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With NACD’s annual Board Leadership Conference just days away, here is a recap of the available pre-reading material, highlighting featured sessions and panelists.

Beyond Risk Management: Audit Committee Forum on Sunday, Oct. 14, from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

This NACD Directorship article from Dennis T. Whalen, partner in charge and executive director of KPMG’s Audit Committee Institute, highlights four ways boards can help assess whether a company’s governance activities are keeping pace in a fast-changing environment. These actions include identifying the company’s risk “hot spots” and setting expectations and stop gaps.

Board Oversight of Risk: Three Focus Areas: Strategy and Risk Forum on Sunday, Oct. 14, from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

While specific risk issues, such as human capital, cyber-risks, or crisis response, may require specific operational risk management plans, strategic planning, and risk oversight must be tightly linked to be truly effective. This document outlines the three focus areas for boards: risk-reward trade-offs inherent in the company’s strategy, the company’s risk appetite, and risk reporting.

CEO Succession: Making the Next Move: Power breakfast on Monday, Oct. 15, from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m.

Leaders from management consulting firm RHR International will be on hand to discuss their new book: Inside CEO Succession: The Essential Guide to Leadership Transition. The book provides businesses, leaders, and boards with the strategies they need to execute their responsibilities with a heightened level of professionalism and ensure the sustained success of the companies they serve.

Tone at the Top: Plenary session on Monday, Oct. 15, from 9:15 a.m. to 10 a.m.

As boards and individual directors help set the “tone at the top,” they influence how the company is perceived by investors, regulators, and other stakeholders, thus significantly impacting the company’s performance, reputation, and value. At this panel, four veteran directors from leading global companies discuss the vital role directors play in establishing a culture that motivates the workplace.

Future-Proofing the C-Suite: Plenary session on Monday, Oct. 15, from 10:15 a.m. to 11 a.m.

As part of NACD’s effort to share key insights and help boards plan for the future, this session is designed to address the issue of CEO succession planning. During the panel discussion, three current directors will share their stories, insights and strategies for future-proofing the C-suite.

The Future of Executive Compensation: Concurrent session on Monday, Oct. 15, from 2:15 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.

How will future events impact the design and delivery of executive compensation? What specific changes are anticipated given the likely catalysts for change? This panel will provide an expert view of these issues, including specific guidance and predictions on how executive pay will be impacted by such issues as November’s presidential and congressional elections, the state of the economy and stock market performance, and the policies of shareholder advocacy groups.

Investigating the Effectiveness Gap Between the C-Suite and the Board: Concurrent session on Monday, Oct. 15, from 2:15 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.

This panel discussion will cap a joint research initiative with NACD and McGladrey LLP, a provider of assurance, tax, and consulting services. In order to more fully address the topic of board and C-suite relations, NACD and McGladrey have launched “Bridging the Effectiveness Gap Between the C-Suite and the Board”—a series of discussions investigating the current state of challenges, opportunities for improvement, and perspectives from both sides of the table. This document provides an initial analysis of the dinner programs held at several cities, which convened altogether more than 40 directors and executives.

Social Media and Reputational Risk: Concurrent session on Monday, Oct. 15, from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

In the new era of digital media, just 140 characters on Twitter have the potential to affect a company’s reputation and severely impact its brand. In this communications minefield, it is essential that boards stay up-to-date on their companies’ social media strategies. This session will help directors dig in and discuss both the risks and advantages that viral communications present. The panelists include some of today’s top experts in the field.

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