Fourth Quarter 2012
Corporate Board Member
by Laura J. Finn
Every year Corporate Board Member gathers the top boardroom experts and hundreds of directors for the Annual Boardroom Summit in New York City. This year’s event covered a mix of new topics, like cyber risk and security, as well as perennially hot topics, like CEO succession planning and how to engage with shareholders.
Sponsored by KPMG, SpencerStuart, Pearl Meyer & Partners, and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, the mix of large group sessions with small group exchanges gave directors the opportunity to network, share anecdotes, and seek solutions among peers.
Listening to NFL great Roger Staubach talk about his evolution from quarterback to businessman held the crowd rapt. Staubach spoke about leadership, saying that trust is the most important aspect of a great leader. Weaving NFL stories into his session, he explained how professional athletes and business people are similar—it takes a lot of unspectacular work to garner spectacular results.
Another highlight of the two-day event included hearing the innovation panel speak and answer audience questions on cyber risk, cloud computing, social media, and all the issues du jour regarding technology. Steven M. West, board member, Cisco Systems Inc. and Autodesk Inc., warned the crowd not to shy away from technology simply because it is not something well-understood. He said that if your company is not using new technology, your competitors are. He added: If you have someone over 50 running your social media platform, you should be concerned.
With the event taking place weeks before elections, the political and regulatory landscape was discussed as well. Former congressmen Victor Fazio and William Paxon represented both sides of the political divide in their small group conversation on what the 2012 elections will mean for corporate boards in 2013 and beyond. Former Chancellor, Delware Court of Chancery, William B. Chandler III spoke to the entire group about what’s next from regulators and the courts, and the issue of how financial reporting may be impacted was also tackled.
One of the board’s key functions is guiding the company along its strategic path, and strategy was covered at the Summit as it relates to board and executive compensation, as well as interacting with shareholders, innovation, and growth. If you missed this crucial event, the West Coast Summit takes place February 26-27, 2013 in Scottsdale, Arizona.