What are Women Corporate Directors thinking?


As women globally are gaining presence in boardrooms--even as numbers in the U.S. stay constant--women directors around the world share common priorities in governing their companies and ensuring the survival of their organizations.


At the Women Corporate Directors third annual Global Institute recently, more than 250 women corporate directors, board chairs, CEOs, other C-level officers and policy experts gathered to discuss and debate topics weighing on the minds of boards today--from regulation to corporate resiliency to the growing power of emerging markets.

The directors voiced a number of shared priorities about the top issues they and their companies are facing: COMPETITION IN CAPITAL MARKETS: Competitive pressures are tougher than ever in every area--from innovation to pricing to natural resources to consumer mindshare--but "capital markets are the most competitive markets companies have to address. You are competing with every single company in every single industry for that rare resource: equity," said Marina Brogi (Italy), director, A2A S.p.A., Impreglio S.p.A. and UBI Banca S.p.A.

MOVING AWAY FROM FIERCE INVESTOR 'SHORT-TERMISM: Relentless investor focus on quarterly earnings can inhibit company growth, exacerbated by the way companies have traditionally reported results. "Changing the language about corporate reporting to incorporate the idea of integrated reporting can help change the behavior of fund managers," said Alison Winter, director at Nordstrom Inc.

ENTERING NEW MARKETS--CAREFULLY: As companies weigh the opportunities and risks of investing in new markets, boards understand that each market requires a thoughtful, tailored approach. "We need to talk about the best way to go into these countries. Should you go in with a public/private approach? Should you be joint venturing with companies already there? How can you best connect to the local communities?" These are some of the questions asked by Nancy Calderon, global lead partner, KPMG.

BOARD EDUCATION ON A GLOBAL LEVEL: When companies evaluate emerging markets, boards are also bringing in experts who can help bring them up to speed on the multiple complex issues that arise. "Our board clients are really taking the time to invite in the emerging markets leaders from the company management to provide the appropriate level of briefing--whether it's about compliance issues or the supply chain or talent", said Anne Lim O'Brien, vice chairman, Heidrick...

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