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Copyright © 2008 McGraw-Hill Ryerson Ltd.1 Chapter Twelve Corporate Governance Canadian Business and Society: Ethics & Responsibilities
Chapter 12Copyright © 2008 McGraw-Hill Ryerson Ltd.2 Chapter Outline Rights of Shareholders Responsibilities of Board, Membership, and Structure Disclosure and Transparency Evaluating Board and Director Performance Corporate Governance and Performance Criticism of Corporate Governance Reform Rebalancing Power in the Corporation Corporate Governance and Stakeholders
Chapter 12Copyright © 2008 McGraw-Hill Ryerson Ltd.3 Corporate Governance: Definition The processes, structures, and relationships through which the shareholders, as represented by a board of directors, oversee the activities of the business enterprise.
Chapter 12Copyright © 2008 McGraw-Hill Ryerson Ltd.4 Rights of Shareholders Secure ownership registration Capability to transfer ownership Access to relevant corporate information Participation and voting at shareholder meetings Election and removal of board members Share in profits of the corporation Knowledge of extraordinary transactions or decisions Disclosure of dual-class shares Capability to exercise ownership rights Source: OECD, 2004
Chapter 12Copyright © 2008 McGraw-Hill Ryerson Ltd.5 Responsibilities of Board Board of Directors: group of individuals elected by shareholders to govern or oversee the corporation’s affairs. Fiduciary duties: obligations of directors to shareholders that are prescribed by laws or regulations.
Chapter 12Copyright © 2008 McGraw-Hill Ryerson Ltd.6 Responsibilities of Board Board’s written mandate must include board’s satisfaction with integrity of CEO and other executives and that they are creating a culture of integrity (Canadian Stock Exchanges) Board must apply high ethical standards and take into account the interests of stakeholders (OECD, 2004)
Chapter 12Copyright © 2008 McGraw-Hill Ryerson Ltd.7 Board Membership Independent director: A director who is free from any interest and any business or other relationship which could, or could reasonably be perceived to, materially interfere with the director’s ability to act in the best interests of the corporation.
Chapter 12Copyright © 2008 McGraw-Hill Ryerson Ltd.8 Board Structure Board committee examples: audit; finance; human resources; pension; compensation; nominating; governance; and strategic planning. Audit committee is required to have independent members. Most experts recommend separation between the role of the board chair and the CEO.
Chapter 12Copyright © 2008 McGraw-Hill Ryerson Ltd.9 Disclosure and Transparency Disclosure requirements for Canadian public companies (National Instrument 58-201): Disclose whether board has adopted written code Describe steps board takes to encourage and promote a culture of ethical business conduct Disclosure of executives’ compensation Board’s audit committee oversees internal and external accounting auditing function to ensure accurate financial statements
Chapter 12Copyright © 2008 McGraw-Hill Ryerson Ltd.10 U.S. Sarbanes-Oxley Act (2002) Public Company Accounting Oversight Board Auditor independence Corporate responsibility Enhanced financial disclosures Corporate and criminal fraud accountability White-collar crime penalty enhancements
Chapter 12Copyright © 2008 McGraw-Hill Ryerson Ltd.11 Evaluating Board and Director Performance Criteria for evaluating board performance: Legal - all responsibilities upheld Strategic and social - set, approve and monitor Financial - evaluates, minimizes risk Business - following the plan? Human resources - select, monitor and evaluate CED Governance - integrity and adherence to rules Source: Belcourt and Kluge, 1999
Chapter 12Copyright © 2008 McGraw-Hill Ryerson Ltd.12 Corporate Governance and Performance Some research suggests that good corporate governance affects firm performance Annual rankings of governance practices: Criteria: board composition, compensation, shareholder rights, disclosure, returns (Report on Business, The Globe and Mail) Criteria: returns, independence, accountability, disclosure (Canadian Business Magazine)
Chapter 12Copyright © 2008 McGraw-Hill Ryerson Ltd.13 Criticism of Corporate Governance Reform Audit fees have increased Management attention diverted away from operation of business Additional costs have made North American business less competitive in global market Changes may not make a difference to firm performance or in protection of shareholders Approach should be principles-based, not rule- based
Chapter 12Copyright © 2008 McGraw-Hill Ryerson Ltd.14 Rebalancing Power in the Corporation CEOs have been too powerful New balance of power emerging among management, board, professional services (e.g., lawyers, auditors) Directors now playing bigger role in strategic decision making and ethical responsibilities Auditors more cautious Legal counsel representing everyone Some shareholders more active in pressuring boards
Chapter 12Copyright © 2008 McGraw-Hill Ryerson Ltd.15 Corporate Governance and Stakeholders OECD Principles of Corporate Governance (2004): Rights of stakeholders are to be respected Effective redress for stakeholders when rights violated Stakeholders should have access to information Stakeholders should be allowed to blow whistle on illegal or unethical practices to board
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