WASHINGTON, Oct. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- The Honorable Mary L. Schapiro, chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, yesterday encouraged directors at the National Association of Corporate Directors' Annual Corporate Governance Conference to share their voice regarding the ways boards and shareholders should communicate and help shape the regulations being implemented following passage of the Dodd-Frank Act.
Speaking to NACD's largest audience of corporate directors ever convened, Schapiro said: "The SEC cannot and is not interested in determining the communications strategies of individual companies. But we are interested in breaking down barriers that may prevent effective engagement, affect investor confidence and, ultimately, financial performance."
Schapiro discussed key SEC agenda items related to the Dodd-Frank Act, including compensation practices, accuracy and transparency in the voting process, the state of proxy infrastructure, and breaking down barriers to improve shareholder communications and corporate performance. Throughout her presentation, Schapiro encouraged NACD to continue the robust dialogue they have engaged in with the SEC.
"At a moment when so much of what you and I do is challenged, it is vital that we move beyond minimal engagement when it comes to disclosure. While we have made significant progress over the past 20 months, there is much work ahead," said Schapiro.
Prior to Schapiro's address, Duncan Niederauer, Chief Executive Officer of NYSE Euronext, provided directors with a rallying cry about what boards can do to rebuild public trust. "In the wake of a year that spelled 'crisis' for far too many public companies, there is a sense in the business community that fingers are pointed at all of us. We need to get at the root of these issues. At NYSE Euronext, we are committed to raising the bar in great governance. We are working with the NACD to ensure we are focusing on the right things."
Over the four-day conference, nearly 800 leading corporate directors convened to tackle some of the toughest issues affecting the boardroom today. Highlights and areas of focus included:
- Leading board practices as new and pending regulations affect board governance
- Board and company / shareowner communication
- Board composition and evaluation
- The board's role in crisis planning and communication
- Principles of effective committee oversight
In conjunction with conference dialogues, the nation's top boardroom leaders were recognized by their peers during the 2010 Director of the Year Awards Banquet Monday evening, honored for their exceptional leadership in governance practices, driving corporate performance and working to restore public and investor confidence in corporate America. The honorees were:
- B. Kenneth West Lifetime Achievement Award: Dr. Curtis J. Crawford, PhD, Director, E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, ON Semiconductor, and ITT Corporation
- Public Company Director of the Year Award: Richard L. Keyser, Chairman Emeritus of W.W. Grainger, and Director, Zebra Technologies, and Principal Financial Group
- Nonprofit Director of the Year Award: Josh Bekenstein, Managing Director, Bain Capital; Board Co-Chair, New Profit, Inc.; and Director, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, City Year, Horizons for Homeless Children, and New Leaders for New School
"In light of the evolving legislative and regulatory landscapes, the NACD Conference spotlighted many opportunities to help directors lead, identify risks and provide superior oversight to deliver shareowner value during this uncertain time. Our unique collection of nearly 120 speakers – all leading public company directors and governance professionals – during the four-day conference reinforced our core belief that directors must continue the collaborative dialogue to ensure improved governance in 2011," said Ken Daly, NACD President and CEO.
The National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) is the only membership organization delivering the information and insights that corporate board members need to confidently navigate complex business challenges and enhance shareowner value. With more than 10,000 members, NACD advances exemplary board leadership. NACD is focused on creating more effective and efficient boards through director-led education and peer forums to share ideas and leading practices based on more than 30 years of primary research. Fostering collaboration among directors and governance stakeholders, NACD is shaping the future of board leadership. To learn more about NACD, visit NACDonline.org.
SOURCE National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD)