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  • Revisiting the board’s role in oversight of strategy
    In today’s climate of disruption, current strategies can quickly be rendered obsolete and can significantly impact the ability to plan, execute and maintain a company’s direction.

    But Directors are clearly making strategy a priority. According to a recent global McKinsey & Company survey, strategy accounts for the majority of boards’ focus and is an area in which they want to invest even more time. However, fewer respondents than in previous surveys say their boards have a good understanding of their company’s overall strategy.

    One unfortunate example of strategy oversight gone wrong is GE. GE went from American icon to astonishing mess, experiencing a loss of 46 per cent of its value (or $120 billion), and having to sell off $20 billion in businesses, including its light bulb division. Lax strategic oversight by a (likely too) large  board of 18 has been blamed for the storied firm’s current challenges.

    Despite the pressure and stated desire to be more involved in strategy, what’s impeding Directors from doing so?

  • The role of the board in oversight of talent and human capital risks
    Managing human capital and competing for global talent in a shifting trade and geopolitical environment is making its way closer to the top of boardroom agendas as of late
     – and rightfully so.
    According to the World Economic Forum’s 2018 Global Competitiveness Report, Canada places 12th in the world, down two places from last year. The report points to Canada’s weak adoption of information and communications technology, as well as low infrastructure spending. In terms of talent, the 2018 World Talent Ranking report, published by IMD Business School, places Canada sixth in the world at attracting global talent.
    “Compared to the U.S.—our main export market and the home of our main competitor—Canada doesn’t fare very well,” says Krishen Rangasamy, senior economist at National Bank. There are a number of reasons for this. 

  • Remediation agreements: Uncertainty remains for Directors
    Deferred prosecution agreements or remediation agreements have been receiving a great deal of attention recently. What are they and what do directors need to know about them?

    Amendments to the Criminal Code that came into force in September 2018 makes available to Canadian authorities a new way to address criminal wrongdoing by corporations through the use of deferred prosecution agreements. Under the new regime, a company can voluntarily enter into a remediation agreement in exchange for a stay of charges. 

  • Globalization and global challenges addressed in Davos
    The World Economic Forum’s latest annual meeting recently ended in Davos, Switzerland.  According to observers, there was a more cautious tone at the event this year as world leaders tried to grapple with complex global issues in a world that seems increasingly hostile to globalization.  
    Looming challenges such as an economic slowdown and geopolitical uncertainty provided the backdrop to the economic outlook session this year. Christine Lagarde, director of the International Monetary Fund, stopped short, however, of predicating a global recession.  She did point to the need for co-operative action on trade, tax evasion, corruption and climate change.
    Thought leaders were also asked to confront the issues posed by the advent of a digital economy.  What actions may be required to overcome the disruptions created by technological change? The World Economic Forum’s white paper looked at four possible areas of study, including the market concentration of online platforms, the need for a new social contract, re-imagining economic value and the re-thinking of social safety nets. 

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