As I have noted in prior posts (most recently here), the current coronavirus outbreak presents corporate boards with a number of challenging issues. In the following guest post, Nick Goldin, Eric Swedenburg and Brad Goldberg of the Simpson Thacher law firm review the considerations that corporate boards should take into account as their companies grapple with the challenges that the pandemic poses. The authors extend their appreciation to Sarah Eichenberger for her substantial contributions to this piece. A version of this article previously was published as a Simpson Thacher client memorandum. I would like to thank the authors for allowing me to publish their article as a guest post on this site. I welcome guest post submissions from responsible authors on topics of interest to this blog’s readers. Please contact me directly if you would like to submit a guest post. Here is the authors’ article.
Continue Reading Guest Post: Considerations for Corporate Directors As Their Companies Confront COVID-19

A group composed of 20 public company CEOs and leaders of institutional investors has released Commonsense Corporate Governance Principles 2.0, an updated set of corporate governance principles that are intended to provide “a basic framework for sound, long-term oriented governance.” The group includes such luminaries as Warren Buffett, the Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase, Mary Barra, the CEO of General Motors, and Ginni Rometty, the CEO of IBM. The new released document updates the group’s original principles first published in 2016. The principles as updated include some interesting guidelines for publicly traded companies and for their investors, in a number of key areas.
Continue Reading Business Leaders Release Updated Corporate Governance Principles

In yet another one of his early morning messages, late last week President Donald Trump stirred up a squall by suggesting in a tweet that the SEC should study doing away with quarterly reporting requirements in favor of a system of semi-annual reports. The suggestion fits within the larger debate about whether or not reporting companies have an excessively short-term focus and the related but separate debate about whether regulatory requirements impose excessive costs on businesses. The idea of eliminating quarterly reporting raises a number of important issues, and may raise some important questions for the D&O insurance industry as well.
Continue Reading Is it Time to End Quarterly Reporting?

It is axiomatic in the current global economy that every business needs to have a China strategy. Most business enterprises are drawn to the world’s most populous country and second-largest economy. But while China represents an attractive business marketplace, it can also in many respects be a perilous place to try to do business, particularly from a regulatory and compliance standpoint. While most businesses may recognize these challenges, many may struggle to try and address the concerns. A new book entitled “Governance, Risk and Compliance Management in China” (here), which I review below, may provide substantial help to companies trying to address compliance concerns arising from doing business in China. Of particular interest to this blog’s readers, the book includes an interesting chapter on D&O insurance issues in China.  
Continue Reading Book Review: Governance and Risk Management in China

It is now well known and understood that cybersecurity is a board level issue. This generalization is true not just for companies in the United States but for all companies around the world. In the following guest post, Joel Pridmore, Asia Pacific Underwriting Manager, Specialty, Corporate Insurance Partner, Munich Re Group, Saket Modi, CEO of Lucideus Technologies Pvt Ltd, and Richa Shukla, Partner, Khaitan Legal Associates take a look at this issue, with a particular focus on concerns for Indian companies. I would like to thank the authors for allowing me to publish their article as a guest post. I welcome guest post submissions from responsible authors on topics of interest to this site’s readers. Please contact me directly if you would like to submit a guest post. Here is the authors’ guest post.
Continue Reading Guest Post: Cyber Risk: A Board Level View

In the great pendulum swing that characterizes the mood toward government oversight of companies and corporate governance, the pendulum in the U.S. has swung against regulation and against mandated governance requirements. However, in the U.K., the pendulum is on the opposite end of the arc, as the current government is moving quickly to adopt new corporate governance requirements.

As discussed in an earlier post (here), the current U.K. governance initiative kicked off with the Prime Minister’s November 2016 Corporate Governance Reform Green Paper, which focused on executive pay, private companies, and workers on boards. The Green Paper solicited comments on its various proposals. The comments have been received and processed and the result is an August 2017 report entitled “Corporate Governance Reform, The Government Response to the Green Paper Consultation” (here). The report sets out a list of governance reform proposals the government intends to put into effect in the coming year.
Continue Reading U.K. Government Announces Corporate Governance Reform Proposals

eu flagukJust as the new Presidential administration leads a charge to roll back corporate regulation, “the rest of the world seems to be headed in the opposite direction,” according to a recent post in the PubCo@Cooley blog. Last month, the European Parliament approved a new Shareholder Rights Directive that is intended to “sharpen big EU firms’ focus on their long-run performance, by fostering their shareholders’ commitment to it, according to the legislature’s press release announcing the Directive’s adoption. As the same time, a recent report from a U.K. Parliamentary Committee may signal further governance changes ahead in the U.K., as well. Both of these initiatives proceed from perceived governance shortcoming and concerns over disproportional corporate focus on short-term results.
Continue Reading A Continued Focus on Corporate Governance in Europe and the U.K.

wells fargoOne of the recurrent governance proposals to remedy corporate excesses has been the idea of clawing back the compensation paid to company officials who presided over corporate scandals. Both the Sarbanes Oxley Act and the Dodd-Frank Act included provisions mandating compensation clawbacks for corporate executives at companies that restate their financial statements. As Columbia Law School Professor John Coffee details in his November 21, 2016 CLS Blue Sky Blog article entitled “Clawbacks in the Age of Trump” (here), despite these statutory revisions, the use of “extreme incentive compensation” continues to motivate corporate behavior. In order to counter-balance the impact of incentive compensation, Coffee suggests that companies should adopt their own compensation clawback requirements that apply more broadly than the statutory clawback provisions.
Continue Reading Carrot and Stick: Incentive Compensation and Compensation Clawbacks

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Michael W. Peregrine

In the following guest post, Michael W. Peregrine, a partner at the McDermott, Will & Emery law firm, take a look at regulators’ new “gatekeeper” expectations that now face corporate directors. This article is reprinted with permission from Corporate Board Member, First Quarter, 2016. I would like to thank Michael for his willingness to publish his article as a guest post on this site. I welcome guest post submissions from responsible authors on topics of interest to this blog’s readers. Please contact me directly if you would like to submit a guest post. Here is Michael’s guest post.
Continue Reading Guest Post: Managing Gatekeeper Anxiety

floridaOne of the more interesting recent developments in the world of corporate and securities litigation has been the litigation reform bylaw movement. Among the types of bylaws with which various companies have experimented are the forum selection bylaws (now permitted by statute in Delaware) and fee-shifting bylaws (now prohibited in Delaware for stock corporations, as discussed here). Yet another type of litigation reform bylaw that has  attracted attention is the minimum stake to sue bylaw, which requires shareholder claimants to show that the represent a specified interest of the company’s ownership interest in order to be able to pursue a class or derivative claim.
Continue Reading Lawsuit Challenging Minimum Stake to Sue Bylaw Dismissed