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Ken Hugessen

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The Boardroom Beverly Behan


Top Stories

More blue collar than blue chip

Building a small-cap board? It takes a different mindset and different skill sets than what big-cap companies face. Here, several experts explain how the challenges compare
By Ken Mark
August 28th, 2014

While most corporate governance duties appear to be etched in stone, company size matters because small-cap and large-cap boards diverge on how they carry out such tasks as representing shareholders’ interests, identifying and managing risk, setting executive pay, ensuring financial … Continue reading

CCGG targets REITs, other trusts

Model DOT provisions expected this year
August 28th, 2014

Among its objectives for 2014, announced in June, the Canadian Coalition for Good Governance (CCGG) is reviving a goal that it first started working on almost a decade ago. Specifically, it is initiating a campaign to replace the current inconsistent, … Continue reading

The executive’s guide to working with boards

Would-be CEOs and other senior managers can make or break their careers in presentations to boards. So take the time to learn what directors need to hear—and how they need to hear it
By Beverly Behan
August 25th, 2014

Being invited to present to the board of directors—or to work with the board on an ongoing basis—is often viewed as a hallmark of an executive career. It also has significant implications for anyone with their eye on the corner … Continue reading

How to build a pharma giant [and win friends and incite critics]

Valeant Pharmaceuticals has been the biggest story on Canadian markets the past two years. But with a $50-billion takeover in the balance, CEO Michael Pearson’s controversial high-debt, low-R&D model faces its stiffest test yet
By Robert Thompson
August 24th, 2014

Michael Pearson is a divisive figure. To some, he’s shaking up an industry—big pharma—that needed to be rocked to its core, that had become bloated and fat, reliant on spending billions on research and development that often failed to fulfill … Continue reading

Is everybody out there?

What’s the biggest way social media and online culture is changing how companies communicate? Exclusivity is history.Whatever message you’re delivering, know that every shareholder, stakeholder and critic is within earshot
By Jim Middlemiss
August 24th, 2014

When Bombardier Inc. launched the maiden flight of its CSeries jet last September, the company broadcast the three-hour-plus event in a live, bilingual webcast that was more Canada AM than a traditional corporate video. Held outdoors at the Mirabel airport … Continue reading

A wedge of allegiance

Pierre Karl Péladeau’s decision to retain active control of his Quebecor shares while sitting as a PQ member in the provincial legislature raises interesting questions about governance and conflict
By Mark Anderson
August 23rd, 2014

For the board of Montreal-based telecommunications and media giant Quebecor Inc. (TSX:QBR.B), the months since March must have seemed vaguely surreal. First, majority owner Pierre Karl Péladeau resigned his chairmanship of the company his father founded in order to run … Continue reading

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Ticker

A wedge of allegiance

Pierre Karl Péladeau’s decision to retain active control of his Quebecor shares while sitting as a PQ member in the provincial legislature raises interesting questions about governance and conflict
By Mark Anderson
August 23rd, 2014

For the board of Montreal-based telecommunications and media giant Quebecor Inc. (TSX:QBR.B), the months since March must have seemed vaguely surreal. First, majority owner Pierre Karl Péladeau resigned his chairmanship of the company his father founded in order to run … 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

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

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Views

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

Mining for common ground

As a country, we waste too much energy and stir up too much bitterness fighting over resource development. Some concerted cross-fertilization of viewpoints is in order
By Sandra Odendahl
February 26th, 2014

In late January, respected First Nation leader and former National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Phil Fontaine, was shouted down while giving a speech at the University of Manitoba. Fontaine was there to share his insights on resource … Continue reading

Dealing from strength

An ill-conceived merger or acquisition can be more damaging to a company than no deal at all. How early and ongoing board oversight of M&A can ultimately lessen the risk
By John Caldwell
December 13th, 2013

Mergers and acquisitions are a lot like marriages—they all start out happily, but many ultimately fail. While actual M&A failure rates can be debated, it’s safe to say a substantial number of deals do not deliver expected results, often resulting … Continue reading

High rolling with the in crowd

It might seem a long way from capital market bank towers to the small change of online microfinance, but look again. Crowdfunding platforms are beginning to revolutionize the means and the potential for fundraising and investing—nowhere more so than in equities
By Robert Olsen
December 13th, 2013

A capital raise that secured in excess of $10 million with no deal fees, no underwriters, no Qualified Institutional Buyers and without the typical six-month cycle to close? This sounds like fantasy, but it has another name: crowdfunding. A product … Continue reading

Turnover, not tenure, makes the board

Research shows that companies with excessively long-serving directors are relative underperformers. How much longer can boards run without third-party evaluations and term limits, knowing it erodes shareholder value?
By Richard Leblanc
December 13th, 2013

Many directors hang on to directorships for far too long. Recently, I counted several directors who have been on corporate boards for 10, 15, 20 and 25 years. Incumbent directors offer reasons for staying: how they know the company, enjoy … Continue reading

No value in empty gestures

Income disparity is one of our society’s most serious challenges. But measures like the CEO pay-ratio rule recently approved by the SEC aren’t needed and won’t do anything to address the problem
By Ken Hugessen
December 13th, 2013

The SEC in the U.S. recently announced that it is moving ahead with the CEO pay-ratio rule contained in the Dodd-Frank bill. That rule requires public companies to calculate and disclose the ratio of the CEO’s pay to that of … Continue reading

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Features

How to build a pharma giant [and win friends and incite critics]

Valeant Pharmaceuticals has been the biggest story on Canadian markets the past two years. But with a $50-billion takeover in the balance, CEO Michael Pearson’s controversial high-debt, low-R&D model faces its stiffest test yet
By Robert Thompson
August 24th, 2014

Michael Pearson is a divisive figure. To some, he’s shaking up an industry—big pharma—that needed to be rocked to its core, that had become bloated and fat, reliant on spending billions on research and development that often failed to fulfill … Continue reading

The bubble in the room

Carbon-bubble theory says the value of hydrocarbons may be poised for a fall, taking energy company valuations with them. Nonsense? Doesn’t matter. Shareholders are asking questions—and looking for answers
By Robert Thompson
June 5th, 2014

Regardless of what industry you’re talking about, ExxonMobil is a towering giant. It is the world’s largest publicly traded oil-and-gas company (in addition to being the world’s third-largest public business) and it will play a central role going forward in … Continue reading

Trust never sleeps

Canadian pipeline companies are fighting an uphill battle in efforts to obtain approval of their latest projects. They're learning it's more about managing relations than moving bitumen
By Mark Anderson
June 5th, 2014

It’s been a tough seven months for Canada’s pipeline companies on the stakeholder management front. In April, the Obama administration announced it was delaying a decision to approve TransCanada Corp.’s (TMX:TRP) $5.4-billion Keystone XL pipeline, designed to transport Alberta crude … Continue reading

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

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The Director's Chair

Claude Lamoureux: Making smart moves seem easy

In The Director’s Chair with David W. Anderson: Claude Lamoureux isn’t the first CEO and senior director to stress the importance of meeting, listening to and trusting the people you lead. But he might have perfected it
August 24th, 2014

When it comes to a track record of smart management, sound investment decisions and excellent governance, few organizations can top the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. For that, Claude Lamoureux, Teachers’ president and CEO for 17 years, starting with its founding in … Continue reading

Rick George: Give people the tools and cut them loose

In The Director’s Chair with David W. Anderson: As a former CEO and a boardroom veteran, Rick George knows that fundamentals count—and that tough questions can have simple answers
June 5th, 2014

If the oilsands have a face, it belongs to Richard “Rick” George, who stepped down as CEO of Suncor Energy Inc. in 2012, after 21 years in office. But that’s only one narrative line in George’s story. He’s enjoyed a … Continue reading

William Etherington: Boards’ last blind spots: themselves

In The Director’s Chair with David W. Anderson: Recruitment may be professionalized, and diversity is taking hold, but when it comes to accountability, William Etherington says boards still have a ways to go
April 21st, 2014

As a director and now chairman of the board at Celestica Inc., where he’s sat since 2001, William Etherington personifies continuity of leadership. Celestica itself started as a spinoff from IBM Canada, where Etherington was CEO for a number of … Continue reading

Eira Thomas: Engage early and often

In The Director’s Chair with David W. Anderson: Eira Thomas, storied geologist turned founder, director, CEO and chair, says sharp stakeholder relations and smart governance are making winners in mining today
February 26th, 2014

Eira Thomas burst onto the Canadian mining scene in the 1990s, leading the Aber Resources Ltd. field exploration team that discovered the Diavik diamond project pipes in the Northwest Territories. By the time Diavik went into production in 2003, as … Continue reading

John Manley: The new multi-stakeholder reality

In The Director’s Chair with David W. Anderson: As a former inner-circle federal cabinet minister, John Manley knows how government makes decisions. Similar thinking, he says, is needed in the corporate world
December 16th, 2013

John Manley, deputy prime minister under Jean Chrétien, says he’s learned a lot in the 10 years he’s been working on corporate boards since leaving politics— particularly in his time as a director at Canadian Pacific Railway prior to the … Continue reading

Gary Colter: Setting the bar high—where it belongs

In The Director’s Chair with David W. Anderson: No matter what the business, director Gary Colter says there’s no excuse for boards to cling to dated, inefficient and ineffective modes of governance
September 16th, 2013

As a member of the dissident slate of directors that shareholders voted into power in the gripping Canadian Pacific Railway proxy battle of 2012, Gary Colter has had a front row seat for recent debates over directors’ duties and effective … Continue reading

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Handbook

More blue collar than blue chip

Building a small-cap board? It takes a different mindset and different skill sets than what big-cap companies face. Here, several experts explain how the challenges compare
By Ken Mark
August 28th, 2014

While most corporate governance duties appear to be etched in stone, company size matters because small-cap and large-cap boards diverge on how they carry out such tasks as representing shareholders’ interests, identifying and managing risk, setting executive pay, ensuring financial … Continue reading

CCGG targets REITs, other trusts

Model DOT provisions expected this year
August 28th, 2014

Among its objectives for 2014, announced in June, the Canadian Coalition for Good Governance (CCGG) is reviving a goal that it first started working on almost a decade ago. Specifically, it is initiating a campaign to replace the current inconsistent, … Continue reading

The executive’s guide to working with boards

Would-be CEOs and other senior managers can make or break their careers in presentations to boards. So take the time to learn what directors need to hear—and how they need to hear it
By Beverly Behan
August 25th, 2014

Being invited to present to the board of directors—or to work with the board on an ongoing basis—is often viewed as a hallmark of an executive career. It also has significant implications for anyone with their eye on the corner … Continue reading

IP: Monetization is the message

We no longer have Steve Jobs to wow us. In his place, Elon Musk is laying down the epoch’s big ideas. His latest—“giving away” Tesla’s patents—should make companies think twice about intellectual property assets
By Mark Anderson
August 24th, 2014

Ever since Tesla founder Elon Musk announced in June that the electric carmaker would allow its patented technology to be freely used by third parties acting “in good faith,” industry observers have been attempting to make sense of the move. … Continue reading

Divided we stand

Western Canada’s place as the country’s economic engine isn’t changing anytime soon. That puts the onus on policy makers to take a new look at their priorities—for all Canadians’ sake
By Ian McGugan
August 24th, 2014

Nearly 70 years ago, a novel by Hugh MacLennan captured the struggle that then weighed on many Canadian minds. Two Solitudes told the story of a young writer torn between French and English cultures. If that quintessentially Canadian novel were … Continue reading

How strong is this castle?

King Cotton once ruled the economy of the southern U.S. Then it didn’t. The reign of oil may be no more secure
By Ian McGugan
June 5th, 2014

In the run-up to the U.S. Civil War, southern secessionists argued the slave-owning states had nothing to fear by going it alone. The Deep South produced so much of the world’s cotton—a vital commodity in the mid-19th century—that “King Cotton” … Continue reading

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Economy

Divided we stand

Western Canada’s place as the country’s economic engine isn’t changing anytime soon. That puts the onus on policy makers to take a new look at their priorities—for all Canadians’ sake
By Ian McGugan
August 24th, 2014

Nearly 70 years ago, a novel by Hugh MacLennan captured the struggle that then weighed on many Canadian minds. Two Solitudes told the story of a young writer torn between French and English cultures. If that quintessentially Canadian novel were … Continue reading

How strong is this castle?

King Cotton once ruled the economy of the southern U.S. Then it didn’t. The reign of oil may be no more secure
By Ian McGugan
June 5th, 2014

In the run-up to the U.S. Civil War, southern secessionists argued the slave-owning states had nothing to fear by going it alone. The Deep South produced so much of the world’s cotton—a vital commodity in the mid-19th century—that “King Cotton” … 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

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

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Insider

A CEO entrance interview

Insider: Ravi Saligram
August 27th, 2014

  Who Ravi Saligram, chief executive officer and director of Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers Inc. (TSX:RBA), the world’s largest industrial auctioneer, based in Burnaby, B.C., with operations in 25 countries and 44 auction sites worldwide, and 2013 revenue of $467 million. … 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

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

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