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The problem with independent directors

Director independence is essential to protect boards—and shareholders—from governance failure. Yet compromised independence is rampant. Here’s what we can do about it
By Richard Leblanc
December 19th, 2016

“The board chair is owned by the CEO,” the directors told me after the regulator called me in to assess their board. I wasn’t surprised. I have not assessed a board when there was not at least one director, and … Continue reading

Posted in Views | Tagged ,

One-time awards: use sparingly

A well-designed compensation framework should negate the need for most one-time awards. Where exceptions arise, they must be handled with care
By Ken Hugessen
With Christine Vinette and Brian Lees
December 19th, 2016

One-time compensation awards can be a useful tool for boards to attract and retain key talent. While such awards have drawn considerable scrutiny of late, shareholders and proxy advisers are not always opposed to their use. This article explores how … Continue reading

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Reform follows dysfunction

The consequences for an enterprise with a dysfunctional board can be devastating. To make things worse, identifying the problem isn’t easy and fixing it takes courageous leadership
By John Caldwell
December 19th, 2016

Dysfunctionality in the boardroom, while somewhat difficult to define, may be best characterized by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s famous expression, “I know it when I see it.” Board dysfunctionality is a step function higher (or lower, depending on … Continue reading

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One voice for many audiences

Transformative events like mergers or acquisitions often hinge on an integrated approach to investor relations. But the value of coordinated communications for a company’s brand is evident every day, in every area of the operation
By Chaya Cooperberg
December 19th, 2016

A merger or acquisition often involves a long courtship. The announcement of the transaction can feel anti-climactic after months, or even years, of cultivating the relationship. For public companies, though, a pitch-perfect announcement is critical to earning the approval of … Continue reading

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Better a buyer than a builder be?

It’s the biggest foreign deal for a Canadian company ever. Yet at a time when new pipelines are an extremely tough sell, Enbridge’s $37-billion Spectra Energy buy stands tallest for solving that problem—and earns distinction as Listed’s 2016 Deal of the Year
By Robert Thompson
December 18th, 2016

Al Monaco had been planning something big for years. All the indicators were there. After all, Monaco, who became chief executive of energy giant Enbridge Inc. (TSX:ENB) in 2012, announced last year that his company was freeing up $30 billion … Continue reading

Posted in Features, Top Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Our Deal of the Year short list

Three deals came close before falling just short in our Deal of the Year judging. Here’s why they were worthy, but ultimately not chosen
December 18th, 2016

FIRST RUNNER-UP Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. If Enbridge’s Spectra purchase wasn’t such a monster deal in a difficult sector, Alimentation Couche-Tard’s (TSX:ATD.B) $5.5-billion outlay for CST Brands Inc., a Texas-based gas station chain, had a good shot at being our pick … Continue reading

Posted in Features, Top Stories | Tagged , , , , , ,

A lower loonie still goes a long way

For the second straight year, outbound deals take top billing in our Special Report on M&A. But don’t be deceived: domestic action has been steady, too
By Jim Middlemiss
December 18th, 2016

While there are many ways to evaluate this year’s mergers and acquisitions activity as the calendar draws to a close, it’s hard not to declare 2016 as a year for building Canadian power abroad. The source of that pronouncement: outbound … Continue reading

Posted in Features, Top Stories | Tagged , , , , , , ,

If pills are out, are private placements in?

Canada’s new takeover bid regime got its first serious test with Hecla Mining’s hostile move on Dolly Varden Silver. The regulators’ ruling answered important questions about the limits of a target’s defence
By Poonam Puri
With Patricia Olasker
December 17th, 2016

Consider this: a cash-strapped junior resource company listed on the TSX Venture Exchange is looking for ways to continue its exploration program for the coming year. With only $200,000 in its bank account, a $2-million loan from a significant shareholder … Continue reading

Posted in Top Stories, Views | Tagged , , , , , ,

Locking up the vote

Special Report: Compensation, composition, communications ... with the 2017 proxy season looming for most issuers, it’s time to get a handle on the trends and tactics that will win the day for one side or the other
By Diane Peters
December 16th, 2016

On the eve of a special shareholders’ meeting last May by Taseko Mines Ltd. (TSX:TKO), activist shareholder Raging River Capital LP threw in the towel. The firm, created for the sole purpose of lobbying Taseko to replace two directors and … Continue reading

Posted in Features, Top Stories, Winter Report | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Charles Curran: Bright ideas, maximum leverage

In The Director’s Chair with David W. Anderson: The common thread in director and investor Charles Curran’s long list of career successes? Always finding ways to ensure money, people, boards and organizations work better
December 15th, 2016

Australia’s Charles Curran began with the essentials—an early background in law, accounting and stockbroking. Then he started making things happen. First tabbed to help lead the reform of his country’s capital markets system, he’s since chaired many company boards, including … Continue reading

Posted in The Director's Chair | Tagged , , , , , , ,

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

Posted in Handbook, Top Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

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

Posted in Handbook, The Boardroom, Top Stories | Tagged , , ,

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

Posted in Economy, Handbook | Tagged , , ,

Energy board reset faces long odds

In November, the federal Liberals appointed a five-person panel to make recommendations to fix the discredited National Energy Board. But a bigger question frames the task: Are the NEB’s problems beyond repair?
By John Greenwood
December 15th, 2016

For most of its nearly 60-year history the National Energy Board, Canada’s pipeline regulator, quietly did its job, mostly beyond the glare of the public spotlight, surfacing occasionally in the pages of the business press. Pipelines got built and people … Continue reading

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Fintech: growing up fast

Insider: Jesse McWaters
December 15th, 2016

Who Jesse McWaters, financial innovation lead at the World Economic Forum in New York. McWaters, a Canadian, heads WEF research on fintech, manages its council on the future of blockchain, and coauthored its influential 2015 “Future of Financial Services” report. … Continue reading

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