establish and disclose board diversity policies, as well as voluntary targets for gender representation on boards.

Boardroom diversity across the Americas rising slowly

Deloitte continues to see a connection between the rise in the number of women serving on boards and the desire for a more inclusive kind of capitalism. The business case for boardroom diversity has been made many times, but there are benefits that extend beyond any single corporation. Female leaders are role models and mentors to other women and girls, and to many men. A strong representation of women in the boardroom has a trickle-down effect in breaking down stereotypes. It encourages girls to pursue careers in business, science, technology, engineering, and math, and its helps narrow the wage gap between genders. These are important steps in achieving greater economic opportunity for women and more inclusive societies.

We expect to see a growing consensus that women and other underrepresented groups are critical contributors to a well-composed board.

To read the full report, please visit: www.deloitte.com/WOB6

About Women in the Boardroom: A Global Perspective

On behalf of Deloitte Global, MSCI ESG Research Inc. collected boardroom diversity data covering nearly 8,648 companies in 49 countries spanning Asia Pacific, the Americas, and EMEA. The data was collected as of 15 December 2018. Based on this data, the Women in the Boardroom publication includes global, regional and country analysis of the progress made towards greater board diversity. It also includes a breakdown of how well women are represented in boardrooms across 6 key industries—financial services; consumer business; technology; media, and telecommunications; manufacturing; life sciences and health care; and energy and resources. To supplement this data, Deloitte Global compiled information about diversity quotas and other board diversity initiatives from 17 additional countries. So, in total, the publication explores the efforts of 66 countries to promote boardroom gender diversity. Finally, interviews were conducted with 3 directors from Australia, the United States, and Spain to provide editorial perspective about the publication findings and additional insight into how boardroom diversity is progressing in their parts of the world.

Spencer Stuart Board Index | 2019.


Julie Hembrock Daum , Laurel McCarthy et Ann Yerger, associés de la firme  Spencer Stuart présentent les grandes lignes du rapport annuel Spencer Stuart Board Index | 2019.

Comme vous le noterez, les changements observés sont cohérents avec les changements de fonds en gouvernance.

Cependant, puisque les CA ont tendance à être de plus petites tailles et que la rotation des administrateurs sur les conseils est plutôt faible, les changements se font à un rythme trop lent pour observer une modernisation significative

The 2019 U.S. Spencer Stuart Board Index finds that boards are heeding the growing calls from shareholders and other stakeholders and adding new directors with diversity of gender, age, race/ethnicity and professional backgrounds. However, because boardroom turnover remains low, with the new directors representing only 8% of all S&P 500 directors, changes to overall numbers continue at a slow pace.

Voici les points saillants de l’étude.

Bonne lecture !

2019 U.S. Spencer Stuart Board Index

 

A summary of the most notable findings in the 2019 U.S. Spencer Stuart Board Index.

Key Takeaways—2019 Spencer Stuart Board Index

Diversity is a priority

Of the 432 independent directors added to S&P 500 boards over the past year, a record-breaking 59% are diverse (defined as women and minority men), up from half last year. Women comprise 46% of the incoming class. Minority women (defined as African-American/Black, Asian and Hispanic/Latino) comprise 10% of new S&P 500 directors, and minority men 13%.

The professional experiences of S&P 500 directors are changing

Two thirds (65%) of the 2019 incoming class come from outside the ranks of CEO, chair/vice chair, president and COO. Financial talent is a focus area; 27% of the new directors have financial backgrounds. Other corporate leadership skills are valued, with 23% bringing experiences as division/subsidiary heads or as EVPs, SVPs or functional unit leaders.

Diverse directors are driving the changing profile of new S&P 500 directors

Only 19% of the diverse directors are current or former CEOs, compared to 44% of non-diverse men. Meanwhile 34% of the diverse directors are first-time corporate directors, nearly double the 18% of the non-diverse directors. Diverse directors bring other types of corporate leadership experience to the boardroom, with 31% of the diverse directors offering experiences as current or former line or functional leaders, compared to just 11% of the non-diverse men.

Sitting CEOs are increasingly not sitting on outside boards

This year’s survey found that on average, independent directors of S&P 500 companies serve on 2.1 boards, unchanged over the past five years. Meanwhile 59% of S&P 500 CEOs serve on no outside boards, up from 55% last year. Only 23 S&P 500 CEOs (5%) serve on two or more outside boards, and 79 independent directors (2%) serve on more than four public company boards.

Boards are adding younger directors, but the average age of S&P 500 directors is unchanged

Once again, one out of six directors added to S&P 500 boards are 50 or younger. Over half (59%) bring experiences from the private equity/investment management, consumer and information technology sectors. These younger directors are more diverse than the rest of the incoming class, with 69% either women (57% of “next gen” group) or minority men (12% of “next gen” group). They are also more likely to be serving on their first corporate board; 54% are first-time directors.

