Initiatives to Place Women on Corporate Boards of Directors
By R. Christopher Small,
The Harvard’s blog on corporate governance wrote an article about the initiatives to place women on corporate BoDs.
You may have heard about the idea of quota system for women in Boards (France for example), but now in Austriala another program is considered : The Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) has adopted a “comply or explain” diversity disclosure requirement which emphasizes gender diversity.
“In the paper, Initiatives to Place Women on Corporate Boards of Directors, forthcoming in the Australian Corporate & Securities Law Review, I investigate initiatives to place women on corporate boards. In the United States, the representation of women on corporate boards of directors has been flat for 6 years now. By contrast, elsewhere around the world the topic is a hot button issue. This includes Australia where the proportion of board seats held by women has suddenly jumped from 8% in 2010 to nearly 14% today. The Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) has adopted a “comply or explain” diversity disclosure requirement (for emphasis termed an “if not, why not” disclosure requirement), which emphasizes gender diversity. The requirement is even more stringent than the London Stock Exchange (LSX) comply or explain regulation adopted after the Lord Mervyn Davies Report on women in corporate governance appeared in February 2011. The Australian Institute of Company Directors also has instituted a mentoring/sponsorship program, the first of its kind in the world, designed to obtain board seats for women. This article reviews these Australian as well as global developments, including enactment of quota laws (especially Norway and France), certificate and pledge programs (“Rooney Rules”), and hard law disclosure requirements (United States).
As part of a study group which includes governance scholars from Norway, the UK, the U.S., Australia and New Zealand, we interview women company directors, along with company chairpersons and representatives of adjective organizations interested in the subject of diversity on corporate boards of directors. Examples of adjective organizations who have undertaken efforts to place women on corporate boards are, in the U.S., Catalyst, Inc., or Women Corporate Directors (WCD), or in Australia, the Institute of Company Directors (AICD) or the Australian Business Council (ABC). The expected outcome of our study group endeavor is to describe how various women actually have attained elevation to corporate boards and senior management positions, as opposed to the anecdotal and other non-empirical accounts which have dominated the literature to date.
In 2010, at the New South Wales State Library in Sydney, the group interviewed 16 women who serve as directors of publicly held companies, 5 company chairmen, and 4 representatives from adjective organizations. A subsidiary goal is to repeat the process in several countries, developing a comparative as well as empirical model of pathways for women to corporate board seats.”
To read more : blog.law.havard.edu
Corporate Governance and the Problem of Executive Compensation
By J Robert Brown Jr
Corporate governance is one of those topics that only seems to grow in importance. Some of the importance comes from increased organization of shareholders.
The public has also become increasingly aware of these sort of issues. What was once a matter betwen managers and owners has now become an issue debate within the public at large.”
J Robert Brown in .theracetothebottom.org website, author of this article deals about the issues of executive compensation.
Compensation issues raise questions about the role of the board of directors. For public companies traded on a stock exchange, there must be at least a majority of independent directors. In fact, the largest public companies typically have a super majority of independent directors. Yet this structure has been unable to stop a steady increase in the amount of compensation, the payment of unnecessary perqs, and, until say on pay, a not uncommon disconnect between pay and performance. Nor has the structure stopped an escalation in director compensation.
This is one of those areas where the problem is clear, the source obvious, and the solution straightforward. State law determines the obligations of the board, including those connected to the approval of executive compensation. State courts, particularly those in Delaware, have adopted standards that impose no meaningful limits on executive compensation. This phenomena is discussed at length in Returning Fairness to Executive Compensation.
The Solution ?
Read the article on Theracetothebottom.org
In CAMERA Board Session… Why?
One of the most delicate topics in governance is the ability to control any contentious agenda items. As the Board and committees are intended to oversee the management by the executive team in place, it may be difficult in their presence to address openly certain subjects in Council, especially when they pertain to or affect their performance.
The governance practice “in-camera meeting” is designed to help board to manage these delicates cases.
A definition of what constitutes an in session camera is probably valuable at this point: it’s when directors meet on their own, without management or any other non-Board member present.
The legal term is “recused,” which means to disqualify someone from participation in a decision on grounds that they cannot, because of a particular interest or position, objectively discuss the matter.
