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Eight Reasons Why Being CEO in 2015 Will Be Tougher Than Ever Before
These challenges include pressure to grow, need for global talent, board impatience…and ability to capitalize on the next emerging market—the U.S.!
By Stephen Miles, CEO, The Miles Group
As CEOs charge into 2015, the top of their agenda is dominated by threats and opportunities taking on a greater urgency than ever before. From managing the demands of their boards and activist investors to effectively leading a sprawling global organization, the CEO’s job has never been tougher.
Some of the factors contributing to the extremely challenging role of the CEO in 2015 will be:
1. Cybersecurity and Job Security
Failure to manage the threat of cyberattacks is the kind of thing that CEOs get fired for—we’ve seen it this past year—and the real concerns around this have only just begun. As attacks have moved beyond the financial sector to other high-profile companies, there will be transformational change in the way companies secure themselves and how much they spend on security. The silver lining is that this investment will drive accelerated innovation and change that will benefit consumers.
2. Hard-Charging Activist Community
We are in a new era of corporate activism: what were once ‘barbarians at the gate’ are now the cheered-on advocates for shareholders—much to the despair of CEOs and boards everywhere. Activists have a sense of confidence and purpose like never before, and are taking on companies no matter their size, brand, or stock performance, even targeting those who outperform the stock market.
In the Current Issue:
First Quarter 2015
Recruiting and Onboarding the Young Director
Edie Weiner: Young leaders will be board material faster than any previous generation.
Managing an Internal Investigation
This is how a skilled board does it.
Contributing from Day One
When to talk, what to say, and how to deal with the big shots on the board.
In This Month's e-Briefing:
(Sign up for a free subscription)
They Were Big Thinkers and Doers
On the passing of governance maestros John Whitehead and David Nadler.
By Jim Kristie
This month’s e-Briefing is dedicated to two individuals who died last month — John Whitehead and David Nadler. Both were leaders in the business world and both made several appearances in the pages of Directors & Boards for their thought leadership on corporate governance.
In John Whitehead’s case, he was a leader in several realms: in banking, where he was the co-chair of Goldman Sachs from 1976 to 1984; in government, where he served as Deputy Secretary of State during the Reagan administration; in civic activities, where he dedicated himself to a number of nonprofit organizations, often serving as chairman of their boards; and on Main Street, where he was a wise and strong board director. (He was a member of the Directors & Boards editorial advisory board for a spell in the early 1980s.)
A remarkable feat was his leadership of the effort to rebuild the World Trade Center site following 9/11. He was almost 80 years old at the time he took on the challenge of chairing the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. He died on Feb. 7 at the age of 92.
David Nadler had a distinguished career as an adviser to CEOs and boards in the areas of corporate governance, executive leadership, organization design, and executive team development. He founded Delta Consulting Group in 1980, joined his firm with Marsh & McLennan Companies in 2000. He was CEO of Mercer Delta Consulting from 2000-2005 and vice chairman of Marsh & McLennan for seven years, retiring in late 2013.
He had one more “second act”: he formed Nadler Advisory Services with his brother Mark Nadler. After what Mark describes as a “tenacious, valiant two-year fight against cancer,” David died on Feb. 5 at the age of 66.
You will get a taste of their work in corporate governance when you read the Article of the Month and the Columnist pieces in this newsletter. But let me share something that I learned from interviewing John Whitehead for a cover story in 2005. He had a memo that he would give to new Goldman Sachs business developers that teed up his list of how to get and keep clients. There were nine pointers on the list. Here are four that particularly resonate with me and that I apply in my own editorship of Directors & Boards:
- When there’s business to be done, get it!
- It’s just as easy to get a first-rate piece of business as a second-rate one.
- If you get the business, it’s up to you to see that it’s well handled.
- There’s nothing worse than an unhappy client.
You can see all nine pointers in the full article, linked here.
Getting John Whitehead and David Nadler into the pages of Directors & Boards was a first-rate piece of business. Now, sadly, the opportunity to do so again is gone. As always, I welcome your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
is the editor and associate publisher of
Directors & Boards.
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Events of Interest to Directors
Leading female executives unite at the Women in Strategy Summit. This summit is an open forum for female entrepreneurs and executives leading strategic planning, implementation & execution in their organizations. Being a senior executive in a vastly male dominated profession can be challenging. Attendees will be inspired by the success stories of female leaders at companies such as Girl Scouts, PepsiCo, Siemens, Citi, Levi Strauss and many more. Confirm your place here.
NACD's Director Professionalism course will be held in Miami. The course covers the boardroom fundamentals all directors need to confidently take a seat at the boardroom table. This highly interactive two-day course is led by seasoned directors and leading corporate governance experts. For more information visit here.
Women in the Boardroom is hosting a New York City Connections Event. Guest speaker is Edie Weiner, president of Weiner, Edrich, Brown Inc., who will address the topic, “Wise Women Will Rise to the Top.” The program will take place at Anchin, Block & Anchin LLP at 1375 Broadway. For more information and to register visit http://www.womenintheboardroom.com.
The NACD will hold a "Master Class" — a highly dynamic and interactive two-day program developed exclusively by and for experienced (eight or more years) directors, fostering thought-leadership around the latest topics and emerging issues affecting the boardroom, including leadership and process, performance metrics, future trends, disruptive forces, and more. The event will be held in Miami. For more information visit here.
See all events.
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