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Ken Hugessen

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The Boardroom Beverly Behan


Top Stories

Hostile makeover

Until recently, boards and shareholder activists knew only conflict. Now you see them working together. What happened?
By Robert Thompson
April 21st, 2014

It was as the executive director of the Canadian Coalition for Good Governance, an organization supported by Canadian pension funds, that Stephen Griggs started paying attention to the influx of shareholders seeking change. These days these shareholders are tagged as … Continue reading

What’s not to like?

Canadian regulators are starting to mandate board and executive diversity. Considering the strong business case for new blood and fresh ideas, you wonder why they have to
By Paul Brent
April 21st, 2014

If you want a glimpse of what corporate Canada looked like 50 years ago you don’t have to invent a time machine. A far easier method would be to sit in on the directors’ meetings of at least half the … Continue reading

Where are the great new female directors hiding?

Boards seeking to expand their ranks of women directors and boost diversity will only succeed if they also rethink how and where they’re looking
By Beverly Behan
April 21st, 2014

The title of this column echoes a question many nominating and governance committee chairs will be asking if the Ontario Securities Commission implements its new proposals on gender diversity. But many will find those answers only if they break away … Continue reading

Proxy voting: no quick fix

The CSA gets full marks for making its review of the shareholder proxy voting system a priority. But can it get the participants on the same page?
By Jim Middlemiss
April 21st, 2014

The Canadian Securities Administrators’ consultation paper on the messy proxy voting arena (Consultation Paper 54-401: Review of the Proxy Voting Infrastructure), which last summer kicked off an extended review of the proxy system, is revealing a deep divide among the … Continue reading

Reporting gets strategic

Insider: Paul Druckman
April 21st, 2014

Who Paul Druckman, chief executive officer of the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC). The IIRC hit a major milestone in December with its release of the international integrated reporting framework, a roadmap for companies that want to begin integrated reporting. … Continue reading

Five questions that mining boards need to ask

It’s imperative that mining company boards find ways to add significant value when hard times are forcing management to make do with less. Here’s how
By Beverly Behan
February 26th, 2014

The past year has been described as a “survival year” in the Canadian mining sector. In an environment where CEOs are scrambling to cut costs and make do with less in order to help their companies weather the storm, the … Continue reading

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Ticker

Proxy voting: no quick fix

The CSA gets full marks for making its review of the shareholder proxy voting system a priority. But can it get the participants on the same page?
By Jim Middlemiss
April 21st, 2014

The Canadian Securities Administrators’ consultation paper on the messy proxy voting arena (Consultation Paper 54-401: Review of the Proxy Voting Infrastructure), which last summer kicked off an extended review of the proxy system, is revealing a deep divide among the … Continue reading

Stoking the IPO fire

While Canadian IPOs have been scarce, some experts hope the U.S. hot streak will get our market cooking
By Ken Mark
April 21st, 2014

Might the deafening silence from Canada’s IPO market soon be coming to an end? During Q1 2014, the TSX did not register a single successful IPO listing. That also marked the fifth consecutive quarter in which the extractive industries sector, … Continue reading

Less boom, but no bust

Recent setbacks, especially the departure of American giant Cliffs Natural Resources, have deflated much of the original hype around Ontario’s Ring of Fire and Quebec’s Plan Nord. In the long run, that might not be a bad thing
By Susan Mohammad
February 26th, 2014

If the stories of the mining industry in Quebec and Ontario as of late were books, the same author could easily have written them both. Only a few years ago, each province’s mining sector was full of fresh promise. Initial … Continue reading

Comply or explain: enough of a push?

