Corporate Secretary magazine has released its Corporate Governance Award winners for 2018, including several Center Subscribers. The awards are given each year by a panel of governance experts to companies that "find new and better ways" to tell their stories and stay in "good standing with investors, regulators and a growing list of other stakeholders." Award winners included:
General Motors. GM received two awards, for "Best Proxy" and for "Best Governance Team" among large-cap companies.
- GM's proxy was praised for its balance of style and substance during a challenging year that included an activist investor and proxy contest, governance changes and a major business transition. Highlights of the proxy included a unique "letter to shareholders" presented as a Q&A between the CEO, governance committee chair and an independent director; extensive board composition disclosure including expressive graphics; a section on ESG; and astute use of charts and tables to bring the CD&A to life.
- The GM governance team tasked with improving proxy disclosure and shareholder engagement also won accolades, with effective engagement strategies such as a new "Pancakes with GM" labor and union shareholder event attended by senior company executives at the Council of Institutional Investors meeting, regular "breaking news" emails on ESG topics to the top 100 shareholders, and a unique director shareholder policy that spells out the company's approach to engagement, including which company officials or directors will participate in certain circumstances.
HP Inc. HP was highlighted for the company's innovative use of technology to support its governance work, such as an interactive annual meeting site, a pre-Annual General Meeting (AGM) forum where investors can post questions and receive online responses even if they don't attend the meeting, and the ability to join the AGM by phone and even present proposals. HP also uses technology to facilitate board work, such as online evaluations, project management tools to manage timelines, and security for board members. Finally, a new tool helps HP identify key governance personnel at its major institutional investors, allowing the corporate securities team to reach them directly rather than via analysts.
Syneos Health. Syneos received the award for Governance Professional of the Year among small-cap companies, reflecting the success of the company's assistant general counsel for corporate and governance Courtney Schuster Kamlet. Ms Kamlet educates a newly configured board through day-long learning sessions in addition to the typical quarterly updates on corporate governance (see the Center's Guide to Compensation Committee and Director Onboarding" for more strategies on board refreshment and continuing education.)