Currently accepted principles of good governance provide that all boards and committees should regularly hold scheduled in camera sessions for board members only and also that boards should regularly meet without senior management present.
We find several references to this practice to hold a session at the end of CA with only independent outside directors. It’s providing them, the opportunity to talk about more sensitive elements:
• To provide an opportunity for the board to discuss particularly sensitive matters within the jurisdiction of the board (such as litigation, work relations, or management/CEO’s performance )
• To provide an opportunity for the board to discuss sensitive internal board governance matters
• To provide an opportunity for the board to review the performance and compensation of the president, in the absence of executive officers or others not on the board.
In case of salaried ‘problem with the CEO, employee may contact one director and explain his problem. The administrator wills the choice to propose an “in camera” session and talks about the CEO issue without any obligation of keeping him informed.
In conclusion, we need to dissociate two elements for Boards in camera.
The first is allowing full and open debate on different topics without any possible interference. The second is to exclude people of the debate which may have a potential conflict of interest with the decision.
Source : bit.ly
Board Governance Structure
You may find this structure interesting as a template for your future governance manual or to compare it to your actual material.
Each category may have one or more documents, for example the Role & responsibility should have:
- role of the Chair
- role of the other officers (Vice, Secretary, trasurer)
- role of director
- role of the CEO (no voting, etc.)
- corporate secretary.
If you have suggestions, we will update this template based on your comments.
The strategic planning process
The board and strategic planning
Roles and responsibilities
Important Board policies
- Delegation of Authority
- Conflict of Interest
- Code of Conduct
Meetings of the governing body
Board orientation, development and retreat
Important Board Processes
Board Works Plans
Evaluation of performance
Reporting on Resources (Financial, Human)
Reporting on Quality
Quality Report Cards
Board Composition and the Nominating Process
Membership of the governing body
The Board and the CEO
CEO Position Description
Delegation of Authority Policy
CEO Performance and Development Process
Steps in the process
CEO Evaluation Form
Succession planning/talent management
Compensation policies and practices
Objective setting and performance reviews
Recruiting and selection
Board Structure (Committees)
Board Committee Mandates
Resources Committee (Finance)
Governance and Nominations Committee
Management Resources and Compensation Committee
The Board and its Stakeholders
The board’s advocacy role
The annual report
Communicating with stakeholders
Stakeholder engagement in meeting needs
The Board’s Accountability
The Annual Business Plan
The board’s role in monitoring performance
The board’s role in developing the annual business plan
Accountability for Resources
The external audit function
Resource utilization management
Financial goals and objectives
Financial policies and controls
Accountability-Quality of Service
The board’s role
The quality annual plan
Monitoring quality performance
The Governance Manual
The governance manual
Leading Boards et les Manufacturiers et exportateurs du Canada (MEC) annoncent la conclusion d’une alliance commerciale stratégique
« Ce partenariat permettra à MEC d’offrir à ses membres le meilleur logiciel canadien de gestion des conseils d’administration et des comités des entreprises »
Publié par Leading Boards le 12 avril 2012
Montréal (12 avril 2012) – Manufacturiers et exportateurs du Canada (MEC) annonce la conclusion d’une alliance commerciale stratégique avec Leading Boards Inc., entreprise montréalaise spécialisée dans le développement de plateformes logicielles destinées aux conseils d’administration d’entreprises.
« Ce partenariat permettra à MEC d’offrir à ses membres le meilleur logiciel canadien de gestion des conseils d’administration et des comités des entreprises », a déclaré Jayson Myers, Président et chef de la direction de MEC. « Le partenariat entre Manufacturiers et exportateurs du Canada et Leading Boards permettra aux membres de MEC d’améliorer leur gouvernance ».
Le portail de Leading Boards, est un nouveau service que MEC offrira à ses membres à un tarif favorable pour leur faire réaliser des économies substantielles en coûts de gestion de leurs conseils d’administration, en plus de leur permettre d’améliorer leur gouvernance d’entreprise. Et ce, grâce à l’utilisation du portail Leading Boards.