The Ontario Securities Commission seems poised to recommend that the province adopt a new “comply or explain” regime for public issuers in a bid to move companies to boost gender diversity on boards and in management. Despite iffy results elsewhere, it’s got widespread support
By Mark Anderson
December 15th, 2013

Whatever is or isn’t on the table from the Ontario Securities Commission by the time you read this, any director, senior executive, corporate secretary, or governance or proxy adviser worth his or her salary will have already started thinking about … Continue reading

Defined benefit plans’ rebound now a test of discipline

By Bruce Freedman/Street Smarts
December 15th, 2013

Living in a zero-rate world has made many a homebuyer happy, but for those companies that still have material defined benefit pension liabilities, the last five years have been rather gray-hair inducing indeed. The discount rate is the single most … Continue reading

Old rival, new high ground

Don’t tell Jos Schmitt it’s trendy to blame high-frequency traders for corrupting the stock market. The former CEO of Alpha, the alternative exchange whose owners bought TMX Group in 2012, is launching a new exchange where predatory, high-frequency trading will be banned. In Schmitt’s view, the problem is so bad that issuers and investors will want to switch
By Jim Middlemiss
September 16th, 2013

Fairness. It’s a classic underdog sales pitch. But will it work when the “underdogs” are a group of high profile, deep-pocketed financial institutions, headed by a familiar CEO, planning to launch their own stock exchange in Toronto? That’s the gamble—and … Continue reading

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Views

Where governance is going

A small suite of new rules, relationships and areas of oversight are driving most of the upheaval and change in corporate governance today. Here’s what to expect next
By Richard Leblanc
April 21st, 2014

It’s easy to get caught up in the dramatic details of board and company situations when issues and conflicts come to a boil. But the best way to learn from these events is to explore the underlying governance trends that … Continue reading

Make room, and make ready

Directors need to acknowledge the increasingly active role of shareholders and their advisers in executive compensation decision making—and then engage shareholders directly to hold sway over the agenda
By Ken Hugessen
April 21st, 2014

Today, it would be hard for a director of a mid-size or large public issuer to miss the increasing involvement of shareholders and proxy advisers (e.g. ISS and Glass Lewis) when dealing with executive and director pay and related performance … Continue reading

Taking the measure of your IR team

Though it’s tempting to do so, boards and management shouldn’t look at company share price to evaluate the performance of their IR department. There are many more accurate indicators to choose
By Chaya Cooperberg
April 21st, 2014

In many companies, the fiscal year typically kicks off with exercises in goal setting, as employees commit to objectives in hope of recognition and reward come review time. For investor relations professionals, working within the dynamic and often volatile environment … Continue reading

Traffic gridlock and the bottom line

Location selection, expansion decisions, costs to business—it all goes under the microscope when regional transportation falters. In Ontario, and across the country, 2014 could be a make-or-break year on the issue
By Robert Olsen
April 21st, 2014

Over the past 12 years, the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area population has increased by 1.2 million to about 6.5 million people and over the next 20 years it will again increase to about 8.4 million. Yet even as the … Continue reading

Considering the consequences

Board oversight of consequential analysis as part of its assessment of residual risks is critical to prioritizing risks for in-depth board oversight. Here’s an approach to consider
By John Caldwell
April 21st, 2014

In overseeing enterprise risk, an initial task in the process is to identify and log the major risks into various categories. The conventional three-stage approach is to determine the residual exposure for each risk by assessing and ranking each risk … Continue reading

The recovery is out there

Last year, talk of green shoots on the parched mining financing landscape proved premature. In 2014, while times remain tight in the short term, conditions are more favourable for a comeback
By Robert Olsen
February 26th, 2014

The current challenges facing the mining industry have been well documented—with cost escalation and increased resource nationalism hitting at the same time as decreasing commodity prices—and they continue to deplete profitability. This reduction in operating performance, driven by decreasing demand … Continue reading

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Features

Hostile makeover

Until recently, boards and shareholder activists knew only conflict. Now you see them working together. What happened?
By Robert Thompson
April 21st, 2014

It was as the executive director of the Canadian Coalition for Good Governance, an organization supported by Canadian pension funds, that Stephen Griggs started paying attention to the influx of shareholders seeking change. These days these shareholders are tagged as … Continue reading

Barrick turns the page

Peter Munk, iconic founder and long-time chairman of Barrick Gold, will step down this spring. His departure, after prolonged shareholder upheaval, plunging gold prices and massive write-downs, heralds a sweeping governance overhaul. It might fix the board—but what of the bottom line?
By Robert Thompson
February 26th, 2014

