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News and views on modern governance in the digital age

On The Corporate Director Podcast, we discuss the experiences and ideas behind what’s working in corporate board governance in our digital-tech-fueled world. You’ll hear interviews with board members, corporate leaders, governance professionals, and researchers who have compelling stories to share. Listen on your favorite podcast player: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, SoundCloud, Stitcher, and Google Play.

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Episode Library

A View on COVID-19 from the Cockpit: Insights from an Airline Director

People are hunkering down and forced to stay indoors. Law enforcement is being asked to keep people off the street. A great deal of uncertainty exists – COVID-19 is very different from a traditional economics-based crisis or natural disaster. “It’s more akin to a war zone than a normal crisis,” says Alejandro “Alex” Wolff. 

In this episode, Alejandro Wolff – a 34-year veteran of the US State Department and corporate director for two airlines shares his insights on crisis leadership strategies for boards and the implications for modern governance.

Pandemic Prep: Board Oversight of Crisis Response

Officially a pandemic, the impact of coronavirus is broad reaching and disruptive. For companies, your crisis response not only impacts the bottom line, it also impacts lives. Podcast guest, Peter Deans, shares with Meghan Day, Diligent’s Senior Director of Board Experience, his take on how the associated risks need to be effectively managed by boards and management.

Also in this episode, Diligent Institute Head of Research Annie Kors offers highlights from a just-released report, A Few Good Women: Gender Inclusion in Public Company Board Leadership.

Disruptive Innovation in the Boardroom

Change is happening at lightning speed. In fact, NACD reported that 68% of directors believe their company will not be able to extend its historical strategy over the next five years. Claudia Fan Munce, co-founder and former managing director of the IBM Venture Capital Group, shares her perspectives on innovation as a board member today.

Also in this episode, Diligent Institute Lead Researcher Annie Kors shares highlights from Beyond the Boardroom: How Corporate Directors Gain Insight.

Ethnic Diversity on Boards: Should Your Boardroom’s Makeup Reflect Your Market?

The roughly 60 million Latinos in the United States are a large and growing part of the nation’s workforce and customer base. Yet less than 3% of the board seats of Fortune 1000 companies are held by Latinos, according to Esther Aguilera, president & CEO of the Latino Corporate Directors Association (LCDA). LCDA is changing this picture for the better. The organization is identifying board candidates, coaching and positioning Latino professionals for board service, and increasing awareness of the need for more Latinos on boards.

In this episode, Aguilera talks about efforts toward greater diversity to date—and how far boards have to go.

Is 2020 Really the Year of ESG? BlackRock, Goldman Sachs & Davos

ESG is having its moment on the world stage: at the 50th meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, in BlackRock CEO Larry Fink’s 2020 “Letter to CEOs,” in Goldman Sachs recent move to refuse to fund IPOs for companies with all-male boards. But what’s really happening inside boardrooms?

In this episode of the podcast, we discuss the trends with Paul Washington, Executive Director of The Conference Board’s ESG Center.

2020 Outlook on Digital Transformation, ESG & Data Privacy

Each year for over a decade, assurance, tax, and financial advisory firm BDO has surveyed directors of public companies across market caps to get a feel for the landscape. What issues are keeping boards up at night? What changes are looming on the horizon?

In this episode, Amy Rojik from BDO shares findings—and surprises—from the firm’s 2019 survey: “The Board’s Direction: Steadying the Shop in Times of Turbulence.”

Rethinking Board Refreshment – Role of the Nominating & Governance Committee Chair

As the pace of change accelerates and shareholder expectations intensify, board composition must account for these complexities. Achieving this fine balance is the job of the nom/gov committee.

How is this role evolving in a changing landscape? What can a nom/gov committee member or chair do to ensure success? In this episode, board member Leslie Campbell shares insights from her experience as nom/gov committee chair for 1800PetMeds and Coupa Software.

