The NACD's annual missive, of the burning issues likely to light up the corporate governance firmament in 2014, has just been published. The article, which claims to provide a comprehensive assessment of what's on the board director's horizon, makes interesting reading—as much for its omissions as its inclusions. Sadly, the reportedly burning issues, which were "gleaned from interviews with directors and corporate governance leaders", are historical, defensive or operational in nature.
I have no doubt the reported issues are the ones that were on the top of director's minds when they were interviewed. They are important, and need to be dealt with. However, the omission of issues that can make a difference to company performance is very revealing. Boards are responsible for optimising company performance in accordance with the shareholder's wishes. If the published list is any indicator, few boards will spend much time actually looking ahead in 2014 to issues that matter, like strategy, boardroom performance and accountability.
The question that drops out of this discussion is a tough one: Why do shareholders continue to appoint directors and accept boards that spend the bulk of their time looking backward?
Thoughts on corporate purpose, strategy and governance; our place in the world; and, other things that catch my attention.