Maybe his Indianapolis office kept him oblivious to the profile of Barrick Gold Corp. (TSX:ABX) and its flamboyant 86-year old founder and chairman, Peter Munk, but hedge fund manager Mike Morris wasn’t looking to gain publicity for his boutique investment … Continue reading

Waiting for the light

By almost every financial measure, the mining sector started 2014 in a dark place. Great assets, strong planning and good timing have sheltered some companies. The rest—the majority—are getting by on guts, cuts and creativity
By Jim Middlemiss
February 26th, 2014

Daycon Minerals Corp. president David Poynton is hoping that 2014 is the year that his mining company strikes gold with investors. “I’m betting that this year Daycon will go public,” says Poynton, who is also a director at Marathon Gold … Continue reading

Deal of the year: A big bet on small stores

Loblaw’s $12.4-billion purchase of Shoppers Drug Mart is a bold play on demographic trends, the future shape of retail and the care and feeding of Canadians
By Robert Thompson
December 16th, 2013

It is one of Canada’s most stalwart businesses with a nearly century-old tried and tested business model, but Loblaw executive chair Galen Weston and the company’s chief executive, Vicente Trius, are willing to go all in on a hunch that … Continue reading

First you plan, then you pivot

Diversity, transparency, advance notice, notice and access, say-on-pay, voting infrastructure—they could be keywords, they’re certainly trending as the latest tools and regulations for issuers to master to keep pace with activists in proxy season
By Paul Brent
December 16th, 2013

Rising shareholder activism in recent years along with new policies and proposals from regulators has transformed the process of preparing for the proxy season from a dry routine to a dynamic, constantly changing exercise. As the calendar turns to 2014 … Continue reading

Renaissance woman

With luxury nameplate Saks now in the fold, can HBC's Bonnie Brooks—already a turnaround master in Asia and North America—use her makeover magic to make a global powerhouse?
By Robert Thompson
September 16th, 2013

With more than two decades of success and failure behind her, Bonnie Brooks is preparing to enter what may well be the final act of a fascinating executive career. At year’s end, Brooks, 60, will complete the transition to the … Continue reading

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The Director's Chair

Hugh Bolton: The bottom line on oversight

In The Director’s Chair with David W. Anderson: Hugh Bolton, former top accountant, now top chair and director, says directors on resource sector boards must dig for answers to really know the business they’re in
February 25th, 2013

Hugh Bolton had a sterling career as a chartered accountant, culminating in his role as head of Coopers & Lybrand Canada in the 1990s. The insights gained in that arena have also served him exceedingly well in his second career … Continue reading

Jalynn Bennett: Master class

In The Director’s Chair with David W. Anderson: Jalynn Bennett, veteran executive, chair and director, has an array of insights and advice for boards grappling with risk, driving growth or boosting their effectiveness
December 18th, 2012

There’s deep, and then there’s Jalynn Bennett deep. A senior executive, director and chair multiple times over; a veteran of private boards, public boards, crowns, nonprofits, panels and committees; and a champion for women in business and boardroom diversity, Bennett … Continue reading

Peter Dey: Let directors direct

In The Director’s Chair with David W. Anderson: Peter Dey, Canada’s preeminent governance guru, discusses the primacy of board accountability and its continuing role in driving good governance, board improvement and productive owner-board relations
September 20th, 2012

No single Canadian can take more credit for being a catalyst of improved corporate governance and board reform than Peter Dey. Today, Dey is chair of Toronto-based investment dealer Paradigm Capital and an active adviser on governance to global bodies … Continue reading

Annette Verschuren: The compleat director

In The Director’s Chair with David W. Anderson: Annette Verschuren, former president of Home Depot Canada and Asia, says today’s best directors are equally successful in the boardroom and in the community
June 17th, 2012

Annette Verschuren is a highly regarded CEO, chair and director who served as president of Home Depot Canada and Asia for 15 years through 2011. Her primary role today is chair and CEO of NRStor Inc., an energy storage company. … Continue reading

