From guns to the impending 2020 elections, boards are plodding through political issues like never before.
Whether directors like it or not, politics is increasingly on the boardroom table, and political issues and decisions made by corporate leaders are increasingly in a fishbowl of intense public scrutiny.
How do directors plod through the seemingly never-ending political ups and downs, and what path should a board take when it comes to a host of social issues, such as guns or LGBTQ rights? And how do they go about supporting or opposing regulations, or environmental, social and governance issues without ending up in a political firestorm?
For the last year, Directors & Boards has dedicated its coverage to something we’ve called “The Character of the Corporation: How companies balance profits and social purpose,” and many of the stories we’ve researched have had political implications.
That’s why we decided to focus this final issue on politics and the board, including articles on how boards manage the gun debate; whether boards need political party balance; how the revolving door from government to the boardroom has come under fire; a historic look at how companies navigate political turbulence; and a case study from a former GE general counsel on how the company handled the fallout from diving into the bathroom bill debate.
As one director in our coverage puts it: “Many of my fellow CEOs and board members have realized that we have a voice. And we should use it to the extent that we have some influence over changes that need to happen.”
Here is the full coverage:
• The Revolving Door From Government to the Boardroom: 6% of corporate board appointments this year have gone to political leaders, and a heightened political environment has intensified scrutiny.
• Board Political Balance: Do you need directors from across the political spectrum?
• Corporate Activism: A case study of GE’s stand on bathroom bills and lessons learned.
• Guns and the Boardroom: Why directors can’t sidestep the gun-control debate.
• Drowning in Politics: Historically, corporate leaders have had to navigate through political waters. A look back may provide a way forward for directors.
• The Board’s Role in Cultivating an Inclusive Culture: “Just selecting a strong group of high-ranking executives doesn’t cut it,” say PwC and Ariel Investments chairmen.
(Cover illustration elephant & donkey: StockUnlimited, www.stockunlimited.com)