How cautious should corporate boards be in this economy?

Two polls of business leaders released this week captured conflicting visions of the future of the economy.

On Wednesday, a survey by the Conference Board showed that CEO confidence “has dipped into negative territory more severely than at any time since the pandemic began.” luck Chief Executive Officer Alan Murray wrote: The next day, PwC released his 2022 Business Risk Management report. While 83% of his executives plan for growth, it found that “only 30% of them see a recession as a serious risk.”

A variety of factors could explain this discrepancy, including slight differences in timing and the way the question was phrased. (It’s also worth noting that PwC’s survey did not include CEOs.) But the discordant mood check also reflects conflicting economic signals. manager, analyst, and economists are dealing with, not to mention the challenges facing corporate boards. Who do you think will share the blame if companies react to today’s metrics with overconfidence or underconfidence?

Kathryn Kaminsky, who heads PwC’s trust services business, says the ostensibly unexpected optimism in her company’s new report isn’t really surprising. “They can’t control inflation, they can’t control whether a recession is coming, but what they can control is their own business strategy, and growth is an important part of their strategy,” she said. should be.”

She adds that management is more agile than before the pandemic and has the confidence to make changes and move forward. Against this backdrop, the board’s job remains to ask the hard questions, and how to use their experience and the “muscle memory” of past downturns to stress-test ambitious ideas. is good

Yale University business professor Jeffrey Sonnenfeld has a more direct message to the board.

Boards often see themselves as an “offset force,” Sonnenfeld explains, but directors are often too conservative, “sitting with their arms crossed and their bottom lip sticking out.” . This has a chilling effect on “the entrepreneurial ambition of CEOs,” he adds.

Outwardly, board members would say they are primarily concerned with protecting investors and other stakeholders and overseeing the company’s impact on society, he continues. But personally, they are willing to defend their reputation. Sonnenfeld calls for prudent risk-taking instead.

Both proposals are reasonable in an economy supported by rising stock prices and falling unemployment, but many fears of recession, geopolitical crises, droughts and the current 2 virus. Board members may need to keep an overly cautious CEO away from overly defensive strategies and curb greed and ambition the next day. The only “wrong” position can be one that is too static.

Lila McClellan
[email protected]

I got it

“Like umpires and examiners in baseball, they play a key role in enforcing the rules and preventing cheating. plug.”

—Tokyo-based attorney Stephen Givens, in a Nikkei op-ed on the limited powers of corporate boards.

About the agenda

👓 Read: In an essay on luck In May of this year, former WeWork senior vice president Melissa Daimler described a corporate culture that could have saved the coworking company. Daimler’s work recently new york times Andreessen Horowitz has reportedly endorsed WeWork’s notoriously shoe-hating and financially irresponsible co-founder Adam Neumann in his second act.

📻Listen: Gritty social psychologist Angela Duckworth explains why she’s quitting her job as CEO of the nonprofit she founded in a new episode. no silly questionsShe also sparks insightful debates about “the hard work of leadership” and who is better suited for the role of CEO.

📖 Bookmark: Sri Lanka-based Deloitte consultant Talal Rafi provides a succinct, fact-filled case for placing sustainability experts on corporate boards in this London School of Economics blog post. is creating

Beyond the business case of adding women to boards

Several European countries set quotas for women on corporate boards a few years ago, creating an ideal environment for curious researchers.

Consider a new study by scholars at Harvard and Bath. This study measured the impact of gender quotas in Italy by comparing several years’ worth of annual reports of Italian companies with those of neighboring Greece, where board quotas do not exist.

They found that adding women to boards of Italian companies was associated with a 50% increase in attention to issues in favor of gender equality, but not Greek companies. . luck Broadsheet writer Emma Hincliffe reports.

Italian companies “have started to talk more often about issues such as paid leave, child care and gender pay gaps,” she explained, noting that having women at the top has a positive impact on everyone. suggests that there is Read the full article here.


Allbirds selection Anne Freeman, former vice president of Nike North America, on its corporate board. Freeman was known as Anne Hebert, a veteran Nike executive who resigned after Bloomberg revealed her teenage son ran a questionable sneaker resale business. Joan ClevoisseratThe CEO of luxury brand operator Tapestry has joined the General Motors Board of Directors. With her appointment, GM’s board now has six men and six women, down from seven women and six men. (Meg Whitmanformer CEO of Hewlett-Packard, and Jane Mendillo, the former CEO of Harvard Management Company, recently left the board. ) Emily AllellCasper Sleep CEO appointed to Macy’s Board of Directors.Targets are now counted Grace Pumaformer COO of PepsiCo, its corporate director. lip butaneExecutive Chairman of Cadence Design Systems has been elected to Intel’s Board of Directors.JetBlue Named Sustainability Expert Nick Mittal to its board of directors. Mittal is president and co-founder of the Molecule Ventures fund, which focuses on climate change.


– What are the world’s three largest economies? We are all battling the heatwave

– Not just Amazon workers. Lawyers, Bankers and even Hospice Chaplains Currently struggling under the watchful eye of productivity tracking software

-Google employees expect the company to: Stop collecting data on abortion search

– Dan Loeb’s activist investment firm has Disney operations and a board of directors.with that crosshair

-CVS, Walmart and Walgreens pharmacies $650 million Fined after contributing to devastating opioid crisis in two Ohio counties

Editor’s choice

You may have heard about AMC’s apes and enthusiasm for AMC stock on r/wallstreetbets, but how much do you know about Adam Aron, the 67-year-old CEO of the most famous meme brokerage firm? Felix of Bloomberg Gillette and Eliza Ronalds-Hannon share the backstory of Aron’s stunts and successes in a new profile.

Here is a snippet:

“When Aron announced on March 15 that AMC would acquire 22% of the largely dormant mine for $28 million, he elicited much the same reaction as he did with the airship many years ago. Somehow, a recently troubled movie theater chain was rescued by a hedge fund specializing in bad debt, and individuals profiting off bad stocks. Energized by investors and now in the country’s water-scarce pockets, the owners of some of the sluggish gold and silver mines on a planet plagued by a pandemic.The whole thing feels like a national allegory. In 2022 America, pain was the new gold, or fools’ gold.It was hard to say for sure.”

Read full text and decide for yourself.

Have a stress-free weekend!

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