December 23, 2021
My Reflections on 2021
With the end of 2021 fast approaching, there is no time like the present to reflect on where we have been in 2021. It has been quite a year!
It wasn’t 2020. One of the main things that 2021 had going for it was that it wasn’t 2020. For a long list of reasons, last year at this time we had all had enough of 2020, and we were looking to 2021 with a great deal of optimism. Can you recall that brief late Spring 2021 respite from the relentless spread of COVID-19 when we thought that Summer 2021 was going to be the best summer ever? At least we had that time, which alone makes 2021 an improvement over 2020. While it is hard to get our hopes up, maybe we will finally see some semblance of “back to normal” in 2022?
The Great Resignation. Much was made in 2021 of “The Great Resignation,” as people realized en masse that life was too short and they needed to get themselves a new job or pursue some other passion. While the trend began in 2020, it really seemed to accelerate in 2021. Having been someone who has changed jobs a few times in his career, I can definitely understand the underlying feelings behind The Great Resignation, particularly in the midst of the pandemic when many of us have reevaluated our priorities. With so much focus on human capital these days, the challenge for public companies will be disclosing how this trend has affected them and addressing their specific plans for retaining and attracting workers.
The Tip of the Iceberg. Towards the end of 2021, we saw the regulatory engines fire up at the SEC under the leadership of SEC Chair Gary Gensler, which has exposed just the tip of the iceberg of a broad and aggressive regulatory agenda. At this time last year, we were frantically picking through an avalanche of 11th hour rulemaking that had been adopted under former SEC Chair Jay Clayton’s leadership, and now some of those rules are already in the process of being undone. What is certain is that we will see a great deal of activity on the rulemaking front in 2022 that will definitely reshape a number important areas of public company disclosure and governance.
Climate and ESG Take Center Stage. It is not as if we were not talking about climate and ESG back in 2020 (and before), but in 2021 those topics seemed to dominate every conversation. The SEC, for its part, has clearly signaled that the topics of climate and human capital are at the top of its agenda, and demonstrated to us that they mean business on climate and ESG with an Enforcement task force and climate comment letters from the Division of Corporation Finance. We very well may look back and say that 2021 was the turning point on how public companies address these topics from a governance and disclosure perspective.
Our Resources. I am proud to have been a part of the fantastic team here, providing you with so many great resources that were hopefully useful for keeping up with all of the developments in 2021. I am excited to be blogging again here on TheCorporateCounsel.net, recording the Deep Dive with Dave podcast, updating the Executive Compensation Disclosure Treatise, contributing to The Corporate Counsel and The Corporate Executive, and participating in our conferences and webcasts. I hope we were able to keep you informed about all of the developments in 2021, and provide you with the analysis and insight that you can’t find elsewhere. In 2022, I will celebrate 15 years working on these publications – where did the time go?
I wish you all the best for the holiday season and I hope you have a great 2022!
– Dave Lynn
Programming Note: This blog will be off tomorrow, back next week.