Corporate boards have evolved significantly over the past two decades — transforming from limited bodies that approved executive compensation and CEO succession plans in many cases to robust teams of advisors who oversee risk and strategy and provide meaningful oversight of management. Yet, despite the rising influence and capabilities of boards, the COVID-19 pandemic, along with today’s economic and social challenges, will undoubtedly test the effectiveness of corporate boards even further as they attempt to help companies navigate through crisis. At the end of the day, it will likely be boards with the strongest governance processes that are best positioned to help.
To fully understand the expectations that investors, the media, proxy advisory firms, employees and other stakeholders have for boards today, it is helpful to revisit the evolution of board oversight since the turn of the millennium. Doing so can also provide a roadmap for how high-performing boards can help companies respond to the current pandemic, manage their way out of the crisis and embrace a new normal.
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