There is no period in a company’s history more fraught with anxiety than the months leading up to the naming of a new CEO. Often, the board is eyeing the clock while trying to nudge the CEO into a graceful exit.
In 2003, the New York Stock Exchange began to require the boards of listed companies to undergo an annual assessment. At a time when awareness was growing regarding the importance of the board in safeguarding shareholder value, it was thought that this step would provide investors with some transparency regarding how well the board was doing its job.
Karl Alleman discusses how during the Great Depression, when most consumer goods companies were dramatically cutting back on marketing, Coca-Cola Chairman Robert Woodruff boldly increased promotional spending to better position the brand and grow the business.
In the last decade, the oversight responsibilities of the board have taken on a new level of complexity. Disruptive business models can come from any direction, and the types of risks the board must monitor have multiplied.
Most CEOs and boards name succession, both for the CEO and for business unit leaders, as their biggest strategic challenge. While this leadership challenge exists for every industry, it is particularly acute in the consumer sector, where many of the successive waves of disruption first hit.
The prevailing narrative around the Industrial Revolution in its first, second and third iterations is only partly true. Steam power, electricity and modern computing were in fact breakthrough technologies that rapidly came to the fore, disrupting established industries and creating new ones.
How to create positive change in board diversity? What is the role of chairmen in driving the diversity agenda? What advice can a pioneer in the economic empowerment of women give to aspiring female talent?
The ability to give and receive feedback is a fundamental leadership skill. Feedback improves outcomes and results, motivates performance, brings groups together, clarifies goals and objectives, clears outstanding issues and inspires development.
Board succession planning is straightforward and the outcomes reached through objective analysis, dialogue and debate, will ultimately yield a governance body that mirrors the needs of the business and the people it serves.
Asia has figured prominently in many western multinationals’ strategies. Recognizing this, many of our US and European client boards have sought board members who have deep experience working and leading in Asia. The desire for this experience makes perfect sense, but the most effective boards also recognize that factors beyond this Asia experience will determine whether a new director proves to be a successful addition to the board.