The Conference Board Governance Center Blog

Mar
27
2017

What Every Board Member and C-Suite Executive Should Know About Transforming Sustainability into Business Strategy

By Terry F. Yosie

A growing number of the world’s largest companies are turning to “sustainability” as a strategic lens to help anticipate and navigate the complexity of the international economy, meet the expanding expectations of a growing global middle class, and manage the heightened risks to their businesses from environmental and social disruptions. As a result, sustainability has migrated from the periphery to the core of business strategy and planning. Boards and C-suite executives across multiple business sectors—chemicals, consumer products, information technology, transportation, and retail, to name a few—are on an accelerated course to understand the sustainability concept and its implications for their businesses.

Four major parameters define sustainability from a board and C-suite point of view:

  • Decoupling the intensive use of natural resources and materials from growth strategies;
  • Transitioning to a lower carbon economy;
  • Collaborating with value chain partners, governments and citizens so that business products and solutions ameliorate larger-scale societal problems; and
  • Ensuring the adaptability of a business to global megatrend challenges such as climate change, water resource scarcity, population growth and large scale urbanization.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mar
09
2017

Does your Board Lead or Spectate When it Comes to Strategic Transformation?

By Patrick Dailey and Joel Koblentz

Transformation is one of the most challenging competencies a board must master. McKinsey & Co. estimates that 70 percent of transformations fail to achieve their objectives. Yet board and management teams instinctively know, change is unavoidable and transformation is compulsory.

Companies including Macy’s, JC Penney, The Limited, Yahoo, Hewlett-Packard, Yellow Taxi, and many, many others have “failed” transformation while “out of nowhere” disrupters advance. Playing catch up is rarely successful and typically leaves a wake of dispirited leadership teams, disillusioned investors, and eager activists.

It seems too few boards take seriously the role of proactively “making over” their companies. Except for responding to major crises, transformation has been largely left to senior management to strategize and implement. Other than performing an advisory or approval role, boards have often taken the “back bench” in critical transformational decisions.

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Mar
06
2017

Q&A with Katie Paine: How to Prepare for a Trump ‘Tweetstorm’

By Gary Larkin, Research Associate, The Conference Board

As I have researched the impact of social media attacks on public companies— namely the recent campaign by President Trump—I have discovered that good advice is hard to find on this matter. That’s why I reached out to Katie Delahaye Paine, a pioneer in the field of communications measurement who has written extensively about social media attacks and how to survive a Trump “tweetstorm.” (For more about the President’s penchant for tweeting and its impact, see my recent blog post , “Is your board prepared for a Trump Tweet attack? Check again.” )

Founder of Paine Publishing, which produces The Measurement Advisor, and author of Measure What Matters (Wiley, 2011) and Measuring the Networked Non-Profit written with Beth Kanter (Wiley & Sons, 2013), Paine also gives speeches and consults on crisis management and reputation risk. Also, she is a senior fellow with The Conference Board’s Society for New Communications Research. Read the rest of this entry »

Feb
23
2017

Is your board prepared for a Trump Tweet attack? Check again

By Gary Larkin, Research Associate, The Conference Board Governance Center

In the first month of the new Administration, companies are facing a risk they didn’t expect: being the subject of one of President Trump’s tweets. While Trump is not the first Commander-in-Chief to use social media to reach constituents, the President is most definitely the first to make many CEOs and boards nervous with just 140 characters.Trump photo

For many chief executives and boards, this Trump Twitter risk is just one layer of risks companies have to worry about. There’s also the policies of the new administration, which so far includes a travel ban on Muslim-majority countries and the potential rollbacks of Dodd-Frank Act regulations and the Affordable Care Act. Read the rest of this entry »

Feb
13
2017

Which Dodd-Frank rules will stay? Which ones will go?

By Gary Larkin, Research Associate, The Conference Board Governance Center

signing

With a flurry of executive orders in his first two weeks in office, President Trump made one thing absolutely clear. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act passed by Democrats in 2010 will soon be reformed itself by the current Republican majority.

But the big question for boards is which corporate governance-related Dodd-Frank rules will be eliminated and which will stay.

To answer that question, one has to understand how such a process can take place. For starters, since the SEC is an independent agency, simple executive orders cannot repeal its statutory rules. That would take an act of Congress, which is the same way those rules were written in the first place. However, under new leadership the SEC can reconsider the enforcement of rules it has written. With that said, consider what has transpired over the past three weeks.

 

Jan. 30, 2017: President Trump issues the first of two Dodd-Frank Act-related executive or Read the rest of this entry »