« Ce partenariat avec MEC constitue une excellente occasion pour nous, », a déclaré Jean-Marc Félio, Président et chef de la direction de Leading Boards, « nous pouvons vraiment faire une différence grâce à notre solution de e-gouvernance dans le fonctionnement quotidien de nombre d’entreprises - nous pouvons surtout les aider à adopter des méthodes de travail plus intelligentes, plus sûres et plus productive ».
À propos de MEC
Manufacturiers et exportateurs du Canada (MEC) est la plus importante association commerciale et industrielle du Canada, et le porte-parole de la manufacture et du commerce international au Canada.
L’association représente plus de 10 000 entreprises de pointe à travers le pays. Plus de 85 pour cent des membres de MEC appartiennent au secteur des petites et moyennes entreprises. À titre de plus important réseau d’affaires du Canada, MEC – par le biais de ses différentes initiatives, notamment l’établissement de la Coalition des manufacturiers du Canada – touche plus de 100 000 entreprises à l’échelle du pays qui se livrent à la manufacture, au commerce international et aux industries des services.
On estime que les membres du réseau de MEC comptent pour 82 pour cent de la production manufacturière du Canada, et pour 90 pour cent des exportations de biens et services.
À propos de Leading Boards
Leading Boards offre une plateforme Web unique, bilingue, hautement sécurisée et destinée aux conseils d’administration et aux comités. Cette solution optimise la communication et la collaboration des membres entre chaque réunion, offre un « conseil-sans-papier » et une gestion sécurisée de la documentation pour accéder à une gouvernance saine et effective des entreprises.
À partir de Montréal, et avec une expansion rapide au Canada, en Amérique Latine et dans la région MENA (Middle-East & North-Africa), Leading Boards s’impose comme la référence internationale pour les conseils et les comités. (www.leadingboards.com)
For more information, contact:
Affaires publiques et des partenariats
Manufacturiers et exportateurs du Canada
Tél. : 613-238-8888 x4233
Courriel : firstname.lastname@example.org
Chef de la direction
Leading Boards Inc.
Tél. : 514-994-0757
Courriel : email@example.com
2011 Board Practices Report - Deloitte
This report by the Deloitte Center for Corporate Governance and the Society of Corporate Secretaries and Governance Professionals provides results from a survey of over 200 corporate secretaries on topical governance questions, including shareholder engagement, board committees, strategy, and sustainability. New to this eighth edition is an analysis of director qualifications, which includes insight on board composition related to gender, age, and ethnicity…
Source : corpgov.deloitte.com
Tech CEOs - life on the edge of risk management
By Aarty Maharaj
“Heading up a company is not all it’s cracked up to be. A CEO has to be a master - at almost everything. Whether it’s legislative advocacy, solid corporate governance practices, strategic planning or even choosing the right staff members, these head honchos must be able to balance every aspect of an organization’s future and stand at the forefront of success or failure.
In the tech industry, for instance, CEOs have been experiencing a significant amount of change. Sometimes these executives are stretched too thin because of the complex nature of tech services now driven by the evolving social networking platform. In this setting, the job of the CEO goes beyond simply achieving excellence in strategic execution. He or she must have the ability to react quickly to a situation, craft capabilities and watch for early warnings of changes. In business, this is where risk management comes in.
A report on Business Insider, On the hot seat: 10 tech CEOs who could be fired tomorrow, examines major risk management missteps some executives have made while heading up a tech company.
According to the report, the following CEOs are expected to get the boot soon: Dick Costolo, CEO of Twitter, who has yet to demonstrate the social networking site is more monetizable than AIM or chat; Scott Thompson, Yahoo’s new CEO who is already wrestling with a proxy fight against shareholder activist Dan Loeb; and Andrew Mason, Groupon’s CEO who can’t seem to get the company’s financial reporting right – as a result, the ‘deal-of-the-day’ website is undergoing an investigation by the SEC.
