Bookended by a global health emergency and a contentious U.S. election, with a new era of social unrest erupting in between, 2020 has brought rapid change and historic disruption to all areas of the economy and life in general. Corporate boardrooms felt the impact as well.
PwC’s 2020 Annual Corporate Directors Survey highlights some ways directors are rising to the moment. From facing areas that institutional shareholders have emphasized in recent years, like environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues and shareholder engagement, to tackling company culture and thinking more broadly about issues like company strategy and executive compensation, the crisis presents opportunities that many directors are embracing.
But stubborn challenges remain. Directors still express dissatisfaction with their fellow board members, struggle to maintain the balance between collegiality and vigorous debate and see little board refreshment. And even while making some improvements in boardroom diversity, directors aren’t always convinced of how important that diversity really is. While this crisis presents new opportunities for change, the onus remains on directors to make the most of these times.
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