Directors to Watch 2021 Rank Top Issues for Public Company Boards
By Scott Chase
In a straw poll conducted just a few weeks ago, our racial and ethnic diversity Directors to Watch class of 2021 ranked the importance of 10 top issues facing public company boards as the world looks forward to a new year. No consideration was given to types of companies represented — so, for example, a director of a company heavily reliant on shipping or inventory could be expected to place supply chain issues higher on the list than one involved in banking.
 
The top issue for public company board members participating in the survey relates to ESG concerns, more specifically to the creation of measurable key performance indicators that can stand the test of time and provide a viable framework for comparison years down the road. Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) was the second top priority for boards, and issues related to the increasing threat of ransomware and other cybersecurity breaches took the third spot.
 
Tightly ranked in the middle, in order, are logistics and supply chain disruptions, lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, tone at the top, and climate change/environmental sustainability.
 
At the bottom of the roster, our 2022 Directors to Watch ranked executive compensation, expanded direct access/interaction with shareholders and other interested parties, and engagement by the CEO and/or the board in political discourse. 
 
One topic not addressed in the 10 key issues offered for ranking relates to human capital management, retention of key employees and executives, and recruitment of top talent. Director to Watch Adalio Sanchez put it this way: “I think the main issue for boards is dealing with workforce changes and the battle for talent. Many companies are struggling with how to balance the two in a brutal talent demand environment. Then, on top of this, we must remain aligned with executive compensation pressures. It’s a triple constraint.”

Other related articles

  • Going Beyond the Surface: The Strategic Human Capital Management Opportunity for Boards
    Published January 19, 2022
    By Blair Jones
    Three questions to deepen the conversation around HCMnbspHuman capital management HCM is now a frontandcenter issue for boards Longterm success increasingly depends on attracting retaining and engagin ...
  • Top 5 Compensation Committee Priorities for 2022
    Published January 12, 2022
    By Eric Hoskin and Daniel Laddin
    In the second half of 2021 the market for talent at almost all levels of the organization was red hot with increased levels of turnover and challenges in attracting new staff Companies across most ind ...
  • How boards of directors can mitigate 3 pressing risks entering 2022
    Published December 15, 2021
    By John Brackett
    What boards of directors can do to mitigate risks involving cybersecurity talent recruitment and retention and compliance as the calendar flips to 2022Risks to businesses are evolving so fluidly that ...
  • RSM US Middle Market Business Index
    Published December 09, 2021
    By RSM US LLP
    A new Middle Market Business Index special report from RSM US LLP states that the growing importance of environmental social and governance ESG issues has reached an inflection point in the middle mar ...