Corporate Governance 2020 Event Video Library

The Corporate Governance virtual event features four days of online sessions exploring the biggest challenges facing companies as they shift to sustainable practices and stronger ESG initiatives while managing customer and shareholder needs.

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Agenda & Videos

The Changing Role of the CEO: From Business Leader to Corporate Ally and Social Activist

Investors and a broader spectrum of stakeholders are holding CEOs accountable for displaying strong leadership on societal issues including immigration policy, mass shootings, and systemic racial injustice and violence. How can CEOs balance shareholder concerns and sustainable practices, while managing employee morale, share performance and customer satisfaction? This panel will explore the changing role of CEO and how they can align the needs of the management team with the evolving expectations of their employees, customers, partners and society.

Moderator: Steve Gelsi, Senior Reporter, The Deal

Panelist: Anna Catalano, Board Director, Kraton Corporation; HollyFrontier Corporation; Frontdoor, Inc.

Panelist: Michael Flaherty, Senior Vice President, Gladstone Place Partners

Panelist: Wendy Lane, Board Director, Willis Towers Watson, Ltd.; NextPoint Acquisition Corp.; Al-Dabbagh Group Holding Company and Chairman, Lane Holdings Corp.

Panelist: Paul Schneider, Head of Corporate Governance, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan

Panelist: Suzanne Yoon, Founder & Managing Partner, Kinzie Capital Partners

Keynote Interview with Ray Cameron, Head of Investment Stewardship, Blackrock, Inc.

Interviewer: Ron Orol, Senior Editor, The Deal

Maintaining Credibility with an Increased Focus on Social Issues

Corporations facing the global Covid-19 pandemic along with nationwide racial justice protests were quick to react, but businesses are starting to realize that they need to make longer-term commitments and disclose achievable and concrete ways to measure their progress. Now more than ever it’s about setting the standard, creating accountability and installing a regular cadence of updates and actions, particularly in regard to the “social” aspects of their ESG efforts. But beyond the disclosures, what is required to enact strong ESG policies in the boardroom? How can company management enact sustainable and profitable practices while managing shareholder concerns, employee morale, share performance and customer satisfaction.

Moderator: Ron Orol, Senior Editor, The Deal

Panelist: Helene Banks, Partner, Cahill Gordon & Reindel

Panelist: Kal Goldberg, Partner, Finsbury

Panelist: Rick Sinkfield, Chief Legal Officer and Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer, Laureate Education, Inc.

Activists, Index Funds Shift to ESG

Large passive index fund managers are shifting resources into ESG investing, and some of the most well-known activist investors are doing the same. BlackRock’s Larry Fink is pushing for more climate risk disclosure just as activist Jeff Ubben launched Inclusive Capital Partners to focus exclusively on socially responsible investing. This panel will review the fast-moving transformations underway at both index and hedge funds and evaluate how corporate boards and management teams need to prepare or respond when targeted. Investment horizon and investment manager attention to allocations will all be considered.

Moderator: Steve Gelsi, Senior Reporter, The Deal

Panelist: Arthur Crozier, Chairman, Innisfree M&A Incorporated

Panelist: Anne-Sophie d’Andlau, Managing Partner, Co-Founder, CIAM

Panelist: Daniel Hanson, Chief Investment Officer, Ivy Investments

Panelist: James Madsen, Partner, Greenbrook

Panelist: Ian Nussbaum, Partner, Cooley

Keynote Interview with Ann Cairns, Executive Vice Chair, Mastercard

Interviewer: David Marcus, Senior Writer, The Deal

Alphabet Soup of Sustainability Disclosures

Companies looking to garner investments from ESG-focused funds have a plethora of possible disclosure options when looking to lay out their plans. Top voluntary disclosure standards include the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, or SASB; the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures, or TCFD; and United Nations sustainability goals in Corporate Social Responsibility, or CSR, reports. Corporations, meanwhile, may choose to complete sustainability reports, which can be interpreted in various ways. What types of requests do corporates receive regarding ESG disclosures? Is there room for a single regulatory framework under a body such as the Securities and Exchange Commission? What are the key points to include in sustainability reports, and how must companies disclose such efforts? How can advisers work with management teams to buy into pro-ESG efforts, enable companies to act differently and execute on ESG-related changes, such as making disclosures on carbon emissions?

