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Directors engaging more, survey finds

Board matters: pictured are PwC's DirectorConnect leadership, from left, David Forester, Paul DeNicola, Arthur Wightman, and Matthew Britten (Photograph supplied)

PwC’s 2018 annual corporate directors survey finds that directors are engaging more in a broad range of topics including strategy oversight, corporate culture and board diversity. And they are engaging more in cybersecurity topics, even as they struggle with assigning oversight of those issues. The survey’s findings were presented to Bermuda-based directors and senior executives at the firm’s DirectorConnect Forum last week.

Arthur Wightman, PwC Bermuda leader, said: “As evidenced by PwC’s 2018 annual corporate directors survey, directors are listening more, learning more and engaging more. “Clearly, directors are thinking more broadly about how social issues fit into their organisation’s strategy. The percentage of directors saying that company strategy should very much take social issues like health care availability and cost, resource scarcity, human rights and income inequality into account jumped notably, between 7 and 10 percentage points from 2017.”

David Forester, PwC Bermuda director, added: “While directors are showing more support for incorporating social issues into company strategy, there is some hesitance as almost one-third of directors say shareholders are too focused on corporate responsibility.”

Mr Forester continued: “The survey also found that most directors see the value of diversity, with 84 per cent of directors saying diversity enhances the board’s performance.

“But they question the motivation, with approximately half of directors saying that board diversity efforts are driven by political correctness and that shareholders are too preoccupied with the topic.”