Shearman & Sterling has released its 12th annual Survey of Corporate Governance Practices of the largest US public companies. This year’s survey highlights a number of new topics, including shareholder activism and board refreshment, both of which present challenging issues for boards of directors and their advisors.
“Corporate governance practices, including compensation, continue to evolve—the result of regulatory requirements, shareholder pressures, business imperatives, or all of the above,” says Doreen Lilienfeld, a Shearman & Sterling partner in the firm’s executive compensation practice and one of the authors of the annual survey. “Our survey provides quantitative data that will be very helpful to boards, as well as important qualitative insights and recommendations.”
Adds Stephen Giove, a Shearman & Sterling partner who regularly advises boards on corporate governance matters, “Another theme in this year’s survey is the growing influence of shareholder activism on corporate governance practices, with a particular focus on activism campaigns focusing on the operation, strategic direction or management of leading US public companies.”
In the Corporate Governance 2014 survey, the firm highlights trends in policies and practices relating to board leadership, women in leadership, and board and committee structure and practices. The survey also identifies trends in the governance practices of the Top 100 companies that apply more broadly, including political contribution policies, by-law developments, anti-takeover defenses and shareholder proposals.
Shearman & Sterling’s Compensation Governance 2014 survey shows how compensation and compensation disclosure practices have evolved in response to legislative mandates and shareholder pressure. This year’s highlights include updates on disclosure trends in response to say-on-pay and best practices on shareholder engagement.
The firm will also host its ninth annual Corporate Governance Symposium in New York on October 16. This year’s symposium will focus on board diversity and efficacy as well as compensation governance issues and will feature presentations by Andrea Jung, former CEO of Avon Products and Lead Director of Apple, Inc., and Professor Lynn Stout of Cornell University Law School.