As the board agenda is getting more complex, boards must stay on top of key issues affecting European businesses.
COVID-19 is the greatest challenge that most European boards have ever faced. The pandemic is forcing them to navigate an extremely difficult business environment and pivot quickly in response to a string of unexpected scenarios.
Nevertheless COVID-19 is far from being the only challenge that European boards face today. In their oversight capacity, they are expected to address a broad range of other issues. These span evergreen concerns, such as strategy setting, stakeholder engagement, and approving the objectives and remuneration of executives, through to complex and large-scale challenges that are timely in nature, such as climate change, digital transformation and financial crime.
With so much to consider, it can be hard for boards to identify the areas that most need their focus. For this reason, the EY Center for Board Matters produced Board Agenda 2020. As well as COVID-19, the publication identifies seven other corporate governance matters that we believe should be the strategic priorities for boards and audit committees over the coming months. The suggested priorities are not ranked in order of importance since their significance will vary by country, organization and sector. Nevertheless, they all require at least some consideration from boards.
The topics explored are:
- COVID-19: rising to the oversight challenges posed by the pandemic
- Purpose and integrity: new ways of strengthening and focusing board decision-making
- Climate change and sustainability: from environmental, social and governance (ESG) to a robust business strategy
- Fighting fraud and anti-money laundering: key considerations for boards
- Digital business transformation: managing risk and seizing the upside of disruption
- Risk management: enhanced oversight of strategic opportunities and threats
- Audit committee perspective: understanding the CFO’s expanding responsibilities
- Board effectiveness: the changing dynamics of governance