Governing for the long term

PwC’s 2015 Annual Corporate Directors Survey

PwC’s annual report presents the key findings of the survey carried out with 783 board members of companies listed in the US (more than 74% with billings of more than EUR 1 billion) in the banking, insurance, energy and industrial products sectors, 86% of whom are men, and the remaining 14% women.

The aim is to reveal current trends, practices, concerns and viewpoints in company boards and to tackle increasingly important issues such as correct decision taking, diversity, the composition of the board, risk management, board member remuneration and their roles and duties.

The results can be organised into several key areas:

  • Diversity: members with experience in the financial sector, in the firm’s sector, in operations and in risk management; expertise and commitment to the position; CEO and members’ succession planning. Diversity (knowhow, experience, age, training, etc) is considered a key element for 95% of survey respondents, but there are great discrepancies between men and women about the importance of gender diversity.
  • Communication with investors and shareholders: practices and protocols for greater dialogue with them; systematic and regular communication.
  • Board priorities: strategy; training programmes; succession planning for the CEO, mitigation of IT risks; talent management.
  • Strategy: abandoning short-termism in favour of a long-term vision; strategic debates in sessions (analysis of the competition, need for external advice, also geopolitical, environmental, technological issues, etc); talent management as a key element; risk management (risks of fraud: anti-corruption programmes, ethical codes, models for preventing and detecting crime, etc); internal auditing (independence, objectivity, scope, technological support and a culture of service to the company).
  • Supervision of IT strategy: greater involvement in IT projects, recognising that issues such as big data, analytics and social media are essential on strategic agendas.