Knowledge Center: Event

Boards & Governance

2017 NACD Global Leaders Summit

October 6, 2017
2017 NACD Summit

Heidrick & Struggles leaders attended the 2017 National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) Global Board Leaders' Summit Oct. 1-4 in National Harbor, MD. 

The largest director forum in the world, the NACD Summit provided a national platform for Heidrick to share insights on the greatest issues facing today’s boardrooms. “I saw and felt a huge amount of energy and a genuine want to meet the ever-changing demands of a board,” said Sara Spiering, principal. “Someone called it 'adaptive governance' and I think that's a good encapsulation. It requires that directors understand macro trends and technology changes and be prepared to address disruptors that haven't yet even surfaced. Heidrick has a tremendous opportunity to partner with and counsel boards as they navigate these changing times.”

Panel discussions covered a range of pressing topics including:

2017 NACD Summit

Effective CEO Succession Planning

Ted Dysart, vice chairman, Global CEO & Board Practice, moderated the panel alongside Sheila Stamps, Independent Director, CIT Group Inc.; Audit Committee Chair, New York State Insurance Fund; Director, IES Abroad and David Wilson, Chair, Westwynd Group; Lead Independent Director, Audit Committee Chair, CoreSite Realty Corp; Audit Committee Chair, Barnes and Noble.

Wilson shared four important elements to evaluate in a new CEO during succession planning—plan, process, players and post-operations. He noted that there’s a higher CEO turnover rate than ever before, in large part driven by cyber risk, culture risk and behavior. 

Stamps added, “It needs to be a plan that is a ‘go forward plan’ so you can bring in a CEO that’s a fit for [the company] going forward.”

2017 NACD Summit

Culture that Drives Long-Term Value

Mike Marino, executive vice president and managing partner-culture shaping, joined John Childress, Author; Independent Senior Advisor on Corporate Culture, Leadership Teams and Strategy Execution; Director, Young Virtuosi, and Bob Herz, President, Robert H. Herz LLC; Audit Committee Chair, Morgan Stanley, Fannie Mae; Member, Sustainability Accounting Standards Board; Director, Workiva Inc. The group discussed why culture is top of mind for boards today, which is heightened by the 24/7 news cycle, the rise of the Millennial workforce demanding a strong sense of purpose, and consumers’ increased distrust of big business.

When asked how culture links to performance, Herz said, “It’s got to start with the board with the CEO and senior management to say, ‘What kind of culture do we want? What do we want for our business organization and for our strategy, and how does that all meld together?’”

Childress added, “You cannot have a sustainable culture who just focuses on profit if you have all of these other behaviors that are inhibiting open conversation, stifling innovation—that’s eventually going to catch up with you. You have to look at it beyond just the numbers.”

Environmental, Social and Governance as a Fiduciary Duty

Jeremy Hanson, managing partner, led a panel discussion on how Wall Street is increasingly pressuring companies to implement ESG best practices as it proves to be a driver of financial performance. He was joined by Daryl Brewster, CEO, CECP: The CEO Force for Good, Anne Kelly, senior director of policay and the BICEP Network at Ceres, and Herz.

Brewster noted, “Successful companies integrate ESG into the entire business. Focusing on small areas is limiting opportunity.”

2017 NACD Summit

The Next Gen Boardroom

Sara Spiering, principal, discussed the skills and experience boards will need in the wake of the age of technology, innovation, and changing workforce demographics. She was joined by Bonny Simi, President, JetBlue Technology Ventures; Independent Director, Red Lion Hotel Corp.; Donna Anderson, Head of Corporate Governance, T. Rowe Price; and Eric Kelly, Chairman and CEO, Sphere3D Corp.

Among the topics discussed included the increased importance of diversity to better align your board with your customer base, how seasoned and young, new board members can learn from one another, and how to prepare directors for the changes ahead. 

For the first time, Heidrick & Struggles also had a booth at the NACD Summit, entitled The Leadership Library. You can see the interactive content that was featured in the booth here.