The Future of Directorship

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What will directorships look like a decade from now? Mary Pat McCarthy, director at Mutual of Omaha, met with three panelists to find out. Adam Epstein, lead director of OCZ Technology Group, focused on the future of governance for smaller public companies. He suggested that small companies are “immune suppressed” larger companies. That which is only bad public relations for a large company would kill a smaller one. He continued by saying that smaller companies have to place directors on board that are capable of identifying enterprise risks.

Kimberly Casiano of the Ford Motor Company took a broader approach and listed seven issues she thinks will show up on boards’ future agendas. Her list included:

  • Greater board diversity, specifically directors from outside the U.S.
  • CSR issues including the environment, sustainability, clean manufacturing, etc.
  • Comparability of accounting standards between the U.S.and foreign countries
  • Interpretation of Dodd-Frank rules and regulations
  • Emerging markets and risks
  • Cyber risk oversight
  • Dealing with non-American CEOs and executives

Marco Sloan, chairman for the College Retirement Equities Fund (CREF), said two things have increased over his many decades as a director. Both time commitment and board work have mounted year after year. As it now stands, the work required for a large public company is a full time job, Sloan said. Looking to the future, he predicts that directors will likely be even more involved with their companies to effectively perform their oversight responsibilities.

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