In a New York Times (Nov. 30) article published in Wednesday’s NACD Directors Daily, columnist Stephen M. Davidoff commented on the SEC’s Concept Release on the U.S. Proxy System.
Davidoff highlighted how companies that are generally averse to government regulations are calling for additional rules for proxy advisory firms like Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS). These companies see a conflict of interest for proxy advisory firms that often offer both voting recommendations and advisory services.
In alignment with the NACD Key Agreed Principles of independence and transparency, NACD agrees that proxy advisory firms should be subject to enhanced disclosure regulations. On October 20, we submitted a comment letter to the SEC on the Concept Release, covering proxy advisory firm independence, as well as NOBO/OBO voting (see the Council of Institutional Investors summary of NOBO/OBO here). The comment letter includes recommendations for the separation of businesses that offer both shareholder voting and corporate governance advice.
According to a Bloomberg report featured in Wednesday’s NACD Directors Daily, a daily e-news briefing for members of the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD), a Young Presidents’ Organization survey indicates that chief executives in the U.S. were more positive about the economic climate at the start of the fourth quarter. According to the survey, CEOs expect stronger sales, increased spending on equipment, and generally better economic conditions in the coming months.
NACD president & CEO Ken Daly talks with CNBC about the NACD Board Confidence Index
NACD conducts a similar quarterly survey—the Board Confidence Index (BCI)—presenting the corporate director’s perspective. While directors felt that the economic conditions in the third quarter were much improved from one year ago, they were much less confident in forecasting the fourth quarter. When asked about their expectations for the fourth quarter in their own industry, the index score was 48—reflecting more negative than positive responses.
The Consumer Electronics Show takes place in Las Vegas, January 6-9, 2011, with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer providing the keynote on the evening of January 5. This year one tech-savvy director is offering to give NACD members a special tour, introducing them to the gadgets, apps and game-changers that will shape the future of business—and the boardroom process.The show is open to all and is a mecca for those who want to see, touch and understand tomorrow’s must-haves. More than 130,000 people are estimated to attend, and speakers this year include Audi Chairman Rupert Stadler and Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally talking about the future of electric vehicles, among other things. If you want to try out some home appliances that could revolutionize life for your customers, and get your hands on communication tools that will make your BlackBerry or iPhone look like a Filofax (remember those?), then join Carolyn Chin for a guided tour of the near future.
NACD FL Chapter President Carolyn Chin
Carolyn Chin, NACD Florida Chapter president, has been attending the show for 30 years. “It’s the single best event for a core dump on technology, and since it is for consumers, anyone can understand,” says the founder and former general manager of e-commerce services for IBM. “Apart from the introduction to the latest innovations, it is worth it for the people you bump into. I was nearly run over by Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos the year the show first featured the Segway.”
Carolyn is chairman of the board and CEO of Health Wellness Solutions, a developer and marketer of new pain and brain/memory enhancement products. She also serves on the State Farm Bank board. “I would be glad to help NACD members identify the best sessions and do a walkabout tour,” says Carolyn, who took part in one of the packed technology sessions at the recent NACD conference. Directors can’t afford to leave this stuff to the IT guy or gal—we all need to know the way the world is changing and to access the products that will not only matter to our companies’ customers but which can make our own business and board work easier. Admission to the show is only $100 if you sign up before December 31.”
If you would like to join an NACD tour of the Consumer Electronics Show, contact us here. Please note that, while there will be no charge to take a tour with Carolyn, attendees will be responsible for their own travel, accommodations and registration fees.