However, an overwhelming number of new directors are older. More than 40% of the incoming class is 60 or older; the average age of a new S&P 500 independent director is 57.5 years. Of the universe of S&P 500 independent directors, 20% are 70 or older, while only 6% are 50 or younger. The average age of an S&P 500 independent director is 63, largely unchanged since 2009.

Low turnover in the boardroom persists

Consistent with past years, 56% of S&P 500 boards added at least one independent director over the past year. More than one quarter (29%) made no changes to their roster of independent directors—neither adding nor losing independent directors—and 15% reduced the number of independent directors without adding any new independent directors.

The end result: in spite of the record number of female directors, representation of women on S&P 500 boards increased incrementally to 26% of all directors, up from 24% in 2018 and 16% in 2009. Today, 19% of all directors of the top 200 companies are male or female minorities, up from 17% last year and 15% in 2009.

Individual director assessments are gaining traction, but mandatory retirement policies continue to proliferate

This year 44% of S&P 500 companies disclosed some form of individual director assessment (up from 38% last year and 22% 10 years ago). However, 71% of S&P 500 boards (largely unchanged over the past five years) disclosed a mandatory retirement age for directors, and retirement ages continue to rise, with 46% of boards with caps setting the age at 75 or older, compared to just 15% in 2009.

Age caps influenced the majority of director departures from boards with retirement policies, with 41% either exceeding or reaching the age cap and another 14% leaving within three years of the retirement age.

Demographically, only 15% of the independent directors on boards with age caps are within three years of mandatory retirement. As a result, most S&P 500 directors have a long runway before reaching mandatory retirement.

Independent board chairs continue to grow in numbers and pay

Today more than half of S&P 500 boards (53%) split the chair and CEO roles, up from 37% a decade ago. One-third (34%) are chaired by an independent director, up from 31% last year and 16% in 2009.

Although the roles and responsibilities of an independent board chair and a lead director are frequently similar, the difference in compensation is wide and growing. Independent chairs receive, on average, an additional $172,000 in annual compensation, compared to an annual average supplement of $41,000 for independent lead directors.

For the first time, total director pay at S&P 500 boards averages more than $300,000

The average total compensation for S&P 500 non-employee directors, excluding independent chairs, is around $303,000, a 2% year-over-year increase. Director pay varies widely by sector, with a $100,000 difference between the average total pay of the highest and lowest paying sectors.

Key Takeaways—Survey of S&P 500 Nominating and Governance Committee Members

Our survey of more than 110 nominating and governance committee members of S&P 500 companies portends a continuation of trends identified in 2019 U.S. Spencer Stuart Board Index.

Turnover in the boardroom will remain low

On average, the surveyed nominating and governance committee members anticipate appointing/replacing one director each year over the next three years.

Boards will increase their focus on racial/ethnic diversity and continue to focus on gender diversity

Diversity considerations are two of the top five issues for the next three years. While 75% of the surveyed committee members reported that gender diversity was addressed in the past year, 66% said it would continue to be a priority over the next three years. Only 38% reported that racial/ethnic diversity was addressed in the past year, but 65% said it was a top priority for the next three years.

Industry experience will be a key recruiting consideration

The top priority for the next three years—cited by 82% of the surveyed committee members—is expanding director sector/industry experience.

Evaluations of boards and directors will be examined

Enhancing board and individual director evaluations is another top priority for the next three years, identified by 61% of the respondents. While more than three quarters of respondents ranked their full board and committee assessments as very or extremely effective, only 62% gave similar marks to peer evaluations and a just over a majority (53%) gave similar rankings to self-assessments.

Boards will have to cast a wide net to identify director talent

The top five recruiting priorities for the next three years are: female directors (40%); technology experience (38%); active CEO/COO (35%); digital/social media experience (29%); and minorities (27%). Finding a single director who meets all of these criteria is difficult at best, and given supply/demand pressures, boards will have to dig deeper to identify qualified director candidates.

Together the 2019 U.S. Spencer Stuart Board Index and Spencer Stuart’s Survey of S&P 500 Nominating and Governance Committee Members indicate that the profile of S&P 500 directors will continue to change and board composition will continue to evolve. But the pace of change will remain measured.

Prix Fidéide | Saine gouvernance


Je me fais le porte-parole du Collège des administrateurs de sociétés (CAS) pour vous sensibiliser au lancement d’un Prix Fidéide visant à reconnaître et encourager les meilleures pratiques en gouvernance : le Fidéide Saine gouvernance.