Moderator: Ron Orol, Senior Editor, The Deal

Panelist: Melanie Adams, VP & Head, Corporate Governance & Responsible Investment, RBC Global Asset Management

Panelist: Jonas Kron, Chief Advocacy Officer, Trillium Asset Management

Panelist: Caitlin McSherry, Director of Investment Stewardship, Neuberger Berman

Panelist: Stacey Mitchell, Partner, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld

Panelist: Brandon Nelson, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary, JetBlue Airways Corporation

Director Choices in a Challenging Environment

As calls for social justice reform cover the mainstream headlines, companies more than ever are being asked to consider the diversity of their boards in terms of gender, ethnicity, age and skillset. Meanwhile, they continue to face never-before-encountered economic issues dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. Amid the turbulence, how has the board selection process changed? Participants seek to evaluate mechanisms for installing directors with diverse and strong business backgrounds and how companies can develop strategies to keep CEOs on their toes amidst the volatile corporate environment. What recruitment techniques are being used to identify diverse director sets willing to challenge executives and encourage critical debate in board meetings? How can activist investors work with companies to add more diversity onto boards and into the C-suite?

Moderator: Armie Lee, Writer, The Deal

Panelist: Deborah Gilshan, Advisor, Investment Stewardship & ESG and Founder, The 100% Club

Panelist: Preston Hopson, Senior Vice President, General Counsel, and Secretary, Tetra Tech, Inc.

Panelist: Cynthia Jamison, Chairman, Tractor Supply Company; Director, Darden, Inc., Office Depot Inc., Big Lots Stores, Inc.

Panelist: Jared Landaw, Partner, Barington Capital Group
Panelist: Cassie Nielsen, Vice President, Talent, VMG Partners

Keynote Interview with Lauren Taylor Wolfe, Co-Founder, Managing Partner, Impactive Capital

Interviewer: Ron Orol, Senior Editor, The Deal

ESG Funds: Friend or Foe of Boards?

Eco-friendly, socially conscious and pro-governance investments have been hailed recently with a surge in focus on ESG initiatives. Investors and companies, however, may be overwhelmed by a lack of clarity around ESG funds. Do ESG funds invest with a strategy to engage companies on environmental or social themes, or do they have a disinvestment approach, only allocating investments in companies deemed to fit a socially responsible category? How do companies plan for longer-term environmental risks but also stay prepared for shorter-term issues? What are the biggest challenges facing companies making a pivot to more sustainable practices, be it in manufacturing, operations or dealmaking? Among other topics, the panel will review how boards can better prepare themselves to oversee companies and entice ESG-focused investors. What are companies doing to make sure their ESG policies are up to date and in line with shareholder and customer needs?

Moderator: Steve Gelsi, Senior Reporter, The Deal

Panelist: Rick Horvath, Of Counsel, Litigation Department, Paul Hastings

Panelist: Veena Ramani, Senior Program Director, Capital Market Systems, Ceres

Panelist: Ted White, Managing Director, Legion Partners Asset Management

Shifting Regulatory Landscape

With the 2020 election in the rearview mirror, regulation remains top of mind for investors, advisers and companies. From disclosure regulations for large investors to measures expected to hamper company-investor communications and transparency, the continued shift in regulations has posed governance-related challenges to companies, activists and institutional investors’ funds. Policy experts are closely reading the tea leaves on the results and their effect on a wave of new restrictions affecting governance and activism. This panel will review how policy changes are impacting how companies engage with their investor base. The panel will also review the effectiveness of stock surveillance systems, shareholder proposal rules, proxy plumbing restrictions as well as tough rules targeting proxy advisers and their effect on ESG investing and activism.

Moderator: Ron Orol, Senior Editor, The Deal

Panelist: Amy Borrus, Executive Director, Council of Institutional Investors

Panelist: Alexandra Higgins, Managing Director, Okapi Partners

Panelist: William Regner, Partner and Deputy Chair, Corporate Department, Debevoise & Plimpton

Panelist: Anne Simpson, Interim Managing Investment Director, Board Governance & Sustainability, CalPERS

Edelman Investor Trust Barometer Spotlight

Moderator: Heidi DuBois, Executive Vice President and Head of ESG, Financial Communications & Capital Markets, Edelman

Panelist: Katherine Collins, Head of Sustainable Investing, Putnam Investments

Panelist: Marian Macindoe, Head of ESG Strategy & Engagement, Uber

Panelist: Troy Paredes, Founder, Paredes Strategies LLC

Download Edelman’s Investor Trust Barometer here.

Learn More

For more information, including how to have your firm, dealmaker or deal profiled in the series, please contact Jenney.Smith@TheDeal.com.

News From The Deal

Director Accountability a Top Priority for BlackRock

Holding directors accountable is an important tool in BlackRock's arsenal to impact corporate responsibility, said Ray Cameron, head of investment stewardship for the Americas at the firm, during a keynote interview at The Deal's Corporate Governance 2020 virtual event.

Administration Shift May Produce Greener SEC

Experts were cautiously optimistic during a panel at The Deal's Corporate Governance 2020 virtual event that the SEC could move to form a standardized disclosure ruling on climate change once President-elect Biden is able to appoint an SEC chair.