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Governance Watch

APRIL 09, 2020


What are the legal and governance implications of the COVID-19 outbreak? What should companies and boards be considering in this time of crisis?

In this webcast Paul Washington, Executive Director of The Conference Board ESG Center, hosted a panel of experts to discuss the key implications of the COVID-19 outbreak. Among the key topics:

  • How law departments can stay on top of the latest directives from federal, state, local, and international authorities – and share that information through a centralized database that is available to HR, IR, Government Relations, and business units, so that there is one consistent source of information and guidance.
  • How the frequency of communication with the board varies, based on the level of trust in, and tenure of, senior management, with weekly and even daily communications being appropriate – and the importance of “extreme transparency” during this time.
  • What areas boards are focusing on in terms of oversight and the key questions to ask about the firm’s financial condition and workforce.
  • What areas, such as executive compensation, are currently areas for board decision-making (including the need to avoid “windfall” equity grants to executives and directors).
  • The importance of making decisions during this period of “survivability” with “sustainability” in mind, including the fact that board and management decisions will be scrutinized and judged by multiple stakeholders, not just by investors and the plaintiffs’ bar.
  • The importance of having a comprehensive picture of a company’s contracts with force majeure provisions, a consistent approach to handling those obligations, with an emphasis on seeking negotiated commercial resolutions.
  • The latest trends in annual shareholder meetings, with relatively few being postponed and most being held as virtual-only meetings.

Who Should Watch: Current and prospective board members of public and private companies; CEOs, General Counsel, and other C-suite executives; corporate secretaries; employment lawyers and other attorneys; investors; and other corporate governance and financial professionals.

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