The governance divide: boards and investors in a shifting world

Insights from PwC’s 2017 Annual Corporate Directors Survey

Our 2017 survey uncovered key insights into what directors think – about the changing governance landscape, their fellow board members and outside pressures that are impacting their opinions and performance. Our insights illustrate a real divide – one that shows directors are not always connected with what’s important to investors or with each other. Diversity in the boardroom continues to be a heated topic, with male and female directors having some very different perspectives. A substantial number of directors aren’t impressed with their fellow board members and think at least one person should be replaced. And directors aren’t on the same page when it comes to shareholder engagement.

Sitting on a public company board is not a simple undertaking. Companies are investing in new technologies to get ahead, cybersecurity risks continue to threaten companies across industries, investors are more vocal about a number of governance issues and a new administration means a lot of unknowns. US public company directors face great expectations from investors and the public, and directors have a lot to keep up with in order to be effective.

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59% of directors say their board is diverse enough

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84% of directors say investors were well-prepared for their meetings with boards

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Only 60% of directors say their board strongly challenges management’s strategy assumptions

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Did you know? Dig deeper into the data

About the survey

For over a decade, PwC’s Annual Corporate Directors Survey has gauged the views of public company directors from across the United States on a variety of corporate governance matters. In the summer of 2017, 886 directors participated in our survey. The respondents represent a cross-section of companies from over two dozen industries, 75% of which have annual revenues of more than $1 billion. 84% of the respondents were men, and 16% were women. Their board tenure varied, with about 60% having served on their board for five or more years.

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Paula Loop
Leader, Governance Insights Center
Tel: +1 (646) 471 1881
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Terry Ward
Partner, Governance Insights Center
Tel: +1 (612) 326 2066
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Paul DeNicola
Managing Director, Governance Insights Center
Tel: +1 (646) 471 8897
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Leah Malone
Director, Governance Insights Center
Tel: +1 (646) 471 4305
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