Today, ISS provided special policy guidance on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, observing that, in light of the current uncertainty, it is appropriate “to provide our stakeholders with some specific guidance on a number of voting policy issues that are likely to be directly implicated over the coming months by the pandemic and the global response to it.” While the guidance suggests that ISS will apply its policies more flexibly under the circumstances, some things never change: option repricings—still disfavored.
In this article from the Harvard Business Review, “How to Be a Good Board Chair,” the author, an academic and consultant, discusses good practices for the board chair’s role based on a survey of 200 board chairs from 31 countries, 80 interviews with chairs and 60 interviews with board members, shareholders and CEOs. According to the author, international differences notwithstanding, he “found a remarkable degree of agreement about what makes a good chair.”
Framework developed by the Investor Stewardship Group establishes common set of investor expectations for corporate governance
The Investor Stewardship Group—a group of the largest, most prominent institutional investors and global asset managers investing, in the aggregate, over $20 trillion in the U.S. equity markets—has developed the Framework for U.S. Stewardship and Governance, a “framework of basic standards of investment stewardship and corporate governance for U.S. institutional investor and boardroom conduct.” The stewardship framework identifies fundamental responsibilities for institutional investors, and the corporate governance framework identifies six fundamental principles that “are designed to establish a foundational set of investor expectations about corporate governance practices in U.S. public companies. Generally, the principles “reflect the common corporate governance beliefs embedded in each member’s proxy voting and engagement guidelines,” although each ISG member may differ somewhat on specifics. The ISG encourages company directors to apply these basic principles—while acknowledging that they are not designed to be “prescriptive or comprehensive” and can be applied in various ways—and indicates that it will “evaluate companies’ alignment with these principles, as well as any discussion of alternative approaches that directors maintain are in a company’s best interests.” The framework does not go “into effect” until January 1, 2018, so that companies will have “time to adjust to these standards in advance of the 2018 proxy season,” the implication being that failure to “comply or explain” by that point could ultimately lead to shareholder opposition during proxy season. Check out the countdown clock at the link above!
by Cydney Posner In this paper from the Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University, Board Evaluations and Boardroom Dynamics, the authors suggest that board self-evaluations aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. While, based on a recent study, 89% of directors believe their boards have the skills and […]
Does a low favorable vote for a say-on-pay proposal affect directors’ reputations outside the company?
by Cydney Posner As discussed in a PubCo post last week, say on pay has had some surprising consequences. While there hasn’t been much impact on the levels of executive pay, according to this paper, one group that have experienced some impact from say on pay are directors. The academic study indicates […]
Bipartisan Senate bill introduced to require public companies to increase transparency regarding board oversight of cybersecurity risks
by Cydney Posner Senators Jack Reed and Susan Collins have introduced the bipartisan Cybersecurity Disclosure Act of 2015, a bill to promote transparency in the oversight of cybersecurity risks at publicly traded companies. According to the press release, the bill is designed to ensure that public companies “provide a basic […]
by Cydney Posner In “Seven Myths of Boards of Directors,” two academics from Stanford Business School set about debunking some of the most common and persistent expectations regard best practices in board structure, composition and procedure. The authors contend that these seven myths “are not substantiated by empirical evidence.”
by Cydney Posner The National Association of Corporate Directors has just released “Critical Issues for Board Focus in 2015.” The issues list was developed following the NACD’s dialogues with a number of major institutional investors and roundtable discussions among investors and committee chairs of Fortune 500 companies. The publication presents […]
by Cydney Posner When the Chair of the SEC and the editors of Bloomberg both think it’s worth getting on their soapboxes to promote the same issue, maybe it’s time for public companies to pay attention. The issue? Women on Boards. Earlier this month, the editors of Bloomberg published “Companies […]
by Cydney Posner According to a study of boards of directors conducted for the WSJ, size does matter, and major corporations with smaller boards of directors tend to outperform their peers with larger boards. (The study is discussed in the article entitled “Smaller Boards Get Bigger Returns” by Joann S. […]