This stimulating new series with Didier Cossin, Professor of Governance and Founder and Director of the IMD Global Board Center, hosts well-known board members and chairmen/chairwomen to discuss best governance practices. Inspired by Professor Cossin’s recent book of the same title, High performance boards delves into topics such as accountability, responsibility and stewardship, amongst others.
With decades of influential tips, advice and examples from both Professor Cossin and those of his expert guests, this series is essential viewing for today’s board members, senior managers, investors, lawyers and students of governance.
In the first episode, Chairman of the IMD Foundation and Supervisory Board, Board Member of Vodafone Group PLC, Astra Zeneca PLC and Deputy Chairman of Louis-Dreyfus Company Holdings B.V. Michel Demaré examines how the role of the board is changing due to the COVID-19 crisis. He urges boards to consider the bigger picture concerning current challenges, including the health and well-being of employees in addition to bottom lines.
Demaré answers the question of what makes a great board member and emphasizes that stakeholder communications should be prepared well in advance.
Professor Cossin and Demaré finish the conversation by discussing sustainability and stewardship, and how it relates to boards today. Demaré provides his advice for addressing diversity and social inequality, pointing out the COVID-19 crisis has only intensified certain injustices.
The second episode of the series, "Board lessons from humanitarian governance", features President of the International Committee of the Red Cross Peter Maurer. Maurer, one of Switzerland’s top diplomats, explains specific challenges that concern humanitarian organizations like his own.
The Red Cross is arguably the largest and one of the most sophisticated humanitarian organizations in terms of governance – it enters major conflict zones in difficult situations. All businesses that are entangled in complex geopolitics can learn from how the ICRC is able to maintain its neutrality while maintaining purpose.
Cossin and Maurer explore the topic of diversity and inclusion, specifically the unique role of the ICRC and its governance structure. Alongside purpose and geopolitics, they agree that diversity is at the heart of good governance for all boards.
In the third episode, "Top board priorities for organizational health", IMD Professor of Governance Didier Cossin explores the topic of stewardship and how organizations can create true value with Chairman of Nestlé, Vice-Chairman of L’Oréal and Board Member of Roche Paul Bulcke.
With Nestlé’s “Creating shared value” program, the world’s largest food company has put stakeholders and society firmly at the heart of its operations, Bulcke says. He believes a Nestlé trio of values – safety, activity and solidarity – has allowed the company to thrive despite the ups and downs of 2020.
Bulcke says boards can play a vital role in keeping companies healthy during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond if they follow certain steps, including favoring resilience and not only efficiency, fostering strong management and keeping priorities straight, amongst others.