A Year in Review: The Biggest Governance Moments of 2019

It’s time to look back—and look ahead. In this special holiday episode, hosts Dottie Schindlinger and Meghan Day are joined by TK Kerstetter, host of Inside America’s Boardrooms, for 2019 highlights and predictions. In the words of Schindlinger, “2019 was a governance year for the record books.”

The Board’s Changing Role in Cyber, Risk, and Strategy

Digital transformation fuels efficiency and innovation—but presents a range of risks in everything from ESG to cybersecurity. How can boards stay up to speed and ahead of risk and opportunity, particularly given today’s accelerating pace of change? In this episode, Nelson Chan provides insight from his role as board chair, and Merline Saintil shares her thoughts from her work as an operating executive and director with several technology companies.

CEOs & Boards: Private Equity vs. Public Company Perspectives

Boards are constantly rethinking how they’re engaging employees and influencing company culture. Now, as more CEOs are being dismissed for ethical reasons, boards are under pressure to fundamentally change their approach to ethics. In this episode, Cindy Moehring discusses how boards can create a transparent, accountable company culture. Later on, special guest Adam Berger elaborates on what public company boards can learn from the private equity approach to value creation and working with entrepreneurial CEOs.

How Can Board Members Keep Pace with Digital Transformation?

On this episode, Dr. Anita Sands shares her thoughts on digital transformation—what’s going on and how directors can stay up to speed. We also hear from researchers Brian Tayan from Stanford’s Rock Center for Corporate Governance and Annie Kors from the Diligent Institute on a newly released report on stakeholder governance. In this episode, we discuss: (1) Tectonic shifts in demographics, business models, and operating models, (2) The need for “ambidextrous leadership” and (3) The power of AI and machine learning in the boardroom.

The Value Proposition for Board Innovation

Innovation has long been thought of as crucial to an organization’s success. But, too often, there seems to be little innovation (and diversity) happening within the boardroom. On this episode of The Corporate Director Podcast, Margaret Whelan shares how boards can rethink value, innovation, growth, and diversity—and how these things impact the value of a company.

Is Board Diversity Losing Steam? Insights From PwC’s 2019 Annual Corporate Directors Survey

On this episode, Leah Malone joins the show to discuss PwC’s 2019 Annual Corporate Directors Survey. The study surveys over 700 US board directors, making it one of the largest public directors’ surveys in the country. Notably, the number of directors who believe someone on their board should be replaced hit an all-time high. This year’s survey also presented some conflicting findings around board diversity and stakeholder-centric models of governance.

The Board’s Role in Corporate Culture & Preventing Reputational Crises

Episode 12

In 2018, the top reason for forced CEO turnovers was misconduct. Jennifer Chatman, Professor at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkely and independent director at Simpson Manufacturing Inc., has dedicated her research to demystifying corporate culture. In this episode, she shares: (1) Ways to identify a narcissistic CEO, (2) How to unveil a toxic corporate culture, and (3) Recommendations for diverse boards of directors.

Four Ways Directors Can Enhance Their Technological Acumen

Episode 11

Anastassia Lauterbach serves on the boards of EasyJet and Wirecard. She’s the author of The Artificial Imperative and the CEO and founder of 1AU Ventures Ltd. On this episode, we discuss: (1) How technology has been slow to reach the boardroom, (2) Why every board member should have a base understanding of technology, (3) Anastassia’s advice for board rooms with technological challenges, (4) How to ask management challenging questions, and (5) The status of technology in boardrooms today.

How Should Directors Handle Cyber Risk?

Episode 10

Nearly six years ago, Target experienced a major breach of its customer data. Since then, the conversations in boardrooms about cyber risk could not be more different than they used to be. In this episode, Peter Gleason, CEO of NACD (the National Association of Corporate Directors), shares his advice for how directors can stay up-to-date on trends in cyber risk—especially with so many recent cyber breaches in the news.

Driving ESG Practices Across Global Organizations

Episode 9

ESG: environment, social, and governance. There are no clear rules and regulations around ESG–no single definition that everyone is supposed to be following. Coca-Cola European Partners is among the organizations that are pioneering best practices in this area. General Counsel and Corporate Secretary Clare Wardle talks about the metrics-based approach that the board and management teams have used to drive success at her organization.

