INSEAD Directors Forum: Governance in the Rise of Activism

The activism landscape has evolved tremendously over the years with the rise in stakeholder activism and burgeoning power of activist hedge funds over their target company. The time has come for boards to commit in sustainable stewardship – recognising the environmental and social impact of their business activities, mitigating risks and driving change towards positive long-term value.

More than ever, boards must collaborate with their executive teams to actively manage the risks of an activism campaign by understanding the changing expectations from investors and other stakeholders to find the balance in the pursuit of purpose, impact, and performance. Excessive CEO remuneration coupled with lagging performance in shareholder’s return can create pay-for-performance misalignment in favor for intervention by shareholder activists. However, potential activism risks can become opportunities for strengthening engagement when boards know how to build an effective stakeholder communication strategy in the face of conflict. By leading the way in navigating the rise in the tide of activism activities, board directors can safeguard their companies from detrimental outcome should activism attacks occur.

Organised by the INSEAD Corporate Governance Centre, the thought leadership forum on “Governance in the Rise of Activism” will examine the shifts in the activism landscape and mounting pressure from both shareholders and stakeholders for a sustainable stewardship on governance.Through presentations by academic experts and panel discussions with guest speakers representing investors, regulators, activists, and boards community, we will glean insights from multi-faceted perspectives on the tactics that activists use to stimulate change, leading governance practices in managing such risks and strategy to strengthen stakeholder engagement for long-term value creation.

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