‘These are strategic risk oversight and management on steroids – mostly about exploring how millions of people ‘stick’ to social media and then monetizing,’ says Brian Barnier, an industry analyst and risk management expert…”
This is an extract from Corporate Secretary, to read more: www.corporatesecretary.com
Source : corporatesecretary.com
Stratégies de gestion des risques pour un conseil d’administration
Éviter/éliminer - Éviter les programmes qui ne peuvent être mis en œuvre en toute sécurité. Éliminer de tels programmes s’ils existent déjà
Modifier/atténuer - Il n’est pas nécessaire d’éviter toutes les activités qui posent un certain niveau de risque. Au lieu d’annuler ces activités, il s’agit de mettre au point des politiques ou des procédures qui permettront à l’organisation de rendre un service ou d’accomplir une tâche avec prudence
Retenir/accepter - Établir les limites de risque tolérable. Comme tout ne peut être maitrisé, il importe de déterminer quel est le niveau de risque qui peut être géré par le conseil
Partager/transférer - Partager le risque avec un autre groupe ou en transférer l’ensemble à un tiers. Par exemple, confier le service à une autre organisation en sous-traitance
Autres moyens d’éviter les dommages à l’organisation
- Respecter les règlements de l’organisation et les revoir à intervalles réguliers pour faire en sorte qu’ils soient conformes aux circonstances et à la législation en évolution
- Conserver les copies de sauvegarde ailleurs que dans les locaux de l’organisation
- Dresser des plans d’urgence en vue de risques prévisibles
- Diversifier les sources de revenu
- Établir un fonds de réserve
- Veiller à ce que tous les employés possèdent/connaissent leur description de travail et leur fournir l’orientation et la formation pertinentes
- Prendre les mesures nécessaires en ce qui concerne les risques associés aux activités
- Mettre en place des mécanismes de contrôle financier solides
- Faire en sorte que le conseil approuve toutes les pratiques financières et de fonctionnement qui pourraient entrainer des responsabilités financières
- Adhérer aux principes comptables généralement reconnus
- Inclure dans les règlements une clause d’indemnisation
- Faire en sorte que s’effectue une vérification financière annuelle et que l’on apporte les mesures correctives requises
- Effectuer la planification stratégique à long terme
- Veiller à ce que l’organisation ait suffisamment de ressources pour gérer ses affaires et payer ses employés
Publié avec la permission de CC - UWC
Staying ethical in a competitive world
“Ethisphere Institute, a New York City think tank, has unveiled its sixth annual list of the World’s Most Ethical Companies (WME).
The list identifies organizations with fair business practices and standards compared with their industry peers. Achieving this level of recognition can be a challenge for many companies because finding the right leadership to guide an organization through difficult economic times, while also meeting expectations for ethical conduct, is not always easy. This year, nearly 5,000 companies were nominated but only 145 made it onto the list. According to Ethisphere, the 2012 list includes representatives of more than three dozen industries, from aerospace to wind power, with 43 of the winners headquartered outside the US.
Ethisphere methodology includes measuring the nominated company’s governance structure against checklists from organizations like GovernanceMetrics International. If a company fails to have a ‘good’ rating due to bribery allegations, corporate citizenship, regulatory and ethical issues, it is automatically tossed out of the list.
This year’s first-time recipients included Hasbro, Realogy, Petco, Britain’s Ethical Fruit Co, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans and Henry Schein, along with 31 others. Some 18 companies were removed from last year’s list this time due to ethical violations or lack of social responsibility initiatives.
The economic climate over the past several years has made it particularly difficult for top leaders and executives to land a place on the Ethisphere list. When the bottom line is under stress, other objectives can become secondary, or be completely ignored. Just look at the number of now-defunct firms and fraudulent activities the SEC and Department of Justice have cracked down on in the past year. For a firm to make it onto the WME list is, therefore, undoubtedly both an honor and an achievement.
Marriott International is one of the few companies to secure a hard-earned spot on the ethical companies list not once but five times in the past six years. So how does Marriott maintain its sharp focus on ethical practices in a highly competitive world?
Well, ethics is correlated with leadership and it all starts with the tone at the top. The company’s executive leadership in its Bethesda headquarters and in regional offices around the globe has set an example admired throughout the industry. In Marriott’s law department, general counsel and executive vice president Ed Ryan and his team have taken to heart the principle established by the hotel operator’s CEO and chairman John Willard Marriott (JW) and COO Arne Sorenson, as they have helped guide the company through some of its toughest times.”
This is an extract from Corporate Secretary, to read more: www.corporatesecretary.com
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