Robert L. Crandall: The board as wingman

In The Director’s Chair with David W. Anderson: Robert L. Crandall, chair of Celestica Inc. and former CEO and chair of AMR Corp. and American Airlines, shares some strong thoughts on CEOs and boards working closer together
March 15th, 2012

Robert Crandall is best known globally for being the CEO and chair of AMR Corp. and American Airlines Inc. through much of the 1980s and ’90s. He played a central role in making American the leading innovator in the industry … Continue reading

Charles Sirois: The ownership imperative

In The Director’s Chair, with David W. Anderson: Charles Sirois, veteran telecom CEO and CIBC chair, talks accountability, short-term thinking and what’s needed most to restore the fortunes of Western capitalism
January 3rd, 2012

A fixture in the Canadian telecommunications industry, Charles Sirois has led a leading global carrier, two of Canada’s top wireless companies and financed many more through his private capital fund. Sirois is also a long-time director, chair on multiple boards … Continue reading

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Handbook

Making a speech? Be real

Speeches and presentations that gain buy in and move people can make a good CEO great. But don’t try to be Steve Jobs, says our expert—be you
By Mark Anderson
April 21st, 2014

When the late, great Steve Jobs first began unveiling his paradigm-shifting electronic wonders—iTunes, iPhone, iPad—in a series of glitzy product launches, the world was captivated as much by the laid-back style and effortless cool of the turtleneck-wearing tech visionary, as … Continue reading

Where are the great new female directors hiding?

Boards seeking to expand their ranks of women directors and boost diversity will only succeed if they also rethink how and where they’re looking
By Beverly Behan
April 21st, 2014

The title of this column echoes a question many nominating and governance committee chairs will be asking if the Ontario Securities Commission implements its new proposals on gender diversity. But many will find those answers only if they break away … Continue reading

Bitcoin, or something like it

Despite bitcoin’s recent floundering, it’s hard to envision a future that doesn’t include a digital currency. But that won’t happen until those currencies’ backers address the hurdles that matter
By Ian McGugan
April 21st, 2014

Bitcoin’s biggest fans were too smug, too self-righteous, for their own good. For five years, they lectured the rest of us about the superiority of digital currencies and bitcoin’s blessed freedom from the stifling hand of government regulation. So they … Continue reading

Or, you can just wow ’em with your TED Talk

April 21st, 2014

We’re not suggesting you can replace the expertise and impact of one-on-one training with a professional instructor when you pick up a self-help guidebook. But writer Jeremey Donovan, who is group vice-president of marketing at Gartner Inc. when he’s not … Continue reading

First a scolding, then the scrutiny

Experts warn junior mining issuers that securities regulators are stepping up enforcement and penalties for inadequate disclosure after finding high rates of noncompliance
By Ken Mark
March 4th, 2014

Many Canadian listed mining issuers used to find filing market regulator reports to be a bore and a chore. That’s all about to change. Canadian regulators are stepping up the vigilance of their monitoring and enforcement after reporting troubling levels … Continue reading

Five questions that mining boards need to ask

It’s imperative that mining company boards find ways to add significant value when hard times are forcing management to make do with less. Here’s how
By Beverly Behan
February 26th, 2014

The past year has been described as a “survival year” in the Canadian mining sector. In an environment where CEOs are scrambling to cut costs and make do with less in order to help their companies weather the storm, the … Continue reading

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Economy

Bitcoin, or something like it

Despite bitcoin’s recent floundering, it’s hard to envision a future that doesn’t include a digital currency. But that won’t happen until those currencies’ backers address the hurdles that matter
By Ian McGugan
April 21st, 2014

Bitcoin’s biggest fans were too smug, too self-righteous, for their own good. For five years, they lectured the rest of us about the superiority of digital currencies and bitcoin’s blessed freedom from the stifling hand of government regulation. So they … Continue reading

Trading one super-cycle for another

Good times follow bad, often sooner than people expect. So, unlikely as it might sound in mining, signs of a pending breakout are mostly there. Don’t expect China 2.0, but the deal making could get furious
By Ian McGugan
February 26th, 2014

