On the 2021 board agenda

On the 2021 board agenda

Nine issues for boards to keep in mind as they consider and carry out their 2021 agendas.

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COVID-19, recession, extreme weather events, deep-seated social unrest, and an increasingly polarized America all paint a picture of a daunting and opaque business and risk environment for the year ahead. Global volatility—driven by trade and geopolitical tensions, resurging debt, technology and business model disruption, elevated cyber risk, regulatory scrutiny, and political gridlock in the U.S. and elsewhere—will add to the challenge. The pressure on employees, management, boards, and governance will be significant.

Drawing on insights from our latest survey work and interactions with directors and business leaders, we highlight nine issues for boards to keep in mind as they consider and carry out their 2021 agendas:

  • Maintain focus on management’s response to COVID-19, while keeping sight of the bigger picture.
  • Make human capital management and CEO succession a priority.
  • Ask whether the company is doing enough to make real and lasting changes to combat systemic bias and racism.
  • Reevaluate the company’s focus on ESG and corporate purpose.
  • Reassess whether crisis readiness and resilience plans are effectively linked to the company’s key risks.
  • Approach cybersecurity and data privacy holistically as data governance.
  • Help set the tone and monitor the culture throughout the organization.
  • Build the talent in the boardroom around the company’s strategy and future needs.
  • Be proactive in engaging with shareholders and activists.

 

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