Category Archives: Handbook

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Is it time for a hard look at “softer” pay targets?

With so much company value tied up in reputation, social licence, integrity and sustainability, there’s growing support for basing a greater share of executive pay on meeting “non-financial” metrics that reflect these goals
By Mai Nguyen
August 3rd, 2017

Back in April, you may have seen a video of an older, Asian man being forcibly dragged by police off an overbooked United Airlines flight. This viral clip not only sparked horror, outrage and vows to never ever fly with … Continue reading

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One-dimensional? Us?

Two University of Calgary researchers have crunched the numbers and found Canada’s economy to be a model of healthy diversification. But not everyone is convinced
By Ian McGugan
August 3rd, 2017

For years, politicians and policy wonks have urged Ottawa to take action to ensure that Canadians become more than hewers of wood and drawers of water. But maybe it’s time to think again. Trevor Tombe and Robert Mansell of the … Continue reading

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A board’s secret sauce: industry expertise

While most boards list industry expertise on their skills matrixes, what passes for “expertise” varies widely. And when it’s lacking, investors and activists see a red flag
By Beverly Behan
August 3rd, 2017

Twenty years ago, more than one-third of TSX 100 boards lacked any independent directors with experience working as executives in the industry of the company they governed. That data may seem shocking in 2017. But even today, many companies lack … Continue reading

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Half full? Dare we say three-quarters?

Sure, there are still reasons for pessimism, but what do we make of all the signs that the global economy is picking up strength? Go with it
By Ian McGugan
May 19th, 2017

Look! Over there—could that be sunrise on the horizon? It certainly seems so. After years of struggling through the long shadows cast by the financial crisis, the world economy is brightening. Maybe, just maybe, managers should stop worrying about the … Continue reading

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Wanna be a talk star?

Know your audience, sure. But first, know thyself
By Listed Staff
May 18th, 2017

The ability to deliver good presentations is a staple in the successful executive’s toolkit. It’s also true that the number of people who can actually make engaging, informative, enlightening and inspiring presentations is, frankly, darn small. So the quickest way … Continue reading

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Board chair evaluation: does the UK know best?

Good governance in Canada typically means separating the chairman and CEO roles. But that’s really just a half measure without also having an airtight process to evaluate the chair’s leadership
By Beverly Behan
May 18th, 2017

Canadian boards take pride in their long-standing practice of separating the roles of chairman and CEO. But British boards go even further—not only appointing independent non-executive chairs but also actively managing their performance. Like Canada, the UK takes a “comply … Continue reading

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Who’s writing your climate narrative?

We hear a lot about climate-related divestment in energy, but investors are paying increasing attention to climate change risk in all sectors. If your disclosure is poor, it leaves you offside and out of the loop
By Mai Nguyen
May 18th, 2017

On Easter Monday, Suncor Energy Inc. quietly released a 15-page report that laid out several plausible climate futures and how it plans to stay “climate resilient” in a low-carbon economy. In a note addressed to shareholders, CEO Steve Williams wrote: … Continue reading

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There’s value in them thar hills!

Mining used to be simple. Find a deposit, build a mine, get it out of the ground and sell it. Today the hardest thing to find is a low-risk growth strategy that delivers investors and results
By Ian McGugan
March 2nd, 2017

What a difference a year makes. At the start of 2016, the mining industry was reeling. Metals prices were in freefall and investors had long since fled from the sector. Then everything changed. As new signs of global growth emerged, … Continue reading

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Corporate responsibility: from policy to performance

Boards must oversee the development and implementation of practical, operationally focused management systems to ensure corporate responsibility commitments and performance are achieved
By Craig Ford
March 2nd, 2017

Everybody understands the essential role that internal controls play in upholding the financial side of a business. So it only makes sense that when it comes to ensuring that corporate responsibility policies are being properly executed, a similar set of … Continue reading

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Not-so-innocent abroad

Like it or not, Canadian mining companies have a growing reputation in the developing world as bad actors who commit and condone environmental and human rights abuse. Would the appointment of an independent federal ombudsman help us clean up our act?
By Kerry Banks
March 2nd, 2017

It’s no secret to anyone managing or sitting on the board of a Canadian mining company: in recent years, a startling litany of accusations of human rights abuses, including such serious crimes as murder, rape, slave labour and environmental destruction, … Continue reading

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Every port is a storm

Business and personal productivity is booming thanks to embedded technology and the growing interconnectedness of our devices. The down side? The security vulnerabilities are a hacker’s dream
By Jonathan Woods
December 15th, 2016

These days, whenever a well-known public company suffers a major data breach, bulletins and news alerts circulate quickly among most boards and the governance community. But in October, when a botnet army of hijacked network-connected surveillance cameras, Wi-Fi routers and … Continue reading

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The last phase of CEO succession? A new board

CEO succession and board renewal are typically seen as separate concerns. In fact, a comprehensive review of board composition—creating “Board 2.0”—is the last, best act directors can do for a new CEO
By Beverly Behan
December 15th, 2016

Good work! Your board has completed a robust CEO succession process and everyone’s confident about your choice of a new corporate leader. He/she has now spent about a year assembling an outstanding executive team and either confirming or changing the … Continue reading

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Poloz: selling life in the slow lane

It’s in business leaders’ DNA to expect big returns. So what should we make of the Bank of Canada’s rush to embrace and preach the doctrine of slow growth?
By Ian McGugan
December 15th, 2016

Senior executives have one overwhelming goal, at least so far as shareholders are concerned, and that goal is to create decent returns on the money invested in their companies. But what constitutes a reasonable profit in this age of low … Continue reading

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Much ado about little

Both of Canada’s current signature international trade pacts are foundering just shy of completion. But given the paltry contributions the TPP and CETA are expected to make to our economy, should anyone care?
By Ian McGugan
October 11th, 2016

Can you hear the gnashing of teeth in Ottawa? Both of Canada’s flagship trade initiatives are in trouble and all the usual suspects are predicting problems as a result. Without the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to help Canadian exports expand in … Continue reading

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Confronting the road next taken

Strategic reviews? Sometimes they’re a company’s do-or-die moment. At minimum, change is afoot. We asked veterans of the process to tell us what to get right and what not to get wrong
By Paul Brent
October 11th, 2016

In good times and bad, whether the economy and markets are up or down, there appears to be no shortage of companies calling for a public timeout. The infamous “strategic review” can be called because the business is running out … Continue reading

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