If I were to choose one word to characterize the year in corporate governance for 2010, that word would be "engagement."
What a year 2010 was. Dodd-Frank became the law of the land, say on pay gained traction, proxy access lurched forward. At their core, these historic initiatives are intended to foster heightened engagement with investors. Even some of the lower-wattage developments of the year--such as the rolling out of virtual annual meetings--are all about facilitating more and better engagement among management, the board, and the shareholders.
That is exactly the point affirmed by one of our lead commentators in this yearly review. Peggy Foran, in her article on page 27, highlights the progressive tactics that Prudential Financial did to increase transparency and ramp up its engagement with shareholders. The future of corporate governance and board leadership, she writes, will be grounded in "engagement and communication. In addition to solid financial performance, shareholders want to know companies are doing the right things." This is a forward-facing mini-case study that looks to be an archetype of the new normal in board-shareholder relations.
The theme of engagement suffuses this special edition of Directors & Boards in which we offer the archival record of the year in governance. We go month by month through the year tracing the key developments that honed the role of the board and its oversight practices. We pinpoint the highs and lows, who's in and who's out, who's up and who's down, the movers and the shakers, the successes and setbacks, the what's new and what's next.
The journal's tagline for most of its existence has been "Thought Leadership in Corporate Governance Since 1976." As such, the Directors &...