Alison Gill

Women’s role in solving the productivity puzzle

‘Directors must consider which business metrics are most appropriate for identifying high performers and consider whether or not the ability to adhere to a traditional working pattern is the most important criteria at a time when productivity and the ability to innovate and generate results are becoming increasingly important.’

Gerry Brown

Shareholder ‘activism’

‘Yet, when we look beyond these snappy headlines, we find not only has the concept of shareholder activism been hi-jacked by a small cadre of extremely wealthy private equity investors with large shareholdings to leverage but, more worryingly, the idea of increased board accountability is often just a polite synonym to describe rampant often wild short-termism in investment decision making.’

Yin-Hua Yeh

The governance issues of business groups

‘In order to tip the balance towards better behaviour on the part of controlling shareholders at the group level, there exist a variety of legal and regulatory regimes that attempt to protect external shareholders from potential conflicts with the motivations driving the owners of the wider group as a whole.’

Richard Smerdon

The governance of sustainability

‘Dependency on short-term actions: the magnitude and nature of the future impacts will be determined by actions taken today, which thus need to follow a credible and forward-looking policy path. This includes actions by governments, central banks and supervisors, financial market participants, firms and households.’

Stephen Page

Is your board fit for the digital age?

‘For 30 years boards have viewed technology as an operational matter, best delegated. Now, in the digital age, society is different; business is different; risks are different. Does your board have the right conversations – and the right skills?’

Richard Smerdon

Corporate governance – a radical rethink

‘So, if we are really honest about it, the regulatory regime has failed, and the time has come to dismantle it and start again. The new start should concentrate on training in behaviours and values, and encouragement by shareholders and employees for companies to design the governance which works for them.’

David Archer and Alex Cameron

The role of the Senior Independent Director

‘… the SID also needs to be able to act as a lightning rod – picking up signs of emerging conflict or disquiet amongst fellow board members and giving voice to it at an appropriate time (particularly when the Chair is not responding to these tensions) so that issues don’t fester.’

Alison Gill

70% of FTSE 350 Chairs under pressure to step down

‘The purpose of a good Chair isn’t to lead thinking for the board, but rather to be an independent facilitator. Someone capable of encouraging people to think around topics and seek knowledge and data to make good decisions, instead of relying on existing beliefs.’

John Dawson and Michael Henson

Caveat praesidium – Chair beware

‘It is easy to see how for many boards having short tenure Chairs may create unintended consequences. Understanding these potential consequences could start influencing the appointment process and potentially lead a nomination committee to disqualify otherwise highly qualified candidates due to restraints on tenure length.’

Margaret-Ann Splawn

Climate governance considerations for boards

‘Climate change poses challenges for boards on many levels. It is a risk that is unique for businesses in its scope and scale, yet due to the complex and diverse nature of the issue, it remains poorly understood by many.’

Boris Nikolov, Erwan Morellec, and Norman Schürhoff

Measuring governance

‘Instead, the findings show that firm specific factors account for most of the differences. Firms with more cash, higher market-to-book ratio, and more intangible assets demonstrated the greatest cost impact from the conflict of interests.’

Neil Hare-Brown

Cyber risk

‘There must be a challenge to the current status quo. Boardrooms have become over-reliant on technical teams for advice and, as a result, restricted in how they can manage cyber risk from a strategic level. If controls are maintained only at operational level with no foundational strategy to maintain them then the overall cyber resilience is likely to be flawed.’

Daniele Vitale

European 2019 AGM season

‘One of the most notable findings in our analysis is how much more willing investors are becoming in opposing board members directly when they consider that there have been corporate governance failings.’

Yin-Hua Yeh

How to leave a lasting legacy?

‘The value of a well-designed succession plan is indisputable: firms which fail to provide a clear framework for succession after the passing of a founder often experience severe difficulties. However, merely having the vision to design a succession plan does not guarantee success. The further dimension to take into account is human nature.’

Alex Cameron and David Archer

Engaging boards with climate change – Part 2

‘Others emphasised the benefit of linking climate change reporting to a board’s normal financial reporting cycle and saw the principles issued by TCFD (Task Force for Climate- related Financial Disclosures) as a useful standard, requiring companies to engage with stakeholders and explain how they were contributing to reducing climate risks.’

Gay Haskins and Alison Gill

Kindness in leadership

‘A number of our interviewees ... suggested that kind leadership behaviours had a strong positive impact on organisational well-being and performance. For employees, the result is greater contentment, higher motivation, higher engagement and participation. Teams and management, they found, were more creative and innovative, with positive relationships more prevalent.’

Dr Florian Schilling

CG – science, craft or art?

‘Governance is about the quality of management supervision, ensuring that the company is managed in the interest of shareholders and other stakeholders. Compliance is about adherence to rules and regulations which are a necessary, but not a sufficient, condition for good governance. Used in the context of a football game, governance describes the quality of the game, while compliance ensures playing by the rules.’

Professor Colin Coulson-Thomas

Changing requirements and the future of CG

‘The structures, memberships and practices of boards may need to change to ensure that they remain relevant and can continue to discharge their responsibilities, including providing the responsible, shared and transformational leadership required to cope with a changing and uncertain business environment.’

Yin-Hua Yeh

Succession planning in family firms

‘I have found that if the founding entrepreneur has planned and formulated the succession process earlier, and if the successor has been guided by such a well-structured process for training and empowering his decisions, then business value during the process of succession tends to suffer less or in fact even increase as there is less likelihood of a damaging power struggle.’

Michael Henson and John Dawson

Modernising the UK AGM

‘While some boards may be reluctant for the fear of challenge, the reality is that visible stewardship through engagement is a corollary to strong governance and empowers both management and the board. This is governance in action.’

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