Le CAS s’associe à nouveau à la Chambre de commerce et d’industrie de Québec (CCIQ) pour la sélection des candidats à ce prix Fidéide.

J’ai donc décidé, à la suite d’une demande de Chantale Coulombe, présidente du Collège des administrateurs de sociétés, d’aider à susciter des candidatures pour ce prestigieux prix en gouvernance. Le prix sera présenté en collaboration avec le cabinet d’avocats Jolicoeur Lacasse.

Voici donc le communiqué que la direction du Collège souhaite partager avec les abonnés de mon blogue.

 

 

Fidéide Saine gouvernance

 

Les critères

Au nombre des critères pour se mériter ce prix, l’entreprise doit avoir en place un comité consultatif ou un conseil d’administration et elle doit s’être distinguée en ayant adopté une ou des pratiques de gouvernance reconnue(s) au cours des trois dernières années que ce soit en lien notamment avec :

(i) la gestion de risque

(ii) les mesures de la performance financière et non financière

(iii) l’implantation de sous-comités

(iv) la parité

(v) les dossiers de ressources humaines

(vi) la relève au sein du CA et\ou au sein de la direction de l’organisation

(vii) le développement durable

(viii) les technologies ou

(iv) la responsabilité sociale.

 

Retour sur le Fidéide Saine Gouvernance 2019

Connus et reconnus dans la grande région de la Capitale-Nationale et de Chaudière-Appalaches, les Fidéides visent à récompenser des entreprises qui se sont démarquées pour des performances exceptionnelles. L’an dernier, pour la toute première fois, la Chambre ajoutait la catégorie Saine gouvernance et c’est la Coopérative des consommateurs de Lorette – Convivio IGA qui a eu l’honneur de décrocher ce premier Fidéide. Deux autres finalistes prestigieux avaient retenu l’attention du jury en 2019, soit : l’Administration portuaire de Québec et le Réseau de transport de la capitale (RTC).

 

Une occasion de reconnaître et d’encourager la saine gouvernance

À titre d’administrateur de sociétés, vous connaissez sans aucun doute des organisations qui mériteraient une telle distinction. Aussi, je vous invite fortement à les inciter à poser leur candidature au plus tard le 5 novembre.

En mettant les projecteurs sur les meilleures pratiques adoptées par ces entreprises, c’est toute la gouvernance des sociétés qui en profitera.

 

Informations et dépôt des candidatures

 

Pour plus de détails, visitez la page Fidéide Saine gouvernance 2020 sur le site du Collège ou encore, rendez-vous sur la page désignée sur le site de la Chambre.

 

Les critères de benchmarking d’ISS eu égard aux guides de saine gouvernance


Les auteurs* de cet article, paru dans le Forum du Harvard Law School, présentent les résultats d’un survey sur quatre grandes dimensions de la gouvernance des sociétés cotées.

Les sujets touchent :

(1) board composition/accountability, including gender diversity, mitigating factors for zero women on boards and overboarding;

(2) board/capital structure, including sunsets on multi-class shares and the combined CEO/chair role;

(3) compensation ; and

(4) climate change risk oversight and disclosure.

Les points importants à retenir de cet article sont indiqués en bleu dans le sommaire.

Bonne lecture !

ISS 2019 Benchmarking Policy Survey—Key Findings

 

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[On Sept. 11, 2019], Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. (ISS) announced the results of its 2019 Global Policy Survey (a.k.a. ISS 2019 Benchmark Policy Survey) based on respondents including investors, public company executives and company advisors. ISS will use these results to inform its policies for shareholder meetings occurring on or after February 1, 2020. ISS expects to solicit comments in the latter half of October 2019 on its draft policy updates and release its final policies in mid-November 2019.

While the survey included questions targeting both global and designated geographic markets, the key questions affecting the U.S. markets fell into the following categories: (1) board composition/accountability, including gender diversity, mitigating factors for zero women on boards and overboarding; (2) board/capital structure, including sunsets on multi-class shares and the combined CEO/chair role; (3) compensation; and (4) climate change risk oversight and disclosure. We previously provided an overview of the survey questions.

The ISS report distinguishes responses from investors versus non-investors. Investors primarily include asset managers, asset owners, and institutional investor advisors. In contrast, non-investors mainly comprise public company executives, public company board members, and public company advisors.

Key Takeaways

Only 128 investors and 268 non-investors (85% were corporate executives) participated in the survey. While the results overall are not surprising for the survey questions relating to board diversity, overboarding, inclusion of GAAP metrics for comparison in compensation-related reports and climate change matters, the level of support for multi-class structures with sunsets was surprisingly high.

