The Conference Board Governance Center Blog


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.

Read the rest of this entry »


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 »


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 »


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

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


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 »


How Did we Get Here? The Committee on Corporate Political Spending has Answers

As President Trump—the first sitting executive of a company to become commander in chief— begins to roll out his agenda, many in political circles are asking the question, “how did we get here?”

Prior to Election Day, The Conference Board’s Governance Center held a meeting of its Corporate Political Spending Committee in Washington, D.C., that attempted to answer that question and many other related ones. One product of this meeting is the report, “Have we reached a tipping point?” It features insights and highlights from the Governance Center’s Committee on Corporate Political Spending meeting on the “Varied Views on Corporate Political Spending from Main Street to Wall Street and in Between.” Committee members were joined by FEC commissioners, members of the press, investors, and other stakeholders.

Some of the messages from that meeting include:

  • After the Citizens United vs. FEC decision in 2010, political spending
  • increased by $1 billion.
  • The vast majority of money raised in federal elections comes from limited,
  • publicly disclosed contributions made by individuals.
  • The public perception of money in politics is undermining people’s trust in our democratic institutions.

The report is now available for complimentary download by Conference Board members.