What it Means to Be an Effective Director in the Digital Age

Episode 8

One of the main problems plaguing corporate governance is too much looking backward and not enough looking forward. Another one is quality of information. In this episode, postcast host Dottie Schindlinger, co-author of Governance in the Digital Age, interviews Susan Forrester, board chair and director of several listed companies, live in Sydney to celebrate the book. Forrester explores: “How do I make sure I’ve got the most up-to-date, real-time information…while still remembering that my job as a board member is to govern, not to run the company?”

Is a Talent Shortage Looming for Corporate Boards?

Episode 7

Corporate boards are under pressure to become more diverse – in age, gender, skill set and more. But younger executives already have full plates, and being a corporate director is becoming an increasingly tough job – one that might seem less attractive to younger candidates than in years past. Are corporate boards heading toward a labor crisis? We sat down with Nora Denzel, a Silicon Valley tech executive who serves on the boards of AMD, Talend Software, and Ericsson, to discuss how the demands are changing in corporate boardrooms.

Driving Board Diversity, Technology, and Culture in a Shrinking World

Episode 6

The average age of board directors around the world is 63.5 years old, and that number is climbing every year. Which begs the question: how do you digitize the modern boardroom when it appears that boards are growing older and are often hesitant to embrace technology? Why should you bother digitizing your board room at all? Recently, we visited Singapore and had a live podcast recording with Colin Low, Chairman of the Singapore Investment Development Corporation, to discuss how everything from diversity to globalization to digital transformation.

Should Directors Do Their Own Due Diligence? New Models for Board Transparency

Episode 5

Communication and transparency go hand-in-hand. The company secretary plays an incredibly important role in overseeing what and how information is delivered to the board–making sure it’s not too much, not too little, but just right. We sat down with Pamela Coles, a longtime governance professional and company secretary of Rolls Royce PLC, to discuss how Rolls Royce is putting into practice some progressive ideas to drive transparency, information sharing, and a robust organizational culture.

The State of Board Diversity: Where Do We Go From Here?

Episode 4

Diversity is an increasingly center-stage topic, and there’s no place the effects of diversity are more far-reaching than in corporate boardrooms. On this episode, we sit down with next-gen board member Erin Lantz (TrueCar) and CGLytics’ head of research Jonathan Nelson to discuss the ripple effects associated with diversity. If research shows that diversity enhances performance, why are some boards still lagging so far behind?

How Digital Disruption Is Challenging Board Rooms

Episode 3

Digital disruption has impacted nearly every industry. Retail, transportation, and even certain parts of healthcare have been upended, as market disruptors supplant long-standing companies. Research also shows that half of the S&P 500 companies will be replaced over the next 10 years. The forecast is pretty clear: Disrupt, or be disrupted. We sat down with John Hinshaw, who’s held senior positions and directorships at various companies (like Sysco, Hewlett-Packard, & Verizon Wireless), to discuss how boards today are tackling technological unrest.

3 Ways Directors Can Gain Laser-Focused Insights

Episode 2

Insights are lifeblood for directors. With the rapid pace of today’s business landscape, directors want more data and more research, and they need it faster. In this episode, Laurie Yoler, board member with Church & Dwight, Bose, Zoox, and Noon Home, explains how board members can obtain those insights–and how boards can enable their individual strengths to ask the right questions. We also hear from Annie Kors, who is the lead researcher for the Diligent Institute, a Diligent governance think tank and research arm.

The Modern Board Member: What You Need to Know to Make an Impact

Episode 1

We’re excited to kick off our first episode of The Corporate Director Podcast. We’ve launched this podcast by interviewing two exceptional guests: Brian Stafford, president and CEO of Diligent, and Betsy Atkins, serial entrepreneur, three-time CEO, and corporate governance & growth expert.

In this episode, we cover how the role of boards has changed over the past decade—and what changes we can expect to see in the future. We know you’re going to love it.