Cheer up, folks. Sure, Canadians enjoyed the good times more than most nations and, as a result, felt the crash of the super-cycle with particular intensity. But the recovery has been far quicker than many people expected. I’m referring, of … Continue reading

The price of admission

Despite the ebb and flow of GDP, Canada admits roughly the same number of immigrants each year. Would the country and new arrivals alike be better served if we tied admission rates to the state of the economy?
By Ian McGugan
December 16th, 2013

This year, as it does every year, Canada will import enough people to fill a mid-sized city. And this year, as it does every year, the federal government will assure us that the annual flood of immigrants helps build a … Continue reading

Wanted: new brooms with new ideas

The next generation of central bankers are arriving on the scene just as their predecessors’ policies seem to have run their course. How much will they have to change to reignite economic recovery?
By Ian McGugan
September 16th, 2013

Mark Carney is gone and Ben Bernanke is going, but the Great Recession is still an unwelcome guest in many living rooms. So long as it lingers, the next generation of North American central bankers will have to ask some … Continue reading

Is this all there is?

Some economists are calling low GDP growth the “new normal.” Before dismissing them, optimists should look carefully at what the numbers say about where we’ve been and where we’re going
By Ian McGugan
June 19th, 2013

We used to know what an economic recovery looked like. First would come a recession—usually short and sharp. Then a vigorous rebound would inevitably follow. GDP growth could be counted on to rocket past 5% a year as businesses and … Continue reading

Loonie’s letdown for real

Don’t let the last of the Canadian-dollar bulls dissuade you—the loonie’s value is falling and it’s not finished yet. But don’t worry. A lighter dollar doesn’t necessarily mean a lighter order book
By Ian McGugan
April 14th, 2013

The beaver is cute and the maple leaf packs a certain whole-earth appeal but, when it comes to national symbols, it’s the loonie that provides the highest-profile gauge of how our national economy is faring. Over the past decade the … Continue reading

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Insider

Reporting gets strategic

Insider: Paul Druckman
April 21st, 2014

Who Paul Druckman, chief executive officer of the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC). The IIRC hit a major milestone in December with its release of the international integrated reporting framework, a roadmap for companies that want to begin integrated reporting. … Continue reading

Tough times? It’s IR as usual

Insider: David Garofalo
February 26th, 2014

Who David Garofalo, president and CEO HudBay Minerals Inc. (TSX:HBM), one of Canada’s few mid-tier mining companies, producing gold, copper, zinc and silver, with projects in development in North and South America. Involvement Garofalo, who was appointed CEO at HudBay … Continue reading

Scenes at a standoff

Insider: Robin Goad
December 16th, 2013

Who Robin Goad, president, CEO and founder of Fortune Minerals Ltd. (TSX:FT), a diversified miner headquartered in London, Ont., with several properties in Canada. Of those, the closest to launch is its NICO metals mine in Northwest Territories, where construction … Continue reading

United they stand-ardize

Insider: Kevin Dancey
September 16th, 2013

Who Kevin Dancey, president and CEO of Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada, the new (January 2013) umbrella certification program under which Canada’s three former accounting designations—chartered accountants (CAs), certified management accountants (CMAs) and certified general accountants (CGAs)—are now being united. … Continue reading

New kid on the board

Insider: Gerald Grandey
June 18th, 2013

Who Gerald Grandey, director at Canadian Oil Sands Ltd., Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. and Sandspring Resources Ltd.; former president and CEO of Cameco Corp. of Saskatoon (2003-2011) Involvement Two years ago this July, Gerald Grandey made the transition from … Continue reading

Governance attachée

Insider: Judy Cotte
April 15th, 2013

Who Vice-president policy and governance, RBC Global Asset Management; country correspondent to the International Corporate Governance Network. Involvement Following a decade of shareholder activism in the 1980s, the U.S.-based Council of Institutional Investors in 1993 began canvassing European pension funds … Continue reading

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