2021 Governance Outlook:<br />Projections on Emerging Board Matters

2021 Governance Outlook:
Projections on Emerging Board Matters

In brief: The 2021 Governance Outlook: Projections on Emerging Board Matters is NACD's fourth publication in this annual report series, providing corporate directors and senior executives with a forward-looking view of business and governance risks that will require board focus over the coming year. The report includes insights and projections from four of NACD's partners—Baker Tilly, Broadridge, Deloitte, and Weil, Gotshal & Manges—on the following themes: virtual board meetings, strategic risks, virtual shareholder engagement, data privacy, M&A oversight, and mission-critical risks.

Boards can use this resource to assist them in taking the following steps: 

  • Understand the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on virtual board meetings.
  • Work with management to identify strategic business risks.
  • Prepare for shareholders' continued focus on ESG risks and disclosures.
  • Anticipate where they may be gaps in appropriate governance of data privacy within the corporation.
  • Evaluate your board's practices around M&A oversight.
  • Identify mission-critical risks that will require board oversight in the future.

Most relevant audiences: board chairs, CEOs, lead independent directors, committee chairs, strategy committees, nominating and governance committee members, audit committees, and risk committee members

Select Recommendations

  • Baker Tilly (Strategic Business Risks)

    Boards need to work closely with the organization's leaders to ensure that they adapt both their workplaces and their talent management processes to keep the current staff productive and fill important skills gaps that will support growth.

  • Broadridge Financial Solutions (Shareholder Engagement)

    Boards should prepare for shareholders' continued focus on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) disclosures and the standardized frameworks some companies use to evaluate their risks and practices.

  • Deloitte (Data Privacy)

    Boards should work with their management teams to build and implement privacy programs based on what is commonly required across privacy laws in the countries where they operate and only deviate from global standards based on business risk tolerance.

  • Deloitte (M&A Oversight)

    Boards must fulfill their role in overseeing and guiding management's M&A pursuits and ensure that management stays aligned with the strategy and that it actively guides value-creation efforts to completion.

  • Weil, Gotshal & Manges (Mission-Critical Risks)

    Boards should question management to understand how key company stakeholders are identified, the impact of the company on these stakeholders, and the processes by which these determinations are made before they are elevated to the board.