September 21, 2015

Survey: GC Value & Succession

This recently released NYSE Governance/Barker Gilmore survey, “GCs: Adding Value to the C-Suite,” examines the value of GCs as perceived by public company directors and CEOs.

Key findings include:

– 86% of CEOs and directors reported GC succession planning as a priority – but only 40% of those companies have a formal succession plan in place
– 90% of directors and CEOs expect internal GC succession candidates to be benchmarked against external talent
– More than half of company directors believe having a GC serving as an independent director on an outside board adds value to the company
– Nearly 90% of GCs also serve as the company’s Corporate Secretary
– Directors say GCs add the most value to board meetings by serving as ethical sounding boards and monitors of best practices
– Directors agree that their GC would most benefit from additional expertise in cyber security, social media, and crisis management
– Directors rate their GCs highly for their understanding of: (i) compliance/ethics; (ii) corporate governance; (iii) industry knowledge; (iv) risk oversight; (v)  document retention; and (vi) guidance on shareholder engagement.

See also the results of the recently conducted Inside/Outside Counsel Relationship Survey, which revealed a number of perception and expectation gaps between inside and outside counsel – including this one:

Managing costs and expenses and timely bill processing provide the biggest disconnect between in-house and outside counsel in their working relationship.

  • Corporate respondents’ greatest challenge in working with outside counsel is unpredictability or improper management of costs and expenses.
  • Firm respondents cite delay in processing bills and unreasonable rate levels and staffing limitations as the biggest challenges in working with in-house counsel.

Strategic Succession Planning

This blog discusses a rarely practiced approach to succession planning that is worth sharing – i.e., succession planning for the “Pivotal Leadership Trio” (PLT) consisting of the board, CEO and the executive management team as a whole, rather than as distinct and unrelated categories. This concept is based on the logical notion that these three “pillars” are inter-related such that a change in one role impacts the dynamics of the PLT as a whole.

Author Johanne Bouchard makes the credible analogy to a sports team – where any change in players impacts the whole – and in a way that can vary the outcome significantly depending on who is out of the game, who the other players are at the time, and who is put in play as a replacement. The analogy makes sense, and makes this approach as applied to corporate succession planning worth consideration.

See also the author’s e-book on Board Composition, and oodles of additional resources in our “Director Recruitment/Board Succession Planning,” “CEO Succession,” and “Board Composition” Practice Areas.

More on “The Mentor Blog”

We continue to post new items daily on our blog – “The Mentor Blog” – for members. Members can sign up to get that blog pushed out to them via email whenever there is a new entry by simply inputting their email address on the left side of that blog. Here are some of the latest entries:

– VC Trends: Seed & Early Stage Financings & More
– International Audit Regulators: Almost 50% of Inspected Audits Worldwide Deficient
– More on “Whistleblowers: SEC Brings 1st Confidentiality Agreement Case”
– Hefty Price of Executive Indiscretions
– How to Use a Board Meeting Consent Agenda


– by Randi Val Morrison