Investors, regulators, governments, customers and employees are increasingly pushing companies to increase the diversity of their Boards. And with good reason – not only is this the right thing to do, but the business benefits to having more diverse voices around the table are clear. However, many firms are still struggling to increase diversity on their Boards – and even those who have appointed more diverse Board members find it difficult to move beyond tokenism to harness the benefits of truly inclusive, diverse leadership. We will explore what is getting in the way of Board diversity, and what can be done to accelerate change.
Companies are facing increasing pressure from investors, customers, regulators to address and manage ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) in a stronger way. As communities, economies, firms, and in some cases family and friends, struggle with the Covid pandemic, many companies have had to shift priorities. At the same time society is becoming more awake to systemic race and gender issues that have hindered equal opportunity. And the juggernaut coming in our direction is the issue of climate change – with many countries, cities and companies making “net zero” pledges and commitments to the Paris Agreement and regulatory action also driving the need to act to respond to climate challenges. And yet in the midst of all these challenges there is opportunity for companies who are able to focus and integrate ESG into their strategy and operations, and be able to communicate this with conviction.
The pandemic has tested the quality and strength of the relationship between the Chair and the CEO and more broadly between the Board and members of the Executive leadership team like never before. The treats to sustainability, the high volume of issues Boards and their executives have had to deal with and the very different ways in which they have had to work together over the last year have placed extraordinary pressures on these vital relationships. In this highly participative session we will focus on three aspects of the Chair and CEO and the Board and Executive relationship.
In recent years, the European Union has sought to implement many improvements in corporate governance matters and in the transparency of directors’ remuneration packages. It is known that European legislator has been working towards improving a culture of good governance of remuneration in order to avoid a repeat of the situations and practices that previously compromised the “health” of listed companies and had such a negative impact on the economy. In order to improve remuneration systems and governance, one of the measures the Directive introduced was the “say on pay” reforms. These new rules encourage more transparency and accountability around directors’ pay by giving shareholders the right to know, and to influence, how much a company’s directors are paid. ESG compliance involves an increase in disclosure requirements relating to human capital, which is prompting boards to consider exercising better oversight and governance processes on such issues as inclusion and diversity (I&D), pay fairness and culture. In this workshop we will explore the regulatory landscape with regards to directors’ remuneration as well as the investors view. We will share Willis Towers Watson insights and the best practices in Europe.