The Conference Board Governance Center Blog

Jun
16
2016

Are Cyber Experts on Boards Inevitable?

By Bob Zukis, Senior Fellow, Governance Center at The Conference Board

Fifteen years ago the legislation known as Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) forced American corporate boards to diversify their skills by adding financial expertise to their director ranks.  Are we now at a similar point for IT and cybersecurity governance skills?

The Conference Board in their report titled “Emerging Practices In Cyber Risk Governance”[1] defines cyber risk governance as “…a framework adopted within an organization to deal with the new and evolving risks relating to cyber space both within the organization and as the organization interfaces with the outside world.” Moreover, the report expressly states that “Cyber risk governance begins with the board…”

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Jun
16
2016

Director Notes: How Activist Investors Identify Their Targets

By Matteo Tonello, Managing Director, Corporate Leadership at The Conference Board

Click here to download the current issue of Director Notes, entitled “How Activist Investors Identify Their Targets.”

Considering the growing amount of capital available to established activists and new entrants, the trend for increasing shareholder activity in the US and globally is likely to continue. This Director Notes reviews the first phase of an activist’s campaign and perhaps the most important component of any activist investment strategy: how activists go about identifying undervalued and attractive target companies.

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Mar
30
2016

Fact of the Week: The gap between women in the overall workforce and women in management is widest among financial companies

By Matteo Tonello, Managing Director, Corporate Leadership at The Conference Board

The gap between women in the overall workforce and women in management positions is widest among financial sector companies, according to research conducted by The Conference Board in collaboration with Bloomberg and GRI. Among the S&P Global 1200, financial sector companies reported the highest share of women in the workforce, a median of 51 percent. However, only 26 percent of management positions at financial companies were held by women – the widest gap of any sector. Despite encouraging developments over the last few decades with respect to the representation of women in the overall workforce, data suggests women continue to face significant hurdles to advance their careers.

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Mar
08
2016

Fact of the Week: While median corporate political contributions among the S&P 500 remain modest, pressure continues for greater transparency

By Matteo Tonello, Managing Director, Corporate Leadership at The Conference Board

About 1 in 10 S&P 500 companies disclose their political contributions in their annual reports, according to research conducted by The Conference Board in collaboration with Bloomberg and GRI. Data for 2014 show median political contributions among these companies amounted to just under $300,000. While this represents a relatively modest amount, if not managed well, political contributions can generate significant risks to a company’s brand and reputation. Disclosure of political contributions is likely to rise as institutional shareholders and proxy voting advisors become increasingly vocal on the need for greater transparency.

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Feb
24
2016

Fact of the Week: Despite the increase in sustainability reporting, few companies share data on environmental fines

By Matteo Tonello, Managing Director, Corporate Leadership at The Conference Board

Fewer than one-fifth of global companies publicly disclose the total amount of environmental fines, according to research conducted by The Conference Board in collaboration with Bloomberg and GRI. Data for 2014 show 18 percent of S&P Global 1200 companies reported these fines, slightly up from 16 percent in 2013. As sustainability reporting becomes more commonplace, companies should ensure their reporting includes an accurate representation of positive and negative environmental information.

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