Summary

1. Board Composition/Accountability

a. Board Gender Diversity Including Mitigating Factors for Zero Women on Boards: Both investors (61%) and non-investors (55%) indicated that board gender diversity is an essential attribute of effective board governance regardless of the company or its market. Among respondents who do not believe diversity is essential, investors tended to favor a market-by-market approach and non-investors tended to favor an analysis conducted at the company level.

Another question elicited views on ISS’s diversity policy that will be effective in 2020. Under the new policy, ISS will recommend voting against the nominating committee chair (or other members as appropriate) at Russell 3000 and/or S&P 1500 companies that do not have at least one female director. Before ISS issues a negative recommendation on this basis, ISS intends to consider mitigating factors.

The survey questioned what other mitigating factors a respondent would consider besides a company’s providing a firm commitment to appointing a woman in the near-term and having recently had a female on the board. The survey provided the following three choices and invited respondents to check all that apply: (1) the Rooney Rule, which involves a commitment to including females in the pool of new director candidates; (2) a commitment to actively searching for a female director; and (3) other.

Results show that investors were more likely than non-investors to answer that no other mitigating factors should be considered (46% of the investors compared to 28% of the non-investors) besides a recent former female director or a firm commitment to appoint a woman. With regard to willingness to consider mitigating factors, 57 investors and 141 non-investors checked at least one answer. More non-investors found a company’s observance of the Rooney Rule to be a mitigating factor worth considering (selected by 113 non-investors) than the company’s commitment to conduct an active search (selected by 85 non-investors). These two factors were each selected by 34 investors.

b. Director Overboarding: The survey responses show investors and non-investors appear to hold diverging positions on director overboarding. On a plurality basis, investors (42%) preferred a maximum of four total board seats for non-executive directors while they (45%) preferred a maximum of two board seats (including the “home” board) for CEOs. In comparison, on a plurality basis, about one third of non-investors preferred to leave the determination to the board’s discretion for both non-executive directors and CEOs.

2. Board/Capital Structure

a. Multi-Class Structures and Sunset Provisions: Results reveal that 55% of investors and 47% of non-investors found a seven-year maximum sunset provision appropriate for a multi-class structure. Among respondents who indicated that a maximum seven-year sunset provision was inappropriate, 36% of non-investors replied that a longer sunset (10 years or more) was appropriate and 35% of investors objected to any form of multi-class structure.

b. Independent Chair: Currently, ISS generally supports shareholder proposals that request an independent board chair after taking into consideration a wide variety of factors such as the company’s financial practices, governance structure and governance practices. ISS asked participants to indicate which factors the respondent considers and listed factors for respondents to choose from, such as a weak or poorly defined lead director role, governance practices that weaken or reduce board accountability to shareholders, lack of board refreshment or board diversity, and poor responsiveness to shareholder concerns. Respondents were instructed to check all that applied.

The results unsurprisingly suggest that investors prefer an independent board chair more than non-investors. Investors chose poor responsiveness to shareholder concerns most often whereas non-investors selected the factor relating to a weak or poorly defined lead director role.

Investors’ second highest selection was governance practices that weaken or reduce board accountability to shareholders (such as a classified board, plurality vote standard, lack of ability to call special meetings and lack of a proxy access right). For non-investors, poor responsiveness to shareholder concerns was the second highest selection.

3. Compensation

a. Economic Value Added (EVA) and GAAP Metrics: Beginning in 2019, ISS research reports for the U.S. and Canadian markets started to include additional information on company performance using an EVA-based framework. Survey results showed that a strong majority of respondents still want GAAP metrics to be provided in the research reports as a means of comparison.

4. Climate Change Risk Oversight & Disclosure

a. Disclosures and Actions Relating to Climate Change Risk: The ISS survey asked respondents whether climate change should be given a high priority in companies’ risk assessments. ISS questioned whether all companies should be assessing and disclosing their climate-related risks and taking actions to mitigate them where possible.

Results show that 60% of investors answered that all companies should be assessing and disclosing climate-related risks and taking mitigating actions where possible. Roughly one third of investors indicated that “each company’s appropriate level of disclosure and action will depend on a variety of factors including its own business model, its industry sector, where and how it operates, and other company-specific factors and board members.” In addition, 5% of investors thought the possible risks related to climate change are often too uncertain to incorporate into a company-specific risk assessment model.

b. Shareholder Action in Response to a Company’s Failure to Report or Mitigate Climate Change Risk: Investors and non-investors indicated that the most appropriate actions to consider when a company fails to effectively report or address its climate change risk are (a) engaging with the company, and (b) voting for a shareholder proposal seeking increased climate-related disclosure.

 


*Betty Moy Huber is counsel and Paula H. Simpkins is an associate at Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP.