Power Breakfast: Perspectives From Both the Board & Investors

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What do investors think about boards? What are directors saying about their oversight responsibilities? This session examined and compared findings from PwC’s 2013 Annual Corporate Directors Survey and PwC’s 2013 Investor Survey. Significant changes in the economic, political, and business environment have forced corporate directors to evolve and adapt now more than ever. As directors face an increasingly active regulatory environment, the need for heightened transparency and a deeper understanding of investor concerns, as well as other critical issues that impact directors’ consideration, continue to grow.

1. Directors and investors both believe that board member candidates should have certain skills and attributes. They agree on the top four: industry, financial, operational, and risk management expertise. But investors rank risk management the top attribute, while directors say industry experience is the most important.

2. Directors have differing views on communication with shareholders—whether directors should, and, if so, what topics to discuss. Investors think it’s appropriate for the board to engage in direct communication with shareholders about all topics. Many directors, on the other hand, think it’s inappropriate to discuss topics outside of governance, executive compensation, and director nominations, but not all directors agree.

3. Board time is limited, and boards have many issues to discuss during their meetings. Directors today are prioritizing strategic planning, succession planning, IT risks, and IT strategy. Investors believe the board should focus on risk management and executive compensation, as well as strategic planning and succession planning. But they rank IT risks and IT strategy at the bottom of the priority list.

Kayla Gillan
Leader, PwC, Investor Resource Institute

Don Keller
Partner, PwC, Center for Board Governance

This summary provided by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

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