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Just Look at Yourselves - CFO Europe Magazine - October Issue - CFO.com

Just Look at Yourselves
Board performance assessments are still a work in progress.

It's like having children mark their own homework, quip governance experts at ICSA International, a professional body for company secretaries, after recently studying a number of corporate board self-assessment programmes in the UK. They say many "in-house" programmes being run by companies are not "sufficiently rigorous" — not only do they suffer from subjectivity and the cynical support of chairmen, but they also tiptoe around serious problems and shy away from being too critical of individual board members whose work is not up to snuff.

So much for the good intentions of this post-Enron governance reform. Starting in the US and picked up across the Atlantic, the idea of having boards undergo annual performance reviews to help them do their jobs better is certainly worthy. Today, according to a 2007 corporate governance report from headhunter Heidrick & Struggles, the use of board evaluations varies greatly across Europe. Most countries fall somewhere in between Italy, where reviews are nonexistent, to Sweden, where they're standard practice at all but a few companies. (See "Open Up" at the end of this article.) Yet a spying case at Hewlett-Packard and corruption charges at Siemens are just a few reminders why a growing number of stakeholders will be crying out for more board performance reviews....


Eila Rana
CFO Europe Magazine
October 01, 2007
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Just Look at Yourselves - CFO Europe Magazine - October Issue - CFO.com

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