Tag Archives: Richard Leblanc

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Directors with devices: driven to distraction?

Tablets, cellphones and laptops make us all more efficient—until those same tools, coupled with social media, become a distraction and an intrusion. Why it pays to be smart with smart tech
By Richard Leblanc
May 19th, 2017

You can be sure PwC partner Brian Cullinan learned his lesson after his distracted-tweeting gaff at the Academy Awards in February. But we should study it as a teachable moment for directors, too. Cullinan, you’ll recall, was in charge of … Continue reading

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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

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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

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CEO coaching: lessons from the trenches

If CEO behaviour is a problem, coaching is a must. But coaching has also contributed directly to the success of some of the country’s best CEOs. For every board, it is a wise investment
By Richard Leblanc
October 11th, 2016

Alcohol problems, sexual misconduct, financial misconduct, defensiveness, toxicity, berating of senior management and directors, litigation, bullying: there is not much I have not seen when I am called in to coach the CEO. And CEO misbehaviour happens at the highest … Continue reading

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Is your board MIA on HR?

Directors talk a good game on CEO succession. But when it comes to strategic oversight of human capital—the most important intangible asset most companies possess—too many boards are missing in action. In this excerpt from a new book, The Handbook of Board Governance, edited by Listed contributing editor Richard Leblanc, two leading researchers outline the problem and propose a way forward
By Jay A. Conger and Edward E. Lawler III
August 2nd, 2016

It is a time-honoured adage that CEOs often repeat: “People are our greatest asset,” but is it more than talk? Probably not. Research confirms the adage, showing a linkage between superior human capital management practices and superior organizational performance. In … Continue reading

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A helping handbook

An ambitious new volume, edited by Listed contributing editor Richard Leblanc, explores the state of play and state of the art in board governance
By Listed staff
August 2nd, 2016

What do you get when you combine 50 world-calibre governance researcher and practitioner authors, from eight countries, writing on the latest trends, regulations and emerging best practices in corporate governance? The Handbook of Board Governance, a new 39-chapter collection, edited … Continue reading

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You gotta own it

Why culture, not compliance, is the key to making diversity stick—and to helping companies realize its full potential
By Robert Thompson
May 30th, 2016

Nancy Hopkins has witnessed shifts in a company’s culture firsthand. A lawyer at McDougall Gauley in Saskatoon, Hopkins was a female pioneer almost a quarter-century ago when she took a posting to the board of directors of uranium miner Cameco … Continue reading

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Board reform: the writing on the wall

Provincial securities regulators are calling out boards for their inadequate response to new policies on diversity and term limits. Directors can keep doing nothing, but they shouldn’t be surprised by what happens next
By Richard Leblanc
December 15th, 2015

When a regulator advises corporate directors that progress on gender diversity is “simply not good enough,” as OSC chair Howard Wetston did this summer, that is code that the status quo will not continue, and that more regulation may result. … Continue reading

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Ethical imperatives for every board

A must-follow ethics oversight checklist for Canadian directors, based on lessons learned from boards that have succeeded in preventing ethical failure as well as those that have failed, sometimes infamously
By Richard Leblanc
October 11th, 2015

I recently moderated an address by Andrew Fastow, the former CFO of Enron, and followed up by delivering a keynote on the role of the board in ethics, tying in aspects of Mr. Fastow’s speech. What follows—10 ways that boards … Continue reading

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Oversight means line of sight

Most companies get that risk management and oversight these days are top priorities. But do all of them really get it when it comes to building that risk function and ensuring it has clear line-of-sight reporting to the board?
By Paul Brent
October 11th, 2015

While executive pay probably still commands the most public attention among hot-button governance issues, for the majority of directors and executives, risk is now its equal among top priorities. What’s more, identifying, tracking and mitigating risk will likely be the … Continue reading

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Integrity? The buck stops at the board

Companies are quick to blame “rogue employees” when they experience an ethical failure within. But employees merely reflect a company’s true and actual culture, internal controls and practices—all of which point right back to the board
By Richard Leblanc
July 28th, 2015

There is not an excuse I have not heard for ethical failure. But when I investigate a company after allegations of fraud, corruption or workplace wrongdoing, I almost always find a complacent, captured or entrenched board that did not take … Continue reading

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Tech risk: oversight and tactics

Cybersecurity has emerged as a leading corporate threat. If it isn’t front and centre in the minds of directors, here’s how to put it there
By Richard Leblanc
May 16th, 2015

In the area of technology, are boards fulfilling their duty of care in overseeing management and protecting shareholders’ investment? Indicators are that many boards and directors may not be. Plaintiffs’ lawyers are suing companies and their boards over technology failure. … Continue reading

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Out with the old

Canada’s corporate governance guidelines, enacted in 2005, are woefully out of date. The world, and the world of governance, have changed dramatically since then. Worse, our deficiencies hurt and are holding us back
By Richard Leblanc
December 18th, 2014

In my teaching, research and consulting, I no longer use National Policy 58-201 Corporate Governance Guidelines (enacted June 17, 2005), which applies to publicly traded companies in Canada, as an example of exemplary corporate governance. I regard it as stale … Continue reading

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Not yet in Canada? Pity

Proxy access is a corporate governance game changer that needs to take hold in this country. Its adoption would directly lead to better boards and better-performing companies
By Richard Leblanc
October 30th, 2014

I teach my students and counsel board clients that shareholders elect directors; directors appoint managers; directors are accountable to shareholders; and managers are accountable to directors. This is largely theoretical. Here is the reality: shareholders cannot select directors, cannot communicate … Continue reading

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Insiders dish on deadwood directors

Not every board wants to hear it, but the message from the market, shareholders and savvy insiders is clear: renew your directors or others will do it for you
By Richard Leblanc
August 27th, 2014

Board composition is one of the most critical issues for companies and their shareholders today. This top-10 list of recommended practices—backed by candid commentary—is based on 40 recent director and executive interviews and ongoing advice and assessment provided to activist … Continue reading

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