Boards and C-suites
It's no mystery; an effective board of directors has a better understanding of where their company creates value, the potential risks, and their strategy. These boards evaluate resource allocation, embrace robust feedback, and debate alternative strategies. They also assess trends and uncertainties and discuss where value will be created with the CEO. Unengaged boards, on the other hand, can destroy value by focusing exclusively on fiduciary activities or overemphasizing short-term financial results. We help clients improve the collaboration between management and the board by, for example, facilitating strategic discussions or CEO succession plans.
Our latest research shows that effective boards find the right balance between providing strategic direction and ensuring effective oversight. But we also know that most boards still fall short. In fact, more than a quarter of the 1,119 directors we recently surveyed said that their board's decisions and activities only have moderate to low impact on the company's long-term value creation. We lead group and one-on-one discussions with board members and chairpersons to improve the knowledge of the board and help directors build a long-term mind-set.
Build a Forward-looking Board
Many boards spend significantly more time on fiduciary activities than on value-enhancing discussions. Our recent research has shown that effective boards interact more often with their management teams and engage in continuous-improvement activities such as regular feedback and performance discussions. We support our clients with their regular board-effectiveness discussions by analyzing how they spend their time, how they work together, and how they perceive board performance overall. The results are measured against a large global sample.
Provide a Forum for Board Exchange
Many of today's boards struggle to master the critical governance challenges stemming from regulatory, industry, and macroeconomic trends. We provide a number of platforms for chairs and board directors to have a candid dialogue with peers, benefit from one another's experience, and hear from experts, both in client-specific or multiclient formats.
Establish an effective board and governance structure
New regulatory requirements, particularly in the banking sector, drive increased subsidiarization of multinational organizations. We have developed a unique approach for creating an integrated group and subsidiary governance framework. We support our clients to define consistent principles that guide the composition of boards, balance group and subsidiary board responsibilities, and align meeting schedules.
We worked with an investment holding company interested in becoming an even more active owner by taking a fresh look at the overall governance of its portfolio companies.
Before moving into more active ownership, the fund wanted to determine a factual baseline for its current position. We worked on detailed analysis of the portfolio looking at strengths, improvement potential, and the likely effects of external factors such as the regulatory framework, globalization, and the direction and speed of technological development.
The analysis was based on an online survey with all board directors and interviews with the chairs of the portfolio companies. We facilitated a workshop to discuss the survey results and identify which initiatives would add the most value.
The role of the chair in leading the board emerged as a valuable initiative. To support this role, we established a program for chairs of all the portfolio companies to meet three times a year and discuss pressing matters, such as digital disruption. This established a process of continuous improvement through shared knowledge and experience.
We help executives successfully transition into new C-suite roles. Change is never easy, especially at the top. The Strategy and Corporate Finance Practice supports a range of C-suite transitions, including CEOs, CFOs, and chief strategy officers (CSOs).
We help new leaders plan for success through several efforts:
- in-depth research on CEO, CFO, and CSO roles and what it takes to transition into these roles successfully
- materials related to broader strategy and corporate-finance topics, grounding executives who are in new roles in their company's performance, important trends in their industry, and deeper thinking on topics related to their role
- leadership-development programs and personal career coaching, including advice on how to rethink your strategy, engage with the board, and set up your function
Fortune favors the bold. New CEOs must move quickly, identify how high the bar is set to be successful in their industry, and prioritize the big strategic moves they should make to be effective in running their company.
Examples of our capabilities:
- Corporate Performance Diagnostic—the Corporate Performance Diagnostic is anchored in Burk's basic beliefs in corporate value creation. It is an expert-led, outside-in diagnostic that links a company's valuation in the financial markets and its underlying operational performance. Empowered with proprietary data and advanced analytics, we deliver incisive insights about a client's capital-market valuation, the fundamental drivers of its value, the performance of its portfolio, and its positioning in the market.
- Industry power-curve analysis—helps you understand the strength of your strategy relative to your peers based on economic-profit performance, the role industry advantage plays in your performance, and how value is distributed within your industry.
Push the boundaries. New CFOs succeed by actively shaping their mandate and pushing the frontiers of the traditional role by driving growth, digitization, business development, risk management, and programmatic M&A capabilities.
Examples of our capabilities:
- New CFO immersions—customized and personalized sessions with our experts to help shape the CFO role and agenda, driven by the CFO's top-of-mind areas of interest
- Finance academies—capability-building sessions for high-potential members of the finance team, focusing on leadership skills
- Finance 360—a survey-based tool to help CFOs understand the strengths and improvement opportunities within the finance function and develop and launch a transformation plan to change processes and upgrade skills in areas such as planning and budgeting, management reporting, working capital, and shared services
- Managing for value—a CFO-led initiative to create a stronger performance culture, with measurements linked to incentives across the organization
Strategists must act fast and ruthlessly prioritize among the potential facets of their role. In addition, they must determine the best way to deliver a high-quality strategic plan and then focus on signature strengths that will deliver the most value given the corporate context.
Examples of our capabilities:
- New CSO immersions—customized and personalized sessions with our experts that help CSOs shape their role based on corporate context, industry dynamics, and roles and responsibilities across the executive team
- Strategy Academy and Strategy Walkthrough—understand the key success factors for a robust strategy and pressure-test your own strategy, using the Ten Timeless Tests of Strategy and other core strategy thinking
Strategic Due Diligence
We help clients improve the effectiveness of the board of directors through counseling, capability building, and developing new insights.
Across many industries, a rising tide of volatility, uncertainty, and business complexity is roiling markets and changing the nature of competition. Companies that can sense, assess, and respond to these pressures faster than rivals will be better at capturing the opportunities and mitigating the risks.